Monday, January 09, 2006

From the State of the State

Most of the2006 State of the State address was pretty standard fare, but I'm intrigued by this:
A lack of affordable health care is one of the greatest challenges we face, yet I’ve heard over and over that we should wait for the federal government to act.

More than one in ten of our neighbors has no health insurance. While we strive to reach our hopes and dreams, they have a different kind of hope – they hope they and their children won’t get sick.

Forty-one thousand more Kansas kids have health insurance today than when I took office.

But we have the opportunity – and the obligation – to do more.

Good health is important to every Kansan, but it’s especially important for children in the first few years of life. An illness then can set back a child’s development for years.

We can give our children the chance to grow up healthy and pursue all the opportunities life has to offer. We can cover every Kansas child from birth to age five, and we can do it this year.

The cost to the state will be minimal, but the benefit to 15,000 Kansas kids will be immeasurable. It will also ease financial pressure on moms and dads across our state, and let them have different hopes for their kids.
And while I know there's no political gain to be sought in failing to beat up on people who commit sex crimes, I have serious questions about requiring them to wear tracking bracelets forever. It's a little too "scarlet letter." Not all sex offenders are incurable, nor do all of them reoffend, and there's no need to permanently mark them.

That's not to say that a permanent bracelet shouldn't be a sentencing option, but making it mandatory is probably unwise and certainly unnecessary.

I'll be interested in seeing whether the Governor gets the $3.5 million she wants for the child health insurance she's after. I bet that there'd be no problem allocating an extra $4 million for ankle bracelets for sex offenders, but spending that money to ensure kids get proper medical care will probably involve a fight.