Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

About 100 people rally against policies of Brownback and legislative majority

May 4, 2013


— 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."


yourworstnightmare 11 months, 2 weeks 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 11 months, 2 weeks ago

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

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?


coleja 11 months, 2 weeks ago

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


tomatogrower 11 months, 2 weeks 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?


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 months, 2 weeks 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?


1Dem 11 months, 2 weeks 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.


Pepe 11 months, 2 weeks 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.


Dan Eyler 11 months, 2 weeks 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"........


Armstrong 11 months, 2 weeks 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".


Richard Heckler 11 months, 2 weeks 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.


RibMan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

These attacks are funny! More please!


James Nelson 11 months, 2 weeks 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.


Matthew Herbert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

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


RibMan 11 months, 2 weeks 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.


Milton Bland 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Unions have outlived their usefulness. Their thugs have no place in public workplaces. If a public employee has a problem with his employer, or his workplace, and that issue can not be corrected through the normal professional complaint process, then he needs to look for work elsewhere. Public sector unions provide the taxpayer no benefits, and most often they simply are a mechanism for under performing employees to stay on the payroll.


Dont_Tread_On_Me 11 months, 2 weeks ago

About 100..bhwahaha. Go Governor!!!


To Sides 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It is too costly for the state to collect money for political activity from state employee paychecks but not to collect from their paychecks for United Way? Ku employees can have membership to the Lied Center deducted from their paychecks also. Does that not cost the state additionally?


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