Wednesday, June 15, 2005

What's the matter with Kansas?

Well, there's a lot the matter with Kansas. But specifically, the state Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to increase spending by $285 million and they only came up with half of it. Now, a Democratic Governor and a Republican Legislature have to try to figure out in a special session how to come up with the rest.

This is interesting for a lot of reasons:

  1. Many conservatives want to defy the Court. They say the judicial branch does not have the authority to prescribe, only to diagnose. They may -- may -- have a point. No, I don't agree with them politically, but in principle, they've got a point. If the Lege and Governor can't find a compromise and come up with the money, what happens then?
    1. The schools close.
    2. The case is appealed by uber-conservative Attorney General Phill King to the US Supreme Court.
    3. The Court tells the Lege exactly what to do. (All three of those possibilities are unprecedented to my knowledge.)
  2. The Democratic Governor (Kathleen Sebelius) wants to use gambling revenues to come up with the money. It would work, but is it worth it? Is the political will there? Is that a reasonable long term solution?
  3. Sebelius has called the first special session in Kansas in 15 years.

This is definitely one to watch. More info here.

Update: The Arkansas Supreme Court this week also agreed (in a bitterly divided 4-3 decision) to review the Legislature's actions towards adequacy and equity. For an excellent synopsis of the fascinating situation unfolding there, click here.

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