Editorial summary: Kansas | State

Kansas City Star. November 11, 2021.

Editorial: Paying people not to take the COVID-19 snapshot? What are the Kansas Republicans even thinking about?

Should we pay the unvaccinated to stay at home because the COVID-19 vaccine scares them? It’s a completely absurd, if not dangerous, idea, but one that Kansas Republicans are working hard to adopt in a special session later this month.

A bill they are pushing would actually provide unemployment benefits to workers who lose their jobs for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID. Another would create a religious exemption from the no questions asked and crater-sized vaccine.

So let’s get it straight: after complaining last year that too many people were getting too much money to stay home so they could stay safe, Republicans now want to pay the unvaccinated to quit. ‘they stay at home and remain dangerous to others.

The hypocrisy would be hilarious, except that it endangers public health by making people not get vaccinated.

“We had a lot of debate towards the end of the session last year on how we should stop paying people’s unemployment because they were sitting at home rather than wanting to work,” said the representative. of state Vic Miller, a Democrat from Topeka. “It seems to be a bit of a pivot. “

And that’s a bit of an understatement.

These unemployment benefits that Republicans have complained about over the past year have been paid to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Now they want to pay unemployment to workers who lose their jobs because they refuse to be vaccinated.

Even the conservative Kansas Chamber of Commerce is warning against the GOP proposal, and for good reason. Noting that the state could be responsible for $ 606 billion to $ 5.6 billion in unemployment for the unvaccinated, Kansas House President and CEO Alan Cobb said in a statement this week that the bill “could cause significant financial damage to the state’s (unemployment) trust fund, negatively impact its solvency and result in higher taxes on Kansas businesses struggling to recover from the pandemic. ”

Absoutely. The proposal would take power away from small business owners, worsen the labor shortage, deplete the unemployment fund and set a horrific precedent by creating special groups for unemployment benefits.

Senatorial Minority Whip Pat Pettey, Democrat of Kansas City, Kansas, is alarmed by all of this and more, especially the precedent it would set. What other so-called aggrieved groups might want unemployment benefits in the future?

In addition, Pettey – along with Miller a member of the Kansas Legislature’s Special Committee on Government Overbreadth and Impact of COVID-19 Mandates reviewing the bills – is very concerned about the GOP’s companion bill allowing no questions asked religious exemptions from the vaccine.

“It really opens the door to everything,” she says. “There is really no responsibility on the part of the employee to provide verification that they have a religious exemption. This creates a very special category which is in effect a blank check. ”

Pettey, a retired educator, is also wondering if a new religious loophole for vaccines could spill over into schools, worsening the spread of COVID.

The committee has scheduled public hearings on the two bills for Friday. And if two-thirds of lawmakers from both houses sign, the bills will be debated in a rare and expensive special session of the entire legislature on November 22.

No, just no. Paying people to stay at home because they haven’t been vaccinated is foolish and foolish.

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Newspaper of the capital Topeka. November 11, 2021.

Editorial: Kansas Engages in Political Theater on Vaccine Mandates: Joining Lawsuits, Calling for Special Session

Kansas seems to be all about the theater these days. It is political theater.

Lawyer Derek Schmidt has announced that Kansas is joining a multi-state lawsuit to fight the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination warrants.

Andrew Bahl of Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the lawsuit should argue that the rules, filed using a mechanism allowing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to bypass the usual regulatory process in the event of “serious danger” , go beyond the authority delegated to the agency. .

“The net effect of this over-ambitious federal mandate is to discourage private companies from employing unvaccinated workers by making it more expensive, once again threatening the livelihoods of many Kansas workers and businesses and promising more disruptions in supply chains nationwide, ”Schmidt said.

We have questions: Should this trial really be something the people of Kansas are attached to? Do we meet our lowest political instincts or do we appeal to our highest standards? At present, it does not pass the sniffle test.

Kansas seems to be all about the theater these days. It is political theater.

Lawyer Derek Schmidt has announced that Kansas is joining a multi-state lawsuit to fight the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination warrants.

