Friday, April 27, 2007

KS House overrides Sebelius' veto

Yesterday, the House was able to override Sebelius on the conceal carry measure which forces cities to follow the law the legislature passed. The final vote was 98-26, much more than the 2/3 required to override a veto. And Rep. Lance Kinzer added an amendment to SB 357 to strengthen the enforcement of KS law banning late-term abortions in wake of the recent Supreme Court decision.

BTW--what do you all think of the SC decision? Most mainstream people on both sides of the debate agree this is a gruesome procedure, the taking of a human life, and, as most doctors say, is almost never medically necessary. Commonsense measures to promote and protect life should be a no brainer. Abortion is a hot topic, but most agree that it should be restricted and regulated as much as possible--and this is the first good step.

Monday, April 23, 2007

KS and MO Legislative Round-Up

The KS legislature officially adjourns at the end of this weekend. The veto session begins on wednesday and should last four days, through saturday, although it could continue longer depending on the pace the legislature takes at overriding vetoes. It won't be until the end of the veto session that we'll find out if JoCo will receive it's modest request of a 1 point increase in the LOB from 31 to 33 (this gives local communities the option of raising additional revenue for schools via a sales tax increase or special schools tax by placing it on their local ballot). Many Democrats and some rural Republicans oppose this. Democrats Rep. Marti Crow and Sen. Janis Lee have been vocal opponents of any increase in the LOB, are are most rural legislators who think it is unfair that our schools should be able to raise additional local revenue. Never mind that many rural KS schools have more counselors, gifted, and special ed programs that only have a few students, and that most of these schools should be consolidated to save on costs. We here in the KC 'burbs of JoCo have the best public schools in the state--in the KanMoNebIa region, yet we face overcrowded classrooms and lack of funding due to stubborn and ill-sighted legislators out west. Face it--the current school funding formula is unherently UNEQUAL for the county that contains 20 percent of KS' population and leads the state in college graduates and test scores. Something has to change.

Also to watch: Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill passed by the legislature which basically re-affirms the original intent of the concealed-carry act passed earlier last year. Several cities, including Mission, Roeland Park, and Olathe tried to pass their own laws allowing certain locations to the list of places where weapons are not permitted (courthouses, libraries, etc.). Obviously, the cities did not have the right to amend the law, so the legislature re-affirmed this but Kathleen Sebelius vetoed this attempt to reign in the cities (no surprise--Sebelius vetoed concealed carry--and the legislature had to override her veto. She's definitely not a supporter of concealed carry or 2nd amendment rights in general). We'll see if the legislature has enough votes to override her veto--if they don't, they're basically rejecting the intent of their own law, which is supposed to be uniform STATEWIDE, not change when you cross the line from Shawnee to Lenexa.

No "Justus" for UMKC
Also, interesting that extreme liberal state sen. Jolie Justus on the Missouri side tried to filibuster Gov. Matt Blunt's education funding bill for universities (b/c the final bill didn't include embryonic stem cell research funding). Just because it didn't include a specific provision she wanted, Justus let her ideology get the best of her judgment and she filibustered the bill, so house Republicans stripped the bill of funding for UMKC building improvements. Way to go, Justus...can't say you didn't deserve it. Now, I know you will say you stood up for principle, but let's see if the voters of the 10th district are so forgiving...esp. when they see that KC was shafted in this bill because of you and you didn't even fight for the funding. I smell a democratic primary challenge in 2010!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Giuliani campaign stop in Leawood

You may have heard that '08 Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was in Springfield, Mo. last weekend. You may not have heard that he also stopped in KC.

The Konnection learned that Giuliani was in town last saturday evening at a fundraiser in a private home in Leawood. Apparently, he was warmly greeted by all those in attendence and raised some needed campaign dollars. Attendees included Johnson County GOP chairman Scott Schwab, and JoCo GOP state representatives Kevin Yoder, Pat Colloton, Kay Wolf, Ron Worley, and Sheryl Spalding, as well as Kansas house speaker Melvin Neufeld.

Since the state legislature voted against funding a primary this year, the late caucus date will not inspire any public campaign appearances from aspiring presidential nominees, but we can probably expect to see many more candidates visiting Johnson County for fundraising.

Monday, April 16, 2007

KS 2nd District Race makes national news

The Politico, DC's hottest and newest newspaper devoted soley to politics, is chronicling the efforts of the GOP to regain the 2nd District seat from Nancy Boyda in the story "GOP could face struggle to regain ground, uproot Democrats in Kansas."

