Daily Archives: Aug. 2, 2013

How much libertarianism does GOP want?

The GOP presidential race in 2016 “will be heavily defined by just how much libertarianism Republicans want in their party,” Chris Cillizza wrote in the Washington Post. “The answer isn’t certain yet. But it is telling that 40 percent of the House Republican conference voted for legislation that would have significantly curtailed the reach of a government program designed, at least in part, to prevent terrorist attacks.”

Will abortion ban and voter law be part of special session?

Though Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders wanted the Sept. 3 special session to focus only on rewriting the state’s Hard 50 criminal-sentencing law, the agenda already has expanded to include confirmation votes on as many as 19 gubernatorial appointees. Others are interested in lengthening the to-do list, perhaps with a bill “prohibiting an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable fetal heartbeat” or, in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in an Arizona case, by reopening the debate over Kansas’ law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. But “we’re not opening up this to legislation that’s left over or pending,” said House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell. “If we start doing that, it’s expensive to have a special session. I’m all in favor of saving the taxpayers dollars and getting this over with.” As our Wednesday editorial said, with the “special session costing $35,000 or more daily, taxpayers have a right to expect it not to last a minute longer than necessary.”

ALEC lawmakers show ‘special type of hypocrisy’

A Hutchinson News editorial noted how several state lawmakers who are attending next week’s American Legislative Exchange Council national conference in Chicago already have asked taxpayers to pay some of their travel expenses. The corporate-financed ALEC provides lawmakers with model legislation aimed at limiting government, reducing taxes and decreasing regulation. “It is a special type of hypocrisy when a group of legislators who brand themselves as budget watchdogs and small-government conservatives eagerly line up for a taxpayer handout to help pay for a voluntary networking weekend in Chicago,” the editorial said. Meanwhile, the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy reported on new ways that ALEC is trying to circumvent state open-records laws, including by distributing meeting materials via a link to an online drop box.