Kansas

Kansas Statehouse Interns Must Agree to Confidentiality

“Interns in the Kansas Statehouse are required to sign a sweeping confidentiality agreement that employment law attorneys warn could have a chilling effect on their willingness to report harassment or illegal activity,” the Kansas City Star reports.

“Anything that takes place or is said in a lawmaker’s office stays there, the document says, under threat of immediate termination.”

Lawmaker Says Blacks Abuse Pot Because of ‘Genetics’

Kansas state Rep. Jim Alford (R) used racist logic to explain why he believes marijuana should remain illegal, the Garden City Telegram reports.

Said Alford: “Marijuana is an entry drug into the higher drugs. What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas, across the United States. What was the reason why they did that?… I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.”

Newspaper Calls on Brownback to Resign

The Kansas City Star called on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), who is still awaiting Senate confirmation to be the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, to resign:

The job you’ve been waiting on might or might not materialize now, we know, and you do, too.

That’s because those in your own Republican Party didn’t put a vote for your confirmation as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom on the Senate calendar by the end of the year.

They did not simply run out of time, either. After all, you were nominated by President Donald Trump in July, and dozens of other long-deferred votes on appointments were cleared in a flash before senators left town for the holidays.

Was it something you said, at that confirmation hearing for which you appeared so ill-prepared?

What Is Kansas Trying to Hide?

“Kansas runs one of the most secretive state governments in the nation, and its secrecy permeates nearly every aspect of service, the Kansas City Star found in a months-long investigation.”

“From the governor’s office to state agencies, from police departments to business relationships to health care, on the floors of the House and Senate, a veil has descended over the years and through administrations on both sides of the political aisle.”

Brownback Urges Trump to Copy His Tax Plan

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), “whose tax cuts brought him political turmoil, recurring budget holes and sparse evidence of economic success, has a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Do what I did,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“In 2013, Mr. Brownback set out to create a lean, business-friendly government in his state that other Republicans could replicate. He now faces a $350 million deficit when the Kansas legislature convenes in January and projections of a larger one in 2018. The state’s economy is flat and his party is fractured.”

“Still, Mr. Brownback views his signature idea—eliminating the 4.6% state individual income tax for partnerships, limited liability corporations and similar businesses—as a national model.”

Clinton Leads In Kansas

A new Zogby poll in Kansas finds Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump in the presidential race, 43% to 36%, with 21% undecided.

“If those trends hold through November, it would mark a historic shift in Kansas politics, where no Democratic presidential candidate has won Kansas since 1964, when Lyndon Johnson carried it over Barry Goldwater, 54-45 percent.”

Kansas Democrats Step Up Recruiting Efforts

“The Kansas Democratic Party will field candidates in every State Senate district this year, for the first time in 30 years,” KAKE-TV reports.

“The Democrats announced Wednesday they also will have candidates in about three out of four state House districts. But the filing deadline apparently passed with no Democrat running for Tim Huelskamp’s seat in Congress.”

Kansas Begins to Cull Voter List

There are more than 36,000 people in Kansas who have tried to register to vote since a voter ID law went into effect in 2013, but then did not complete their registration by providing a birth certificate or other form of citizenship, the New York Times reports.

“This month, under a rule adopted by the Kansas secretary of state’s office, county election officials throughout the state began to cull names from the voters list, removing people who had been on it at least 90 days. Those removed from the list must start the registration process over in order to vote.”

Brownback Issues Executive Order on ‘Religious Liberty’

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) issued an executive order “prohibiting state government from taking action against clergy members or religious organizations that deny services to couples based on religious beliefs,” the Wichita Eagle reports.

“Among other things, the order is intended to protect religious organizations that provide adoption services for the state from having to place children with gay couples if that conflicts with their beliefs.”

New York Times: “The order comes nearly two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, paving the way for gay couples to marry across the country. It is the latest sign that the battle has shifted to the issue of religious liberties, and how much leeway people of faith have to opt out of providing services to or recognizing gay unions.”

Kansas Bans Spending Welfare on Cruise Ships

“Kansas welfare recipients will be unable to get more than $25 per day in benefits under a new law sent this week to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk by the state legislature,” the Huffington Post reports.

“The bill also prohibits welfare recipients from spending their benefits at certain types of businesses, including liquor stores, fortune tellers, swimming pools and cruise ships.”