Andrew Bahl of Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the lawsuit should argue that the rules, filed using a mechanism allowing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to bypass the usual regulatory process in the event of “serious danger” , go beyond the authority delegated to the agency. .

“The net effect of this over-ambitious federal mandate is to discourage private companies from employing unvaccinated workers by making it more expensive, once again threatening the livelihoods of many Kansas workers and businesses and promising more disruptions in supply chains nationwide, ”Schmidt said.

We have questions: Should this trial really be something the people of Kansas are attached to? Do we meet our lowest political instincts or do we appeal to our highest standards? At present, it does not pass the sniffle test.

“We have a duty to protect our citizens and our economy, and we urge Governor Kelly to fulfill that duty by calling a special session of the legislature,” Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, said in a statement. communicated. “If the governor does not want to recall the legislature so that we can take swift action, we are prepared to call a special session by petition. “

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Lawrence Journal-World. November 13, 2021.

Editorial: Slowing down the defender’s plan

Douglas County commissioners should slow down, accept delays and create a process to get proposals from entities that want to improve the way indigent clients of the county’s criminal justice system receive legal representation.

Commissioners are not expected to speed up approval of a proposal at their meeting next week. The reason is simple: the commissioners have obligations which go even further than improving the defense system for the indigent.

One of these obligations is to build public confidence in government. Revelations last week have eroded that trust, but it can be fixed if Commissioners take the time to do so.

Let’s do a quick summary: What is indigent defense? When you hear the cop on the TV show say “you have a right to a lawyer and if you can’t afford one, one will be appointed for you” – that appointment is a needy defense. The county is responsible for appointing attorneys for people charged with minor offenses, while the state is responsible for appointing felonies. The county wants to improve its system and hopes the state will improve its system.

The county has a proposal from a nonprofit, Kansas Holistic Defenders, to replace the current panel of attorneys who are appointed for such misdemeanor cases. The county has set aside approximately $ 425,000 to make changes. For a very long time, all of the attention has been on the county hiring holistic Kansas advocates to take on the county’s responsibilities for advocating for the needy.

Then a second group, comprising lawyers from the current panel, presented an unsolicited competing proposal. This action prompted a question that probably should have been prompted much earlier: Why didn’t the county issue a request for proposals asking any entity interested in providing such services to come forward?

Then another question arose: is it appropriate that one of the main organizers of Kansas Holistic Defenders was both a campaign volunteer and a campaign donor for county commission candidates Shannon Portillo and Shannon? Reid, who now make up two-thirds of the commission that award this contract?

Then, a third question emerged: Is it appropriate for this Kansas Holistic Defenders organizer to sit on a county committee tasked with advising commissioners on how to revamp the indigent advocacy system? In fairness, it appears the committee also included members of the new competing group.

Let’s answer these questions in reverse order. The situation of the county committee is undesirable. It is no exaggeration to ask people wishing to do business with the county not to sit on committees that advise the county on these various business matters. This toothpaste cannot be put back into the tube, but the county should guard against such situations in the future.

On the second question, it would be hasty to conclude that Commissioners Portillo and Reid did something wrong by expressing interest in a group that was nominated by a campaign donor. Campaign donors are allowed to have good ideas like everyone else. But it is also important to recognize that this creates a bad perception for some. It’s easy to understand how some members of the public would see this and wonder if there are any behind-the-scenes transactions.

Such perceptions are important because they go a long way in determining levels of trust between the public and government. Each elected official has the duty to gain the trust of the public. It is critical in today’s environment, as the lack of trust in government is pervasive and potentially catastrophic. See the high number of unvaccinated people and the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6 for examples of the problems caused by lack of confidence in the government. Fortunately, Douglas County can help restore confidence by simply pressing the reset button on this indignant defense process and proving to the public that they are open to all options.

And finally, the last question is the easiest to answer. Should the county call for tenders? Sure. The county essentially hires a salesperson. When you hire a salesperson with public money, you are shopping. This should be well understood by officials at this point.

Remember it this way, if you will: if you spend your personal money and don’t want to shop, it’s a prerogative. If you are spending the public’s money and don’t want to shop, that’s a problem.

The county is expected to fix this issue this week.

TO FINISH

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