Disenfranchising and Dissing Kansans
By Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network
“All political power is inherent in the people…,” begins one part of the Kansas Bill of Rights that is part of the Kansas Constitution. This is one important provision that has been eviscerated and destroyed by the Kansas Supreme Court with the quiet support of a large number of elected officials as well as much of the Kansas news media.
When was the last time you got to vote on raising your property taxes for city, county, or other local services? How about a local bond issue that didn’t involve the government schools? This political power might be inherent but for most Kansans it is mainly invisible. In most other states these votes are routine and in several of our neighboring states these votes are mandatory.
In Sedgwick County there is a political storm brewing with an upcoming countywide casino gambling referendum scheduled for August 7. The voters will be deciding if a “state owned and operated casino,” can be established here. This follows countywide votes in half a dozen other counties where there has been support for expanding gambling.
This begs the question of the role of the people. Why do only Kansans in a few select counties get to cast these votes? Where in the Kansas Constitution is there a provision for countywide gambling votes? How did Kansas get into its current position on gambling expansion?
In 1986 voters approved a measure that everyone on both sides of this issue saw as establishing a state lottery. No one on either side mentioned casinos back then. The lottery was created by this constitutional amendment (Article 15 Section 3c) after a wide majority of statewide voters approved this amendment in 1986.
That vote has been transformed into a vote authorizing, “…state owned and operated casinos.” Who made this transformation? The Kansas casino situation looks like the judicial equivalent of Steven Spielberg’s latest Hollywood movie based upon the kid’s cartoon program from the 1980’s. It was the Kansas Supreme Legislature…..ooops, that’s the Kansas Supreme Court who ruled that casinos were legal based upon the lottery vote and created the current legal foundation that the legislature and governor used to authorize “state owned and operated,” casinos in Kansas.
This will give Kansas the equivalent of being the very first state in this country with state owned and operated casinos. This ought to be interesting. I can’t wait to see the civil service exam for, “Pit boss grade I,” or “Cocktail Waitress grade II,”….oops we must be politically correct: “Cocktail Server grade II.”
Or perhaps this is just a legal fig leaf that will be thrown away so a few state franchised monopoly casinos can be created. If this is the case, Kansas will then help make a few rich casino owners even richer. This unique legal mess demonstrates how the judicial elite are in control of this state but also that state ownership, i.e. socialism and a state monopoly is alive and well in Kansas.
Our appointed judicial masters put us in this bizarre position and a majority of our legislature and Governor Sebelius sanctified this foundation with a “no legislative hearings” gambling bill this year. This also puts the state in the difficult position of regulating what it is also owning and operating. This conflict of interest will create perpetual legal problem for the state until this provision is changed.
The Kansans living in close to 100 Kansas counties do not have a vote on establishing Kansas casinos. They are disenfranchised. The average Kansan has been dissed by the activist judges and won’t have a gambling vote. There is no other state in this country where statewide gambling would be created without all of the people deciding this issue. Only in Kansas could the judicial and “mainstream” political establishment be so arrogant and omnipotent.