Education, guns, Medicaid, taxes, health care, mortgage fees and elections changes: those were just a few of the topics that popped up in questions for Kansas Representative Barbara Bollier at a community meeting this weekend.
“A great deal of political manipulation” was behind the passage of the education finance bill, Bollier suggested. “Something was odd,” she said, about how easy it was to get a more moderate bill through the House just two days earlier. That ease, Bollier contended, was so members could say they voted for education funding. “Then they killed the bill.” The Senate version carried “all kinds of policy,” Bollier said, and the House version disappeared in conference committee.
“What goes on in Topeka absolutely affects your life,” Bollier said. “The number one issue in Kansas is quality education and it is under threat.” A voucher system that allows money to follow the child “would destroy our public school system,” she said.
A piece of positive legislation Bollier pointed to is the requirement for insurers to cover limited autism treatment. “At least it’s a start,” Bollier said, relating that she heard stories of parents going bankrupt to pay for treatment.
On the other questions raised by constituents:
- Gun law – “It removed local control.” The bill originally allowed students to carry guns in the parking lot, she said.
- Medicaid expansion – “I believe people should have health care.” Bollier, a retired physician, called it an issue of social justice. Rural legislators are going to kill their own towns by voting against it and crippling their hospitals, which are large employers, she said.
- The healthcare compact – “It was a vote to say, ‘we hate Obamacare.’” She voted against the bill which would have moved management of Medicare to the state. “I don’t work that way. I don’t vote out of fear.” She said the state had done nothing to prepare for to manage the program. “That was horrifying to me. This is not a good plan.”
- Tax exemptions for health clubs – “That is ridiculous. We need our taxes for our quality of life here.”
- Income tax reductions – “The great tax plan so far has not worked. We are in trouble in our budget.”
- Mortgage registration fee – It would cost the county millions of dollars, she said. “I never got one note from a constituent saying it is a problem.”
- The party – “I want to see the Republican Party go back to where it was. You are not a party, you are people. I vote for you.”