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Listen Up, Kansas! Vote NO on HCR 5014!

While talking to my mom the other day, she mentioned this flyer that was left on her door. She wasn't sure what it was about and asked me to look into it.

When taking a closer look at the flyer, the first thing I noticed was who paid for it—Americans for Prosperity (I refuse to link to their site). AFP, as anyone who pays attention knows, was founded and is funded by the Koch Brothers. AFT and the Kochs were some of the biggest supporters of Citizens United. The SCOTUS ruling allows virtually unlimited dark money to infect our political processes.

David and Charles Koch are two of the biggest walking pieces of shit on the face of the planet. If I had looked no further into HCR 5014, this alone would have been enough to oppose it.

Listen up, Kansas! Vote NO on HCR 5014!

But I did and found the text of the resolution pretty easily. House Concurrent Resolution 5014 proposes an amendment to the Kansas State Constitution. You can see the actual text of the resolution below, but here's the substance:

“§ 17. Legislative oversight of administrative rules and regulations. Whenever the legislature by law has authorized any officer or agency within the executive branch of government to adopt rules and regulations that have the force and effect of law, the legislature may provide by law for the revocation or suspension of any such rule and regulation, or any portion thereof, upon a vote of a majority of the members then elected or appointed and qualified in each house.” Sec. 2. The following statement shall be printed on the ballot with the amendment as a whole: “Explanatory statement. The purpose of this amendment is to provide the legislature with oversight of state executive branch agencies and officials by providing the legislature authority to establish procedures to revoke or suspend rules and regulations. “A vote for this proposition would allow the legislature to establish procedures to revoke or suspend rules and regulations that are adopted by state executive branch agencies and officials that have the force and effect of law. “A vote against this proposition would allow state executive branch agencies and officials to continue adopting rules and regulations that have the force and effect of law without any opportunity for the legislature to directly revoke or suspend such rules and regulations.”

Where Are the Progressive or Good-Government Groups in Kansas?

The resolution received NO testimony in opposition in the hearing before the House Committee on Judiciary. For the Senate Judiciary hearing, it only received three testimonies in opposition. From the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, and one individual.

I strongly urge you to read these testimonies.

I don't think a resolution like this would ever be considered in Hawaii. But if it were, there would certainly be fierce and loud opposition to it. In Kansas, though, there was little more than a peep.

This is a dramatic, if unsurprising and hypocritical, overreach by the GOP-dominated Kansas Legislature.

This resolution and proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution is egregious and wholly unnecessary. As the League of Women Voters stated in their testimony:

"Currently, when the Kansas Legislature approves a law which instructs the executive branch to develop rules and regulations, there are a number of checks. The suggested rules are checked by the Division of Budget for fiscal impact. Then the Attorney General determines if there are constitutional issues. Then thirdly, the Secretary of State’s office checks for technical and approved form. After these three steps are completed, the proposed rules and regulations are put into the Kansas Register and a required public hearing is set for final adoption. These steps assure that all avenues are checked for cost, legal correctness and technical form. If the Legislature feels that the proposed rules do not meet the intent of the legislation, then the Legislature can pass a replacement law that more clearly states the intention of the legislature."

Vote NO! Tell Your Friends and Family

Currently, the Kansas Governor is a Democrat. So its easy to see why the dim and spiteful Republicans would take this action. If the current Governor were a member of their own party, no such legislation would have been passed, let alone contemplated.

The final votes were incredibly lopsided along party lines. However, it should be noted there are four Republicans who put their duty above party and voted against the resolution. They should be applauded!

As a Democrat and strong progressive leftist, I can acknowledge and appreciate there are many different ideas about our government. And the role it should play in our lives. But this proposed Constitutional Amendment isn't about that. It's a power grab by Republicans unhappy the Governor's Office is occupied by a Democrat.

If you believe in appropriate checks and balances. If you believe in the rule of law. And if you believe our elected leaders should put responsible governing above petty political squabbles, vote NO on this in November.

Though I haven't lived in Kansas in more than two decades, part of me still considers it my "home" state. I have family and friends who still live there. If is for their benefit that I implore you to vote against this dangerous amendment to Kansas' Constitution. And if you agree with me, please urge everyone you know to vote likewise. Feel free to share this with everyone you know.

There's nothing about this proposed Con-Am that will benefit anyone other than big corporations that would love to see sensible and reasonable regulations and rules eviscerated. And they're not above playing party politics to get it done.

Listen up, Kansas! Vote NO on HCR5014!

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