Monday, September 01, 2014

Sign substantive bills first

4/9/2014

I read the April 8 Herald article “Brownback signs 10 bills into law.” While I have no objection to legitimate bills being signed into law, I firmly believe Gov. Sam Brownback chose the easy path by first signing into law several bills that are low on the totem-pole list of state priorities.

It is all well and good to designate the Tylosaurus as the official state marine fossil, and the Pteranodon as the official state flying fossil. However, those designations could have been done just as easily by “executive proclamation” rather than take up valuable time of the Legislature and the governor. As a native Kansan, I can appreciate the designation of these species even though they are ancient, archaic, and remnants of prehistoric Kansas when the state was allegedly under an ancient ocean. Those lifeless, extinct creatures can be remembered today; however, I wish the governor and the Legislature would focus on the nitty-gritty issues of genuine public school finance reforms and not gag the due process rights of teachers.

I read the April 8 Herald article “Brownback signs 10 bills into law.” While I have no objection to legitimate bills being signed into law, I firmly believe Gov. Sam Brownback chose the easy path by first signing into law several bills that are low on the totem-pole list of state priorities.

It is all well and good to designate the Tylosaurus as the official state marine fossil, and the Pteranodon as the official state flying fossil. However, those designations could have been done just as easily by “executive proclamation” rather than take up valuable time of the Legislature and the governor. As a native Kansan, I can appreciate the designation of these species even though they are ancient, archaic, and remnants of prehistoric Kansas when the state was allegedly under an ancient ocean. Those lifeless, extinct creatures can be remembered today; however, I wish the governor and the Legislature would focus on the nitty-gritty issues of genuine public school finance reforms and not gag the due process rights of teachers.

The governor passes the buck, when he should be tallying revenue-streams to provide the “big bucks” that everyone agrees is needed for education. It is sad when it takes a judge to tell the governor and Legislature that Kansas school funding is inadequate. While I don’t think our schools should be lavish, they should be competitive.

And, if the governor ever hopes to draw people out to rural Western Kansas, Brownback better pay attention and direct added resources out there. Kansas should be treated as a “whole state” and not have Brownback cater to the population east of U.S. 81. If his cronyism isn’t reined-in, he soon will be catering to a clientele of voters east of U.S. 77, and then be mystified as to why his programs cause the whole state to stagnate.

Pandering for votes may win elections, but it will make Kansas look like an economic dinosaur.

I say let’s focus on urgent needs first. Symbolic designations can come later.

 — James A. Marples, Longview, Texas

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