Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 117
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for December 13, 2001

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

The state legislature is only a month away from opening the 2002 session, and the legislators are already jockeying for new ways to spend money they don’t have. Over 1,000 bills have been prefiled in the state House of Representatives, and it’s instructive to see what area politicians are up to.

121st District representative Deleta Williams has been busy. She’s introduced the long-dead Equal Rights Amendment once again. Personally, I dislike changing the U.S. Constitution for feel-good issues that have long been settled legislatively and judicially. Conservatives oppose the ERA because they see it as an open door for more government intrusion and mischief. Rep. Williams is also co-sponsoring HB-1068, which would prohibit gender discrimination in public schools. Just as federal Title IX rules have caused the elimination of college teams to achieve some sort of sports "equity," this would give school boards the choice of spending tax money to add more girls’ sports or dropping boys’ sports to achieve equity. Meanwhile, I wonder why senior citizens should be required to pay for anybody’s child to play varsity sports.

Rep. Williams also co-sponsors HB-1130 and HB-1131, which require the state, local schools and colleges to promote something called "service learning." According to the bill, "’service-learning programs and projects’"means structured, school district-approved opportunities for students to engage in community service that are integrally related to the student's academic classroom activities." What it really means is they want to push students toward volunteering to assist politically correct activities in their communities, and proponents want schools to give classroom credit and taxpayers to fund it. This certainly lends itself to the possibility of abuse; can you see schools rewarding kids who work on an “educational” campaign for a school bond issue while dismissing efforts of those working to oppose it?

Rep. Cooper, whose 120th district covers much of Johnson County, also has a school-related bill. His HB-1040 would require schools to have a program or otherwise explain the significance of Veterans Day. Last year I’d have said this was too controversial and would never pass, but maybe it has a chance this year.

The legislature failed on one important task left over from last year, redistricting. As I’ve written before, they tried to carve up the state to protect political fiefdoms. I’m told that one plan had Johnson County split among even more districts than the three we’re in now. A panel of judges will decide this issue by the end of the month. Then, we’ll know if any of our prospective legislative candidates have been gerrymandered out of the district.

A 1950’s sci-fi movie told us to "watch the skies." In our case, the warning is to "watch Jeff City"

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