Friday, October 25, 2019

Welcome to the KDP Weekly Rundown – the Kansas Democratic Party’s update of the biggest things going on in the state party and the state government. What are we focused on this week? A GOP Medicaid expansion proposal, a medical Marijuana hearing, and more!


  • What’s happening?

The GOP-dominated Select Committee on Health Care Access in the Senate on Wednesday adopted a Medicaid expansion bill authored by Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning. The proposal would have the state charge new recipients of expanded Medicaid benefits (whose incomes between 100% and 138% of the federal poverty level) premiums of up to five percent of their income. If those premiums aren’t paid in 60 days, recipients of expanded Medicaid coverage will be kicked off that coverage for six months.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in June rejected Utah’s similar proposal to partially expand Medicaid coverage. Indiana in 2018 dropped 25,000 Medicaid recipients for failing to pay premiums.

Denning’s bill would additionally use revenue from increased state taxes on cigarettes and vaping products to entice current Medicaid recipients to leave their state coverage for private plans on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace with the promise of lower-than-standard premiums.

Fellow conservatives balked almost immediately on the news that the majority leader’s proposal would both raise taxes and lack work requirements sought by Republicans.

Gov. Laura Kelly has said repeatedly work requirements are not up for debate, pointing to the experiences of the nearly 40 states that have already expanded Medicaid as evidence that a clean expansion is the most effective method.

Gov. Kelly: “We need a Medicaid expansion plan that is simple, effective and sustainable for Kansas. We don’t need to create extra bureaucratic red tape, raise taxes, and create more hurdles to access to health care. We have the opportunity to learn best practices from the 36 states that have expanded Medicaid. It’s important that we get this right to best serve the 150,000 Kansans in need of health care coverage right now.”

A bipartisan committee overseen by the governor’s office is working on additional implementation proposals.


  • What’s happening?

The Special Committee on Federal and State Affairs held a hearing Wednesday on the prospect of legalizing medical marijuana. Committee members received an overview of select states’ laws on the matter from committee staff, followed by testimony from proponents and opponents. Republican Chair John Barker indicated that the committee would not vote on any recommendations until the committee reconvenes on October 30.


  • What’s happening?

The National Federation of Democratic Women announced Kansas as the location of their 2020 National Convention. The event, scheduled to run from June 10-14, will bring all 34 participating states to the Oread Hotel in Lawrence to make decisions regarding organization growth, resource management, and long-term strategizing around the national organization’s mission.


  • What’s happening?

Gov. Kelly appointed Dr. Stephanie Davis of Lawrence to the Governor’s Military Council. Davis currently works in eastern Kansas as the Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Council seeks to enhance the quality of life for our servicemen and servicewomen, veterans, and their families. Members of the Council reach out to retiring veterans in order to promote a larger military presence in Kansas and use their talents and skills in the Kansas workforce.

Gov. Kelly: “Dr. Davis is highly qualified for this position. Her experience working in the Veterans Administration and her expertise working with veterans and their families will be an asset as the Council pursues initiatives moving forward. We are fortunate to have her on the team.”


  • What’s happening?

On Monday, Gov. Kelly appointed Penny R. Moylan to the 3rd Judicial District Court vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Franklin Theis. Moylan was previously the Deputy Disciplinary Administrator for the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator’s Office, where she investigated and prosecuted ethical complaints on Kansas-licensed attorneys.

Judge Penny R. Moylan: “I’m honored to have this opportunity to serve my community as a district judge. I’m grateful to Governor Kelly for trusting me to undertake this important role. The district court is where the law meets real life, and every time I enter my courtroom I will remember that I am dealing with real people who deserve to be heard. To follow in Judge Theis’s footsteps is a special, humbling honor. I’m eager to get to work and do my best for Shawnee County.