Today in Gardner, Kansas the state representatives came to speak to their voting public. Sensing that there may be some disagreement in the room, Senator Julia Lynn set the rules: Questions would have to be submitted in writing through a moderator, followups would not be provided for,and they would sit about 15 feet away from the public behind a desk. It was to provide 'order' to make sure that everything was 'civil' but in the end, it really was about making sure that talking points could be distributed with very little rebuttal.
It didn't, however, stop Julia Lynn from speaking candidly about issues and letting her mouth run ahead of her. The same occurred for Representative Sutton today. Two other representatives were 'no shows'.
Local administrators began to question movement on KS SB-289, a piece of legislation designed at removing the Mortgage Registration Tax, a one time fee that varies depending on the property, but is often paid by businesses who purchase new land for use.
The administrator voiced concern about this issue, noting that the taxes, which are provided back to the county, are used for multiple civic purposes and go into general funds for use by the county. Without them, the county will be forced to raise property taxes, which is an ongoing tax rather than a one time fee that primarily affects business ownership or those who buy larger properties.
Lynn's response told the entire story: She works for the people who write the checks.
Please note the video: This is as close as the public could get. Talk about that down home feel in small town Kansas!
Lynn went back on this later, noting she didn't mean it to sound as bad as it did, that she was meaning to point out that she represented the people who were home owners, tax payers not the county government. And that if the county government had to raise property taxes, at least that would be open and they could have a vote on it.
There are several problems with this analysis. The largest of which is simple: She doesn't represent just home owners or property buyers either. She represents Kansas Citizens, no matter their status. This includes non-tax payers like children. Heck, it includes renters, people who don't plan to buy property this year, and pretty much anyone who calls Kansas home.
That is who she represents. She doesn't simply represent the people who 'Who write the checks'. That isn't how a democracy works.
In the course of the meeting - and I'm still editing video, we had quite a few doozies dropped on the crowd. This included Representative Sutton pointing out that there were a lot of financial pressures on the statehouse, including money going to Medicaid expenditures with the privatization of Kancare.
When asked about the fact the representatives moved to stop the state from accepting Medicaid, we received a flat out denial, 'that didn't happen'.
When it was pointed out:
HCR 5013,Which is available at the state legislature website, Sutton continued to deny any such legislation.
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION to indicate the Legislature's
intention not to expand medicaid services in Kansas as provided under the
federal affordable care act.
We were then treated to a discussion that included referring to the Olathe School District as 'Making out like Bandits'.
We also had a full throttle defense of legislation that provides for 'Freedom of Religion' and representatives talking openly about the fact that maybe getting rid of the Department of Education and ending federal control (any) over schools would be ideal.
I'll have more time to cut together video, but yeesh.. you want to talk about a trainwreck. Anytime you hold a 'town hall' meeting in which your require a moderator, no follow ups, and you have to sit behind a desk about 20 feet away from the people who are paying you to be in office, you know that something is wrong.
3:14 PM PT: Please note, tomorrow I'm going to have more on several Kansas Town Halls I've collected, I just found this one comment to stand out. Why? Yes, there is context where she doesn't grasp the point, but also because of this: Senator Lynn began this meeting by talking about the telecommunications bill that she originally backed that would have killed rural broadband. (Check some of my earlier diaries). She was originally in favor of that, then finally changed her mind after a lot of pressure. What makes that event important here? Because this election cycle:
She represented them pretty well.
Just a touch more video of this session.. I'm not going to address the longwinded spiel we sat through on why Turn Gay Away legislation is likely to come back up on April 30, I'll get to that tomorrow. But on the subject of education, it is always interesting to see how people look at it. The Schools did 'well'. 'like bandits' and that they don't know why class size is increasing.