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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

About 100 people rally against policies of Brownback and legislative majority

May 4, 2013

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— About 100 people on Saturday braved chilly weather to protest outside the Statehouse against the policies of Gov. Sam Brownback and a majority of the Legislature.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, speaks at the Working Kansas Alliance rally Saturday at the Statehouse.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, speaks at the Working Kansas Alliance rally Saturday at the Statehouse.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said Brownback and his fellow conservative Republicans dominating the Legislature were approving laws that will hurt many working Kansans.

"Let's send them packing in 2014," Davis urged the crowd, referring to next year's elections.

Davis and other speakers cited a bill signed into law by Brownback that bars public employee unions from taking voluntary deductions from members' paychecks to help finance political activities.

The measure was sought by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and conservative legislators who argued that people were being coerced into making the contributions.

Teachers and state employee groups said the bill was a thinly disguised attempt to weaken the political influence of public unions.

"We have to keep on fighting" said Lisa Ochs, president of the American Federation of Teachers-Kansas. "Doing nothing is not an option. If we don't have a voice, we don't have a choice."

The event was sponsored by the Working Kansas Alliance and was held just days before the Legislature reconvenes Wednesday for the wrap-up session to work on the state budget and tax policy.

Speakers at the rally also spoke against proposals to dismantle the classified employment system and change public pensions.

Ochs said many of the proposals were taken from the American Legislative Exchange Council, which says it pushes free market ideas, but has been criticized as a corporate bill mill. Key legislative leaders in Kansas also hold leadership positions with ALEC.

Donn Teske, president of the Kansas Farmers Union, spoke against the Brownback administration's proposal to repeal limits on corporate farming. Kansas Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman has said current restrictions are hurting the Kansas economy by driving business to other states.

But Teske said repealing corporation farming limits would increase out of state and foreign ownership of Kansas agriculture. "How does profits going out of state make Kansas a better state?" he asked.

Tobias Schlingensiepen, who ran unsuccessfully in November as the Democratic candidate in the 2nd U.S. House District, said too many elected officials were members of the "cult of austerity," trying to sell off public institutions to private enterprise.

"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is not for sale," he said.

Terri Wilke of Lawrence attended the rally, holding a sign protesting against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

She said she was unhappy with Kobach's national pursuit of tough illegal immigration legislation. Kobach has said he conducts his anti-illegal immigration advocacy on his own time, but Wilke said, "He is testing the limits of what a secretary of state should be doing."

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

"Unions have outlived their usefulness."

When were they ever useful to the Koch Brothers?

"Public sector unions provide the taxpayer no benefits,"

What benefits do you expect from the employees they represent, aside from doing the jobs for which they were hired?

Mike1949 1 year, 7 months ago

rvjayhawk, then you are in favor of sweat shop! No wonder Kansas is becoming more like Mississippi every month!

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 7 months ago

Unions have NOT outlived their usefulness. Your use of he word "thugs" is to demonize public employees. Kansas public employees, our teachers, law enforecement, fire protection, correctional officers, mental health workers, and public servants are NOT thugs. There are no "thugs" in public worplaces. Public employees have grievance procedures. A public employee can choose to use that procedure and other avenues. If you are a state employee using the grievance procedure, "the decider," as W would say, may end up being the Governor or his appointee. If your efforts do not correct the problem the employee has many options, such as turning to the union for counsel, seeking legal advice, turning to the media, turning to the public, or appealing to a court . And yes, the employee can seek other employment and some public employees do just that each year.Public employee unions do provide a beneift to the taxpayer. Public employees ARE taxpayers.They pay a very high sales tax, property taxes, income taxes, and a variety of fees (taxes) to support government. Keep in mind management (goverment) doesn't always have all the answers. Unions provide a balance.Unions are NOT a mechanism for under performing employees to stay on the job. In my decades of experience it has been the political appointees who are often the under performing public employees and their days are always numbered. It is these political hacks who do eventually what underperforming public employees do, they move on seeking employment elsewhere. .Unions simply seek due process.Just like there is due process in our court system there should be due process in the workplace. Union protect our freedoms. Unions protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

Wow, that line of argumentation was so convincing, I'm sure every union member who read it has ripped up their union card.

RibMan 1 year, 7 months ago

Unemployment is relatively low. Books are balanced. I understand political differences, but who has been hurt exactly? 100 people don't like limited government and a stronger private sector. I get that. That debate will never go away.

question4u 1 year, 7 months ago

"but who has been hurt exactly?"

Well...

school children. college students, the poor, whose taxes will increase, those who pay property tax, those who pay sales tax, those who do not own businesses and will shoulder the tax burden for those who do, those who use state highways, teachers, judges, prison staff anyone who works for the state and isn't an appointee of the governor (e.g. state engineers, health inspectors, workers for KBI, etc.), those who require social services, community arts centers, theaters, and museums.

The list goes on much longer.

