Saturday, April 26, 2014

Dakota Loomis: Kansas Democratic Party Weekly Political Wrap-Up, Fri. 25 April, 2014

On one side you've got Sam Brownback, a partisan politician who has never made education a priority. Just look at his record: the biggest cut to education in state history to fund tax breaks that hurt our schools. Acting on school funding after three and a half years and only after the Kansas Supreme Court found his funding scheme unconstitutional. And the signing of an education bill weighted down with unneeded special interest policies that harm our schools.

On the other side, you've got Paul Davis, the son of educators, who repeatedly put forth plans to restore education cuts in Kansas and fix our schools in a straight forward bipartisan fashion.

In 2012, Davis and other Kansas Democrats proposed a plan to restore funding to our schools. And this year, Davis called for an immediate clean fix to the Court's order on school funding. A bill that roughly mirrored his plan won wide bipartisan support in the House, passing 91-31 with moderate Republicans and Democrats joining together to pass a clean school funding bill with no partisan policies attached.

That's a real record on education. That record explains why Goddard teachers and administrators vowed to work to elect Paul Davis last Friday when Davis visited their school district.

So on the end, Kansas voters will be faced with a clean choice this fall: vote for Sam Brownback, a politician with a horrible record on education that endorsed deceptive, underhanded politics and is supported by special interests hostile to public schools. Or vote for Paul Davis, a lifelong backer of public schools with a strong pro-education record supported by Kansas teachers across the state.

Which side would you pick?


Take Back Kansas Campaign Kickoff & Canvass

Tomorrow Join Other Kansas Democrats To Return Common Sense to Kansas

 Tomorrow is the day - nice weather, hundreds of committed volunteers, and the first step tow taking back Kansas.

Kansas Democrats from across the state will be going into neighborhoods across the state to talk with people about why this election is so critical to the future of Kansas and helping them sign up for mail-in ballots.

That’s why we’re asking Kansas Democrats like you to join us

The KDP are sponsoring three separate rallies in Kansas' three biggest cities - Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City.

Click on the city name to RSVP today and commit to help bring common sense back to Kansas.

Find the rally and canvass nearest to you below. Candidates like Kelly Kultala, Dennis Anderson, and Jean Schodorf will be helping us fire up volunteers and get them ready to take back Kansas.

SEDGWICK COUNTY: 2911 East Douglas Ave. (MAP)

SHAWNEE COUNTY: 506 SW 10th Ave. (MAP)

JOHNSON COUNTY: 7319 West 79th St. (MAP)

So tomorrow morning come join us for a rally, canvass, and food & drink so can we elect real leaders who will work for all Kansans!

All last week, Governor Brownback kept Kansans guessing if he would sign or veto the highly controversial school funding bill that stripped teachers of due process rights and handed out corporate tax breaks by cutting funding for at-risk kids. Depending on the audience, Brownback gave a different answer.

This Monday Brownback made his decision, signing the anti-public school bill and casting his lot with far-right special interests and setting up a showdown over education. As the Winfield Courier said, Brownback's decision was the equivalent of "Throwing down the political gauntlet."

On one side: Brownback, his far-right Kansas Legislators, Americans for Prosperity, and the Koch Brothers.

On the other side: teachers, school boards, newspapers, moderate Republicans, and Democrats like Paul Davis.

Brownback's bill signing ceremony told you everything you need to know about who Brownback works for now. Normally, politicians who pass education legislation will hold the ceremonial signing in a school, surrounded by students, teachers and parents. Not this time.

Bunkered down in his office surrounded by legislative leadership, Brownback signed his bill without a single teacher, superintendent, parent, or student by his side.

There was one civilian in attendance - Jeff Glendening, the lobbyist for American for Prosperity, Kansas - who applauded Gov. Brownback for "implementing these policy changes." By these policy changes Glendening was referring to corporate tax breaks for private school donations, the loosening of teacher licensure, and stripping due process rights from teachers.
Brownback received no applause from Kansas educators, school boards, columnists, or moderate Kansans. After lobbying the governor to veto the bad bill for over a week, educators across Kansas condemned the governor's decision (and one more story).

