Kansas House of Representatives, District 14 – Lance Kinzer
Kansas City Star, The (MO)-October 15, 2008
NAME: Lance Kinzer
OFFICE (DISTRICT) YOU ARE SEEKING: State Rep. Dist. 14 POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
DATE OF BIRTH: 4/18/70
EDUCATION: Wheaton College (IL), BA, University of Kansas School of Law, JD
OCCUPATION: Member, Schlagel Gordon & Kinzer, Olathe, KS. (Employee since 1999, member since 2003) Captain, U.S. Army Jag Corps, 1995 – 1999
LIST PRESENT AND PAST ELECTED AND APPOINTED PUBLIC OFFICES AND DATES OF SERVICE: State Representative – July 2004 – Present; GOP Precinct Committeeman, 2004 – 2008;
FAMILY: Wife Michelle (teacher Olathe School district) Children Pearce 11, Hailey 10.
1. Would you (or did you) vote for a bill allowing construction of two-coal fired power plants as proposed by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation in the last legislative session?
Yes. 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 percent 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: http://www.kslegislature.org/ supplemental/2008/SN0148.pdf & http://www.kslegislature.org/ supplemental/2008/SN0327.pdf.
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.
2. Do you believe voters should be required to show a photo ID before being allowed to cast a ballot? If yes, what exceptions would you make?
Yes. I would support exceptions as set forth in HB 2019. More detailed information about the bill can be found here: http://www.kslegislature.org/supplemental/2008/CCRB2019.pdf
3. If the U.S. Supreme Court should overturn Roe vs. Wade in the future, would you support a bill prohibiting abortion in Kansas?
I would support a bill prohibiting abortion except in cases of imminent threat to the life of the mother.
During my time in the legislature I have actively worked to build a culture of life. In 2008, I authored House Substitute for SB 389, the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act (CARA), a bill vetoed by the Governor. If signed the bill would have substantially amended and clarified late- term abortion regulations as well as informed consent and parental notification provisions in existing Kansas law.
Under the bill women would have had the opportunity to see an ultrasound and hear the fetal heart tone of their unborn child. Additionally, women would have received a copy of the written medical diagnosis being used to justifying an abortion after 22 weeks gestation, as well as receiving free perinatal hospice and medical services information thirty minutes prior to the procedure.
The bill also included provisions to stop predators from bringing pregnant minors into Kansas abortion clinics to destroy evidence of statutory rape. The bill would have strengthened ID requirements, abuse reporting, and clarified the right of custodial parents to receive notice of their daughter’s intent to have an abortion. By allowing the Attorney General and local prosecutors to review Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports the bill would have substantially strengthened existing law.
4. Do you favor legislation that would give relatives of women broad leeway to sue abortion providers over perceived violations of state law?
I authored the civil remedies provisions of House Substitute for SB 389. These provisions do not provide “broad leeway to sue abortion providers” but do provide a carefully tailored mechanism to hold abortionist accountable for damages they cause in the event they violate existing law regarding the performance of abortions in Kansas.
5. Would you support a constitutional amendment limiting budget increases by local and state governments to the annual rate of inflation, unless a larger increase is approved by voters?
Yes. I support both tax and spending limits. While the idea of tax lids seems controversial to some, support for such initiatives has been a very mainstream position in Kansas politics over the years, indeed both Bob Dole & Nancy Kassebaum supported legislation requiring a super majority vote for tax increases at the federal level. I was proud to introduce similar legation at the state level and to carry that legislation on the floor of the Kansas House.
I also believe that any rational analysis of government spending in Kansas leads to the conclusion that we have serious structural problems that require dramatic action. For example, the FY 2009 budget passed by the legislature (which I voted against) provides for general fund expenditures of over $6.4 billion. This represents an increase of 5.2 percent over FY 2009 which is certainly an improvement over the 8 percent and 9 percent increases that have become common in recent years. That having been said this budget still spends some $400 million more than projected state revenue. The result is a budget that reduces cash reserves to a dangerously low level and sets the stage for a fiscal crisis in FY 2010. Looking at it another way general fund spending in Kansas has increased over a billion dollars in just 2 years. Given overall state general fund spending of $6.4 billion this is a tremendous expansion of government. My experience in the legislator leads me to conclu!
de that it is fanciful to think we will every gain control of the ever expanding size of government without real structural reform.
For more information on my leadership in this area look here, http://www.lancekinzer.com/031607kcstar.html
6. The Kansas legislature refused to recapture $87 million in state taxes lost because of provisions in the federal economic stimulus package that provided tax breaks for business expansion. Would you have supported a bill decoupling the state from those federal provisions?
