"I will tell the people what's going on at the statehouse. I'm going to treat the capitol as a borderline crime scene. ... If businesses don't have to pay taxes, the burden should not be on those trying to feed themselves." - The Valley Falls Vindicator & Oskaloosa Independent, March 3, 2016.

Across Kansas the top 1% are looting and on-the-loose, pitting us against each other. Communities in Jefferson County need to democratically prepare themselves for food and energy autonomy.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Capitol Insider Podcast: KRIS KOBACH WANTS TO REPEAL TAXES, CHANGE TOPEKA @ Topeka Capital Journal

Women for Kansas Convention, Aug. 31 - Sept. 1, 2018 Wichita, Ks.

8 June 2018
Contact: Lynn Stephan  
316-685-2345 (home)
316-990-7367 (cell)

Women for Kansas to Host 2nd State Convention in Wichita

00000Women for Kansas will host its Showing Our Strength Convention, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 in Wichita. Registrations for the event, which will be held at the Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel and the Orpheum Theater, are now being taken.
00000The convention will open with a reception, from 4-7 p.m., at the hotel, where participants will be entertained by Robin Macy, Kansas Troubadour, and guitar-slinger husband, Kentucky White, whose anthems pay homage to the Good Earth. Participants will then walk-five blocks to the Orpheum to hear the keynote speaker, Greg Palast.

00000Palast, who has been called “the most important investigative reporter of our time,” is a Puffin Foundation fellow in investigative reporting. The author of two New York Times bestsellers, which are also motion pictures, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Case of the Stolen Election, Palastis a critic of Kansas’ recent voter policies.

00000Another featured speaker, Kansas author, Sarah Smarsh, will present during the luncheon on Saturday. Her focus will be how to talk to people with differing opinions, learned lessons she reveals in her soon-to-be-released book, Heartland: A Daughter of the Working Class Reconciles an American Divide.
00000Numerous other speakers will address Kansas policies and legislation, including Heidi Holliday, Kansas Center for Economic Growth; Davis Hammet, Loud Light; Annie McKay, Kansas Action for Children; Judy Sherry, Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, and Micah Kubic, the ACLU.  Sandrine Lusk and Claudia Amaro will address immigration issues.

00000The Saturday convention will conclude with a banquet and candidate debates for governor and secretary of state. Jeff Jarman, Director of the WSU Elliott School of Communication, will moderate; Jim McLean, Kansas Press Service, and Dena Sattler, editor of the Garden City Telegram, will pose questions.
00000“Our first statewide Convention, in 2014,” said Lynn Stephan, Convention Committee, “was attended by 470 women from across Kansas. They left so inspired and motivated that this year we expect to fill up in a very short period of time.”
00000The $189 cost for the Convention includes a welcome reception, admission to the Greg Palast event at the Orpheum, a T-shirt and goodie bag, lunch, snacks, and the closing banquet. A block of rooms is reserved at the Drury. To register, go online to Women for Kansas.org. If you have questions, contact Jan at janetmeyer2@hotmail.com.

00000The vision of Women for Kansas is to restore integrity, transparency, fiscal responsibility and balance to Kansas by electing moderates to public office. Their mission is to recruit, motivate and educate women who will actively participate in the process of electing moderates to public office who will advocate for moderate policies.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Burdett Loomis: May 20, 2018 HELPING THE LEGISLATURE WORK WELL @ Insight Kansas

This appeared in newspapers across Kansas.

Legislatures are unpopular. Most voters think that legislators do little more than bicker, bicker, bicker. Major problems often go ignored, and backroom deals predominate.

There is some truth to this depressing stereotype, yet most lawmakers try to do what’s best, despite their disagreements over specifics.

What we can see, whether in Topeka or Washington, is that partisanship and centralized leadership dominate legislatures, providing little room for deliberation or – save in dire circumstances – compromise. Budget deadlines or the end of a session may force action, but day in, day out, legislative leaders often discourage productive work on serious problems.

This year, the Kansas Legislature barely managed to address the looming school finance issue, and then almost passed a rushed, ill-advised tax cut, just as the state had started to reverse its revenue swoon.

Given the need to bring together large numbers of diverse lawmakers, elected from their distinct constituencies, it is no wonder that legislating is difficult. Regardless, it is not as hard as Kansas representatives and lawmakers have made it.

To render the Legislature a bit more productive and civil, let me suggest one modest change. Legislative leaders should bring back the practice of appointing several meaningful interim committees to address thorny issues between sessions.

We do still have a few such committees, but they rarely lead to serious study of stubborn issues. Indeed, for the Senate president and the House speaker, these committees are dangerous because they offer the possibility of reaching broad agreement on an important issue outside the majority party caucus.

Thirty or 40 years ago, interim committees were plentiful and valuable; they often met for several days between sessions. In 1972 and 1973, years of intense governmental reform, more than 30 interim committees met, addressing subjects from consumer protection to education master planning to the energy crisis.

As recently as 1995, 14 committees met between sessions, and the 1980s averaged more than 10. These numbers contrast sharply with the 2011-16 Republican era, with just 3.5 interim committees per year. In the wake of the 2016 election, interims increased to eight in 2017, but they did not shape the legislative agenda to the extent that earlier committees did.

Kansas has historically had an amateur (or maybe “semi-pro”) legislature, with its 90-day sessions and meager pay. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, many legislators studied hard, did their homework, and with the assistance of the Legislative Research Department came to deep understanding of many issues facing the state. Interim committees served as one vehicle to enhance their knowledge, and the discussion of major issues benefited from their experiences.

Without question, there are many current legislators, such as the retiring Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, who have gained great understanding during their service, but he stands as a contemporary exception, not the rule.

In fact, much current legislation comes pre-packaged from the right-wing universe of Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

One path to a deeper understanding of major issues is to reinvigorate the interim committee system, which could place ideology on a back burner. Perhaps 10 or so committees every year would mean that the Legislature could do a better job of hitting the ground running in an era of difficult, overlapping issues like education, mental health, Medicaid expansion, foster care, prisons, and many more.

Effectively using the June-January period could make for less bickering, less partisanship, and more coherent policy-making. Definitely worth a try.

Burdett Loomis is an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Kansas.

My response to the invective of Roger Clark on the Wichita Eagle article and FaceBook who smeared Loomis with "liberal elite" label.

Forgive Mr. Clark, he is still of the current school of the #VeryStableGenius where hurling meaningless labels to trigger indoctrinated minds into reacting is the first order-of-discourse. His vitriol is, like the #POTUS and other more provincial hounds in the Topeka statehouse, never prefaced with a body of logic, originality or engaging intercourse. I enjoyed the professor's reminder of the parliamentarian use of interim committees, the better to blunt the power of the powerful party bosses. I have been working toward a strong argument for a "Governor's Question Time" to blunt the abject partisanship of the office, create a weekly public forum during the brief Kansas session and hopefully provide for a check on the runaway executive office(s) to the opposition.