Kansas Economic Freedom Index

As lawmakers, Kansas judges should be selected democratically

As lawmakers, Kansas judges should be selected democratically

While many believe that judges should not "legislate from the bench," that is, make law themselves, the reality is that lawmaking is a judicial function. In a democracy, lawmakers should be elected under the principle of "one person, one vote." But Kansas, which uses the Missouri Plan for judicial selection to its highest court, violates this principle. A 2012 paper by Kansas University School of Law Professor Stephen J. Ware explains the problem with the judicial selection process in Kansas. The paper is titled Originalism, Balanced Legal Realism and Judicial Selection: A Case Study and may be downloaded at no…
Read More

For McGinn, a liberal voting record is a tradition

Based on votes made in the Kansas Senate, the advertising claims of Sedgwick County Commission candidate Carolyn McGinn don't match her record. In a radio advertisement, Carolyn McGinn says she is conservative. In a mailer, she touts her "fiscal conservative leadership" in the Kansas Senate. But voting records don't match these claims. Several voting scorecards in recent years show Senator McGinn ranking low in terms of voting for economic freedom issues. These issues generally concern taxation, wasteful spending, and unnecessary regulation. In recent years, a freedom index has been produced by Kansas Policy Institute. In 2012 the Kansas Economic Freedom…
Read More

Kansas freedom scorecard released

To help Kansans understand how legislators vote, Kansas Policy Institute has produced the Kansas Freedom Index for 2013. Legislative scorecards like this are important as they let citizens know how legislators have actually voted, which is sometimes different from their campaign rhetoric, and even different from their current proclamations. Generally, scorecards include a large sampling of votes, so that no single issue paints a member into a corner. [powerpress url="https://wichitaliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/james-franko-kansas-policy-institute-joseph-ashby-show-2013-05-17-excerpt.mp3"]James Franko of Kansas Policy Institute joins Bob Weeks on the Joseph Ashby Show to discuss the Kansas Freedom Index. Then, Bob runs down the scores for Wichita-area legislators. The Kansas…
Read More

Developer welfare expanded in Kansas

This week the Kansas House of Representatives considered a bill that would expand the application of tax increment financing (TIF) and community improvement district taxes. The bill, HB 2086, is not a major expansion, but is still harmful. On Monday the bill failed to pass, with 61 members voting in favor, and 60 against. (63 votes are needed to pass a bill.) On the following day, Rep. Scott Schwab made a motion to reconsider. If agreed to, Schwab's motion would force another vote on the passage of the bill. The motion passed, and when the vote on the bill was…
Read More

As lawmakers, Kansas judges should be selected democratically

While many believe that judges should not "legislate from the bench," that is, make law themselves, the reality is that lawmaking is a judicial function. In a democracy, lawmakers should be elected under the principle of "one person, one vote." But Kansas, which uses the Missouri Plan for judicial selection to its two highest courts, violates this principle. A recent paper by Kansas University School of Law Professor Stephen J. Ware explains the problem with the process used in Kansas. The paper is titled Originalism, Balanced Legal Realism and Judicial Selection: A Case Study and may be downloaded at no…
Read More

Wichita-area legislators on government efficiency

Who could be against more efficient government? Even those who score poorly on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index say they are in favor of efficiency and eliminating waste. Here's an example from the campaign website of Nile Dillmore, who is running for re-election: "Nile rejects that 'tax-and-spend' is the most effective and efficient way to manage government! Nile supports cutting waste and inefficiencies and keeping our tax burden as low as possible." But as is often the case in politics, legislators' campaign rhetoric and promises don't align with their actual votes. For example, in the 2011 session of the Kansas…
Read More

In Kansas, rejecting left-wing Republicans

The headline in the Kansas City Star reads "Voters reject middle ground in Kansas Senate races." A more accurate conclusion is that voters have realized that the governance of Kansas by a coalition of Democrats and left-wing Republicans has not been in the state's best interest. Stagnate job growth as compared to other states, increasing spending on schools with no accountability and not even an honest discussion of achievement, falling behind other states in school reform and school choice, a highly undemocratic method of selecting our state's top judges, resistance to privatization and other measures to streamline government, business tax…
Read More

Kansas traditional Republicans: The record

As Kansas Republicans decide who to vote for in next week's primary election, moderate senate incumbents and many newspapers urge voting for those Republicans who promote a “reasonable,” “balanced,” and “responsible” approach to Kansas government. When we examine the record of the coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats that governed Kansas for the first decade of this century, we see legislative accomplishment that not many Kansans may be aware of. Almost all have been harmful to our state. Most of the moderate Republicans run campaigns promoting themselves as fiscal conservatives. But their voting records often tell a different story. That's…
Read More

Kansas reasonable: The legacy

As campaigns for positions in the Kansas Legislature heat up, some are calling for voters to support candidates who will follow a tradition of "reasonableness" that, they say, is characteristic of successful Kansas politicians -- the "traditional" Republicans. Others call for a "balanced" approach to government and "responsible tax reform." Senate President Steve Morris contributes an op-ed in support of "incumbent senators who put their local communities above the agendas of these special interest groups." Reasonable, balanced, responsible. These are words that promote a positive image, although sometimes negative words are used, as in criticism of Kansas tax reform as…
Read More

