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Marriage | Education | Energy | Taxes and Fiscal Policy | Life Issues | Judical Activism
Second Amendment | Immigration | Reforming Our Criminal Justice System | Federalism
TAXES AND FISCAL POLICY
In 2010 U.S. News & World Report named Kansas 1 of 10 states where taxes were increasing the most. This was in large part due to passage of an 18% increase in the state sales tax, a tax that I vigorously opposed. This year Governor Brownback took decisive action to reduce taxes for all Kansans. Economists predict the plan our Governor signed will add more that 25,000 private sector jobs to the Kansas economy. I stood with the Governor to support this Republican plan to help Kansas families and businesses. For far too many years Kansas developed the habit of spending more than projected revenues, and growing government faster than the economy as a whole. In fiscal year 2012, in the midst of an ailing economy, a budget was enacted that spent $200 million above revenue projections at the time and raised state general fund spending by approximately $380 million. I opposed this budget because Kansas government, just like Kansas families, must live within its means. Given strong leadership by fiscal conservatives I am pleased to report that in we have now enacted a fiscally responsible budget for fiscal year 2013.
One key component to restoring fiscal responsibility to must start with reforming our existing school finance formula to allow greater local control by voters and elected schools boards. K-12 education accounts for over ½ of the state general fund budget and state aid to schools increased some $800 million from FY 2005 through FY 2012. Yet despite this investment our local school districts in Johnson County remain at a disadvantage because of inherent flaws in the current finance formula. I have proposed specific solutions to provide more equitable funding alternatives for Johnson County that focus on recognizing the recognizing the diverse needs of the close to 300 school district across the state and empowering local communities to make the best choices for their children. Restoring fiscal responsibility will also require reforming the way Kansas government does business. This begins by evaluating every agency, every department and every program in order to require accountability to clearly defined and measurable public policy goals. All too often government waste and inefficiency are a byproduct of a system that fails to ask the most basic questions regarding why a given program exists and whether it is in fact serving its intended purpose.
The only long term solution to our budget challenges must combine fiscal discipline with economic growth. This requires a tax policy that promotes investment and wealth creation. We must reform our property tax system to limit stealth tax increases created by reappraisals. We should also provide greater tax relief to families with children, follow through on elimination of the estate tax and avoid gimmicks in favor of comprehensive reforms that should include rolling back the 2010 sales tax increases and eliminating taxes that discourage capital investment. I also support the Taxpayer Protection Act, which would make it more difficult to raise taxes on Kansans -- read more about this act in this press release.
For more information on my philosophy on taxation, please read my Comments on Taxation and Spending from mid-2005.
For a good overview of the budgeting process in Kansas I encourage you to take a moment to view this attached power point presentation prepared by Rep. Kasha Kelley (R- ArkCity).
For more information on my views on taxation, please read my Comments on Taxation and Spending from mid-2005.
STRENGTHENING OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Government has no more crucial role than protecting the safety of its citizens. Reforming our criminal justice system to stiffen penalties against violent offenders and reduce recidivism is among my top priorities. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee & vice-chairman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee Judiciary Committee Rep. Kinzer a long record of strong support for policies that keep Kansans safe. In 2006 It was my great honor to be chosen to carry "Jessica's Law" on the floor of the Kansas House. This legislation provides a mandatory penalty of 25 years to life for first time child sex offenders. For more information on this important legislation look here:
In 2012 Rep. Kinzer carried numerous important criminal law bills on the House floor. Among them were HB 2465 which addresses a recent Kansas Supreme Court Opinion (State v. Jolly) in which the Court set aside the sentence of a man who had pled guilty to raping a 12 year old girl. In particular HB 2485 would reestablish the ability of the Trial Court to sentence such offenders to lifetime electronic monitoring after completion of their prison sentence. For more information with respect to this bill visit this link. Rep. Kinzer also carried HB 2613 which extends the period for which victims of stalking or domestic violence can receive protective orders for more information on this legislation look here.
In 2011 Rep. Kinzer introduced three bills which were drafted in conjunction with Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe to combat identity theft, home-improvement fraud and several other white-collar crimes.
“These bills help law-enforcement officers protect Kansans by giving them the tools necessary to capture and punish criminals who prey on victims using identity theft, home improvement crimes and other fraudulent acts,” said District Attorney Howe.
HB 2008, which became law, increased the penalty for identity theft or fraud from a non-person crime to a person felony with a corresponding increase in possible punishment. HB 2009 sought to establishes a distinct crime when contractors engage in fraud or theft in association with home improvement projects.
