Daily Archives: May 19, 2014

USA Today: Roberts spent 97 days in Kansas in two years

robertsleftIn the latest development in the story that won’t go away for Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., USA Today reported Saturday that he “spent official funds to travel to Kansas 26 times over the course of two years, spending a total of 97 days in the state between July 2011 and August 2013, according to Senate spending records.” It’s possible that he may have used personal or campaign funds to spend more time in the state (Roberts’ offices wouldn’t respond to USA Today’s requests for comment). But compare Roberts with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who “spent official funds to log roughly 475 days in Kansas” during the same period, USA Today reported. Time spent in the state a senator represents is a legitimate re-election issue, but it’s hard to see many Kansas Republicans being so disgruntled over it as to choose tea party challenger Milton Wolf over the three-term senior senator.

Open thread (May 19)

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Board of Regents made Kansas look anti-free speech

twitterAs troubling as the Kansas Board of Regents’ insistence on making tweeting a firing offense was the regents’ failure last week to understand the threat their actions posed to academic freedom, not to mention the state’s reputation. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Will Creeley told National Public Radio that Kansas universities now have one of the most restrictive social media policies in the nation. Kansas State University English professor Philip Nel said: “We already have a reputation of being anti-science; now we have a reputation of being anti-free speech.” Yet regents board chairman Fred Logan said: “I think this is good public policy,” emphasizing that the regents had added language to the policy emphasizing the importance of academic freedom. “What they don’t say, of course,” Nel later wrote on his blog, “is that they’re merely stapling language affirming academic freedom onto a policy that revokes academic freedom.”

Kansas less reliant on federal money than its neighbors

money-bagIf Kansas is lagging its neighboring states in some unflattering ways, such as in job growth, it can take pride in bringing up the rear in the region in the federal aid received as a percentage of state general revenue. Using 2012 data, the Tax Foundation last week ranked Kansas 43rd among states in how much it relies on federal aid, with its 27 percent making it look less needy than No. 5 Missouri (41 percent), No. 14 Oklahoma (36 percent), No. 21 Nebraska (35 percent) and No. 37 Colorado (29 percent). Alaska’s 20 percent landed it at the bottom, while Mississippi’s 46 percent topped the list.