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Kobach urges repeal of in-state tuition for undocumented Kansans

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is running for governor in 2018, urges a House committee to advance a bill that would repeal a law allowing undocumented immigrants who meet other residency requirements to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

— Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach urged a House committee Thursday to pass a bill repealing a 2007 law that allows anyone who meets certain residency requirements to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, regardless of their citizenship status.

Kobach, who is also a Republican candidate for governor in the 2018 election, argued that Kansas has been violating federal law for the past 14 years by allowing those students to pay in-state rates.

"It's been 14 years now that Kansas has been giving in-state tuition to certain illegal aliens in our state," he told the House Higher Education Budget Committee. "We were one of the first states to make this misstep, and it's long overdue that we correct this."

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is running for governor in 2018, urges a ...

The law generally states that a person is eligible to pay in-state tuition rates if he or she has attended an accredited Kansas high school for three or more years, has graduated from a Kansas high school or earned a GED certificate issued in Kansas and, in the case of people without legal immigration status, has filed an affidavit stating that either they or their parents are seeking to legalize their immigration status

Kobach argued, as he has many times in the past, that the law violates a 1996 federal statute that says states may not give any post-secondary education benefit to a person who is not lawfully present in the country unless it provides that same benefit on equal terms to U.S. citizens.

Supporters of the state law argue that it meets the federal standard because any U.S. citizen who meets the same eligibility requirements is also eligible to pay the same in-state tuition rate.

In fact, Rep. Brandon Whipple, D-Wichita, noted that many schools in Kansas have been loosening their residency requirements by offering in-state tuition to non-Kansans, including Wichita State University, which he said now offers in-state rates to students from Houston, Texas.

"How is someone who has been in our community, served our community, graduated (from a Kansas high school), been a part of our neighborhoods — how are they less entitled to the benefits of that community, which are our colleges, than some kid from Houston?" Whipple asked.

Kobach, however, said it is also a violation of federal law to encourage or enable someone to remain in the United States illegally, and he said the in-state tuition law does just that.

Shortly after the law was enacted in 2004, Kobach, who was then a constitutional law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and was a candidate for Congress, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, seeking to have the law overturned as a violation of federal law.

At the time, at least seven other states had passed similar laws.

That suit was dismissed, however, when U.S. District Judge Richard Rogers found that the named plaintiffs in the suit, all nonresident students who were required to pay out-of-state tuition, could not show how they had been injured by the law.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later affirmed that ruling, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case.

But Kobach, who has built a national profile as a crusader against illegal immigration, said the law continues to serve as a "subsidy" for undocumented students amounting to about $12 million a year.

That's the difference between what the approximately 600 students taking advantage of the law currently pay in tuition and what they would have paid if they were charged the full nonresident rates.

Officials at the Kansas Board of Regents, however, questioned that kind of estimate during the board's monthly business meeting on Wednesday.

Regents president and CEO Blake Flanders told the Council of Presidents Wednesday that the figure is only accurate if one assumes those students would still go to college, and pay the full nonresident rate, if the law were not in place, something he said was doubtful.

He also said it's hard to argue how schools are missing out on revenue due to the law if a student paying in-state rates fills a seat in a class that would otherwise be vacant.

Regents officials have said most undocumented students taking advantage of the law attend two-year community colleges and technical schools, where tuition rates are considerably lower than at four-year universities.

Rep. Ponka-We Victors, D-Wichita, testified against the bill, saying its only intent was to take away opportunities from "Dreamers" — people who were brought to the United States illegally as children by their parents.

"Every year since I have served in office, I have witnessed the hateful anti-immigration bills that have come forward, especially directed toward the Kansas Dreamers," she said. "I have also seen that there has been no appetite for anti-immigration bills here in the Legislature."

Opponents of the bill also complained that Thursday's hearing was called with little public notice. The bill was only introduced on Feb. 6, and the hearing was originally scheduled for Monday, Feb. 19.

But Rep. Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, who chairs the committee, said he moved the initial hearing date up because Monday is the deadline for bills to pass out of committees in their chambers of origin, and he wanted to give committee members ample time to receive testimony before voting on it.

There will be little legislative action on Friday due to the Kansas Republican Party's annual state convention taking place in Wichita over the weekend.

Jones said the hearing on the bill will continue Monday, with a possible vote that day on whether to send it to the full House.

Comments

Charles L. Bloss, Jr.

I absolutely agree with Kobach. This should be stopped.

4 months ago

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Brock Masters

Agree and we should stop requiring schools to accept and educate illegal children. Realize courts have mandated it but it should be reversed. No reason we have to educate illegal aliens.

