To the editor:
Our Founding Fathers made the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and the accompanying checks and balances the core of the Constitution. For 243 years, we have enjoyed the democratic liberty that this separation provides.
The legislature can override a governor’s veto and force the executive branch to do what the legislature wants. But governors do not just materialize out of the ether. We voters elect them. That is why our separation of power requires a two-thirds vote to override a governor.
But this two-thirds requirement thwarts the ambitions of political bosses and dark money funded propaganda organizations that seek to empower themselves to better serve their narrow interests. Welcome to the proposed legislative veto amendment that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. It would change the two-thirds majority requirement to a simple majority to revoke any or all rules and regulations issued by the governor’s executive office.
An example of how our current legislature caters to the whims of dark money funded propaganda organizations was evident at the Feb. 16 hearing on the parental rights bill HB 2662 by the House Committee on K-12 Education Budget. There were only six proponent testimonies, all from dark money funded political propaganda platforms, three of them from out of state. There were 135 opponent testimonies. Ten were from organizations that publish propaganda and five were from member-oriented organizations such as the League of Women Voters, Kansas State Nurses Association and Kansas Association of School Boards. The remaining 120 opponents were seven school districts and private citizens including teachers. Without a single private Kansas resident testifying in favor of the bill, the committee complied with the desires of the dark money funded propaganda organizations and voted to forward it to the full House recommending it be approved.
This bill did not become law because it would have required a two-thirds majority vote to overcome a certain veto from the Governor. That is the protection from extremism and dark money that our nation’s heritage of separation of powers provides us. That is what the political bosses promoting this amendment want to take away.
Any shortcomings in our regulations can be fixed. But it takes our legislature doing the hard work of making good law. With this proposed amendment, political bosses want to empower themselves with political advantage and dodge their accountability for good legislating.
Please do not abandon the protection that our separation of powers provides. We cannot preserve our liberty while gutting a foundation of our constitution. Please vote no to the adoption of the legislative veto amendment on Nov. 8.