May 23, 2024

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Kansas GOP Leaders, Candidates Say ‘Not So Fast’ To $$$-Hungry Court

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The decision Monday by the Kansas Supreme Court that the latest effort by Kansas lawmakers to appease the court was not “adequate” may be prodding Kansas Republican leaders to action. The decision may also help boost the more principled candidates in the August primary.

“The business of funding schools belongs with the representatives of the people — not seven, unelected judges,” said secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach.  “The Kansas Supreme Court’s Gannon decision today illustrates how the Court is now micromanaging every dollar spent on education even down to calculating adjustments for inflation.”

2nd District candidate Sen. Fitzgerald pushes back.

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a candidate for the open 2nd congressional district seat, was equally forceful in his denunciation. “While the Court might address equity problems, e.g., state aid to school districts being distributed improperly,” said Fitzgerald, “the Court has no right to make rulings on the adequacy of school funding. That is the sole jurisdiction of the Legislature.”

Although the 2nd race race is too close and the field too crowded to call, Fitzgerald won the straw poll at a Republican picnic in Tonganoxie on Saturday.

The Supreme Court decision also renewed interest among Republican leaders in a constitutional amendment to constrain the Supreme Court. Said Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman, “It is vitally important that the people of Kansas direct how their tax dollars are prioritized for our students and it appears that a Constitutional Amendment is the only way to give control back to the people.”

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, who had earlier expressed interest in a constitutional amendment, was unsparing in her criticism.

“Today the unelected bureaucrats of the Kansas Supreme Court chose to continue with the endless cycle of school litigation, leading us down the road to an unavoidable tax hike,” said Wagle. “When Kansas is on par with Nancy Pelosi’s California for sky-high property taxes and families are fleeing the state, we can thank the Kansas Supreme Court.”

If GOP leaders are to have any chance of succeeding in passing an amendment, the “moderates” and faux Republicans in the legislature need to be sobered up in August.

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