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Editorial Roundup: Kansas


Kansas City Star. June 8, 2023.

Editorial: What kind of world is it that trans people have to beg for sanctuary in KC, Lawrence?

Do you smell smoke? Yes, you do, and that’s because the planet is on fire. Yet too many of our GOP Kansas and Missouri electeds have elected to concentrate instead on just-for-fun matters like torturing our tiny minority of transgender people.

(“What did you do for the world, Grandpa?” “Son, I made sure that folks used the bathroom they were born with, or else were chased through the streets like criminals, hehehe.” “Oh, OK.”)

As a result, trans Kansans have to worry about the new state law, effective as of July 1, that requires transgender people to use the bathrooms assigned by their birth certificates.

Will some cavalry we don’t know about be available to enforce this regulation of who poops where, or will our God knows well-armed self-appointed militia be available to make sure nobody goes where they shouldn’t?

Because of all that could go wrong, dozens of people cried out to the Lawrence City Commission this week, begging commissioners to make the blue island of Lawrence a sanctuary city for transgender and nonbinary people.

This comes on the heels of Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and an 11-1 majority of the City Council (Heather Hall was a no) passing a resolution telling city workers not to participate in the state-sanctioned bigotry of the multiple anti-LGBT laws Republicans in Jeff City passed this session.

That these leaders felt compelled to do that is heartbreaking.

To us, “sanctuary” evokes images of Tutsi looking in vain for shelter in the Rwandan churches where they were murdered anyway by their former Hutu neighbors.

Kansans, is this war on trans people really a door-to-door manhunt that the Free State will look back on in pride?

Missourians, is there really no more pressing issue, and no better way to spend the brief time we’re given here?

What is it we should be afraid of?

Those who came to the meeting to speak asked the commissioners in Lawrence to create an ordinance in response to the new Kansas law.

Some told the commission that they had already been chased from public bathrooms, and threatened.

Sylvie Althoff, a local trans business owner, told commissioners that as soon as the law goes into effect, she will in essence be criminalized for leaving her house.

Many speakers urged the Lawrence Police Department to adopt a policy making clear that officers would not arrest trans people for using a bathroom that the state says they can’t use.

We hope they do that.

Whatever Lawrence decides, the city’s designation as a sanctuary would be almost entirely symbolic, especially since the lawmaking supermajority in Kansas is not interested in protecting the weak from the powerful. Oh, on the contrary.

But whenever this fever breaks, and may it be soon, there will be no medals handed out to those who most harrowingly hounded the vulnerable.


Capital-Journal. June 9, 2023.

Editorial: Kansas owes much to these leaders, who helped craft U.S. farm policy for decades

Agriculture is tied to virtually everything in Kansas. It’s the backbone of our economy. There’s a plow on our state seal. Our state’s nicknames come from crops: wheat and sunflower.

As a result the U.S. farm bills have had tremendous influence over the success of Kansas and the prosperity of Kansans.

The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Jason Tidd reports that for the first time in decades, writing of the farm bill won’t be influenced by a pair of prominent Kansas agricultural policy leaders: former U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and the late Barry Flinchbaugh, who was a professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University.

Farm bills are typically renewed about every five years, combining wide-ranging agricultural policy with nutrition programs, including food stamps.

Roberts, who retired when his term ended in 2021, ended a 40-year congressional career that included chairing the agriculture committees in first the House and then the Senate.

Flinchbaugh, who died in 2020, helped craft farm bills for nearly five decades while educating generations of policymakers.

Kansas is indebted to these men for their efforts and influence.

“They traveled, they listened and they wanted to make the state and the nation, quite frankly, a better place,” Kansas Farm Bureau senior director of public policy Ryan Flickner said of Roberts and Flinchbaugh. “So I hope Kansans really truly have a deep understanding and gratitude for both individuals.”

Over the course of their careers, these two advocated for policies that helped farmers. They compromised, leveraged their experience and expertise to help farmers get the necessary resources and government support to feed not only Kansas, but the nation and the world.

Flinchbaugh was a prolific speaker and policy adviser to both major political parties. Roberts wielded a tremendous amount of power in the capital, President Trump openly referred to him as the “farm guy.”

“Kansas, for rightly or wrongly, probably had more than its weight, so to speak, in terms of farm bill policy,” K-State professor Alan Featherstone told The Capital-Journal.

There’s not enough space on the editorial page to emphasize how important their influence was. Instead, we’ll simply say thank you. Your tireless work on countless farm bills and ag policies made life easier for our nation’s farmers. We know that had spillover into the rest of Kansas and the U.S.

Sen. Roberts, please know we haven’t forgotten what you did for our state. We deeply appreciate your dedication to agriculture in and out of Kansas. To K-State and the Flinchbaugh family, please know we miss Barry very much. His legacy lives on through the many pupils he taught in the classroom and through policymaking.