4 months ago

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Cille King

Yesss, we really want a bunch of uneducated, non-english speaking kids to grow up in our communities. Great idea.

4 months ago

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Brock Masters

No, we need to deport them and they can grow up in their own countries. Now that is a great idea.

4 months ago

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Clara Westphal

I hope he is successful in stopping this practice. There is a federal law that states "no non-citizen shall be granted rights that a citizen does not have". Out-of-state students cannot receive in-state tuition but illegals can. That is not right.

4 months ago

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Lynn Grant

Uh, Clara, Kansas Regents have a provision dealing with contiguous counties. Students in states that border Kansas are able to attend Kansas universities and pay in-state tuition. Many of these counties that this rule affects are not even on the immediate border but can be in blocks. Shall we do away with that, too?

4 months ago

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Clara Westphal

Tell me which states those might be? Does it includes all states?
We lived on the Nebraska border and I paid full tuition for my sons.

4 months ago

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Lynn Grant

Generally this available to counties in close proximity to the institution. Pittsburg State extends this opportunity to 15 counties in MO, 8 in OK and 2 in AR. These vary across the state. The point is that Kansas does allow in state tuition for students from neighboring states so why not for graduates of our own high schools whose families have paid taxes for years and have other requirements for that benefit? Educated residents are beneficial to our society!

4 months ago

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Andrew Applegarth

As long as the students in question are US citizens, such agreements do not violate the 1996 federal law and are thus irrelevant to the situation at hand. I'm not saying that it's fair or that it couldn't come back to bite those universities in a court of law, just that it is not germane to the topic being discussed. It was a nice attempt at distraction though, so well played.

4 months ago

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John Kyle

Kobach already lost this case in court years ago. If you are a resident of Kansas you should get in state tuition. Racists sit down!

4 months ago

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Andrew Applegarth

No, the court dismissed it on the grounds the plaintiffs lacked standing because they (allegedly) didn't suffer harm and thus avoided ruling on the actual merits of the case. The grounds were actually untrue, but the ruling created an effective road block that prevents anybody being able to challenge the law.

4 months ago

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Gary Cauthon

Are we upset about uneducated immigrants or are we upset about immigrants getting an education? Which is it?

4 months ago

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Brock Masters

Illegal immigrants are the issue, not legal immigrants. Stop conflating the two to make an invalid political point seem valid.

4 months ago

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Ken Lassman

Apparently we're just upset. Doesn't matter about what, evidently.

4 months ago

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Steve Hicks

Yeah, Charles, Brock, and Clara: it's a legitimate question if Kansans' money should be spent to "educate illegal children."

Especially when Kansans' are already paying for the Brownback "conservative" budget-scam. The (too few) rational legislators' we now have are already talking about having to raise our taxes to pay for the Brownback disaster.

But the question goes beyond the robotic "conservative" answer, don't you think ? It would be wise to distrust their "answer," don't you think, since they're the ones who put us in this situation ?

The law Kobach is trying to repeal says (above) that "...a person is eligible to pay in-state tuition rates if he or she has attended an accredited Kansas high school for three or more years, has graduated from a Kansas high school or earned a GED certificate issued in Kansas and, in the case of people without legal immigration status, has filed an affidavit stating that either they or their parents are seeking to legalize their immigration status."

Does the law Kobach wants to repeal offer a commonsense definition of "in-state" student, and impose a fair requirement on in-state "illegals" ? (Call them "Dreamers," since if they've attended a Kansas high school for at least 3 years," they were probably brought here by their parents as adolescents, or children.)

If the law seems commonsense and fair, why should it be repealed ?

If the law is commonsense and fair, why does Kris Kobach want to repeal it ? We know Kobach was made "illegals" his target "issue" for many years, all over the country: and used it for national publicity on the failed Trump commission. Could his motivation possibly be the kind of sleazy political grandstanding he's been doing for years (and for which he's willing to exaggerate the harm the current law does to Kansas' budget; above) ?

If the current law is commonsense and fair, and the man who's pushing to repeal it is a known sleazeball and liar, and he uses the budget disaster his cult created as justification for repealing the law...

Is it wise for us to fall in line with his cult's robotic "position" toward the law, without thinking about the question more, and more honestly, than Kobach and his cult do ?

4 months ago

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Brock Masters

It doesn’t seem common sense and fair to me. I do not want tax dollars to provide any benefits to illegal aliens - period. Doesn’t matter if you label them Dreamers or not.