HB 2010, which became law, added identity theft, mistreatment of a dependent adult, writing a worthless check, forgery and use of a false financial card to the forfeiture statute. This gives law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to seize property gained from these criminal acts. “Identity theft is serious crime and must be treated as such,” said Representative Kinzer. “It wreaks havoc in the lives of victims costing them significant amounts of time and money. The penalty for identity theft should match the severity of the crime.”
In 2010 Rep. Kinzer’s Bill, HB 2435, became law. It was introduced in response to two Kansas Supreme Court decisions that had the effect of reducing criminal sentences for sex offenders in Kansas . In May, 2009 in the case of State v. Horn the Kansas Supreme Court invalidated the imposition of enhanced sentences for individuals convicted of attempting to commit a sexually violent crime against a child. This decision was followed by an October, 2009 opinion in the case of State v. Trautloff in which the Court ruled that the Kansas habitual sex offender statute does not apply to individuals who were convicted of multiple sex offenses on the same day.
Horn was convicted of attempted aggravated criminal sodomy of a child under the age of 14 and was sentenced to a minimum 25 years under Jessica's law. The Kansas Supreme Court invalidated this sentence and required that Horn be re-sentenced under a more lenient general attempts statute. HB 2435 restores the clear intent of Jessica's law to impose significant mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offenders.
In 1996 Trautloff was convicted of rape of an 8 year old, aggravated indecent liberties with another 8 year old, and a further count of aggravated indecent liberties with a 9 year old. (One of the aggravated indecent liberties convictions was subsequently overturned). More than a decade latter Trautloff was convicted of rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated indecent liberties with a child and sexual exploitation of a child all resulting from a scheme in which Trautloff paid for sex with a seven year old girl. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole under the Kansas habitual sex offender statute. The Kansas Supreme Court invalidated this sentence because the 1996 convictions had been adjudicated on the same day and as such, in the view of the Court, were not separate conviction events. HB 2435 makes it clear that this any person convicted of two or more sexually violent crimes is a habitual sex offender.
On April 11, 2008 Gov. Sebelius signed SB 477 into law. Rep. carried HB 477 on the House floor. This bill amended Kansas law to add electronic solicitation to the list of sexually violent crimes requiring post release registration pursuant to the Kansas Offender Registration Act. The Kansas Offender Registry is an online resource that alerts citizens to offenders living in their community. To view the Offender Registry please visit this link.
Rep. Kinzer also co-sponsored HB 2732, a bill that was passed and signed by the Governor. Under this bill judges are now prohibited from granting probation to people convicted of committing crimes of extreme sexual violence and restricts the ability of judges to reduce the prison time required by the Kansas sentencing guidelines for such crimes. The need for such reform in Kansas is evidenced by several recent cases. For example:
Rep. Kinzer's work to protect Kansas citizens has been recognized by the Kansas County and District Attorney's Association.
- Orlando Paul Cisneros, a 38-yearold Topeka man convicted by a jury of 17 counts of raping and sodomizing a 14-year-old girl, received a sentence of only a three-years probation.
- Probation was granted to Nicholas Lee Crites after he was convicted of aggravated indecent liberties against a 15-year-old girl. Sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of nearly five years.
- Federico Mendoza, a 34-year-old man convicted of electronic solicitation of a child was sentenced to only three-years of probation. HB 2332 passed the House but stalled in the Senate. As a member of the judiciary conference committee Rep. Kinzer pushed the Senate to include the provisions of HB 2732 in a new bill. At the end of the 2008 session the Senate agreed and passed a new bill HB 2707 that included these important new restrictions.
While immigration policy is largely a federal issue the State does have a role to play. I believe that all people are entitled to be treated with dignity and to be afforded basic human rights. That having been said, civil benefits such as in-state tuition, welfare benefits and voting rights should not be extended to those who are in this country unlawfully. The United States has both a right and an obligation to enforce an orderly and lawful immigration system. Policies that provide incentives for people to skirt the law are inherently counterproductive and must be reformed.
With this in mind:
I have repeatedly carried on the House floor a measure that would have repealed the current Kansas law that allows undocumented students to receive in-state tuition at Kansas Universities.
I also have repeatedly introduced and or supported legislation that would restrict the receipt of public benefit by those not lawfully present in the United States; require more stringent "proof of citizenship requirements" for voting; enhance penalties against employers who knowingly hire unauthorized aliens; encourage State and local law enforcement to support the enforcement of federal immigration law; deny drivers licenses to illegal aliens; and many similar proposals.
To see more information on my work promoting the voter ID bill that passed the Kansas Legislature < ahref="http://kansas.watchdog.org/6165/secetary-of-state-kobach-introduces-voter-id-bill/">look here.
