Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. -- Winston Churchill

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. -- Galileo Galilei

I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell. -- Harry Truman

Location: Wichita, Kansas

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Kansas Illegal Immigrant Tuition Bill Gets Second Vote

It sounds like we were not the only one that thought Rep. John Edmonds, R-Great Bend, was attempting a dubious move with a specious excuse. The issue is the bill sponsored by Rep. Becky Hutchins, R-Holton, to reverse illegal immigrant in-state tuition at state universities and colleges. Edmunds, who is Chairman of the Federal and State Affairs Committee, killed the bill, breaking his assurances to Hutchins. His excuse was that he “didn't want to force colleagues in the House to face the politically difficult choice of voting to keep the law in place.”

Now we learn that caused so much controversy that House leaders have taken the unusual step of pushing the Chairman into allowing a re-vote on the bill. The AP quotes Edmonds - "Any vote on this bill is a bad vote in some of our members' districts, and I think there's no point in putting those votes on record if it's not even going to clear the House," said Edmonds, R-Great Bend. "But I'm going to reconsider this bill again because my speaker asked me to."

We have the same reaction to this latest quote as we had to the first. It is the responsibility of our legislators to both vote on “difficult choices” and put their votes “on record”. To suggest otherwise – let alone subvert that process from happening - is nonsense. Such political gaming and running from accountability for decisions is exactly what we should not tolerate from any Kansas legislator.

In this case at least, they did not get away with it. How HB 2615 proceeds from this point should be under close scrutiny. Regardless of whether you support the bill or not, it should be decided in the open with our legislators having the opportunity to vote on it and and their constituents having the opportunity to know what their vote was. That is called representative democracy.

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