Kansas senators seen as unfriendly to business

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee has made campaign contributions to the primary election opponents of eight Republican members of the Kansas Senate that it sees as impediments to private sector job creation, according to reporting in the Lawrence Journal-World. According to its website, the Chamber PAC "supports and endorses incumbent state legislators and other candidates for state office who support the Kansas Chamber’s legislative agenda, promote the tenets of free enterprise and pledge to make Kansas a better place in which to do business." Following is the 2010 Kansas Senate roster with each senator's score on the…
Read More

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Friday March 25, 2011

Elections coming up. On Tuesday April 5 voters across Kansas will vote in city and school board elections. Voting has been underway for about a week through the advance voting process. For those who haven't yet decided, here's the Wichita Eagle voter guide. You can get a list of the candidates, along with their responses to questions, customized for your address. Campaign signs. The placement of political campaign signs can be an issue. Here is a City of Wichita letter describing placement rules, and a diagram. ... If you live in a neighborhood with covenants prohibiting campaign signs, the covenants…
Read More

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday February 28, 2011

Elections tomorrow. On Tuesday voters across Kansas will vote in city and school board primary elections. Well, at least a few will vote, as it is thought that only nine percent of eligible voters will actually vote. Many of those may have already voted by now, as advance voting is popular. For those who haven't yet decided, here's the Wichita Eagle voter guide. Kansas schools can transfer funds? A recent legislative update by Kansas Representative Bob Brookens, a Republican from Marion, tells readers this about Kansas school finance: "Most school districts in our area braced for this possibility by taking…
Read More

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday February 27, 2011

Boeing tanker contract. While almost everyone in Kansas is celebrating the award of the air fueling tanker replacement contract to Boeing, there are a few reasons we shouldn't over-celebrate. First, we bought an expensive war weapon. This is guns, not butter. President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the creation of a permanent armaments industry. Now our leaders celebrate defense spending as a jobs creation program, forgetting the opportunity costs of this spending. ... In 2008, when the contract was awarded to the foreign company European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (EADS) and Boeing successfully protested the award, the editorial page of…
Read More

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday December 21, 2010

Steineger switches teams. Chris Steineger, a Kansas State Senator from Kansas City, has switched to the Republican Party. As a Democrat, Steineger had compiled a voting record more conservative than many senate Republicans. On the Kansas Economic Freedom Index for this year -- recognizing that supporting economic freedom is not the same as conservatism or Republicanism -- Steineger had a voting record more in favor of economic freedom than that of 15 of the senate's Republicans. Kansas school funding reform to wait. Incoming Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says that the Kansas economy comes first, and then school finance, Medicaid, and…
Read More

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday November 17, 2010

Kansas Senator Lee to tax court. State of the State KS reports that Kansas Senator Janis Lee has been appointed by Governor Mark Parkinson to the Kansas State Court of Tax Appeals. Lee is a Democrat from Kensington in northwest Kansas. This action opens another position in the senate -- another three pending vacancies need to be filled due to senators who won election to other offices -- and others are likely to follow as incoming governor Sam Brownback fills his cabinet. Lee scored 13 percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index for this year, which is a voting record…
Read More

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday October 26, 2010

Karl Rove. "Former George W. Bush aide Matt Latimer was there to observe the dealings of Karl Rove during the previous administration, and he writes that there’s no secret why most conservatives have now come to view Rove as a fraud. Latimer says that Rove has become symbolic of a GOP establishment that’s known for its utter betrayal and ruin of the Party that Reagan had left so strong. Now that his secret is out, Rove’s influence will only continue to diminish as time goes on and the Tea Parties take over." A fascinating look at the legacy of Rove,…
Read More

Texting bans haven’t worked

In an attempt to increase highway safety, many states have passed bans on texting while driving. But the bans haven't worked, and some states have experienced an increase in crashes. A news release from the Highway Loss Data Institute summarizes the finding of a new study: "It's illegal to text while driving in most US states. Yet a new study by researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) finds no reductions in crashes after laws take effect that ban texting by all drivers. In fact, such bans are associated with a slight increase in the frequency of insurance claims…
Read More

For Kansas Rep. Don Hineman, loyalty is a one-way street

For Republican Kansas Representative Don Hineman of Dighton, party loyalty is a street that runs in only one direction: towards himself. In 2008, Hineman challenged an incumbent Republican in Kansas House District 118. Hineman narrowly won the primary. The loser, Virginia Beamer, decided to mount a write-in campaign for the November general election. Hineman won, gathering 6,112 votes to Beamer's 2,716. During the general election campaign, a well-known conservative political communications company worked on behalf of Beamer. Hineman complained, saying that this work violated the Kansas Republican party's loyalty amendment. In an email, he wrote: "As the nominee of the…
Read More

Kansas primary legislative elections 2010

Here's a look at the August 3, 2010 Kansas primary election contests that had the possibility of changing the character of the Kansas House of Representatives, and in one case, the Kansas Senate. A Kansas Chamber of Commerce endorsement is a reliable measure of a candidate's conservative credentials from a fiscal perspective. The Kansas Economic Freedom Index and AFP legislative scorecards provide additional insight into legislators and their voting records. Here are races where there may be a shift in the makeup of the House, sometimes depending on the results of the November general election. In Kansas House District 17…
Read More