This week's meeting of the Barton County Commission has provided much to think about. Listening to the county administrator, ABBB auditors and the county's software provider elaborate on the reconciliation and record keeping issues in the Treasurer's Office was nauseating.
"I do not know if everyone realizes how serious the drought situation is for Barton County and the State of Kansas," Barton County Emergency Manager Amy Miller said. She was responding to an announcement from Governor Sam Brownback's office last week updated the state's Drought Declaration for Kansas which now includes all 105 counties either in an emergency, warning or watch status.
What will Kansas do, with thousands of potential voters in limbo? Kansas and Arizona passed laws requiring people to show proof of citizenship if they want to register to vote. But anyone who registers using the federal "motor voter" form just has to say he or she is a citizen. In January, Barton County had 315 "suspense voters," and 200 of those registrations were pending because proof of citizenship had not been submitted.
Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and eastern Colorado are hot and dry. According to the National Weather Service, rain over the last four years, in parts of these states has been less than what fell during a similar period in the 1930s.
Our combat veterans who have served in any war have performed a tremendous service to the U.S. Those who have not served in a war zone can only see glimpses of the horrors faced by our warriors through movies such as "We Were Soldiers" or "Saving Private Ryan."
At least for now, Kansas and Arizona residents can keep registering to vote with a federal form and without having to show proof of citizenship, thanks to a federal appeals court ruling handed down Thursday.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and the legislature enacted massive tax cuts in 2012, eliminating state taxes on the profits from 191,000 small businesses, including those owned by highly compensated professionals. The top income tax rate was lowered from 6.45 percent to 4.9 percent. The lowest income tax bracket is 3 percent.
In response to the rapid and severe decline of the lesser prairie-chicken, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March announced the final listing of the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as well as a special rule under the ESA that will limit regulatory impacts on landowners and businesses from this listing. Under the law, a "threatened" listing means the species is likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future; it is a step below "endangered" and allows for more flexibility in how the act's protections are implemented.