Daily Archives: June 3, 2013

Lawmakers came to their senses on Common Core

Thank goodness that enough lawmakers in the Kansas House came to their senses and didn’t block the implementation of Common Core education standards. Early efforts this session to defund the standards couldn’t even make it out of committee. Yet the issue was revived during the final days of the overtime session as a way to leverage votes for a tax increase. Much of the opposition to the standards was based on misinformation and false claims about the federal government taking over education. “It’s all about black helicopters,” said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka. “This bill is why, on occasions in the past, the state of Kansas has become the laughingstock of the country.” At least Kansas won’t be a punch line this time.

Will Huelskamp now lead tea party?

With Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., having announced her retirement last week, people are casting about for a new unofficial leader of the tea party in Congress. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, made the list of candidates of Salon’s political writer Alex Seitz-Wald, who summarized the Kansan’s tenure this way: “The social conservative lawmaker has made himself a villain of the LGBT community for saying he would oppose marriage equality even if his son came out as gay and for saying employment protections ‘reward homosexual behavior.’ He also hates ‘racist’ Planned Parenthood, comparing it to ‘pro-slavery forces.’ He was one of only nine lawmakers to vote against any form of the Violence Against Women Act. As for the GOP’s attempts to reach out to the ‘so-called Hispanic voter,’ that’s ‘very distracting and very discouraging,’ he has said. He might be more Rick Santorum than Michele Bachmann, but should get more attention.” Roll Call said Huelskamp demurred when asked whether he would seek to become the tea party’s standard-bearer in the House.

Moore tornado a warning not to build NBAF in Kansas?

The long-awaited groundbreaking occurred last week in Manhattan for the first phase of the $1.2 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which will be a big win for the state and national security. But a commentary in the San Antonio Express-News warned about the “folly of building a federal research lab handling the most dangerous pathogens on Earth in the heart of Tornado Alley,” calling the choice of Manhattan a case of “politics trumping safety.” John Kerr, who had chaired the effort to try to lure the lab to San Antonio, concluded: “Proponents of the Kansas site blandly insist that the NBAF has been redesigned to withstand a tornado. The images of destruction from Oklahoma suggest that unless the entire 500,000-square-foot facility is built underground, at a cost running into the billions, it could not withstand even an EF-3 tornado. Building it in Kansas is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with Mother Nature.” When such concerns were raised in 2009, Kansans noted the Texas county vying for NBAF historically registered more tornadoes than Kansas’ Riley County and that Texas led the nation in tornadoes and came in second for hurricanes.