Spectacle infused with election politics

This year, governor is also a candidate

By The Mercury

The Kansas Legislature convened this week in a session that will likely be dominated by school finance and the upcoming election season.

School finance, a perennial issue, will be of particular interest in the coming weeks as lawmakers and school districts await the Kansas Supreme Court ruling on a lower court decision that ordered the Legislature to substantially increase funding for public schools.

As for the shadow of the election, it never completely disappears. But this year, as is the case every four years when the terms expire for the entire Kansas Senate as well as the House of Representatives and state officeholders, the election shadow will likely be more conspicuous.

If it hasn’t been apparent yet, it will be tonight. That’s when Gov. Sam Brownback will present his annual State of the State Address before a joint session of the Legislature at 6:30 p.m., recapping his accomplishments and outlining his legislative priorities for the coming session.

Not coincidentally, Gov. Brownback will be among candidates in the House chamber. He is seeking another four years in Cedar Crest. Also present will be the governor’s chief gubernatoral rival, House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat. And also not coincidentally, it will be Rep. Davis who offers the Democrats’ response to the governor’s remarks.

The State of the State address has long been part of the spectacle the first week of every legislative session; the opposition party’s response, though a fairly recent development, could be more enlightening than usual tonight. We urge Kansans of every political persuasion to tune in this evening.

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