Under the Dome - May 29, 2013
Day 96 - still no resolution
We are at a loss for words. After a few short minutes this morning on the floor of the House and Senate, both chambers adjourned for the day and went away. No further meetings were scheduled or announced. No resolution to the tax and budget crisis that has moved this session past the 80 day limit proposed by House and Senate leadership back in January, past the 90 day legal limit, and on to day seven of overtime.
So since we are just not sure what to say about this kind of day, we'll let Kansas journalists present it from their point of view.
Kansas City Star: Kansas lawmakers play $45,000 a day joke on taxpayers
"As the Legislature drones on, Kansans continue to shell out that much per day to keep lawmakers in Topeka, way past the deadline they set for going home in mid-May.
"It's a costly joke on taxpayers, especially since the GOP-controlled Legislature originally spoke so confidently of getting all its work done as scheduled in 80 days.
"It's also a big waste of money, considering the Republican members so often pontificate about their desire to trim government fat. Yet here they are, squandering public funds they could have saved.
"The lawmakers got to this point because they spent far too much time earlier in the session approving unconstitutional bills on guns and trying to gut the Kansas court plan that's working perfectly well."
Read the whole editorial here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/05/29/4262215/kansas-lawmakers-playing-45000.html
Hays Daily News: Costly session
"Today marks day 96, which means legislators are in overtime. Still to be agreed upon is the budget, the only constitutionally required act. Taxpayers are now relinquishing an extra $45,000 every day the session goes on.
"It's not that lawmakers haven't been busy. As Martin Hawver points out elsewhere on this page, we now have a law regulating the size of pitchers bars throughout the state can serve mixed drinks in. It's half-a-gallon.
"Valuable time also was spent on legislation attempting to require that both KU and K-State to play Wichita State University in men's basketball each season before conference play gets underway. Debates were had on how security agents frisked passengers at the state's airports, what to name the handmade wooden ballot box the Kansas House uses in races for leadership positions, whether to allow religious symbols on public lands if those symbols were important enough to the community's heritage, ensuring religious liberties are protected, celebrating 200-plus years of Judeo-Christian tradition in the U.S. military, limiting employers' access to social media accounts of job applicants, attempts to weaken the state Open Meetings Act, even more restrictions on what can happen inside strip clubs, setting aside a week in September every year to teach patriotism in all public schools, and encouraging the White House and U.S. State Department to approve a permit to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to carry tar sand oil from Canada to Texas.
"While recommending funding decreases for higher education and ignoring a court ruling that said K-12 public schools are being shortchanged $440 million every year, legislators were attempting to increase the staff payrolls of the House and Senate budget chairmen by $50,000 and setting aside $85,000 for two golf tournaments."
Read the whole editorial here: http://hdnews.net/opinion/editorials/editorial052913-edit