Fox: Time to Work on Rural Kansas’ Real Problems

Kansas is becoming increasingly urbanized, but rural legislators still have a lot of work to do. From declining enrollment in schools to agriculture and water, it’s time for rural legislators to put away the culture war stuff and focus on rural Kansas’ real issues, wrote Russell Fox in last week’s column.

Smith: Lobbyists Have Too Much Influence Over Writing Legislation

Lobbyists have a right to influence legislation, but in today’s Kansas and other legislatures, they are increasingly taking over the process of actually writing it. This is bad for democracy and leads to bad policy, wrote Michael Smith in last week’s column.*

*Note: To clarify, the Kansas Revisor of Statutes does write the final language of bills and amendments considered by the Kansas Legislature. However, Dr. Smith stands by his point about lobbyists having too much influence over the process.

Miller: What Form of Democracy Do Kansans Want?

Direct democracy involves the people voting or participating directly in policymaking, while representative or republican democracy means electing representatives who make policy on our behalf, who then sit for judgment at re-election time. But Kansas has developed a disturbing trend–the re-election of Legislative majorities who vote against the clear preferences of most Kansans on issues like abortion rights, Medicaid expansion, and medical marijuana. This is a problem, wrote Patrick Miller in last week’s column.

Iorio: What Does a Conservative School Board Mean for Kansas?

Republicans took all five open seats on the Kansas School Board this year, leading them to a seven to three advantage over Democrats. What does the new, conservative majority mean for school vouchers, a “parents’ bill of rights,” and other decisions affecting Kansas schools? Sharon Iorio surveyed what’s at stake in her latest column.