Thursday, June 23, 2005

Small victory

Senate approves $161 million more for schools |
The Kansas Senate today approved a $161 million school finance bill over the protests of conservative Republicans who said lawmakers were succumbing to an unconstitutional order by the Kansas Supreme Court.

The measure, approved by the Senate 25-14, now goes to the House for consideration.

The vote comes on the second day of a special legislative session called to address the court’s June 3 order to increase school funding.

Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, said his vote for the bill was “a message of respect not of submission” to the court.

But conservatives said the court overstepped its authority in ordering lawmakers to increase school funding, while others said the bill will pave the way for expanded casino gambling in order to pay for it.

“My constitutents expect me to defy the Supreme Court,” Sen. Karin Brownlee, R-Olathe, said.
The Senate is more moderate than the House, so expect a very different outcome there. Since this is a little extra, the House can crow about trimming it down to $143 million exactly.

As for Ms. Brownlee's constituents, I say she's wrong.

The court has a legitimate place in reviewing legislative action, and has done so for a long time. Surely her constituents don't want her to violate the state constitution?