Archive for Friday, June 1, 2012

Creating a stir in 2012

Tax cuts and redistricting were the big news this legislative session, but don’t forget these 10 buzzworthy items from the past year

June 1, 2012, 11:40 p.m. Updated June 2, 2012, 11:42 a.m.


— The 2012 legislative session, which officially ended Friday, will most likely be remembered for passage of an historic tax cut and a redistricting mess that continues to be played out.

Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican, says the tax cuts he signed into law, which reduce state personal income tax rates and eliminate taxes on non-wage income for 191,000 business owners, will make Kansas a business mecca. Opponents of the new law say it will send the state to hell in a hand basket by robbing funds from needed services and shifting the tax burden to low-income Kansans.

Meanwhile, redistricting has been placed in the hands of three federal judges after the Legislature failed to re-draw political boundaries for the Kansas House and Senate, State Board of Education and congressional districts. The legislative impasse was created by political warfare within the Kansas Republican Party where conservatives and moderates accused each other of drawing maps to benefit their candidates in the upcoming GOP primary. One congressional map approved by the House, would have put east Lawrence in the vast 1st congressional district, which includes western Kansas and most of central Kansas.

But aside from fights over tax cuts and redistricting, there were plenty of other moments in the session under the Capitol dome that created buzz and heated up the twitterverse and blogosphere.

10) Politics and religion

Father James Gordon of St. John Vianney in Maple Hill caused a ruckus in delivering the prayer at the start of the House session on March 15. In his prayer, Gordon staked out positions opposing same-sex marriage, abortion and insurance requirements for birth control. People invited to pray are asked to steer clear of political topics.

9) Sarcasm bomb

On the same day, Brownback’s Facebook page was swamped with posts critical of his stance against abortion in what has been called a “sarcasm bomb,” in which posters provided intimate details of sexual issues and asked Brownback for advice.

8) Single moms

Brownback’s Budget Director Steve Anderson drew some harsh words from legislators and organizations who support the Earned Income Tax Credit. Brownback’s original tax-cutting plan called for elimination of numerous tax credits aimed at helping the poor and elderly, including the EITC. Brownback’s team alleged there was widespread fraud in the EITC. Anderson said, “We have no way of making sure, for example, that a single mother is spending that on needs for her children.”

7) Women can work elsewhere

In a call-in show on CSPAN, Brownback said a rule from President Barack Obama will require some religious institutions to violate their basic tenets by having to provide coverage for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. Concerning the women who work at those institutions, Brownback said, “That’s not denying women’s rights. If a woman then wants birth control, go work somewhere else.”

6) Rubber stamp

It’s not often an office supply makes the news, but that’s what happened in what has become known as the “rubber stamp incident.” During a committee hearing on an anti-abortion bill, Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator for the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, pulled an ink pad and rubber stamp from a paper bag, and told the committee that since they had the votes to approve the bill to just go ahead and “rubber stamp” it. Committee members chastised Rinker, saying she was being disrespectful. The committee did eventually approve the bill.

5) On the record

In January, Rep. TerriLois Gregory, R-Baldwin City, asked to sit down and talk with state Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, about Brownback’s health reform proposals and their impact on Kansans with disabilities. During the conversation in Schmidt’s office, Schmidt noticed a red light flashing in Gregory’s bag. Schmidt found out Gregory was recording their conversation. Schmidt said she was shocked by the incident. Later, Gregory issued a statement: “I care deeply about the disability community and wanted to be sure I got my facts straight. My goal was to be sure I fully understood, and offending Senator Schmidt was not my intention.”

4) NBAF, Boeing setbacks

In February, state leaders were stunned when President Barack Oba ma did not include in his budget proposal funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which has been proposed to be built in Manhattan, Kan. That development followed news in the previous month that Boeing Co. planned to shut down its defense plant in Wichita and ship more than 2,160 jobs to three other states.

