July 22, Salina Journal
They didn't go away:
When Sam Brownback returned to Kansas to take over as governor and launch his next presidential bid, he and his allies probably weren't worried about those moderate Republicans they kicked out of the Legislature.
After using the proven economic strategy of deep tax cuts to give the state's economy a shot of adrenaline, happy days and national acclaim would be sure to follow. As for the moderates, other than slinking off in humiliation, what options did they have? Join up with the Democrats?
Ha. Ha. Ha.
This past week, a number of those high-profile, Bob Dole-type Republicans — or as Salina GOP Rep. J.R. Claeys likes to call them, nursing home residents — announced they were backing Democrat Rep. Paul Davis for governor.
Among those who signed on for Davis, the presumed Democratic nominee, were some from Salina, including former Sen. Pete Brungardt, former Reps. Charlie Roth and Jayne Aylward, former and current Salina School Board members Carol Brandert, Nedra Elbl, Gary Denning, Larry Michel, Pat Grimwood and Mary Ann Trickle; former mayors Kristin Gunn and John Vanier, and city Commissioner Randall Hardy.
Kansas Republican Party Chair Kelly Arnold responded in part with this statement:
"The Kansas Republican Party is disappointed these former elected officials, many of whom were thrown out by the Kansas voters, have decided to endorse the Obama agenda."
Classy. Can't win on the issues? Blame Obama.
This split in the Kansas GOP shouldn't be news to anyone. At least in Saline County, it started decades ago when the God-and-guns wing of the party tried to take over at the precinct level.
The only surprise is that the moderates' anger has reached the point that they've done the formerly unthinkable, join with Democrats to try and oust a sitting Republican governor.
If Brownback hadn't been so ruthless in his takeover of the state party, so nakedly ambitious in his political aspirations, then maybe this could have been avoided. But he wasn't subtle or accommodating, and now he faces a formidable opponent bolstered by group of Republicans largely of his own making.
What goes around ...
Lawrence Journal-World, July 21
A state law that exempts firearms manufactured in Kansas from all federal regulations has drawn a lot of attention recently — from both supporters and critics.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has filed a lawsuit about the 2013 law that declares the federal government has no authority to regulate guns, ammunition and accessories manufactured, sold and kept in Kansas. The Brady Center said the law is an unconstitutional attempt to nullify federal gun laws.
Gov. Sam Brownback's re-election campaign used the lawsuit as a springboard to send out a fundraising email saying the Brady Center was suing the governor "for protecting the Second Amendment rights of Kansans."
Regardless of which side of this debate you're on, the "Second Amendment Protection Act" certainly raises some interesting issues.
The statute makes it a felony for any federal employee to enforce federal gun regulations on Kansas only-weapons. It also says no state or local officials can attempt to enforce any federal gun regulations on Kansas-only weapons.
The Brady Center lawsuit already guarantees that this state law is headed to federal court. What will happen if the state tries to charge a federal official with a felony for trying to enforce a federal law?
The law declares that Kansas-only guns are exempt from any federal regulations. So what, if any, regulations will those firearms be subject to? Will Kansas manufacturers now be allowed to make guns without serial numbers, making it difficult to trace any gun involved in a crime? Can they legally make guns that can elude mental detectors or other security devices? Can such guns be sold without the background checks required by federal law?
Eliminating federal regulations without setting any state regulations on Kansas-only guns poses a significant safety issue for Kansas residents. However, setting and enforcing a set of Kansas-only regulations likely would represent a new expense for state taxpayers.
It's pretty obvious that the Second Amendment Protection Act was intended more as a political protest than as a practical benefit for Kansans. Only time will tell how many tax dollars the state will spend to defend a law that has little chance of standing up to constitutional scrutiny.
The Topeka Capital-Journal, July 21
Kansas should join hemp parade:
Republican Jennifer Winn, the owner of a Wichita-area property management company, is running a very low-budget campaign for her party's gubernatorial nomination.
No one — except perhaps Winn — expects her to wrest the party's nomination from incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback. And few people expect the Legislature will legalize marijuana for medical purposes, one of the issues Winn is championing, anytime soon. But all that doesn't mean Winn has no good ideas. She does, among them her promotion of industrial hemp production.