What could be stranger than 2013, the year that Kansas City, Kan., was home to a major-league all-star game and a major-league champion team, had a “blizzard election,” and saw a law passed that would allow guns to be carried into public buildings under certain circumstances?
Well, maybe 2014 could be stranger. Here is what could happen during 2014:
The Kansas Supreme Court hands down a school finance decision in January ordering the state to pay up. The courts rule about $500 million is owed to the public schools from budget cuts in the past. But the Kansas Legislature says there isn’t any extra money for the school districts. The winners of the lawsuit hire a repossession firm to take a couple of state buildings and sell them for the money that is owed. Cedar Crest is seized for nonpayment of the court’s judgment; the governor is homeless for a short while until taking up residence in a room at the state Capitol. Another building taken is the state-owned casino in Kansas City, Kan.
The local school district and its casino will not have any future slots competition from The Woodlands racetrack, when the Woodlands is purchased in 2014 by the Unified Government to lease to the American Royal.
The Kansas Legislature passes a law in February to require upgraded fire protection at all public buildings in Kansas, including firefighters stationed on the property. The Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools hires away KCK Fire Chief John Paul Jones to become the new KCK Public Schools Fire Chief.
It won’t be a snowstorm that is our biggest weather story of the year. In 2014, an earthquake will strike western Wyandotte County. After a lot of rumbling and pictures falling off the walls, a fault line will open up starting in Wolcott at the Missouri River and running south to the Kansas River, filling with water and creating a new river. National pundits weigh in on the topic, “What’s the fault with Kansas?” Schlitterbahn purchases the rights to use the new river for its new attraction, “Rumble River.”
Having lost the fight to require prevailing wages be paid to workers building public works projects in Kansas City, Kan., the Unified Government Commission tries to figure out another way to get that done. Since it can’t require businesses to pay the prevailing wage, the UG decides to hire hundreds of construction workers directly for its projects instead of bidding out the projects, in order to keep minority, women and local people working. The public works department personnel increase by 500 persons.
The UG, which becomes the proud owner of the T-Bones baseball stadium this year, names a new county administrator and police chief. Trying to save money, the UG Commission appoints the same person, Doug Bach, to do both jobs.
In February, Kansas legislators pass a new law to require all residents to receive approval via state passports in order to travel inside the state. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach announces a new effort to require voters to show their passports in addition to their photo identification at the polls.
Elections are coming up in 2014, and yes, voters are disgusted with politics, politicians and the national deadlock. It’s a bad year for incumbents in Kansas politics, but that doesn’t mean Kansas voters will elect Democrats. The disgust with incumbents filters down to the state level, and Libertarian Tresa McAlhaney of Bonner Springs is elected next governor of Kansas, along with a large number of Libertarian state representatives and senators.
The Libertarians don’t seem to mind that there is no official residence any more for the governor. They change the governor’s official residence to an old recreational vehicle parked at the state Capitol.
The Libertarians sweep into office, controlling both houses and getting legislation ready that favors small family farms, legalizes marijuana use, privatizes many state operations and eliminates many existing state laws, including the new passport law. Kansas officially goes off the grid.