O’Neal, Morris have different views on Legislature, GOP

It’s not surprising that the outgoing leaders of the Kansas House and Senate have different takes on what the Legislature will be like next year. House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, dismissed concerns that Gov. Sam Brownback wouldn’t have any meaningful opposition in the Legislature. “It’s an oversimplification to assume anything that the governor proposes the House and Senate will automatically stand up and salute,” O’Neal told the Topeka Capital-Journal. He noted, for example, that Brownback would have a “hard sell” convincing lawmakers to extend the statewide sales tax. But Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said that next year’s Legislature is “going to be a rubber stamp on everything.” Morris, who was targeted for defeat by Brownback and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce (which O’Neal is leaving the Legislature to lead), said that Republicans used to respect different views and not “steamroll people into, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’” Now, he told the Capital-Journal, “when we have disagreements within the party, it’s like a war.”