Friday, February 7, 2020

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? The Kansas Primary, the anti-abortion amendment, and SOTU speech.

KDP COMMITTED TO TRANSPARENT & FUNCTIONAL PRIMARY

  • What’s happening?

Kansas Democratic Party Chair Vicki Hiatt on Tuesday said voters should trust that their votes in our state’s Democratic primary will be accurately counted. The party will release results from both mail-in and in-person voting as soon as they are available.

Hiatt: “This is an exciting time for Kansas Democrats. At a time of great uncertainty, we are striving to provide dependable, trusted leadership that will produce the most successful Kansas Democratic presidential primary in state party history.”

Kansas Democrats will vote using ranked-choice voting, ranking their top five candidates for president with No. 1 representing their most preferred candidate. Candidates with at least 15 percent of all mail-in and in-person votes will receive delegates. The candidate below the 15 percent threshold who receives the fewest number of first-choice votes will have each of their voters’ votes go to their No. 2 preference. This process continues until all remaining candidates have at least 15 percent of the vote.

Kansas Primary Ballot Ranking

The KDP has released a 2020 Voter’s Guide video to inform citizens of the primary process and dates. Here are the significant dates to remember:

  • March 9: Mail sent to every registered Democrat in the state with information on how to vote in-person or by mail.
  • March 9 to April 17: Democrats can request mail-in ballots.
  • March 30: Mail-in ballots will be sent to all registered Democrats that must be returned by April 24.
  • May 2: Voting centers in each of the Senate districts in Kansas will be open from 10 am to 4 pm.

KANSAS ANTI-ABORTION MEASURE SHORT OF PASSAGE IN HOUSE, DELAYING VOTE

  • What’s happening?

Top Republican legislators are delaying a vote today in the Kansas House on a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution, signaling they lack the votes to get it through the GOP-controlled Legislature and onto the ballot.

The Senate approved the measure last week, and the House gave it first-round approval Thursday, but supporters need a two-thirds majority in the House, or 84 of 125 votes, for it to pass and go on the August primary ballot. They were four votes short in Thursday’s vote, and House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., a Kansas City-area Republican, acknowledged that they were still trying to find the last few yeses.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that access to abortion is a “fundamental right” under the state’s Bill of Rights. The Senate-approved amendment does not provide any exceptions even in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.

Governors are not able to approve or veto proposed constitutional amendments, so if the measure is passed by two-thirds of the Kansas House, it will proceed to a statewide vote during the traditionally low-turnout primary election on August 4.

Find your representative’s phone number at KSLegLookup.org and demand they oppose the proposed amendment!

TRUMP’S STATE OF THE UNION AGAIN FACTUALLY INACCURATE

  • What’s happening?

President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening was again filled with inaccurate information and exaggerations. Among the many topics covered that did not represent the truth was Trump’s comments on pre-existing conditions. Trump said “we will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” But Trump has long supported complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act and stripping away those protections for consumers.

  • Where can I learn more?
  • USA Today – State of the Union: Fact-checking Trump’s claims on jobs, wealth and wages
  • The Washington Post – Pelosi calls Trump’s State of the Union address a ‘pack of lies’ amid Democratic frustration
  • Politicus USA – Here Are The Biggest Lies Told By Trump During His SOTU Address
  • Los Angeles Times – Pelosi shreds Trump’s speech. Right there on the podium

GOP UP IN ARMS OVER TAX COLLECTIONS

Kansas legislative Republicans are growing increasingly angry that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly continues to oppose a tax cut. Kansas has collected more tax revenue than expected almost every month for more than two years. But Kelly continues to argue that Kansas can’t risk returning to the budget shortfalls that followed a nationally notorious experiment in slashing state income taxes under then-GOP Gov. Sam Brownback in 2012 and 2013.

Kelly spokeswoman Dena Sattler: “Lawmakers should wait for a council appointed by the governor to study the tax system to make its recommendations at the end of 2020, rather than pursue changes that could potentially send Kansas right back into fiscal chaos.”

  • Where can I learn more?
    • Kansas.com – Rising Kansas revenues fuel GOP anger over lack of tax cuts.

AS EXPECTED, KANSAS SENATORS VOTE AGAINST IMPEACHING TRUMP

Kansas GOP Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts on Wednesday both voted against the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump.

In spite of the Senate not allowing witnesses in the sham “trial,” Roberts said, “The prosecution did not prove President Trump committed any impeachable offense.” Moran said the House failed to meet its evidentiary burden.

  • Where can I learn more?
    • Hutchnews.com – Kansas’ U.S. senators vote to acquit Trump of impeachment charges.
    • New York Daily News (Opinion) – Failing the framers: Senators’ hollow invocation of the Founding Fathers in the Trump impeachment trial.