To see my testimony on my bill restricting public benefits for unauthorized aliens look here.
Abortion - I am strongly pro-life and am proud to have received a 100% rating from Kansans for Life during my time in the legislature.
During the 2012 session the legislature passed and the Governor signed my Healthcare Rights of Conscience proposal. This bill updates Kansas law that has been on the books for 40 years protecting healthcare professionals from being coerced to perform abortion or sterilization procedures to which they morally object. This law protects the basic value that we should never force anyone to perform an action he or she believes to be wrong, unless there is a very strong reason, not merely to have the action performed, but to insist that even those who find it wrong must perform it.
During the 2011 session my bill (HB 2218) My bill to provide enhanced legal protection for late term unborn children who are capable of feeling pain became law.
House Substitute for SB 36, which I also drafted, became law in 2011 as well. Among other things this bill strengthening Kansas law with respect to late term abortions performed on unborn babies capable of living outside the womb. Under this bill Kansas doctors who perform such abortions would be have been required to state the specific medical diagnosis justifying compliance of the existing legal standard limiting such abortions to cases of “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the mother.”
Also in 2011 my bill (HB 2218) placing basic health, safety and sanitation requirements on abortion clinics in Kansas passed and became law. This bill ensures that women who do have abortions in Kansas will have the benefit of the same health and welfare standards fund in many other states.
In 2009 my bill the “Woman’s Right to Know and See Act” became law. Under this law women considering abortions now have greater access to information, including an opportunity to view a sonogram of their unborn child if they so choose. Women now receive a list of free sonogram locations and information regarding free counseling and services for medically challenging pregnancies and contacts for free perinatal hospice services.
During the 2007 legislative session I carried HB 2006, also known as Alexa's Law. This bill recognizes a separate crime where an unborn child is killed or injured by the criminal conduct of a third party. Currently 36 states have fetal homicide laws in effect. While these bills differ in their exact language they have a similar purpose of recognizing a distinct crime associated with death or injury to an unborn child. Nationally this issue gained much attention in the Laci Peterson case; in Kansas the June 2006 murder of Chelsea Brooks and the death of her unborn child has created a significant degree of public concern regarding the lack of "fetal homicide" legislation in Kansas. My leadership helped fend of hostile amendments on the House Floor as Alexa's law gained approval.
Human Cloning - I oppose the use of technology that creates and then destroys human embryos for the purpose of medical experimentation. Embryonic stem cell research is fraught with ethical problems and fails to deliver on its proponents promises of medical cures. For a quick overview of issues related to stem cell research please view this power point presentation: What is Stem Cell Research?
An excellent article exploring this seemingly complex issue can be found here.
For a more complete consideration of my views on this matter you can read a speech I delivered to the Blue Valley Rotary Club.
While embryonic stem cell research has failed to produce medical treatments, there has been great success in the area of non-embryonic stem cells. Indeed all current stem cell related medical treatments are the result of ethical non-embryonic research. I support making Kansas a world wide leader in non-embryonic stem cell research. In particular I support the establishment of a Non-Embryonic Adult Stem Cell Research Fund to advance successful and ethical research in the state of Kansas. Private donors would receive tax credits and the Bioscience Authority would award grants based on specific research requests dependent on the fund balance and the type of research. Lance also supports the establishment of a Kansas Umbilical Cord Bank Fund that will provide grants to help establish or expand private umbilical cord bank organizations. Umbilical Cords are among the best sources of non-embryonic stem cells. To be eligible, a bank must gather, collect and preserve umbilical cords and placentas only from live births. Umbilical cords also must be primarily distributed to recipients who are unrelated to the donors. Private donors would receive tax credits and the Bioscience Authority would award grants based on specific criteria.
In 2007, K-State Scientists recognized Rep. Kinzer for support of ethical umbilical cord matrix stem cell research. Read the release here.
End Of Life Issues - I believe that all life is precious. Sadly, in our day there are some for whom a concept of social utility has replaced the notion of inherent human dignity. The losers in this ethical sea change have been the elderly, the poor, the disabled and the unborn. I agree with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop when he noted that"... we must be wary of those who are too willing to end the lives of the elderly and the ill. If we ever decide that a poor quality of life justifies ending that life, we have taken a step down a slippery slope that places all of us in danger. “ For more information on my position on end of life issues please see my testimony regarding HB 2849.