I would not have supported a bill to decouple from federal provisions providing tax relief.
7. The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved a bill in the last session to establish a statewide smoking ban in places open to the public. Do you support such a bill and, if so, what exceptions would you favor in such a prohibition?
No, I believe this issue should be decided at the local level.
8. Should Kansas approve additional money to fund all-day kindergarten in every public school that wants to offer it without charging parents tuition?
Kansas needs to address the inequities in the current school funding program before we can rationally discuss a significant new development like fully funding all day kindergarten.
Education in Kansas must be kid focused, not system focused. I am a product of the Olathe school system, 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 well over 1/2 of the State General Fund budget, but we are not doing enough to make sure these dollars get to the classroom. State wide 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 provi!
ding greater flexibility for parents to choose the best educational options for their children.
On April 1, 2008 I joined 18 other members of the Johnson County House delegation in voting no on Senate 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 percent weighting above base state aid, thus creating a windfall when that aid is increased. On the o!
ther hand large suburban districts receive no more than 3 percent weighting under similar circumstances. After these amendments failed Rep. Kinzer joined his Johnson County Colleagues in the following explanation of
“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 percent 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 on my efforts with respect to K-12 education in 2008 please look here: http://www.lancekinzer.com/earlychildhoodbill.html & here http://www.lancekinzer.com/2859release.htm
9. Would you vote for an increase in tobacco taxes in order to make health care more affordable for more Kansans, especially those who are currently uninsured?
No, tax increases are not the answer to making health insurance more affordable. While state government can not fix health care, it does have a valuable role to play. Our health care system in Kansas is divided between growing government programs (23 percent), shrinking private health insurance coverage (65 percent), and the uninsured 10.9 percent. I believe that increasing reliance on government provided health care is contrary to the long term interests of Kansas citizens and that as such we must find ways to make private coverage more affordable.
Flexibility and consumer choice, not mandates and government control, are the reform options most likely to be of the most benefit to Kansas businesses. While this issue is complex positive steps would include expanding access to Section 125 plans which allow consumers to use pre-tax dollars to pay for health care and providing some short term investment in the creation of association plans targeted toward small communities, business groups, and civic organizations. Greater use of Section 125, whether through Premium Only Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, or Cafeteria Plans provide a real opportunity to make health insurance more affordable for business while expanding the ability of people to control their own heath care choices.
10. Do you support a new, multi-year highway improvement plan for Kansas and, if so, how would you pay for it?
I would support a transportation plan that is fair and affordable. With respect to fairness, the simple reality is that in the past transportation spending under the Comprehensive Transportation Plan has not paid sufficient attention to the needs of rapidly expanding areas like Olathe. While all areas of Kansas have legitimate transportation needs the new Comprehensive Plan must do a better job of treating Olathe and other high growth areas fairly.
Kansas spends approximately $1 billion per year on roads yet we lack a rational process for prioritizing construction projects. I am convinced that implementation of a rigorous cost-benefit analysis for deciding which projects to build and when would be of tremendous benefit to Olathe. It is also the first step toward answering the affordability question.
I don’t believe that there is any magic bullet that can solve our transportation funding challenges. That having been said, as we consider funding mechanisms we must keep in mind that Kansas’ government debt has been exploding; growing from $424 million in 1992 to $3.95 billion in 2005, an 832 percent increase over that time. This means that it will take political courage to arrive at a fair and responsible transportation plan moving forward
11. Should local governments be prohibited from using taxpayer dollars to lobby the Legislature on issues that affect their citizens?
Governmental entities using taxpayer dollars to lobby for yet more taxpayer dollars is a real problem. While any prohibition would need to be carefully drafted to allow for reasonable communication between local units of government and the state I do believe HB 2775 would have been a step in the right direction.
Under that bill municipalities which engage in lobbying would have been required to file a report with the Secretary of State on or before January 31 of each year disclosing the name of the person or firm or association paid to lobby as well as costs related to lobbying. In the bill, municipality was defined as any county, township, city, school district, or any other political or taxing subdivision of the state. Municipalities would have to report governmental expenditures including dues paid to associations, groups, or organizations that employ or contract with lobbyists. Persons employed by a municipality and lobbying in excess of 40 hours in calendar year on state-owned or leased property would have been required to report salary, benefits, and expenses to the Secretary of State. 1 2. Do you believe the driving age for a learners permit should be increased from 14 to 15 and an unrestricted license increased from 16 to 17? Should teens on a restricted license be p!
rohibited from driving between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.?
While I am open to enhanced drivers education requirements and more rigorous testing prior to granting a license I am not inclined to create a blanket prohibition against unrestricted licenses for 16 year olds.
