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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Outgoing legislators recommend big increase in school funding, but chair declared meeting adjourned

December 18, 2012

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— In a parting shot, a majority of a legislative committee Tuesday recommended an increase in school funding, but not before the chairman declared the meeting adjourned.

At the end of the Legislative Educational Planning Committee, Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, started to make a motion to increase school funding to $4,492 in base state aid per student. Such an increase would cost $440 million.

But Committee Chairman Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center, cut Vratil off, saying the meeting was adjourned and walked out. Two other members, Reps. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John, and Ronald Ryckman, R-Meade, went with him.

But Vratil and the remaining members voted on his motion, approving it 7-0. Of those seven, five won't be returning to the Legislature when their terms expire next month.

The only two voting for the motion who will remain in the Legislature are Sen. Marci Francisco and Rep. Barbara Ballard, both Lawrence Democrats.

In 2006, as part of a three-year school funding plan, the Kansas Legislature had approved an increase in school funding that was to hit $4,492 in base state aid per student in the 2009-10 school year. But before that level was reached, the Legislature started cutting base state aid as Kansas hit the recession.

Now base state aid is $3,838 per student. Vratil's motion was to return funding to the level the state had promised earlier.

Vratil is retiring from the Legislature. Also voting for the motion were Sens. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, Ruth Teichman, R-Stafford, and Bob Marshall, R-Fort Scott. Those three were defeated by more conservative Republicans in the GOP primary in August. Rep. Eber Phelps, D-Hays, also voted for the motion. He was defeated in last month's general election.

Comments

frankfussman 2 years ago

The usual fun and games in Topeka.

FlintHawk 2 years ago

Wow. Just wow. What an adult and professional way for those three who walked out to handle policy.

attorney1776 2 years ago

"a majority of a legislative committee Tuesday recommended an increase in school funding, but not before the chairman declared the meeting adjourned."

So, according to your first sentence, Mr. Rothschild, the chairman declared the meeting adjourned BEFORE a majority of a legislative committee recommended an increase in school funding.

"But Committee Chairman Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center, cut Vratil off, saying the meeting was adjourned and walked out."

So, the meeting was adjourned. The antics and posturing did not happen in a meeting.

Where's the serious news story here, other than your usual propaganda ?

doolindalton 2 years ago

A chairman does not have the power to unilaterally adjoun a meeting under Robert's Rules of Order. It requires a motion, a second and the consent of the majority. So simply because the chair had a tantrum and walked out, doesn't mean the meeting ended.
http://www.robertsrules.org/motions.htm

Joe Hyde 2 years ago

As the story reads, Sen. Vratil was starting (verbally, I presume) to enter the majority's recommendation that the $4,492 promised but overdue aid be finally delivered. The committee chairman can't help but to have perceived what Sen. Vratil was talking about, and the chairman knew what would have been recommended had the majority's spokesperson been given proper time to finish speaking.

Instead, this sounds like the chairman arbitrarily whistled the game over on account of weather, leaving the players standing on the field. Will this committee reconvene anytime soon, next time enabling representative democracy? Sure hope so.

Mark Thompson 2 years ago

The story is right in front of you. Four republicans, three of whom were targeted and defeated by "their own party" provided another example of the emerging fractures in the party. In addition, the three who walked out demonstrated that they are not interested in a real discourse. The Brownback freight train keeps rolling along, but actions of his minions like these will sooner or later (hopefully sooner) start getting the pendulum swinging back toward the middle.

The "antics and posturing", from my perspective, were performed by those that left the meeting.

jhawkinsf 2 years ago

You were very critical that lame duck legislators in Michigan acted on significant legislation rather than waiting until the newly elected legislature was seated. Are you now praising the actions of the lame ducks? Withdrawing your previous objection?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

It was a simple statement. You can (mis)read into it whatever turns your crank.

jhawkinsf 2 years ago

Translation: You don't want to admit to your own inconsistency, so you'll just insult the person who points it out. Got it.

question4u 2 years ago

Kansas politics are now rotten to the core, and the blight is set to spread. With no moderate voices left, what will curb extremism?

It's clear enough who is behind the triumph of extremism: the Kansas Chamber of Commerce made no secret of its targeting of moderate Republicans. Business owners will now pay no state income tax, and more tax cuts are on the way. Those cuts can only happen if spending is drastically cut, and the biggest expense is public education.

The majority of Kansans voted for representatives who will inflict damage on the state's educational system, despite the fact that a majority of these same voters claim that they do not want cuts to school funding. To put radicals in charge and not expect them to act radically is illogical. On the other hand, the radicals know that their position is made tenuous by their constituents' contradictory desires.

What could be the result but actions to silence all opposition? Cut off meetings of the Legislative Educational Committee, appoint a task force to study efficiency in education and do not include anyone who has worked in a school or listen to any testimony from educational organizations. That's how politics work now in Kansas.

The people of Kansas will have the future that they deserve. You can't let a fox into the hen house and not expect it to kill chickens. When the chickens are dead, you can't expect them to lay eggs. When you don't have eggs, you can't bake a cake. So sorry Kansas, the idea of eating your cake and having it too won't even come up as a fantasy anymore. Reality looms.

Tracy Rogers 2 years ago

The three that walked out had to get back to burying their heads in the sand and wait for their next directive from Sammy.

Greg Cooper 2 years ago

Does anyone remember the Jenkins/Boyda debate in which the only thing Jenkins could rag on Boyda about was the time she left in the middle of a committee meeting? The Republican guard at that time was pushing Jenkins and this was the only thing they had to talk about, other than pure voting record. (Remember that Boyda responded to this accusation of horrendous crime by telling J that she was consulting with others, and that she returned to the meeting.)

It seems that the Republican Party has no respect for one who leaves a meeting at which no voting was happening, but has no qualms themselves walking out even as a momentous motion was made which would hold the legislature to a promise made years ago.

I'm not at all surprised that these three would do this, but am appalled at their lack of respect for rules, for promises and for their total disregard for the good of the state.

People, when are we, as a state, going to rebel against this kind of party?

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