Teachers in Hays protested Gov. Brownback's visit to the Sternberg Museum of Natural History with another couple dozen teachers gathered at Fort Hays State to continue holding Brownback accountable. But instead of facing more opposition, Brownback cancelled his visit, sending his lieutenant governor in his place.

School districts, school boards and administrators let it be known that this bill would harm their schools. Time and again, local constituents gave their legislators a piece of their mind, calling on legislators to explain their support for special interest policies and stifling of debate.

Not a single newspaper endorsed the hyperpartisan policies Brownback signed into law - with the list of negative editorials reaching into the teens (just checkout our opinion links below).

Deception vs. Transparency

Lines were not just drawn over policy. When Brownback signed the school funding bill he also picked Washington, D.C.-style political strong-arming and deceptive spin over transparency and honesty.

What's Washington, D.C.-style politics look like? It's outside special interest money, coordinated candidate messages that skirt campaign laws, and misleading statistics that deceive voters.

For Brownback, it's having his personal special interest group, Road Map Solutions, run thinly veiled campaign ads claiming education was Brownback's top priority and telling Kansans to thank him for saving Kansas schools right before and after the bill's passage.

Brownback reverting to political tricks and deception also explains how he can claim that he signed the school reform bill because it respects local control for school boards and administrators while two days later signing a bill that takes any local control away from all local governments to implement any common sense gun reforms.

By signing the bill, Brownback also sided with legislators who rammed through a partisan bill in the middle of the night. Brownback sided with legislators who ignored open meeting law to help pass their bill. And Brownback sided with a bill that had no committee hearings and no public comment.

On the other side, elected school officials noted their opposition to these undemocratic measures. Lawrence school board Vice President Shannon Kimball said she was disappointed in the process: “Regardless of where you fall on whether that’s a good policy change or not, I find the way it was handled distasteful,” Kimball said. “It’s not the way we should be handling policy in Kansas.”

The Wichita Eagle also condemned Brownback for signing the bill and siding with the the Kansas Legislature's reckless law making process. Avoiding the democratic process and ending debate is how bad policy gets into a bad bill. And when Brownback signed the school finance bill, that's how you get bad law.
Who's Side Are You On?

Brownback's misleading claims and excuses aside, the crucial question for this election is who do you trust to do what's right for Kansas students?


Picking Sides
Brownback Signs Anti-Teacher, Anti-Public School Finance Bill

In Other News
Kansas tries to shrink its way to prosperity

Capitol Watch: All’s fair in love and lobbying

Brownback signs bill saying Medicaid expansion decision rests with Legislature

Kansas Supreme Court blasts bill signed into law by Brownback

In Olathe and elsewhere, more taxing authority won’t offset cuts

Teachers in Goddard pledge to help Davis oust Brownback

Kansas school finance bill would give corporate tax breaks for private school scholarships

Area legislatures getting an earful on school finance

Teachers react to bill that removes due process

Educators challenge lawmakers on school finance

Impact of ed budget politics felt locally

Overuse is draining the Ogallala Aquifer

Teacher protests follow Brownback

Judge Theis sets schedule for response to school finance fix; Schmidt asks to toss equity concerns

Brownback signs Medicare, gun bills

Governor Brownback signs four bills into law

Textron Aviation starts laying of 750 employees, 575 in Kansas

School finances cause concerns from districts, teachers

Reform update: States that did not expand medicare may see higher premiums, industry experts say

Kansas: Comprehensive pro gun bill signed into law

Kansas will nullify local gun laws

Anthony Hensley: Brownback should listen to a teacher

School aid no windfall

Expensive school bill

Selling education
Eagle editorial: Not all benefit from state tax cut

School finance bill disrespects teachers
Education agreement hurts Kansas schools

Insight Kansas: Abolition of teacher tenure out of place in Kansas

Charter schools set to damage public education

Throwing down the political gauntlet

Law weakens Kansas court system

Looks like a bunch of hicks

Opinion: Law erodes teachers’ rights

Suddenly due-process change is about local control?

Not so sweet

Different signatures

Local legislators’ excuses ring hollow

Editorial: More ups and downs for Wichita

Tax postcards

Editorial: Will tax-cut plan work?

Medicaid expansion would boost Kansas economy

Making the GOP pay for Medicaid obstruction

Water strategies

Kansas professors need more protection in social media policy

Editorial: Shame for signing compact

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