Friday, July 08, 2005

How the amendment died

[Lawrence State Senator Barbara] Ballard played key role against amendment limiting courts |

It may have been the turning point of the special legislative session. A late night meeting July 1 between Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, and Republican legislative leaders produced no agreement, and House Speaker Doug Mays, who is no fan of Sebelius, left the meeting in a bad mood. The session was near meltdown with nothing accomplished.

But Mays was influenced by House Democratic Leader Dennis McKinney, of Greensburg, and Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence. The three legislators all came into the House in 1992, and Mays said he trusts McKinney and Ballard to the fullest.

Ballard and McKinney told Mays that the House Democratic caucus would not budge in its opposition to a constitutional amendment aimed at restricting the Kansas Supreme Court in school finance litigation. It wasn’t politics, they said; it was a matter of principle.

“They feel just as strongly as many of us feel we should do it. They seem very sincere about this,” Mays told the House Republican caucus.

After that, the momentum to link school funding to an amendment started to unravel.
Saying Mays is "no fan of Sebelius" is too cute by half. He's planning to run against her in 2006, and wants to pick (and win) a fight with her.

Nonetheless, who says bipartisanship is dead? What's that? Don Dahl of Hillsboro and Judy Morrison of Shawnee want to make a point:
An idea was floated during the special session to postpone consideration of a constitutional amendment and instead have a commission study proposed changes and make recommendations to the 2006 Legislature.

House Republicans didn’t like the idea.

Rep. Donald Dahl, R-Hillsboro, called it “asinine.” He said the commission would be packed with “Democratic trial lawyers.”

Rep. Judy Morrison, R-Shawnee, said she didn’t trust constitutional scholars who had testified earlier to the Legislature because they “came out of liberal institutions.”

The scholars who testified included law professors from Kansas University and Washburn University.
Apparently, a liberal institution is one that disagrees with every half-baked idea.

For now, this is the end. Various conservative mouth-frothers are swearing they'll be back with these same amendments next time around.