Next week we’ll know more of the folks who are going to the Statehouse Prom.
Republican voters in five Senate districts will have made a primary election choice next Tuesday, putting those five winners on the November ballot without major party opposition. In the House, voters in 13 districts will have selected 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats for the general election ballot, and those 13 who won’t have a major party opponent.
Oh, and in the Senate, there are five Republicans and one Democrat who won re-election when their filing check cleared the Secretary of State’s office on June 1, and in the House, there are 24 Republicans and 9 Democrats who have no major party opposition in the primary or general.
This primary election? It was for a handful of potential legislators –
though us Statehouse habitués understand there were some federal candidates at the top of the ballot whose campaigns have so flooded television that we’re not sure what the new Fords are going to look like.
Where will we be next week with the primary over? Well, there will be 10 Republicans and one Democrat elected for the 40-member Senate, and 34 Republicans and 12 Democrats, a total of 46 members of the 125-member House ready for the Statehouse prom.
What’s coming up as a result of filling the rest of those legislative seats three months from now? It depends on just how much time voters want to spend figuring out how they want Kansas to emerge from not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but how much government they want in a year that is going to see a sharp reduction in state revenues caused by the pandemic … and who is going to pick up the tab for that shortfall.
No. 1, of course, will be a decision that was stymied in the Senate last session about expanding Medicaid in Kansas to more than 100,000 Kansans who don’t have health insurance, and thousands more who lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The old GOP standard “get a job, get insured” has faded considerably because those jobs are now fading.
And the congenital debate over abortion remains a scrap over whether Kansans will put a leash on the Kansas Supreme Court, preventing it from having the final check-off on legislative attempts to restrict abortions in Kansas. Practically, that comes down to two battles: first, whether the Legislature on your behalf believes that abortion should be restricted, and second, whether a constitutional amendment to give lawmakers a free hand to limit the procedure will be offered in 2022, and on the same ballot as the governor – or some special election before that where the decision will be made by a much smaller crowd of voters.
And that budget shortfall. Barring a $1 billion-or-so federal program that would allow the state to bolster its pandemic-shrunk budget, it’s likely to come down to what not to vote to spend money on, or who pays for maintaining current programs.
Let’s see, there’s always the State Highway Fund, or the “Bank of KDOT” that has been used in the past that essentially sees our highway system fade, or pulling money out of social programs, schools (if the Supreme Court allows it, and chances are slim there) or just simply raising taxes. That could range from a new income tax bracket atop the state’s three, to raising smaller taxes, like liquor, cigarettes, and some others that many don’t notice.
So, we’re hoping you had a good time at the primary election. The real decisions on what Kansas is going to look like are still to come, a result of the ongoing building this year of the 2021 Legislature.
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report – to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com