3) Court furloughs

After a budget impasse, before the Legislature took its customary break, the Kansas Supreme Court ordered five days of court closings and furloughs throughout the state judicial system. The court system shut down April 13 but then cancelled the remaining closings after legislators returned and promised to provide the necessary revenue. After the Legislature returned from the break, one legislator asked a court representative why the courts didn’t earlier trust that legislators would make good on the funding needs.

2) GOP Cedar Crest dinners

Republican-only dinners at Cedar Crest at the invitation of Brownback to talk policy priorities came under scrutiny for possible violations of the Kansas Open Meetings law. The Shawnee County district attorney’s office launched an investigation that is ongoing.

1) End run

The tax cut approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by Brownback followed a path that no civics textbook ever covered in “How a bill becomes law.” The Senate had rejected a tax proposal, but after lobbying by Brownback and his staff, a number of moderate Republicans, such as Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, reversed field and voted for the bill, saying it was a favor to the governor to get a bill in a House-Senate conference committee for further negotiations. But when Senate moderates continued to oppose tax cuts desired by Brownback, Brownback urged the more conservative House to concur with the bill that had already been approved by the Senate. Some senators claimed they were double-crossed. Brownback said nothing untoward happened. Senate moderates and even some conservatives said that bill cut taxes too much, too fast and would saddle the state with difficult budget problems in future years. Even Brownback’s crew said the larger tax cuts were a problem, but tried to use that bill as leverage for the Senate moderates to agree to a slower tax-cutting package. But when the Senate moderates and Brownback couldn’t reach a deal, Brownback followed through on his promise and signed the larger tax cuts, saying his administration will make it work.


cheeseburger 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow, more unbiased reporting from Rothschild. I thought the LJW stood for fair and unbiased reporting. Hmmm.

tomatogrower 5 years, 10 months ago

So did these things not happen in your world? Are any of these things lies? What would you have reported?

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Since you are putting yourself forth as an expert on bias and journalism, why not rewrite the story and see how well you do? Criticism from someone who can't do it themselves is useless and nothing but hot air.

Put your money were your mouth is and let's see how well you do. Until that happens, your critique reads as little more than jejune partisan whining. Prove me wrong.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

"Those things did happen. But to insinuate that all the problem of the state lie with republicans is ridiculous."

There's not need to insinuate. This was the most idiotic legislative session in decades, courtesy of the Republican Party that controls it nearly 100%.

woodscolt 5 years, 10 months ago

Republican house, senate, and gov. Fanatical right wing wackos at that. Pretty easy to sort out blame.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

Scott you forgot so many of the high points.

One, was when in true heroic form, Brownback took on a 17 year old girl.

Then, there was the guy that Brownback hired with the fake degree.

There were just so many to choose from.

anotherview 5 years, 10 months ago

Single Moms and the Earned Income Tax Credit-Accordingly to the article, Brownback's reason for eliminating this tax benefit was to do away with widespread fraud. Brownbacks's Budget Director when on to say this about the Earned Income Tax Credit: "We have no way of making sure, for example, that a single mother is spending that (the EITC) on needs for her family".

I am not aware that there is a requirement for anyone to spent this tax credit in any specific way. Does that mean that the new tax law that eliminates the entire Kansas income taxes on business, farm and rental income will be required to spent this tax beneift to create jobs? Does this mean Brownback's team will call it fraud if they don't?

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Laughable and naive comment. Republicans hold all the offices, and yet you seem to imply that Democrats are somehow to blame for what's done by the KS government.

Apparently you cannot conceive of a journalism that does not keep score such that any mention of Republicans must be "balanced" by equal mentions of Democrats, regardless of whether Democrats even have any power in the state. Tell me, does Fox news spend as much time giving credit to Democrats as it does to bashing the President? Hardly.

It's your conception of journalism that is the problem, cheeseburger. You seem to believe that journalists should play politics so as to meet your bias requirements. That's not journalism.