Whether out of callousness or ignorance, what better way could there be to summarize what's wrong with Kansas than to ask "who has been hurt exactly?" If you don't know, why on earth wouldn't you bother to find out?

Matthew Herbert 1 year, 7 months ago

100 people. Ha. Nice turnout. Buy one get one at Chipotle would bring in 100 people in under an hour.

weatherguy48 1 year, 7 months ago

It would bring out hundreds of thousands of Kansans.

James Nelson 1 year, 7 months ago

Kris Kobach is a liar. I challenge him to produce all his expense reimbursement forms and vacation leave forms since he has taken office. His appointment book would have to be included. He has taken vacation leave prior to earning it.

RibMan 1 year, 7 months ago

These attacks are funny! More please!

Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Arthur Laffer works for Sam Brownback.

Economist Arthur Laffer, patron saint of tax cuts, is back, with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that he hopes will put the kibosh on future plans for government stimulus. Laffer, who had his heyday back in the Reagan years, is best known as the popularizer of the notion that raising tax rates beyond a certain level can actually reduce tax revenues by, among other things, discouraging entrepreneurship. The graphic representation of this idea, though not original to Laffer, came to be known as the Laffer Curve.

While he’s always had detractors, Laffer also had a lot of fervent fans back in the day. But his latest excursion into the public debate has drawn harsh criticism not only from liberal economists like Berkeley’s Brad DeLong but also from stimulus-hating, anti-Keynesian economists you might expect to agree with the Laffer line.

The consensus? Laffer seems to have forgotten, or ignored, some pretty basic concepts in economics. In other words, Laffer is getting laughed off the economic stage.

http://business.time.com/2012/08/09/arthur-laffers-anti-stimulus-curve-ball-is-a-foul/

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

How many would need to show up before you'd consider it important?

There were zero who showed up in support of Brownback. What does that mean?

tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

And there were many of us who couldn't go.

Mark English 1 year, 7 months ago

That means that he knows that the majority of Kansans already vote for him. He needs no support to show up as we show up at the voting booths.

Armstrong 1 year, 7 months ago

I would love to see a pic of the "100" who showed up for this. My guess is the same 12 - 15 people who are professional protesters are 99% of the "crowd".

Cheryl Nelsen 1 year, 7 months ago

Reporters usually do not take pictures. If no photographer was assigned to attend, there are no photos.

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 7 months ago

No one has to take Rothchild's word for it. If you were there you know how many attended. Obvious the reporter did not count the number attending. He just picked a number. Actually he greatly underestimated the number who attended.

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 7 months ago

No don't have to take my word for it. I am just saying I was there and I took a count. There was closer to 200 there than 100. I would estimate the number of speakers at 20 and there was a group of about 50 just a few feet to my right. I could not see how many were behind me. My name is 1Dem. This was not a Dem event.

You can be suspect all you want to. Best way to know who and how many attends an event is to be there. There seems to always be an arguement of how many attended. Had 10,000 attended it would have made the news, but not changed the extreme right agenda of this administration.

Cheryl Nelsen 1 year, 7 months ago

I was there, and I didn't count everyone, but there easily were 100 people there. It really doesn't matter if there were only 12. The point is that each person there can take back home what they learned and share it with others. I'd rather have 12 people working for a good cause than depend on those who sit back and deride people who care enough to attend something in support of what they believe in.

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 7 months ago

i was there. i would estimate 200 to 250 there depending on how many were standing behind me. i counted over 50 just a few feet to my right. Personally, i believe if 10,000 Kansans were there this administration would pay no attention. This administration represents the corporations and their lobbyists, not the people.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

So the reporters account is inaccurate? Guess the entire article is unreliable if they can't even report a simple thing like attendance accurately.

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 7 months ago

What i am saying is I counted closer to 200 than 100 attending. The reporter wrote more than 100 and that it was. I estimate it was over 200. If 10,000 attended this administration would have paid no attention as they represent corporate interests.

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 7 months ago

My last sentence is this administration represents the corporations and their lobbyists, not the people. My last sentence refers to this administration.

I made no statement about you being a corporation or a lobbyist and I made no statement about who you support.

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 7 months ago

Guess is right. You were not there, so you do not have any idea. And you do not know how many were there.

Dan Eyler 1 year, 7 months ago

I can't wait for Paul Davis make a run as governor. His finger prints are all over the Lawrence economy. How much fun would Governor Brownback have with ad's extolling the virtue of living in the single worst economy of any metro in the United States. A city and county with virtually no economic growth and huge government spending that will saddle the county with taxes on the poor for decades to come. Can't wait for the headlines, "Davis defends hometown economy"........

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

Davis won't run.

Personally, I am pulling for Francisco to run.

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

Interesting. Does that mean you would support Francisco?

If you do support her, what do you feel her qualifications are?

I am asking this because I really want to know. I hadn't thought of her being a candidate before.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

verity - Francisco walks the talk and is consistent I. Her principles.