Providing the opportunity for a high quality education to all Kansas children is among the primary, task of the legislature. Unfortunately, the current funding formula is a rigged game where Johnson County pays the bill but receives less than a fair share of education dollars. I have spearheaded efforts to provide enhanced local funding options for Johnson County Schools. I strongly support a new funding formula which will allow the people to support their local schools without limitation based upon a local vote of the people. As the father of two children in public school, and the husband of a public school teacher, I will continue to fight for our schools.
For a more detailed summary of my efforts in this regard and how they relate to the overall fiscal condition of the state please look here.
To see an overview of historical data on local state and federal expenditures on education in Kansas look here.
Education in Kansas must be kid focused, not system focused. I am a product of Johnson County public schools, and as noted above both of my children attend public school in Olathe and my wife teaches in the district. I am extremely grateful to the educators in this community for the fine job they do. I am convinced that local control coupled with accountability is vital. To maintain excellence going forward we must be innovative and efficient in our expenditure of taxpayer dollars. K - 12 education makes up over 1/2 of the State General Fund budget, but we are not doing enough to make sure these dollars get to the classroom. Studies have shown that Kansas schools have among the highest administrative overhead in the nation. I favor reducing the number of school districts in the state, allowing local districts the ability (with voter approval) to raise more revenue at the local level, targeting state dollars to the core requirements necessary to provide a suitable education for all students, and providing greater flexibility for parents to choose the best educational options for their children.
During my time in the legislature I have worked to pass school finance plans that would: 1) increase local control; 2) provide a fair percentage of state dollars to Johnson County schools; 3) be affordable in the overall context of the state budget; 4) include reasonable accountability measures. During my years in the legislature I have voted in favor of proposals to add hundreds of millions of dollars in K-12 spending increases, including my vote for an FY 2013 budget that added $50 million in new school spending, That said, I do not support the current school finance structure and agree with the Governor that a simplified formula that removes limitations on voter approved local funding initiatives is needed..
I have always done my best to work with other Johnson County legislators to support funding formula reform. A typical example of my work in this area can be see by looking at just obe bill in 2008, Bill 531. This bill, while adding some state dollars to the bases state aid amount, would have perpetuated and in some ways worsened the current inequitable distribution of K-12 funding in Kansas. Prior to the final vote on SB 531, I offered two floor amendments that would have reformed the current school finance formula to deal more equitably with suburban school districts. In particular I offered a proposal to reallocate proposed increases in K- 12 funding away from base aid (which disproportionately benefits rural and high density urban districts) and toward high enrollment weighting. I further offered an amendment that would have linked enhanced high enrollment weighting to future increases in base state aid. Under current law rural districts receive up to 100% weighting above base state aid, thus creating a windfall when that aid is increased. On the other hand large suburban districts receive no more than 3% weighting under similar circumstances. After these amendments failed I joined many of my Johnson County Colleagues in the following explanation of vote:
“MR. SPEAKER: We vote no on SB 531. This bill does not address the inequities in funding that our schools suffer in Johnson County. A school funding formula that pays some school districts much more than 100% of actual costs while denying adequate funding to others should be amended. We have for so long argued and voted for more money for all Kansas schools although Johnson County continues to be number 269 out of 298 in per pupil funding. We can no long support a flawed funding formula.— Kay Wolf, Sheryl Spalding, Terrie Huntington, Ron Worley, Arlen Siegfreid, Anthony Brown, Kevin Yoder, Jill Quigley, Mike Kiegerl, Lance Kinzer, Pat Colloton, Jeff Colyer, Rob Olson, Thomas Owens, Ben Hodge, Ronnie Metsker, Judy Morrison, Ray Merrick.”
For more information about my efforts to reform school finance look here:
I have also repeatedly proposed legislation to expand educational opportunities for special needs students. To view my further thoughts on this on this issue look here.
A great deal of media attention has been
directed to the Holcomb power plant issue.
Regardless of the political rancor associated
with this issue one positive is the opportunity
this discussion provides to address long
term energy policy for Kansas. I do not think
that our current 75% reliance on coal is sustainable
or desirable over the long term. As
such I have long advocated for a state energy
policy that works to incentivize development
and implementation of alternative energy
technologies. While I believe that the proposals
considered by the legislature this year
could have been improved in many ways I
did vote in favor of House Substitute for SB
148 and SB 327. To understand why I think
it is helpful to first give consideration to the
actual provisions of these bills, summaries of
which can be found here:
It is my sincere belief that these bills would have done much more to move Kansas away from long term dependence on coal than any existing provision of Kansas law. In all candor, I also believe these bills addresses a real abuse of power by the Kansas
Department of Health & Environment in failing to properly apply existing law to the
permit applications by Sunflower.
