Kansas Governor-elect Sam Brownback is known for is “adamantly anti-choice” abortion stances as a senator. From campaigning to overturn Roe V. Wade to pushing to uphold the federal abortion ban, Brownback has been tireless in his support of anti-abortion bills.
Some supporters of his Kansas campaign for governor were looking forward to bringing that sort of zeal to the state government, which, combined with a massive Republican majority in the legislature, now has the opportunity to pass almost endless reproductive access legislation. But now those same socially conservative politicians are concerned that as a governor, Brownback might not be the champion they expected.
Last week, Rep. Owen Donohoe, a Shawnee Republican, sent GOP colleagues a letter urging them to commit to candidates for leadership posts who back what amounts to a “consensus platform.”
His goal is an agenda that includes anti-abortion legislation and repeal of the sales tax increase. He’d also like to require legislative audits of all 293 Kansas school districts.
And, tellingly, Donohoe wrote: “As you know, Gov.-elect Brownback has a legislative agenda, but it may not be as conservative as we wish.”
As for social issues, Brownback has said little about them publicly, suggesting he’s likely to let anti-abortion groups and legislators take the lead for a while.
Meanwhile, some Republican legislators’ hunger for results, fueled by the tea party movement and Brownback’s 63 percent of the vote, should keep expectations high among conservatives. And that’s likely to create at least a few headaches for the new governor.
Brownback has stated repeatedly both during his campaign and after that his number one concern for the state of Kansas is its economy. And according to the article, in his first post-election interview he stated he will try “to avoid ‘things that are an overreach.’”
As Nebraska is learning with multiple unconstitutional bills passed by the 2010 legislature to impede abortion rights, frivolously passed legislation turns into costly court battles for the states involved. Nebraska decided not to continue its attempt to pass a “mental health screening bill” deemed too vague by the courts for the very reason that the state would incur enormous legal fees.
Would Brownback, who some suspect to be balking at the far-right proposals of his party on economic issues in favor of more sound proposals, take a similar approach when it comes to ratifying anti-choice legislative bills? We’ll quickly learn the answer to that question when the legislature reconvenes on January 10th.