We created the mess with the current DACA recipients so we need to provide some leeway in how we deal with them - allow the, to stay provided they apply to be citizens. If they are granted citizenship they stay, if they aren’t they leave. This is fair.

In the meantime, they re illegal aliens and should not get any benefits. Legal immigrants are a different story.

4 months ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

So did you father ever commit a crime? Should you be held responsible for that crime? That's what you are saying about these kids. Do you expect a 5 year old kid to say, "No Dad, I can't go with you to the U.S. illegally."?

Why are you radical conservatives so hateful? There aren't even that many people using this program. And your buddies have cut the funding to state schools so much anyway, that tuition and donations from alumni are what is keeping the doors open. They aren't going for free.

4 months ago

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Brock Masters

Nope my father was honest unlike you who wins the dishonesty award each time you post.

I did not say these kids should be held responsible for their parents crimes. Yo are lying as usually. I said we created this mess and need some leeway in how we deal with it. I went on to say they should be able to stay while pursuing citizenship. Only in your sick and twisted mind would you contrie that to mean I am holding them responsible for their parents crime.

Not giving them benefits that should be reserved for citizens and legal immigrants is not holding them responsible for their parents crime. It is denying them from benefiting from it. No, if Trump´s plan passes and they get legal status then they can benefit but not while they are illegal.

Hate has nothing to do with it, except in your feeble mind. You’re a one trick pony who cannot debate an issue honestly but must resort to lies.

4 months ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

Calm down, Brock, your proofing skills are suffering. Kobach wants to ship these kids out of the country, and you know it. He doesn't want them to have a pathway to citizenship at all. Neither does Trump, except he had to change his tune when the polls were against deporting the Dreamers.

4 months ago

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Brock Masters

My proofing skills are fine. You accused me, not Kobach, of being a hateful radical conservative.

´Why are you radical conservatives so hateful?

4 months ago

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Richard Heckler

First off Kobach is a conservative BUT not a republican therefore he is lying. The man is a fundamentalist libertarian.

Kobach came from a family of immigrants or has this arrogant human being forgot?

He will do anything possible to keep revenue from the schools and the economy. And this incompetent individual wants to be a governor?

Conservatives are incompetent managers of tax dollars. They have documented this fact over and over through their budget slashing legislation and votes. Slashing budgets and managing budgets are not the same.

4 months ago

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Steve Hicks

"It doesn’t seem common sense and fair to me. I do not want tax dollars to provide any benefits to illegal aliens - period."

Like I say, there's a need here (and on all public questions) to think more, and more honestly, than the "conservative" cult's robotic position that you advocate.

Can (and should) "illegals" be prohibited from all benefits our taxes pay for: driving on "our" streets, going to "our" parks, using "our" water-system, getting mail through "our" postal system, using phone-service through "our" common-carriers ? Obviously the meat-ax "conservative" position is illogical and unworkable.

If "illegals" themselves pay taxes: as many do (some from more than 1 job); is it logical or fair to prohibit them using those benefits paid for by their taxes, as well as ours...or to prohibit their kids from going to "our" schools ?

If the robotic "conservative" position is illogical, unworkable, draconian, unfair...and foisted on us by a political sleazeball for his own despicable purposes to harm Kansans (becoming governor)...how is it the right position (not to be confused with the "right" position) ?

Why would any honest, thoughtful, fair person advocate a position entirely contrary to their personal nature, and what they believe is right...unless they care more that it's a "right" position ?

4 months ago

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Michael Kort

Kobach needs to be repealed at the ballot box............he spent 23 million to catch how many illegal alien voters ?..........but he did catch a group of Self Entitled Republican Voters who voted in two states........and where are the 3 Miliom false voters who cost Trump the popular vote ?.......how about non existent in reality ?

The next CON....servative diversion from doing anything important or usefull for society .

4 months ago

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Ken Lassman

Kobach has previously (falsly) asserted that illegal aliens constitute a disproportionate percentage of prison inmates, a demonstrably false statement. When questioned about this, he gave as his source a white supremacist who denies that the holocaust happened: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politi...

Kobach consistently is driven by ideology and cares not one whit about reality interfering with his belief system. This non-problem meets his ideological litmus test, hence he announces the reality of this new "problem" and a "fix" designed to alleviate the problem we don't have in the first place. If we can choose to give in-state tuition to Houstonian kids, we can choose to let these kids pay in-state tuition too. After all, their families are paying state taxes aren't they?

