Weekly Rundown #50

Friday, March 6, 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? Washington Days 2020, updated 2020 Primary ballot released, three former Republican Senate President’s condemn Susan Wagle, Republican leadership discourages bipartisan cooperation on Medicaid expansion, Senate passes bill focusing on foster children’s education, Kansas moves to get suspended drivers back on the road, Biden wins South Carolina, Super Tuesday results, Former Governor Colyer to lead rural healthcare for Trump and more! 

2020 WASHINGTON DAYS KICKS OFF TODAY

What’s happening?

Join us this weekend for Washington Days, our annual convention and the largest gathering of Democrats in the state! Registration begins at 4 PM on Friday, March 6th. Visit our website for more details, tickets will be available for purchase onsite while supplies last!

KANSAS PRIMARY BALLOT INFORMATION RELEASED

What’s happening?

The Kansas Democratic Party began printing ballots for the 2020 Presidential Primary on March 5th.This year, the KDP will administer a primary including ranked choice voting and a vote-by-mail option.

KDP Chair, Vicki Hiatt: In a competitive primary election where a candidate’s road to success continually fluctuates, we believe that ranked choice voting is an ideal process to determine Kansas’s delegate distribution at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Furthermore, the KDP Team is releasing a 2020 Primary Toolkit for Democrats across Kansas! Please feel free to utilize the included resources to inform others about important dates and deadlines concerning the upcoming primary election. We will update the drive as we produce more graphics and informational content.

THREE FORMER REPUBLICAN SENATE PRESIDENT’S CONDEMN SUSAN WAGLE

What’s happening?

Dick Bond, Dave Kerr, and Steve Morris: This bipartisan compromise warrants open discussion, debate and a vote in the full Senate. Instead, this important bill and others may fall prey to the political whims of a Senate president seeking to boost her campaign for higher office. Recent news of her attempt last year to land an ambassadorship in the Trump administration through questionable means was yet another troubling sign of her focus on herself rather than on Kansas.

During our time in the Legislature, the duties of Senate president demanded our full attention. The current officeholder seems more focused on personal political gain than governing — and at significant cost to the people and future of our great state.

Kansans deserve better.

GOP SENATE LEADERSHIP BLASTS BIPARTISAN COOPERATION ON MEDICAID EXPANSION

What’s happening?

(The Wichita Eagle) – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, and Senate Republican Leader Jim Denning ramped up a pressure campaign Monday to break Senate President Susan Wagle’s blockade of their Medicaid expansion compromise, which Kelly called “immoral.”

Governor Laura Kelly: We all know we have an issue with the Senate president, who is tying this issue to the constitutional amendment and not allowing debate on either this issue or any other healthcare issues right now. Talk about an immoral thing to do – that is one of them, because the lives of the people of Kansas are really on the line here.

Kansas Senate Republicans lashed out at their own leader, Sen. Jim Denning, on Thursday for campaigning in favor of Medicaid expansion with Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly earlier this week.

The confrontation came after Denning and Kelly addressed hospital administrators and clergy in Wichita on Monday and asked them to urge their lawmakers to support expansion. Their efforts have been stymied by Wagle, of Wichita, who has vowed to block the proposal until an anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution passes the Legislature.

Sen. Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) – It puts us all in a bind when you’re carrying the governor’s bill and I believe the majority of our caucus is not for that bill… our biggest voting bloc in a primary is the pro-life community and we cannot be asked to step on that community and get re-elected. So you’re putting us in a very difficult spot. Very, very difficult.

SENATE PASSES BILL FOCUSING ON FOSTER CHILDREN’S EDUCATION

What’s happening?

(Hutchinson News) – The Kansas Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday requiring compilation of an annual academic report card on thousands of children in foster care.

Kansas would be the second state to initiate this type of tracking mandate. If passed into law, the Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas Department for Children and Families would report on high school graduations, standardized test scores, suspensions or expulsions and enrollment in at-risk programs of foster children in accredited public and private schools.

KANSAS MOVES TO GET SUSPENDED DRIVERS BACK ON THE ROAD

(KCUR) – Together, the bills would make it cheaper for suspended drivers with multiple unpaid fines to get back their full license once their suspension is up. The changes would also qualify more suspended drivers for a restricted driver’s license, which allows them to get to work, church and/or school.

Democratic Rep. Gail Finney said current Kansas law unfairly affects the working class and former inmates trying to re-enter society. About half of the 6,000 inmates released each year in Kansas either have a suspended driver’s license or no license at all, according to the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission’s 2019 report.

Gail Finney (D-Wichita): Without a driver’s license, it’s very difficult to look for a job. It’s very difficult to look for a home…I mean, you can’t get your children to and from school. The list goes on and on.

BIDEN WINS SOUTH CAROLINA – BUTTIGIEG, STEYER, KLOBUCHAR DROP OUT

What’s happening?

(ABC News) – The first primary victory of former vice president Joe Biden’s long political career, dating back to his first run for president in 1988 and through a subsequent try in 2008, was an enormous one in South Carolina. Biden’s victory over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and the rest of the field in South Carolina on Saturday was commanding.

Biden: Most Americans don’t want the promise of revolution. They want more than promise, they want results.

SUPER TUESDAY RESULTS: BIDEN LEADS BERNIE, BLOOMBERG AND WARREN DROP OUT

What’s happening?

(Wall Street Journal) – Joe Biden notched an impressive string of Super Tuesday victories, while Bernie Sanders won delegate-rich California, as the pair broke away from the field in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

TRUMP NAMES FORMER KANSAS GOV. COLYER TO LEAD FEDERAL PANEL ON
RURAL HEALTH CARE

What’s happening?

(The Kansas City Star) – President Donald Trump has named former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer to chair a federal panel on rural health care. Colyer, a Johnson County plastic surgeon, will lead the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, a group tasked with developing policies to close the health care gap in rural areas.

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