Daily Archives: March 13, 2013

Senators plead with defense secretary they voted against

Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, deserve credit for tenacity in protesting the Air Force’s recent decision to pass over Wichita-based Beechcraft and instead give a $427.5 million light-air support contract to Sierra Nevada Corp. and Brazil-based Embraer. That order, which will supply 20 airplanes to Afghanistan’s air force, would have given Beechcraft a big boost post-bankruptcy. The Kansans sent a letter Friday to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel requesting a “thorough, compelling explanation for your decision” and saying the award “raises significant concerns for the entire U.S. defense industrial base.” It’s awkward, however, that just two weeks ago the two Kansas senators voted against Hagel’s confirmation as defense secretary.

Shifting views in Kansas on same-sex marriage, unions

Eight years ago, an amendment to the Kansas Constitution banning same-sex marriage and civil unions passed with an unequivocal 70 percent of the vote. But attitudes are changing in the state, at least according to a February survey by Public Policy Polling. Fifty-one percent of those Kansans polled said same-sex marriage should not be allowed, but only 34 percent said there should be no legal recognition of gay relationships. Another 34 percent said gay couples should be allowed to marry, while 29 percent approved of civil unions but not marriages for gay couples.

Brownback not sure Medicaid expansion is sustainable

The newly formed Kansas Medicaid Access Coalition – which includes more than 30 groups representing consumers, health care providers and religious organizations – is urging Gov. Sam Brownback to allow the federal expansion of Medicaid in Kansas. But Brownback continues to express doubts. “Right now, I can’t see a path that’s long-term fiscally sustainable for us in the state of Kansas to manage,” Brownback told Yahoo! Finance recently. “But if we can do something that’s a partial measure, something that we can sustain over time, I’m very willing to look at that.” A study by the Kansas Hospital Association estimated that the expansion would inject more than $3 billion into the state’s economy, create 4,000 jobs over the next seven years, and likely save the state more money than it cost. But Brownback predicted that the cost for states likely would go up due to federal budget problems.