13. Did you vote (or would you have voted) for the expanded gambling bill approved in the 2007 legislative session?
I voted against the 2007 bill.
14. Would you require employers in Kansas to use the federal E-verify system before hiring any employee to verify their citizenship status? Do you support penalties against employers who hire illegal immigrants, whether knowingly or not?
I support the use of E-verify and believe that employers who knowingly hire unauthorized aliens should face sanctions. Indeed I authored the original version of the bill that ultimately became House Substitute
for SB 329. As the author of the original version of this bill I was
gravely disappointed by House action to strip this bill of its most meaningful provisions. I voted no on the final version of this bill and offered the following explanation:
“Mr. Speaker I vote No on House Substitute for SB 329: As amended this bill fails to provide meaningful immigration reform, indeed it is likely to make the situation worse. This bill is drafted in a fashion that ensures its employer sanction provisions, already weak on their face, will never be enforced; they are both practically unworkable and almost certainly preempted by federal law. Furthermore the public benefits restrictions in the amended bill are actually weaker than existing law. For the first time Kansas will be creating a statutory right for unauthorized aliens to receive any and all state financed medical care, no questions asked. This bill is a fa?ade.”
In drafting the original version of House Substitute for SB 329 I considered the following basic principles:
It is crucial that any system for enforcement of current prohibitions against the hiring of unauthorized aliens include clear standards that businesses can easily comply with. All immigration legislation that I have supported includes clear safe harbors and absolute protections for those businesses that play by the rules. It is also important that immigration reform legislation is carefully drafted to avoid punishing businesses for innocent mistakes. Among the greatest victims of illegal immigration are those businesses that do in fact follow the law. Immigration reform that sanctions businesses that knowingly violate the law is important for many reasons, not the least of which is the obligation we owe to protect the vast majority of businesses that obey the law from the small number of businesses that seek an unfair competitive advantage through the exploitation of unauthorized alien labor.
15. HB 2299 would forbid local governments from creating domestic partnership registries like the one in Lawrence, which give some level of recognition to unmarried straight and gay couples, and could aid them in securing benefits from employers. Supporters of bill say domestic relations should remain a matter for the state, not cities and counties.
Would you vote for this bill?
Yes, I was the author of HB 2299. Domestic relations is an area of the law traditionally reserved to the States. State laws define marriage, and govern matters such as divorce and child custody. It has not traditionally been the practice in Kansas to allow local governments to develop their own ordinances and resolutions in these areas. Indeed, the entirety of Chapter 23 of the Kansas Statutes is dedicated to setting forth uniform laws for the governance of domestic relations in Kansas.
For example, K.S.A. 23-101 sets forth a State wide standard for the definition of marriage: 23-101. Nature of marriage relation.
(a) The marriage contract is to be considered in law as a civil contract between two parties who are of opposite sex. All other marriages are declared to be contrary to the public policy of this state and are void. The consent of the parties is essential. The marriage ceremony may be regarded either as a civil ceremony or as a religious sacrament, but the marriage relation shall only be entered into, maintained or abrogated as provided by law.
(b) The state of Kansas shall not recognize a common-law marriage contract if either party to the marriage contract is under 18 years of age.
Furthermore, Article 15, ‘ 16 of the Kansas Constitution provides as
(a) The marriage contract is to be considered in law as a civil contract. Marriage shall be constituted by one man and one woman only. All other marriages are declared to be contrary to the public policy of this state and are void.
(b) No relationship, other than a marriage, shall be recognized by the state as entitling the parties to the rights or incidents of marriage.
The Lawrence ordinance represents a departure from the traditional practice of state-wide standards regarding domestic relations.
What the Lawrence ordinance clearly would do is define the term domestic partner to mean:
“two individuals who have reached the age of majority and live together in a relationship of indefinite duration, with an exclusive mutual commitment in which the partners share the necessities of life and are financially interdependent. Also, domestic partners are not married to anyone else, do not have another domestic partner and are not related by blood more closely than would bar their marriage in this state.”
Establishing domestic partnerships by local ordinance is an invitation to legal wrangling, and ultimately to the development of this area of the law via judicial rather than legislative action. This alone in my view is reason enough why local units of government should not be allowed to establish their own domestic relations law on an ad-hoc basis.
Furthermore, couples already have the perfect right to govern virtually every area of life via legally recognized contracts and other legal devices. To the extent a private company requires a formalized domestic partnership for extension of insurance or other benefits that is quite frankly the private company’s problem. Nothing in current law requires any company to adopt such a requirement.