Now, I don't agree with John Kraushaar and David Mark that it will be a struggle. Boyda has made a series of missteps and if any seat is going to swing back to the Republicans in '08, it will be Boyda's seat. Both Jim Ryun and Lynn Jenkins are established campaigners and have won numerous elections, and either of them can beat Boyda. Ryun's loss was more of a result of his lack of campaigning in the district and his lack of being in the district in general, coupled with the strong anti-Bush, anti-war tide that swept through the state. Memo to Ryun: bringing Bush to campaign for you in the final days was probably not a strategically sound move--that may have what clinched Boyda's slim, SLIM margin of victory.

I mean, c'mon. Ryun won by 10% just two years earlier--you can't tell me that the vote against him was "personal." It was the national anti-Bush, anti-Republican tide, along with Ryun's complacency--he did not believe he could lose, so he didn't invest the time and money he should have. Also, if you look at the vote totals, voter turnout was down sharply in almost every county in the 2nd District when compared to 2004, and the number of registered Republicans who showed up to vote was also down significantly--more than is normal for a midterm election.

If Hillary is on the ballot in '08, GOPers will turn out in droves, and if Giuliani is our nominee, there will be an obvious coattails effect that will aid GOP candidates down the ballot.

Also, my prediction: the NRCC won't get involved in the Jenkins/Ryun primary, nor should they. Either way, we'll have a great nominee to go up against Boyda. Jenkins is also a fighter
and she'd give Boyda a tough race. And Ryun won't take anything for granted this time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Weekly News Roundup

Okay, so this is a new feature, but just because it says "weekly" in the title does not mean it will ALWAYS appear weekly or always appear at a specific time. It will appear when I feel like it.
I've been focused on national and international news for a long time, but I think it's time to return to the wonderful world of Kansas politics:
  • Kansas may not be Chicago or New Jersey, but that doesn't mean corruption is not alive and well. Last month, we told you about the River Ridge development scheme in which major contributors to Sebelius received a state-contract to develop a new state park and saw the appraisal of their property triple in value in just 3 years. Well, now Sebelius has appointed Dr. Tiller's attorney to the Kansas Sentencing Commission (Dr. Tiller is KS' notorious abortionist, who performs late term abortions for clients who come from all over the country. He was one of Sebelius' top contributors). This is not a surprise, considering that Sebelius has stacked the state supreme court with her contributors and cronies already, which is why she's so confident that her supreme court will uphold the gambling bill recently passed by the legislature.

Check out this editorial from The Olathe Daily News that slams Sebelius for her utter lack of integrity and her appeasement of big donors and lobbyists, despite the fact that all these stories are under the radar and being ignored by most of the mainstream Kansas press.

  • So gambling is approved (basically, state-sponsored gambling, another state-owned enterprise). Congrats Kansas! Even California and Nevada don't have state-sponsored gambling. Now don't get me wrong--I actually support changing the constitution to allow private casinos to function, subject to voter approval via a statewide referendum. But allowing state government to own and operate casinos in an invitation to corruption--and I don't think most Kansans are in favor of that. And what does Johnson County get out of this bill? It seems like Dodge City and the Dott get all the benefits. If our GOP senators--Vratil, Allen, Wysong--were going to vote for this, why didn't they ensure we at least received some of the benefits? You know, a Caesar's Palace in Leawood would be pretty nice, and with a certain percentage going to SMSD and Blue Valley school districts, we wouldn't have to raise the LOB for a long time or rely on jealous legislators out west to give us our proper share of school funding.
  • It's official: Lynn Jenkins vs. Jim Ryun primary battle in KS 2nd district. Your thoughts?
  • Sometimes, government does get it right. The state legislature here in KS has officially overturned the ridiculous law requiring drivers to renew their licenses on their 21st birthday or risk driving with an expired license. I (and other college students) could not return home on my 21st birthday, so I had to drive on an expired license for 2 days...Kudos to the legislature for repealing this impractical law.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What we call the news...

The British sailors are back on British soil, but we should have no illusions about Iran regarding their release. Iran used them as a bargaining chip and propaganda tool and only backed off after intense international pressure. This won't be the West's last confrontation with Iran by any means.

Have a Happy Easter, and check out this funny Jib Jab clip
that satirizes American news media.