Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sebelius speaks

When State Senator (and gubernatorial candidate) Jim Barnett's school funding plan died, he yanked other Senators in to browbeat them for not backing him up. In the course of one such conversation, Senator Morris revealed that a Supreme Court justice had mentioned that a multi-year funding proposal would be good, and suggested what ideas might pass court muster. Barnett's proposal apparently didn't match up, so Morris voted against it. For the record, all the players thus far are Republicans. The judge was appointed by a Republican governor.

Obviously, that sort of communication was inappropriate and the judge is being investigated by the judicial ethics overseers. In later discussion, it turned out that one of the senators at the lunch with Morris and the judge had also mentioned the content of the conversation to Governor Sebelius. At that point, what had been a fairly minor and inconsequential scandalette became fodder for the election. While the House tries to figure out how to fund the actual cost of education, the legislators are spending their time sending open records requests to the Governor, hoping to find some sort of incriminating evidence.

Today she responded:
I have never had any communication whatsoever with any Supreme Court justice or anyone associated with the court about the school finance case or any pending case, period. I never have, and I never would. Nor has any Supreme Court justice, or anyone associated with the court, ever had any such communication with me.

"Second, no one has ever given me any inside information about how the court might rule on the school finance case or any other case. I have always made my decisions on school finance based on what the court has written, the two cost studies commissioned by the Legislature, and on what I believe is good public policy in the best interests of the people of Kansas. Assuring stronger Kansas schools, now and in the future, is a matter of principle for me. It’s as simple as that.