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Fair and balanced is a meaningless phrase, but does provide insight that you wish for the LJW to be more like Fox News. Why not just cut to the chase and say what you really mean? "This article is unlike what I see from Fox News and hence I reject it without really thinking about it."

There, fixed that for you. And it makes it easy to see that you have no interest in accurate criticism but rather only partisan propaganda, such that simply reporting on what the majority party in the state has done looks to you like bias.

Perhaps you could take a remedial course in critical thinking and the history of political philosophy, and maybe throw in an intro course on journalism ethics, to better prepare yourself for writing intelligent comments.

Armstrong 5 years, 10 months ago

Few things in life are certain. Rothy delivering a fair and balanced atricle is a certain NO.

Keep em rollin in Scotty, you're always good for a laugh

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Humorous that you think "fair and balanced" is anything more than a marketing slogan, along the lines of and just as truthful as "tastes great, less filling," a slogan that actual journalists don't believe in as the definition of what journalism is and does.

Clearly you are far too biased to recognize actual journalism when you see it. Score one for Fox's propaganda marketing department! What was it P.T. Barnum said about such people?

Armstrong 5 years, 10 months ago

Ah one of Rothy's Loonies out and about today.Stick it to the man ! You're laughable

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

I consider your inability to deal in an adult manner with the assertions in my comment all the facts I need to know that what you post is simply partisan agitation.

Certainly you can do better than a third grade level retort, no?

Wait. Of course you can't. Your comments demonstrate that.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 10 months ago

What exactly are you saying is unfair reporting by Rothschild? Please be specific.

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Yup. Appears to think that partisan propaganda equals journalism. That's what keeping your TV on Fox does to a brain. Sad, really. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Would that False were able to construct a sentence that actually communicated meaning. Sad.

There are remedial courses in critical thinking and reading comprehension that I'm quite sure would help you a) be able to see clearly what an article does, but more importantly does not, say, and b) be able to use English to full effect to communicate meaning to other people.

I know you can do it, and best of luck!

downriverdan 5 years, 10 months ago

Scott isn't biased. But he makes no mention in this article of the record number of citizen's protests against the neo-conservative legislative action this year. Next year could set another record unless they plan on enacting legislation that moves this state forward instead of backward.

deec 5 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Scott could stop reporting on the stupid things the Republicans in charge of Kansas are doing if the Republicans would stop doing stupid things.

Mike Ford 5 years, 10 months ago

I will own being a complex intellectual liberal as a compliment coming from a fox network fed incapable of thinking reality avoiding troll. Have a nice day....

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 10 months ago

Aren't you ashamed and embarrassed of what you have written. I am for you.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 10 months ago

Please describe exactly how this article is biased. All I have read from Rothschild critics is gross generalizations and personal attacks.

Enlighten us as to how this is a biased article.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Facts always have a distinctly liberal bias. Everyone in the wackosphere knows that, and that's why they so assiduously avoid anything resembling facts. For them, truthiness is good enough, and won't bring them to the attention of the Tea Party/Koch Bros./Fox News Inquisition.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 10 months ago

Yes, and spread it on your garden and, well, you know...

Mike Ford 5 years, 10 months ago

let's see not fully loaded....I have a 140 IQ and I've spent fourteen years learning my Choctaw language.......I can discuss five or six subjects at a time....the shallow and narcissistic part sounds like you......

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 10 months ago

Remarkable! A post that is actually intelligible and not gibberish. This is progress!

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 10 months ago

Back to the point: Rothschild is accused by many of bias in this article.

Please describe exactly how this article is biased?

Armstrong 5 years, 10 months ago

Seriously ? This is Rothy's laundry list of gripes with the GOP. You must think Lawrence O'Donnell is a serious urinalist also.

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

You clearly have no ability to see anything outside the lens of your limited bias. Unless of course you are a journalist yourself, in which case I look forward to seeing examples of your work.

Armstrong 5 years, 10 months ago

Don't worry in 5th grade you will learn the difference between fiction and nonfiction.