People talk about being "green" but she lives it. She works in the dark to conserve energy, brings her own fork and plate to events to keep waste down and is in leadership positions in the legislature.

Doubt there are any skeletons in her closet to exploit - she is transparent and honest.

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you, fred.

I find it interesting that you only mention character traits and not whether you agree with her politics.

I've met her and have had some interaction with her, and, yes, she and her husband live quite simply. Should we start a "draft marci" campaign?

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

I guess there really isn't a Dem who aligns politically with me - I did like Boyda and voted for her twice. And while I support some of Brownback's policies I find his lack of character, his meanness and raising taxes on the poorer and middle class to be a real concern.

Character matters and if the person is of high moral character then Id rather have them running the state trusting they will govern fairly.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree, Fred. Character and integrity matter a great deal, and marci has both, in spades.

She's also shown the ability to cooperate with those with opposing views to get things done, without sacrificing either character or integrity.

Catalano 1 year, 7 months ago

Davis is a local attorney. How does that put "his fingerprints all over the Lawrence economy"?

jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

Will any Democrat run? Or will it simply be token opposition?

The fact is that by this time in the process, Democrats should be lined up behind a single candidate. That they haven't shows either a lack of organization or a lack of political will. I fear Democrats have already thrown in the towel on this one.

You Democrats ... your silence is deafening. Protesting Brownback isn't enough. You have to provide someone to vote "for".

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

I actually agree with you on this one. Hopefully the day will get better :-/

I've been trying to get the state party to get candidates out there, as have others.

Too many people expect someone else to take the initiative, just like all the people wanting someone to do something about getting Brownback removed but can't even be bothered to google the laws and see what they might do about it. ( If they had, they would find out it's virtually impossible---another act the legislature passed a few years ago.)

Please, anybody/everybody who wants to see Brownback/Kobach/Schmidt et al go, contact the Kansas Democratic Party, ask for candidates, tell them you want to help with the campaigns.

Just google "Kansas Democratic Party" and you will find contact information.

We are looking at four more years of the same if we don't do more than complain.

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

Too late for patience. We need action---now.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

"His finger prints are all over the Lawrence economy."

Huh? Please explain with something besides mere assertion.

Pepe 1 year, 7 months ago

100 people? I am not a Brownback fan, but this is a pretty sad reflection on the opposition to Brownback if this is all they can come up with for a pre-planned rally. If this is the best they can do, we might as well skip the next election and just give Brownback his next 4 years.

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 7 months ago

Not so quick pepee,

The election is not determined by how many people show up at a statehouse rally. People do not vote at a rally.The election is not until November, 2014. It ain't over, til it's over.The people of Kansas have their say on election day.

William Ballard 1 year, 7 months ago

I was there, and I'd say there were 150 to 175 people there. The weather was miserable - I left after an hour. I think that kept some people home. But you have a point. No one is going to pay attention to these rallies until 10 or 15 thousand show up to them. However, people are starting to get the message. And what is the most important is how they will vote in 2014.

Robert Greenwood 1 year, 7 months ago

It will be interesting to see when hundreds of disabled make their way to the halls of the capitol next Wednesday if the administration and the legislature hears them or ignores them.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

They come every year and leave unheard. Guessing this year will be no different.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

Unfortunately, the full depth of the real disasters that Brownback and this legislature are creating likely won't be reached until after the election of 2014. Brownback and the far right legislators can probably still depend on a largely Republican electorate that votes initially for the far right in primaries, and then for whatever Republican is on the ballot in the general.

The silver lining is that by 2016, they won't be able to blame anyone but themselves for the numerous crises they're busily creating. Will that finally kill the Republican Party in Kansas?

tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

An interesting article about how rural Kansas is voting against their interests again. How are they going to keep their schools open if those of us in eastern Kansas don't have to pay for them anymore?

http://www.kansas.com/2013/05/05/2788411/h-edward-flentje-rural-kansas.html

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

And that's why Texas outlawed critical thinking. I'm surprised our legislature hasn't---they probably haven't heard about it yet.

coleja 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree with Paul Davis.. let's get all those idiots out of office next year.

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

OK, Fred and Bozo, put your money where your mouth is.

Marci.Francisco@senate.ks.govp>Marci.Francisco@senate.ks.gov>

I have written Marci, asking her if she has/will consider running for governor and promising my support if she does.

Will you do the same?

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 7 months ago

Fair or not, Marci Francisco does not have statewide appeal.

I think Paul Davis could. He should definitely be exploring a run for governor.

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes, Paul Davis is more widely recognized, but I don't think any Democrat is very well known statewide at this point, which is why we need to get in gear NOW and then support whoever runs or we will have a rerun of the last election. Too many people aren't paying attention to what's really going on---all they hear is lower taxes, anti-abortion, God.

I feel like I'm running around with my hair on fire and nobody is paying attention.

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