It is a dangerous time in Kansas

“It is a dangerous time in Kansas. The governor and his legislators, along with special interest groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce have aligned and consolidated their power in Topeka. Whether it’s the judiciary, individual communities, issues of public interest or matters of individual liberties, this coalition seems bent on forever altering the landscape of Kansas, and those who dare oppose that power block will find their voices legislated into silence.

Understandably, it’s not easy for working Kansans to care much about legislation that is complex, boring and specific to one segment of government. But the purpose and intent of this legislation is easy to understand, and it should serve as a warning to all Kansans: The current power-holders in Topeka will not be satisfied until they have extended their reach and control to all three branches of government, and even at the local level.

And once that happens, the future and direction of our state will no longer rest with its people but with a handful of politicians in Topeka who listen only to those who support and finance their unchangeable beliefs and who ceaselessly work to crush dissent.”

We are seeing this in multiple areas and in the way bills are being handled. We have bills to move local municipal and school board elections even though municipalities, school boards and their patrons are opposing them, bills to tell school districts how to handle their sex ed policies, bills to promote neo-charters and corporate tax scholarships though the public schools will continue to serve the vast majority of Kansans children. We see legislators shake their heads at constituents instead of promising to work for them in Topeka, the ongoing refusal to restore recession-era cuts to school budgets despite polling that indicates Kansans think the courts should order increased spending on public education and an ongoing promotion of ALEC bills that stand to help those who want to make money off of public school funding and those who don’t want to share the responsibility of funding necessary services more than the students of Kansas. We see legislators warning that they still don’t believe that the courts can order them to comply with their constitutional obligations to the students of Kansas. We also see this in attempts to label Game On as a well-funded, liberal front group instead of parents, teachers and community members who see the needs of our children are not being met, and see that the ALEC agenda is being played out in other states and that it’s not working there and won’t work here. Kansans need to have their eyes wide open.

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