Former House Majority Leader Republican Representative Don Hineman of Dighton said the Legislature got its work done this year.
“Our only Constitutional obligation is to pass a budget each year,” said Hineman. “We did that late Saturday night. It’s a good, responsible budget, somewhat larger than a year ago. That’s a reflection of the fact that over the last almost a decade state budgets have really been cramped, both by the recession and some of our own self-imposed actions. There are some needs within state government that have built up and have needed to be addressed. This budget was a step toward addressing some of those needs.”
The Farm Bureau health care coverage alternative was allowed to become law without the Governor’s signature. It was a measure Hineman supported.
“It was conceived by Farm Bureau out of frustration with the fact that our health care delivery system in the U.S. is broken,” said Hineman. “It’s a very expensive system. Insurance products are really increasing to the point to where they’re out of reach of many folks. That includes farmers and ranchers who have to buy their insurance on the open market.”
Hineman also supported the passage of the inflation adjustment for education, but he sincerely hopes this is the end to the Gannon case.
“Even those of us that have always been staunch defenders of public education in Kansas are starting to think enough is enough,” said Hineman. “At some point, if the Court pushes us hard enough, there will be a serious look at a Constitutional Amendment to change what the Constitution says about funding public education.”
That proposition is risky for rural Kansas, because some future more urbanized legislature could, in theory, disequalize funding if Article VI is not there as a backstop.