GOP lawmakers hammer Kansas' governor on DEI and immigration with the budget.

Topeka — Republicans are expected to adopt a Kansas state budget that would force the Democratic governor to restrict college campus diversity projects and assist Texas fight the Biden administration over border security.  

GOP state House and Senate negotiators have agreed to incorporate those things in a single bill with most of Kansas' $25 billion 2025 fiscal year expenditure, which begins July 1. Top GOP legislators expect both chambers to vote on the final bill this week. “It’s an opportunity to make a point,” Wichita Republican state Senate President Ty Masterson said Wednesday. “We only have purse power. Our major power.”  

The Kansas House and Senate passed resolutions this year supporting Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas's efforts to enforce a statute allowing his state to apprehend illegal immigrants. The Biden administration claims only the federal government sets immigration policy.  

However, Kansas Senate Republicans committed $15.7 million to the next state budget and instructed Gov. Laura Kelly to send Kansas National Guard forces to Texas.  

Republican senators also threatened to withhold $35.7 million in funding from state universities unless their presidents appeared before Kelly and top legislative leaders and confirmed that they were not requiring prospective students, job applicants, or staffers seeking promotion to endorse diversity, equity, or inclusion initiatives or discuss past experiences with it. GOP budget negotiators kept such provisions until a measure prohibiting the practice passes.  

The state constitution provides Kelly the right to veto budget items, and the immigration or anti-DEI parties may not have two-thirds majority in both chambers to override one. If Kelly vetoes the anti-DEI clauses, $35.7 million goes with them.  

It’s kind of like blackmail,” said Wichita Democratic state Rep. Tom Sawyer. Republicans in at least 20 states have opposed DEI efforts, claiming they are discriminatory and promote leftist politics. Alabama and Utah passed anti-DEI laws this year.  

Last month, the Kansas House passed a law banning universities, community colleges, and technical colleges from choosing students or employing or promoting employees based on DEI or “any political ideology or movement.” Republicans hope to vote on a fresh version in both chambers this week.  

GOP lawmakers' complaints are being addressed by the Kansas Board of Regents, which governs higher education. The board is to adopt a policy change in April that would prevent “statements pledging allegiance to, support for, or opposition to diversity, equity or inclusion” in admissions and employment.  

I doubt it will be a problem. Western Kansas Republican state Rep. Kyle Hoffman, a House budget negotiator, believes they will all change their policy. Republican concern in border security stems from former President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant comments throughout his reelection campaign, often disseminating misinformation. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll in March found that two-thirds of Americans disapproved of President Joe Biden's border security.  

GOP authorities in several states also focus on blocking the flow of lethal drug fentanyl across the Mexico-U.S. border, but experts say the key is reducing U.S. demand. “We need to stop it,” said central Kansas Republican budget negotiator state Sen. J.R. Claeys. We'll have to do it ourselves because the Biden government won't.  

However, Kansas City Democrat state Rep. Susan Ruiz stated that border issues show the need for immigration reform and that Americans are more likely to smuggle fentanyl than immigrant families seeking a better life. “They’re willing to blame everything on immigration in on immigrants,” she continued.

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