Friday, October 31, 2014

Send ’em home

2/28/2014

The likely Democratic challenger for governor thinks the Legislature should end the 2014 session 20 days early to save time and taxpayer money.

The Hutchinson News recently called for lawmakers to go home because nothing will be accomplished in an election year. State Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, echoed those sentiments last week when he noted the laughable bills that have brought embarrassing national attention to the state.

The likely Democratic challenger for governor thinks the Legislature should end the 2014 session 20 days early to save time and taxpayer money.

The Hutchinson News recently called for lawmakers to go home because nothing will be accomplished in an election year. State Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, echoed those sentiments last week when he noted the laughable bills that have brought embarrassing national attention to the state.

“The session has devolved into a circus,” he said.

Davis’ Republican counterparts quickly rejected his call to shave 20 days from the usual 90-day session.

“The public sent us here to do a job, and that job’s not done yet,” House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said. “We’ll decide when it’s time to leave Topeka.”

But Davis, who likely will face off against incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback, went a step further with an idea worth discussing. Lawmakers could bank the 20 days and return to Topeka when the court hands down its decision on school finance.

That’s a laudable idea aside from the state saving $1.3 million by adjourning early.

During legislative sessions, lawmakers often are accused of wasting time on pointless bills. This year’s bills, which benefit individual legislators or personal agendas, mirror the dumb ideas considered in years past. So Davis doesn’t have much of a new argument for sending lawmakers home early.

But he does make a good argument for banking the 20 days for the court’s school finance decision, which likely will come later this year. State Rep. Steve Becker, R-Hutchinson, said as much during a recent legislative forum. He believes the court’s decision will come after the 2014 session adjourns.

Davis said lawmakers could use the 20 days to address issues that likely will result from the Kansas Supreme Court’s long-anticipated ruling.

It is practical thinking.

— The Hutchinson News

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