4 months ago

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Steve Hicks

Questions on the table please, Charles, Brock and Clara:

"If the robotic 'conservative' position is illogical, unworkable, draconian, unfair...and foisted on us by a political sleazeball for his own despicable purposes to harm Kansans (becoming governor)...how is it the right position...?"

and

"Why would any honest, thoughtful, fair person advocate a position entirely contrary to their personal nature, and what they believe is right..."

I'll be waiting to hear your answers. Thanks.

4 months ago

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Clara Westphal

You seem to be good at name calling. Doesn't say much for you.

Do you think it is fair that I paid full tuition and illegals are granted in-state tuition?

4 months ago

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Steve Hicks

Hardly "name-calling," Clara. I stated very clearly why I characterized as "...illogical, unworkable, draconian, unfair" the position you, Charles, and Brock advocate.

If you think any of my reasons for doing so was invalid, I'm willing to hear your reasons why it's not so.

I called Kobach "...a political sleazeball" because he is. If you believe he's not, again, I'd be interested in your reasons for believing he's not.

I said Kobach's purposes are "despicable" because any politician, of any ideology, who uses a public office to serve his own interests, rather than the public interest, does harm to the public, and perverts our political system. That's despicable. If you believe otherwise, I'd be glad to hear and consider your reasons for the contrary viewpoint.

I characterized the "conservative" position you, Charles, and Brock advocate as "robotic" because it's the always-predictable "conservative" response that evidences ideological lock-step, more than personal thought, in its "opinion." If you coincidentally came to the "conservative" position by your own honest personal thinking about the matter, I don't characterize your advocacy of it as "robotic." And in that case I'd urge you more than ever to give honest personal thought to the reasons I consider the "conservative" position wrong and vicious.

I had hoped it was clear my purpose was not "name-calling," when I asked you, Charles, and Brock, "why would any honest, thoughtful, fair person" advocate the "conservative position." Obviously I was addressing all of you as "honest, thoughtful, fair" people, since the question only makes sense if asked of those people themselves.

"Do you think it is fair that I paid full tuition and illegals are granted in-state tuition?"

By "full tuition," do you mean you paid MORE than the in-state tuition "illegal" students paid ? If so, was it because you were not an "in-state" student ? That's how the tuition system of Kansas' state university's are set up, isn't it: that in-state students pay less ? Do you consider that unfair ?

If you paid in-state tuition, you paid the same as in-state "illegal" students, didn't you ? So your argument really doesn't rest at all on how much you paid as compared to how much they paid. If you and they paid the same in-state cost, again, that's how the tuition system is set up. In which case, what's the point of your argument on cost...?

4 months ago

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Clara Westphal

I clearly stated that I paid out-of-state tuition even though we lived on the Nebraska border. Out-of-state tuition is thousands of dollars more than in-state tuition. I would have gladly paid the in-state tuition but it was not available.

4 months ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

Why didn't they attend a Nebraska university. They have some fine schools.

4 months ago

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Scott Burkhart

Yes, it seems cruel and heartless to reverse this law. The fact is that laws like this make it attractive to illegally enter the country, imbed in the society of a state like Kansas and then your children can take advantage of the system as this law would allow. Yes, it hurts those that are here, already. However, our nation has borders and immigration laws. Just because the past two administrations have chosen to ignore those laws and allow illegal immigration to become the norm, is reason to continue the practice just because the conservative globalists wanted cheap labor and the left wanted voters.

4 months ago

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Ken Lassman

I respectfully disagree, Scott. I'm sorry to tell you that undocumented immigrants are a historical reality in our state since it became one: look at the history of the Santa Fe railroad if you want to see how businesses have made this an integral part of their economic model since we became a state. The details may have shifted around some over the years, but the fact remains that many of the businesses that drive the Kansas economy still depend on the cheap expense provided by this labor pool.

A policy that allows in-state tuition for higher education attracts the kinds of families who are interested in the opportunities that exist with a post high school degree, whether that be from a technical college, a community college or a university. Chances are higher that that new graduate will stay in the state because the rest of the family is here and they supported that kid who grew up to get an education at the next level, at least if the Kansas economy provides jobs for that new graduate. This is called acculturation and how Americans have always been created from immigrants.

Does that change the fact that the families are illegal immigrants? No, but it acknowledges that they have been a constant presence in our state's history and because of their contribution to our state's economy throughout its history, these folks should be given a little bit of a payback, certainly if we are doing that for kids from Houston. Until our Congress has the guts to fix our broken immigrant/citizenship laws and provide a realistic way for these contributors to the state economy a more viable way to become citizens of our country, that's the least we can do.