Mike Ford 5 years, 10 months ago

falsie, that test was done when I was ten in the Shreveport Public School Gifted Program in Shreveport, LA, in 1980. Wow, this smart and an attendee of an African American majority school in inner city Shreveport. No need to go to a White majority right wing Christian Private school like many racist white parents send their kids to down south. To the Rothschild issue... he tells the don't like it....get over it....we don't like you either. Too bad your realm doesn't include facts.

Mike Ford 5 years, 10 months ago

falsie....the US Army Corps of Engineers awarded the remains of the person you so callously refer to back to the tribes in that you lose... too bad your troll baiting didn't work....secondly Swinomish people were near Seattle and Tacoma and no where near the Kennewick area and I was in the middle of a 52 hour work week so your lazy behind can tell me what that was about....on all accounts you lose.....

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

And yet, still no answer as to how this article is biased.

Just a lot of "looky, looky, over there."

Armstrong 5 years, 10 months ago

If you want a real laugh watch msnbc's Lawrence O'Donnell rewrite. How that guy can keep a straight face is beyond doing that schtick is beyond me. Pure fiction mixed with " "heartfelt passion"

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Changing the topic is a quite common technique that those who have no skill arguing and debating make use of. It's a sign that they have no valid point to make.

You still haven't demonstrated any evidence for your claim, sir.

Armstrong 5 years, 10 months ago

Hey I don't write that crap. Lawrence O reads and acts out the talking head role. I sit back and watch it like a car wreck while others ( Rothy ) view it as genuine. Don't believe me watch it - they need the ratings anyway

Jana Rea 5 years, 10 months ago

Wading through the commentary is nearly as painful as the biased reporting, especially when there is REAL news worth reporting and this doesn't serve to inform. I particularly found it off-putting to follow the photo of Landon Fulmer and Rep. TerriLois Gregory on the front page to a unrelated old-news-rerun of an incident on the following page. More pertinent might be the current news, for instance the passage and signing of this new legislation; but the following press release has yet to be reported:

"Governor Signs Dinner Railcar License Bill

Topeka – On Friday, June 1, Governor Brownback had the ceremonial signing of Substitute HB 2689 that eliminates the discrimination against railway dining cars to operate in the same manner currently allowed to stationary restaurants. The bill passed the House with overwhelming support as originally presented 107-16, and the conference committee report was adopted 97-24 by the House and 40-0 by the Senate.

“The idea was originally requested by Midland Railway,” Representative Gregory said. An out of state company had contacted Midland to move their elegant dinner train business to Baldwin City, but were astounded to learn they could not serve a glass of wine with their 5 course dinner. The law corrects that oversight and allows dinner railway cars to obtain a liquor license. It includes “railway car” into the current definition of a drinking establishment.

“I am thrilled to help my district with Sub HB 2689 now signed into law,” said Representative TerriLois Gregory (R-Baldwin). “This legislation will help bring new business and jobs immediately to our local economy while boosting visitors at tourist destinations in Douglas and Franklin counties. It will be a wonderful use of the historic railroad and depot in Baldwin City - an important part of our history - while showing off some of the state’s other landmarks to potentially 10,000 annual visitors.”

The bill was introduced and carried by Representative Gregory. "

Sounds like a win for Douglas County. Why isn't that worth the ink and paper???

Katara 5 years, 10 months ago

I don't think the current username is referring to his gun.

Katara 5 years, 10 months ago

It is pretty funny how often the suggest removal button is utilized to cover tracks.

Armstrong 5 years, 10 months ago

Speaking of Math, I was wondering is there a logarithm formula for these posts? 1 of the enlightened spews something out and 4 more blather about how correct they are.

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

Micah 4:3 ". . . they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

Joel 3:10 "Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong."

Isaiah 2:4 "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

oldbaldguy 5 years, 10 months ago

Got news for you. Our newspapers have always been biased in reporting. That's why it is good to have other sources. However this article just states what happened.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.