Daily Archives: Sept. 9, 2013

New child-care rules ignore realities

The Brownback administration’s new policy requiring low-income mothers to work 30 hours a week (instead of the previous 20) to be eligible for child-care assistance may sound good from the perspective of encouraging work. But it doesn’t take reality into account, argued Mary Sanchez of the Kansas City Star. “Finding affordable infant care is difficult even for middle-class families,” she wrote. “Slots for lower-income people on a subsidy are rarer still. In some rural Kansas communities, state-approved infant care is nearly nonexistent. In addition, many low-skilled workers are being offered part-time-only jobs, not more hours.” Sanchez concluded that Kansas won’t help poorer women achieve “better places in life by complicating their ability to return to work and find access to safe, quality child care.”

Here come the out-of-state interest groups

Kansas got a taste of a more politicized judicial system last week as an out-of-state conservative group bought a full-page ad in the Topeka Capital-Journal praising Gov. Sam Brownback and his appointment of Caleb Stegall to the Kansas Court of Appeals. The D.C.-based Judicial Crisis Network, a 501(c)(4) organization (which means it doesn’t have to disclose who funds it), said in the ad that because of Brownback’s leadership, “special interest lawyers no longer control appointments to the Kansas Court of Appeals.” Dennis Depew, president of the Kansas Bar Association, said that has never been the case. “I’m certainly not aware that any special interest in the legal profession at all controls anything to do with merit selection under the current method for picking (Kansas) Supreme Court justices and former method for picking Court of Appeals judges,” Depew told the Capital-Journal.

Gains by Afghan, Iraqi women at risk

With U.S. forces out of Iraq and facing a 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, the impressive gains made by women in both countries are at risk. There are attempts to roll back women’s representation in both governments, noted Charlotte Ponticelli, who visited The Eagle last week while in town to address the Wichita Committee on Foreign Relations. But Ponticelli, whose government posts over 23 years included that of senior coordinator for international women’s issues at the State Department, said education has been a game-changer and technology can safeguard and further the progress, especially now that 77 percent of Iraqis and 66 percent of Afghans have mobile phone access. The gains will be “as durable as the skills and education,” she predicted.