All this having been said, for me the
crucial question is one of good
stewardship. Regardless of the potential
economic benefits of Holcomb,
or the political ramifications of voting
one way or another, the higher
obligation was to ask how SB 148
and SB 327, taken as a whole, interact
with our obligations to act with
care in the use of natural resources,
and with due concern for the implication
of our actions on posterity.
With this in mind I truly do believe that
SB 148 & SB 327 would have hastened
the transition to renewable energy and
as such were in the best
interests of the citizens of Kansas . Of
course I fully understand and respect
the fact that people of good will can
reach different conclusions on this matter.
Regardless of one's opinion as to these
specific bills I think most people can
agree that the heightened attention
given to energy policy in Kansas is a
good thing and provides us with a valuable
opportunity in the coming months
to step away from the politics of the Holcomb
issue and give serious consideration
to comprehensive energy policy in Kansas .
Among the most crucial issues facing the State of Kansas is this: Will
the legislature take action to defend the right of the people to
the appropriations power through the electoral process? The Kansas
Supreme Court has challenged this principle by boldly asserting that is
has the authority to direct how much taxpayer money will be spent of K
12 education in Kansas. The best resolution to this separation of
problem involves recalling that under our system of government it is
people, not the legislature or the courts who are ultimately sovereign.
And that as such the people, through the constitutional amendment
process, should be allowed to resolve this issue. It is for this reason
that I introduced an amendment that would clarify that appropriations
must be made via the democratic process, not by judicial edict. For more insight into my
views, please read my testimony before the Judiciary Committee on this important issue.
Professor Stephen McAllister of the University of Kansas School of Law
filed a brief with the Kansas Supreme Court setting forth the folly of
the Court's reasoning in the school finance case mentioned above. Click
on this link for to see the brief: KU Law Professor and Former Dean Exposes Court’s Flawed Reasoning in Montoy.
I also favor reforming our appellate court judicial selection process
allow greater openness and accountability. For more information on my
specific proposals in this regard please read the following:
Testimony on HB5031 and 2799, Judicial selection reform bills I introduced in 2008, here.
Testimony before the
House Judiciary Committee from February 8, 2006, here.
Testimony on HCR 5008 here.
KU Law Professer Stephen Ware recently discussed Judicial Selection in Kansas in a white paper that you can read here.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms is a crucial
constitutional protection. I was proud to support the right of law
abiding Kansas Citizens to carry firearms for self defense. I am
pleased that Kansas has now joined 46 other states in recognizing this
important right. I am a strong proponent of the "Castle Doctrine" and
believe that the right to stand and defend oneself from violence should
be clearly defined to include any place you have a lawful right to be.
While responsible use of firearms must be protected, those who abuse
this right must be severely punished. I support laws that provide
increased penalties for those who use firearms in the commission of a
The Kansas State Rifle Association has endorsed Lance Kinzer for re-election. In a letter to Lance, PAC President Patricia Stoneking said the following:
"You have consistently demonstrated a sincere and unwavering support for the most fundamental meaning of the Second Amendment. Your voting record reflects a long history of working towards protecting the Second Amendment rights of Kansans and exemplifies the character and nature of a true patriot."
The full release can be found by clicking here.
Both in Committee and on the House Floor I helped lead the successful effort to pass a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting same sex marriage and civil unions. For more information on my views on Marriage, view my comments on the Marriage Amendment, passed in 2005.
Domestic Partnership Ordinances – I appeared before the House Federal & State Affairs Committee on HB 2299 which would prohibit local government entities from establishing domestic partnership registries. Such registries would be contrary to the traditional practice of governing domestic relations via state laws of general applicability. Furthermore, implementation of domestic partnership registries at the local level could set up legal challenges to the 2005 marriage amendment which was passed by an overwhelming majority of Kansas voters. For more of my thoughts on this issue look here.
The 10th Amendment provides that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This amendment along with the entire structure establishes the federal government as an entity with limited powers. All too often the federal government has gone beyond its proper role imposing burdensome mandates on the state. Among the most prominent is the recent federal health care bill. While reforming our existing system to contain costs is a necessity, the bill that passed takes an ill advised top down approach and violates crucial constitutional limitations in its imposition of an individual insurance mandate. During the 2010 legislative session I provided testimony in favor of HR 6036, a resolution from the House challenging the Constitutionality of the new federal health care law. To read this testimony, click here.
For more insight into my basic approach to government please visit the
following link: http://www.kirkcenter.org/kirk/ten-principles.html. It
sets forth ten basic conservative principles that sum up my beliefs.
For questions or comments, please contact me at 913-782-5885 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.