June 22, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

What Arm Twisting, KCUR?

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KCUR’s Sam Zeff reports that legislators resorted to strong-arm tactics to secure votes for a House K-12 Budget Committee school funding proposal. However, the story never explains the tactics or who twisted arms.

Zeff tweeted, “#ksleg leaders tried a little arm twisting to get K-12 committee to back $75 million more for (kansas education). It failed.”

Since lawmakers will discuss the legislation today, it is premature to say the proposal failed.

The public radio reporter’s story begins in similar fashion.

“Kansas legislative leaders took a couple of days to try to persuade some members of the House K-12 Budget Committee to accept $75 million more in school funding, according to legislators on both sides of the aisle,” He wrote. “But the hardball tactics apparently failed.”

And then Zeff fails to list any hardball tactics.

What Tactics?

He quotes Democratic Rep. Jim Ward, Lawrence, saying House leadership wants a “tricky budget” that doesn’t spend enough on schools. Zeff quotes Rep. Melissa Rooker, a Prairie Village Republican, who says she hopes the committee passes a bill to the House by the end of the week. And Zeff quotes committee chair Rep. Larry Campbell, an Olathe Republican, who denies arm twisting and says he won’t limit amendments to the legislation.

“We’re going to stay there as long as it takes for everyone to have a chance to have their day,” Campbell said. “Out of the gate I will be offering several amendments that are responding to the numerous people who have concerns.”

If allowing the committee to hold hearings on a half dozen school funding bills, hosting three days of hearings on the latest bill, and allowing members to amend it as much of necessary are strong arm tactics, one hopes Zeff (and whichever legislators made the strong-arm tactic complaints to him) never actually experience serious persuasion efforts.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Zeff reports Campbell or another nefarious figure twisted arms to introduce legislation. With no evidence, without anyone on the record about alleged past abuse, Zeff’s story lobs the possibility of future transgressions.

Zeff suggests that Ward worries that House leadership will delay any school funding bill forwarded from the committee. It’s a story predicated on false assumptions and dark allegations without a hint of evidence. So that’s awkward.

The House committee is set to work the bill today and perhaps into next week.






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