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Recent Kansas Editorials

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 3, 2015 at 7:01 am •  Published: February 3, 2015
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The Wichita Eagle, Jan. 28

Don't use private emails for public business:

Don't use private e-mail accounts to conduct government business. And don't give lobbyists insider access and information.

State budget director Shawn Sullivan ignored both of these commonsense principles of open government when he sent a working version of the governor's proposed state budget to several top administration officials and two lobbyists.

Sullivan sent the budget from his private e-mail account, and it went to the private e-mail accounts of most of the recipients.

Sullivan said he used the private e-mail accounts because he and other administration officials were at their homes for the Christmas break. It wasn't an attempt to circumvent state open-records laws, he contended.

Why did the two lobbyists, both former Brownback administration officials, have input into the budget process before most lawmakers saw the plan? Eileen Hawley, the governor's spokeswoman, said, "We sought the counsel of a lot of people in that process."

Hawley also denied that the use of personal e-mails had any connection to The Eagle's filing of an open-records request in October for e-mail correspondence and phone communication between the Governor's Office and one of the lobbyists, David Kensinger. Last April, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Kensinger was the subject of a federal probe for influence peddling at the Capitol.

Hawley and Sullivan would not directly tell The Eagle how often the governor's staff used private e-mails for public business.

Even if Sullivan didn't deliberately try to circumvent the law, he should have known that it would look that way.

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The Hutchinson News, Feb. 2

Huelskamp's oiled truth:

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas is a symbol of Washington irony.

In a January statement about the Keystone XL pipeline, Huelskamp blasted President Barack Obama for placing his "ideology and politics above the needs of the American people" and then falsely laid out how construction of the controversial pipeline would benefit his district.

"The NCRA refinery expansion already underway in McPherson is a $327 million investment made in part to take advantage of the Keystone XL project."

That statement is completely wrong, and it's a ongoing example of Huelskamp's willingness to go to any length to prop up his blind ideology and vitriolic disapproval of the president.

The owners of the NCRA refinery have so little interest in the Keystone pipeline that they have not taken a position on the issue. Furthermore, the company primarily processes crude oil from Kansas and the surrounding states. And in Kansas, the Keystone pipeline is already in place, and it's already functional. The debate is focused on an extension of the northern pipeline.

"We don't actually see any impact in terms of jobs," a spokesman for NCRA told The News about the pipeline. "It just won't have much of an impact on our business."

To hear Huelskamp tell it, however, the McPherson refinery needs the Keystone pipeline for its future livelihood.

Of all the manufactured issues to come out of Washington, D.C., lately, few are as ridiculous as the rhetoric over the Keystone pipeline. It's largely already built, it won't create as many jobs as advertised, and refineries in Kansas aren't waiting for the pipeline to achieve full production capacity.

Keystone Pipeline is a non-issue, except for its use as a political talking point.

What is an issue, however, is Huelskamp's willingness to mislead the people of Kansas' 1st Congressional District by attaching a local oil refinery to a politicized pipeline when there is no connection at all.

Kansans deserve better. At the least, we deserve a congressman who will put the truth above his desire to score political points.

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Topeka Capital-Journal, Jan. 29

Adjust sentenced for pot convictions:

Kansas legislators are paying little attention to a call for legalization of medical marijuana use. And champions of recreational marijuana use — basically decriminalization at the state level — won't find sympathetic ears in the Statehouse.

However, there is one bill floating around the Capitol regarding marijuana that legislators should seriously consider.

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