It’s the end of the year and before we pop the champagne and kiss the person next to us, lets take a look back at 2015. Oh Kansas – 2015 was one crazy legislative ride. It had more drama than a Kardashian Thanksgiving. From same-sex marriage to education funding there was a fight at every turn and no one came out a winner.
Lets take a look back at my top 5 stories from 2015 before we wrap up this bad boy and move on to the insanity that I predict is to come in 2016.
Drum roll please……
I give you Aimee’s best and worst (well mostly worst) Kansas legislative stories from 2015:
(in no particular order)
1. We all know that Kansas loves to play doctor when it comes to lady parts, but this year Kansas lawmakers tried also to play psychiatrist with SB 123 – a law that was going to regulate what mental illness medications could be prescribed to people on Medicaid. https://pleasantlyeccentric.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/my-kansas-cheer-for-the-week-gimme-a-b-gimme-a-r-oh-hell-gimme-a-break/
It all came down to money over need with this outrageous bill. Thank goodness this bill didn’t pass, but the fact that lawmakers tried introduced this insane bill had me wondering if they needed some mental illness medication themselves.
2. Guns, guns and more guns – if there was a law to regulate guns in any way Kansas repealed it. We are one step away from requiring every Kansas citizen to have a gun. Wait! Strike that. I don’t want to give our lawmakers any ideas.
Weapons training? We don’t need no stinking weapons training here in Kansas. If you don’t live in Kansas and think of Kansas as the Wild West – SB 45 confirmed it.
Kansas has some of the most liberal gun laws in the United States. Welcome to the NRA’s promised land.
3. As Kansas lawmakers found themselves at a record number of days in session with a budget crisis on their hands – one lawmaker decided that would be a peeerrrfffeeeccttt time to take a vacay! Senator Arpke went on an Alaskan Cruise while other lawmakers were hunkered down in Topeka hashing our budget crisis out. I decided he must have went to pan for gold to solve our Kansas budget woes. Why else would he pick the worst time to get away for a little R&R?
4. One of my favorite bills of 2015 (and by favorite I mean worst bills)- the “we hate poor people” bill that humiliated Kansas poor by restricting them to $25 ATM withdrawals and provided a laundry list of items that our Kansas disadvantaged were not allowed to do if they received welfare. The most famous item was no cruises, because people are lining up to take expensive cruises when they can barely make rent. Also on the list – no fortune tellers, tattoo parlors or spending money at swimming pools. The federal government had to step in and remind them that they can’t make restrictions like the $25 withdrawal limit.
5. Brownback came out on top in 2015 – for the worst approval rating of any Governor in all 50 states. The next closest was Bobby Jindal and there was a 9% difference.
7% of Kansans approve of the job that Brownback is doing. You have to ask yourself – who the hell are these 7%? Kansas education used to be fully supported and well-funded – it now resembles a WWE match with #FundTheFormula on one side and block grants on the other. I keep hearing the announcer yelling, “Lets get ready to rumble!” every time I see education as a topic on the #ksleg twitter feed.
Then you have the Kansas revenue crisis. I think the last figure I heard was that we were about a gazzillion dollars in the hole from Brownback’s tax cuts. Brownback keeps telling us that everything is A-Ok meanwhile we don’t have enough money to cover basic services (heads up – I would stay off our highways if I were you) and everyone is stressed out. I think the plan in 2016 is to replace the water coolers in Topeka with vodka just to get through the next session, because this problem isn’t going away any time soon.
Well that’s my top 5 best/worst of 2015. I look forward to the same drama in 2016 and the good news is I’ll be here all year to cover it.
Thank you so much for reading. I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy New Year!