Senator Mitch Holmes (R-St. John) thrust himself into the news cycle recently over his apparent belief that working in the legislature can be very distracting. In addressing these distractions, Senator Holmes issued dress rules for women saying, “We’re really looking for you to be addressing the issue rather than trying to distract or bring eyes to yourself.” Senator Holmes has since apologized for singling out female conferees. Still, ongoing efforts to distract seem to be prevalent among many in the Kansas Legislature.
Consider that last year’s legislative session, the longest in state history, began very much like this year’s session where social and special interest policy were the early priority. Looking back at the 2015 session, it was clear that the legislature was less focused on its constitutional obligation to fund state services and more focused on personal and special interest agendas. Concurrently, there seemed to be an effort to distract the public each time the state revenue reports came in reflecting an increasingly desperate fiscal reality. Was this coincidence?
Senior Fellow Duane Goossen from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth writes the following in a January 28, 2016 blog post:
The 2012-2013 tax changes so damaged the state revenue stream that Kansas does not have enough income to meet even a conservative or “efficient” set of expenses. – See more at: http://realprosperityks.com/the-efficiency-review-small-ripples-in-a-big-pond-of-troubles/#sthash.FVqCR6wB.dpuf
Given the state of the state’s finances, it would seem that the entire focus of the 2016 Kansas Legislature should be upon providing vital state services through a reasonable and adequate budget. Instead, we’re seeing the typical flurry of unpopular, special-interest policy bills attacking educators and public schools while the “elephant in the room” (the state budget) continues to grow into an actual “mammoth in the room.”
We encourage you to stay engaged with your representatives. Don’t be distracted and expect your representatives to steer clear of distractions themselves. Keeping engaged and connected is simple.
- Register for our advocacy messaging platform at www.joinusks.org
- Track bills and take action when called upon at www.underthedomeks.org
- Educate yourself on the issues by subscribing and listening to Kansas EdTalk at www.ksedtalk.org
- Share your knowledge, opinions and perspectives on social media and in your neighborhoods. Invite your friends, family and neighbors to “plug-in” using these resources.
- If you believe in the promise of strong public education and support efforts to advocate for Kansas students, consider joining KPAC with a small donation of $5, $10, or $25. You can join KPAC here: http://www.jotform.us/kneacomm/KPACDonations
Don’t be distracted! Get in the game!