Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Ideas Under Protest

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ideas Under Protest

It's become abundantly clear that Gov. Brownback and the Kansas Legislature are going to do something I don't like. There will be a special session. I won't rehash all of the reasons I hate this plan, but I will reiterate this: Meeting in special session before June 30 seals in people's minds the idea that the Court has the authority to close the schools. 

I do not believe the Court has this authority. Calling a special session gives it to members of the Court to use in the future. We don't need another hostage situation about the time Alan Rupe decides he needs a vacation home in the south of France.

That said, since I believe a special session is going to occur. Boo. I have some thoughts about when this regrouping should happen and how some of the communications should be handled.

If a special session is to be called, schedule it after June 30. If I were going to announce a special session, I would set the date for Aug. 3. (I am not sure what this does to the campaign season. Would legislators still be allowed to collect donations between now and Aug. 3? I believe they would, but I'm not certain.) Announce the session before June 30.

That date is one day after the primary election. If conservative legislators don't make it to the other side of that date, they will have every opportunity to do what's in the absolute best interests of Kansans and Kansas school children without regard to re-election. Not that I want to lose conservative legislators, but principle will always be more important to me than holding seats. I can't see the point of getting more conservatives or Republicans elected if they're not going to vote on principle or advance conservative causes. 

The other reason for the late date is simply that it sends the message that the Court doesn't have the authority to close schools on July 1. If Supreme Court Injustices make that attempt, they're doing so at the detriment to Kansas school children. This puts the onus and the blame where it belongs -- on the Court.

If I were in charge, Gov. Brownback would announce that he has called a special session to deal with the 1 percent of school funding with which the Court takes issue. BUT, I would note that it isn't practical or reasonable for legislators to rush back to Topeka to ram an ill-conceived plan through. Waiting until Aug. 3, or later, allows Brownback to gather a team of experts to come up with possible solutions before legislators meet in late August. Basically, the Governor should say that no one wins when policy and funding decisions are made under duress.

The press release should say the Kansas Treasury will cut checks for July, August, and September to the Kansas Department of Education to be given to the school districts. This gives legislators at least through August to reach a decision. Any so-called funding inequities that occur between now and then will be recovered on the back end of the year.

The announcement should also note that Brownback will pardon anyone who violates any Court orders to close any public schools. This means if Superintendent Jim Hinson decides to open Shawnee Mission School District Schools as planned despite a court order to close them, Brownback, in advance has said he'll pardon him. If the Court chooses to throw Ron Estes in jail for cutting checks to the KSDE or if the Court chooses to throw anyone from the KSDE in jail for cutting checks to school districts, Brownback will offer a pardon. Anyone who actually goes to jail for this becomes a political martyr. 

In the meantime, as Brownback is considering how he'll deal with this issue, I would hope the Governor would make a blanket statement to his staff to stay the heck off of social media. There's no point in Kim Borchers arguing with people on Facebook. Make it stop. Don't feed the trolls. EVER.

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