4 months ago

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Steve Hicks

There's some truth in your last sentence, Scott, if by "globalists," you mean "business interests which market their products internationally." Every employer is looking for the cheapest possible labor, in order to increase his profits, even if it means breaking the law by hiring illegals. Should we also jail international business-leaders as law-breakers ?

Of course, many farmers are also employers involved in international markets. I doubt any of us would find it wise, or fair, to jail a bunch of Kansas farmers for breaking what is actually pretty much an administrative, rather than a criminal, law...as is the law illegals break.

But I'm not convinced there's any truth in the assertion "...the left wanted voters." Kris Kobach himself has done a lot to disprove that claim. If he was rigorous in his 7-year search for "illegals" voting in Kansas (and he presumably was, since it served his political purposes), he was unable to apprehend a single "illegal" who voted anywhere in Kansas.

If there are thousands of illegals voting in Kansas, as Kobach claims, and he couldn't catch a single one, Kobach is totally incompetent. The alternative is that Kobach lied about thousands of illegals voting in Kansas. That seems what his record of apprehensions proves.

Whichever he is, incompetent or liar, it seems most competent and honest voters would consider Kobach unfit to hold the office he currently does, much less be governor. It therefore seems unwise to follow Kobach' lead in repealing the law this story is about.

But most of all, the assertion that "...the left wanted voters" seems false because it would mean "the left" believes Kobach's lie that there thousands of "illegals" voting in Kansas, whom they could use for their purposes. "The right" may believe Kobach' lies: do you REALLY believe "the left" does ?

4 months ago

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Clara Westphal

In-state tuition at KU is $10,000 plus 5,000 for a dorm room plus over $1,000 in added fees. Out-of-state tuition is $26,000.

4 months ago

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Steve Hicks

OK, if you paid in-state tuition you paid the same as in-state "illegal" students.

If you paid MORE than in-state "illegal" students, it was presumably because you were an out-of-state student.

Where's there financial unfairness to you (or anybody else who went to K.U.) what "illegal" in-state students pay ?

Or are you saying the "in-state" / "out-of-state" difference is unfair: in which case, your argument has nothing to do with a difference between "illegal" students and other students at all, does it ?

4 months ago

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Andrew Applegarth

I'm not sure if you're actually that stupid or just pretending to be in order to avoid Clara's point, but it doesn't really matter. Either way, you should be too ashamed to post such garbage.

If a student is an illegal immigrant, they do not qualify for in-state tuition without the 2007 law (because they aren't legally in-state) which violates a 1996 federal law. It only survived challenge because the judge erroneously ruled that the plaintiffs suffered no harm. I say erroneously because the claim of no harm was based on them paying the same out-of-state tuition rate they would have paid had no illegals been charged the in-state rate. However, this completely ignores the fact that the out-of-state tuition rate should have legally been limited to no more than the in-state rate charged to the illegals. Thus, they suffered a harm in the form of being denied the financial benefit (lower tuition) of the 1996 federal law. According to Clara's numbers, that would be harm to the tune of at least 16K per semester that they were forced to pay in excess of what federal law allowed.

4 months ago

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Steve Hicks

Here you go, Clara: Andrew was kind enough to provide an example of what "name-calling" looks like. You can compare and contrast with what you thought was "name-calling" in my above comment.

4 months ago

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Andrew Applegarth

I didn't use the word 'sleazeball' or anything approaching it and you're crediting me with being better at name calling than you are? I simply asked which of two approaches your post was coming from. That's hardly name calling and certainly no worse than you referring to somebody as "illogical" or "draconian".

I did call your post garbage, so I guess I'm guilty of calling it a name, but telling the truth is a valid defense...

4 months ago

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Michael Kort

Someone recently put a dog up as a candidate for governor of Kansas .

Kobach, not wanting to be a part of an uphill race for governor ( against man's best friend ) has decertified the dog as a candidate thru his position as Kansas State SOS .

Voters need to repeal Kobach at the voting booth and send him packing back to Trump..........who seems to have cut him lose ?

4 months ago

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Steve Hicks

And of course, Clara, your like-minded friends too are always welcomed to give evidence why characterizing Kobach as a "sleazeball" is NOT true, and why his political machinations are NOT "illogical" and "draconian."

4 months ago

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Andrew Applegarth

That's twice in a row now that you've changed the argument because you can't counter what I said. How many times do you plan on moving the goal posts?

4 months ago

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Brock Masters

Steve only has name-calling in his arsenal- I.e., he shoots blanks. Children name call because their little brains are not developed enough to formulate rational rebuttals. It frustrates them so they lash out if frustration.

4 months ago

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