A further problem with domestic partnership legislation is its fuzzy relationship to any legitimate public policy aim. First of all it is important to realize that at least in the Lawrence context the proposed domestic partnership ordinance applies to opposite sex couples who are not blood relatives. This raises several issues. First, all possible legal rights are already available to these couples via marriage. What possible public policy objective is achieved by allowing governmental recognition of some sort of ill defined sub-marital relationship between cohabitating opposite sex couples. This questions gains even greater force when one considers the no blood relatives requirement that invariably seem to be a part of domestic registry laws. Why, as a matter of public policy, does it make sense to grant this special legal recognition to two 18 year olds who met last month, but not to a brother and sister who have lived together for 50 years? In a similar vein, but !
this time in the same sex context, what public policy goal is advanced by conveying this special status to certain same sex couples who live together, but denying it to two spinster sisters?
I think an honest assessment of these types of questions leads to the conclusion that domestic partnership registries can have only two purposes. First, they can serve as mechanisms to convey legal rights approximating marriage. To the extent they do so, at least in Kansas, they run contrary to the clearly established will of the people embedded in our Constitution. Second, they can serve as pure political statements designed to allow a particular community to stake out its position in a broader cultural dispute. While it can be argued that this is not all bad, any possible benefit must be weighed against the dangers attendant to setting a precedent in favor of local development of domestic relations law. Again, this is a recipe for our law in this area to develop via judicial decree rather then via the legislative process. The net result may well be an erosion or hollowing out of the marriage amendment.
16. Would you support a statewide smoking ban in bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues?
No, I believe this issue should be decided at the local level.
17. Do you think the state’s support for its regents universities is about right, too little or too much? How would you address the backlog in infrastructure needs on the state’s campuses?
In 2007 I supported a plan that would have provided the Regent’s with $577,300,161.00, over five years for deferred maintenance. An even larger bill ultimately passed. Given the need to balance a significant number of important priorities I would not be inclined to significantly increase the current deferred maintenance budget.
18. Would you support an attempt to repeal the law that allows children of undocumented immigrants to attend Kansas colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates?
Yes, current state law in this regard violates federal law (8 USC 1623), and creates an incoherent policy where students who obey the law and get a valid student visa pay a higher rate of tuition that those who lack lawful status.
19. Are you satisfied with the system by which state judges are selected, with candidates nominated by a committee elected by the Kansas Bar Association, and the final selection up to the governor?
No. The current system of selecting Court of Appeals & Supreme Court
Justices gives too much power to the state bar. Under current law a nine member commission, five of whom are attorneys selected by other attorneys, submit a list of three nominees to the Governor. The Governor is then required to appoint one of those three nominees. Kansas is the only state in the nation that allows lawyers to control the selection of the majority of a state judicial nominating commission.
I authored HCR 5031 & HB 2799 which would have implemented the following reforms:
** Change the make up of the nominating commission to allow three appointments each by the Governor, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. One of each appointing authorities appointees would be required to be an attorney in good standing in Kansas.
** The new nominating commission would still present three names to the Governor who would be free to either select one of those nominees or to make a selection of her own.
** The person selected by the Governor would then be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Proponents of the current system contend that it heightens confidence in the judiciary by isolating it from political influence. Unfortunately, in practice this isolation serves to exacerbate public frustration with and alienation from a process they see as insular and elitist. Placing clear responsibility for judicial selection in the hands of politically accountable elected officials will provide an appropriate mechanism by which the people may at least indirectly participate in the process of judicial selection.
In November of 2007 Professor Stephen Ware of the University of Kansas School of Law published a white paper titled “Selection to the Kansas Supreme Court” in which he noted, “The bar has an unusually high degree of control over the selection of supreme court justices in Kansas. None of the other forty nine states gives the bar as much control.” Summarizing his findings Professor Ware noted, “In short, senate confirmation is a reform worthy of serious consideration.”
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Index Terms: Wheaton College; University of Kansas School of Law; Olathe School; Sunflower Electric Power Corporation; Kansas Department of Health & Environment; U.S. Supreme Court; Kansas Department of Health and Environment; State General Fund; Kansas Bar Association; Court of Appeals & Supreme Court; Kansas Supreme Court
Personal Name(s): Lance Kinzer; Bob Dole; Nancy Kassebaum; Kay Wolf; Sheryl Spalding; Terrie Huntington; Ron Worley; Arlen Siegfreid; Anthony Brown; Kevin Yoder; Jill Quigley; Jeff Colyer; Rob Olson; Thomas Owens; Ben Hodge; Ronnie Metsker; Judy Morrison; Ray Merrick; Stephen Ware Record Number: 200810150001KNRIDDERMOKCITYS_KSRep_14R_Kinzer
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