The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

March 7, 2014

Other Views: Kansas gets passing grade

— Assigning a midterm grade to the work of Kansas legislators isn’t a simple task, largely because bills have simply shuttled from one chamber to the other and work remains to be done before they are sent to Gov. Sam Brownback for his signature.

The 2014 legislative session has reached the point when most bills are to have been dealt with in their originating chamber, either the House or Senate, and moved across the rotunda for consideration by the other chamber. Other bills will be introduced before the session closes, however, and issues that now appear dead may resurface as amendments to other measures — although the thinking here is that anything already on life support is there for a reason and shouldn’t be resurrected.

Given all that is yet to come, the only fair grade now would be a “C,” from which the legislators can take the session up or down.

That doesn’t mean the 2014 session hasn’t produced anything worthy of comment.

On the lighter side, kudos go to House members who chided their colleagues on the time spent naming official state fossils. It isn’t unusual for an individual or group to ask legislators to put the state’s stamp on a specific critter or plant, and Rep. Mike Kiegerl, R-Olathe, rightly said the foolishness has to stop sometime. Regardless, the House approved a bill to honor the tylosaurus and pteranodon as the state fossils.

The House receives a high mark, though, for advancing to the Senate a bill that would unseal court records used to establish probable cause to obtain a search or arrest warrant. Kansas is the only state that now automatically seals all such records.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects U.S. citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The way to ensure searches and seizures by law enforcement officers are reasonable is to open the records used to obtain warrants. The fact prosecutors and law enforcement officials have reservations about the bill should be cause for concern.

An issue that hasn’t gained much traction in the Senate or House is Brownback’s push for state funding of all-day kindergarten. House and Senate leaders aren’t fond of the $80 million price tag the proposal carries, but the governor’s request is a sound one that may have gained some support with recent reports of higher-than-expected state income tax receipts.

Most Kansans expected the Legislature to respond in some manner to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling on a case challenging the level of funding provided for K-12 education. The court has not yet ruled on the case, however, nor indicated with any precision when it will.

If the issue does come to the Legislature, how it is handled certainly will impact Kansans’ opinion on the success of the 2014 session.

In the meantime, we’d encourage legislators to concentrate on what they must do and should do and not waste time on the frivolous stuff and issues that really aren’t issues.    — The Topeka Capital-Journal

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Opinion
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  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

    Proponents of Amendment 1 — the Right to Farm Act — have not made their case. We’ve met with advocates of this amendment to the Missouri constitution and listened to their arguments, but we don’t believe they have adequately answered the central question: Who is it protecting, and from what?

    July 13, 2014

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Our View: Welcome additions

    After Joplin voters failed to pass a curbside recycling proposal in the spring, the City Council said it would study alternate ways to make recycling easier for residents.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your Letters: Be careful what you wish for on Amendment 1

    The proposed Amendment 1 should have been called “Freedom to Farm Without Any Restrictions Whatsoever” because that is what it is. Do you really want a feedlot opening next door to you in Joplin? Or a hog-raising operation on your block in Carthage?

    July 17, 2014

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