Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday March 9, 2011


Kansas legislature website. It’s getting better, and now has — by my recollection — all the functionality of the site it replaced. But there are still some issues. The search feature uses a Google site-specific search, which is good in many ways. But trying to find if there’s any legislation this year concerning sales tax? Not so easy. … The rosters of members are displayed in panels of 12 members of a time. For the House there are 11 such panels. I wonder on which panel I’ll find the member I’m looking for? … Too many documents are still being delivered in OpenOffice doc format, which many people will not be able to use.

Kansas smoking ban. The Hutchinson News has reported and editorialized on the statewide smoking ban. In Hutch club owner wants to see measure repealed, Sheila Martin expresses her concern for the small business owners who are being harmed by the smoking ban. The booklet Martin created that the article refers to may be read here Kansas Smoking Ban Booklet. Then the newspaper editorialized against the smoking ban, writing “Eight months since it took effect, the local jury is in on Kansas’ statewide smoking law. It has hurt sales at some drinking establishments — no doubt, in turn, hurting state and local sales tax receipts — and it was doubtful that it stopped anyone from smoking or saved many from exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Fighting government secrecy. Announcing a television show regarding government transparency, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government writes: “Open government is essential to a democracy. But it’s often hard to find that vital government transparency — and to get public access to public records, even when the law is on your side. “What is your government hiding?” is the focus of a town hall panel set at 4:00 to 5:00 pm Saturday, March 12, at the First United Methodist Church, 330 N. Broadway, in downtown Wichita. The event will be taped and shown on KAKE-TV and affiliated stations around the state at 10 am Sunday, March 13, as part of the national celebration of Sunshine Week (March 13-19). … ‘The Mike and Mike Show’ will headline the meeting. Media attorney Mike Merriam of Topeka will join University of Kansas law professor Mike Kautsch in a interactive presentation on media law, as well as how citizens can use the Kansas Open Records Act and the Kansas Open Meetings Act. … The show also will feature a panel on the importance of open government led by the League of Women Voters of Wichita. The audience is invited to ask questions. Refreshments will be available at a reception afterward. …KPTS-TV, Channel 8 in Wichita, will rebroadcast the show at 7 pm, Thursday, March 24. Those interested are asked to arrive in time to be seated by 3:45 pm. The event is sponsored by the Kansas Sunshine Coalition, the LWV and the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.

Kansas judicial selection. The Wall Street Journal takes notice of the need for judicial selection reform in Kansas, writing “Kansas is the only state that gives the members of its bar a majority on the judicial nominating commission. That commission also handles the nominations for state Supreme Court justices, and changing that would require a state constitutional amendment. The Sunflower State is nonetheless off to a good start at making judicial appointments more than a preserve of the lawyers guild.” … Kansas University Law Professor Stephen J. Ware is the foremost authority on the method of judicial selection in Kansas and the need for reform. His paper on this topic is Selection to the Kansas Supreme Court, which is published by the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. Further reporting by me is at Kansas judicial selection needs reform, says law professor.

Kansas Education Liberty Act. A strong school choice measure has been introduced in the Kansas House of Representatives. The bill is HB 2367 and may be read at the Kansas Legislature website. The measure’s supporters have a website at supportkela.com. From the bill’s supporters: “This bill authorizes specific non-profit organizations to grant scholarships to students to attend a qualified private or public school of their parents’ choice. These scholarships are funded through tax-credit eligible contributions from individual Kansans and corporations. State taxpayers will spend significantly less on each scholarship than they currently spend per pupil in public schools. This bill reduces education related spending from the state’s general fund and reduces the budget deficit. In addition, public schools will still have access to the majority of the federal and local taxpayer funding; so with each student who chooses another educational setting, public schools will have more funding per remaining student. Perhaps even more significant, our children will enjoy improved education outcomes in both public and private education in the state of Kansas with increased parental and community involvement.” … While the Kansas education establishment fiddles with “reforms” such as whether to grant tenure in three or five years, actual reform measures like this are what is needed.

What … it’s not about the whales? “Environmental policy is not driven by tree-hugging activists, earnest liberal bloggers, or ecologically minded citizens. Instead, it flows from the lobbyists and executives of well-connected multinational corporations and built-for-subsidy startups that see profit in the loan guarantees, handouts, mandates, and tax credits Congress creates in the name of saving the planet.” Timothy P. Carney explains more in Meet the lobbyist who turns ‘green’ into greenbacks.

Wichita council candidates. Now that the city primary election is over and each district has two candidates for the April 5 general election, this week’s meeting (March 11) of the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Wichita City Council candidates. Invited are from district 2: Pete Meitzner and Charlie Stevens. From district 4: Joshua Blick and Michael O’Donnell. From district 5: Jeff Longwell and Lynda Tyler. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club.

Common Sense — Revisited author in Wichita. Clyde Cleveland will visit Wichita to speak at the Holiday Inn at 549 S. Rock Road on Wednesday, March 16th at 7:00 pm. The event’s promotional poster reads: “Join Clyde Cleveland, the author of Common Sense — Revisited and 2002 libertarian candidate for Iowa Governor for an eye-opening presentation on our Government and how we can restore it to the Republic in its original form. Learn about Indigenous and Surrogate Powers, and how Americans have surrendered their ‘Sentient Power’. The good news is, we can peacefully, and lawfully, re-inhabit our Sovereign status and reclaim a bottom-up, ‘By, of, and For the People,’ Republic form of Government. … This is what was intended by our founding fathers, and for which many others have given their lives to protect. Following the presentation Clyde will discuss how we can participate in rebuilding our State and National Republics.” Cleveland’s website is Common Sense Revisited. He will also speak in Overland Park on March 17th.


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