Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: State: June 2011


Where Do We Go From Here?

great-seal-of-kansas.pngELLIS, Kan. - The legislature has now adjourned, and the governor has signed the budget that was the primary responsibility of the women and men we elected to represent us during the session. Because a state budget is an expression of our priorities and values as Kansans, it should not be surprising that there are multiple and competing interpretations about what it all means.

Some Kansans are aghast. The state with John Steuart Curry murals in the capitol building no longer has a state-funded arts commission. K-12 funding has been set back to levels we have not seen in nearly two decades. Commitment to higher education is stagnate, although the anxiety level of anyone who works in the public sector is through the roof. And in a climate of financial crisis we are actually going to spend more money to make voting harder. As a northwest Kansas Democrat who cares about working across partisan and ideological divides for the good of Kansas, I am one of those who worries about the direction our state is headed.

Finding Value in the Land

MCDOWELL CREEK, Kan. - Bravo, Governor Brownback! I disagree with our Republican governor on many things -- the elimination of funding for the arts, the squeeze on education, the obstacles to voting (more on those policies in a future column).

But I applaud his stance on the Flint Hills. The Governor is using the power of his office to protect the Flint Hills and its highly productive but endangered ecosystem, the tall grass prairie.

During her time in office, Gov. Sebelius protected a small part of the Flint Hills (including Geary and Riley Counties) from wind development, and Governor Parkinson continued her policy. Sebelius called the off-limits area "the Heart of the Flint Hills." On May 6, 2011, Governor Brownback doubled the protected area, from 4673 to 10,895 square miles, an expanse now stretching to the Oklahoma border. He calls his no-go zone the "Tallgrass Heartland." It is not protected by law -- only by his (like Sebelius's and Parkinson's) high-profile request for voluntary cooperation. Such a gubernatorial call is a powerful shield, however, as life can be miserable for utilities or developers on the wrong side of the state.

Both Sides of Their Mouths

brownback.jpgSALINA, Kan. - With the Legislature adjourned for the year Governor Sam Brownback and his staff are now devoting themselves to the creation of news events to keep his name out among the Kansas electorate. With that in mind last week the governor took off on a five-stop trip to tout projects included in the state's new transportation plan. Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley reacted by calling the governor "disingenuous." He's right.

Brownback's conservative allies in the Legislature fiercely opposed additional spending on highways last year. And during last year's gubernatorial campaign Brownback hammered away at opponent Tom Holland's support for the one-cent sales tax, forty percent of which went to fund the program.

Brownback's Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, in an act of great political courage last year as a state senator, voted for the highway plan, and against the sales tax to fund it.

Making Brownback's tour even more cynical are the actions of his close friends at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Taking it to the Streets

WICHITA, Kan. - Since the takeover of the governor's office and the Kansas statehouse by extremist right-wing politicians, many people have advocated taking to the streets with their grievances. And there are grievances aplenty, including budget cuts and other legislation voted on by majority right-wing Republican legislators, and a few Democrats, and signed into law by Governor Sam Brownback.

In fact, many people have already taken their grievances to the streets. Protests so far have included rallies by union members and supporters in Topeka on Jan. 22, 2011, Planned Parenthood supporters, who marched in support of continued Planned Parenthood state funding, families and supporters of the disabled, public education, Kansas Arts Commission supporters, Public Broadcasting, and gay rights supporters, among others. Every one of these groups has mounted some kind of street action against budget cuts and anti-public education, anti-choice, anti-arts, anti-immigrant, and anti-gay rights actions in the Kansas House and Senate.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is State: May 2011. The next archive is State: July 2011.

If you want to browse other topics, you can also check our Table of Contents. The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.


Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links below (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press:



About This Page

This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the State: June 2011 section.

The previous archive is State: May 2011. The next archive is State: July 2011.

The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.

Other Archives

Interested in other topics? You may wish to poke around in our Table of Contents to find other sections and archives.

Do you want to explore pieces written by specific authors? You can find archives for KFP writers by reviewing our complete Directory of Authors and Writers here.

News and Opinion





Get Connected

See our FB page!
Subscribe for free!
[Feeds & Readers...]
Follow Kansas Free Press on Twitter, too!
Make Kansas Free Press your home page!

Journalists, sign in.

We're reader supported!

Whenever you use the specific links below to begin any of your online shopping, a portion of your sale goes directly towards the support of this site.

Tech Depot - An Office Depot Co.


Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links above (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press.

Thank you for your help!

Notices & Policies

All of our Kansas Free Press journalists are delighted that you are here. We all hope that you come here often, sign in and leave us comments, and become an active part of our community. Welcome!

Our writers are credentialed after referral to, and approval by, the editor/publisher of KansasFreePress.com. If you are interested in writing with us, please feel free to let us know here. We are always looking for Kansans who want to write about Kansas!

All authors here retain their own copyrights for their original written works, original photographs and art works. They welcome others to copy, reference or quote from the content of their stories, provided that the reprints include obvious author and website attribution and links to the original page, in accordance with this publication's Creative Commons License.

Our editor primarily reviews stories for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting and is not liable or responsible for the opinions expressed by individual authors. The opinions and accuracy of information in the individual stories on this site are the sole responsibility of each of the individual authors. For complete site policies, including privacy, see our Frequently Asked Questions. This site is designed, maintained, and owned by its publisher, Everyday Citizen Media. The Kansas Free Press, KansasFreePress.com, and Kansas Free Press are trademarked names.

© Copyright, 2008-2012, all rights reserved, unless otherwise specified, first by the respective author, and then by KFP's publisher and owner for any otherwise unreserved and all other content.