Friday, April 17, 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? A 2020 Primary update and the importance of vote-by-mail, the disparate impact of COVID-19 on People of Color, KS Legislature must prioritize Medicaid Expansion in Kansas to combat COVID-19, GOP Leaders in Kansas Legislature blocked by Supreme Court, Trump’s inadequate and chaotic response to COVID-19, this week’s COVID-19 update and our BKC progress!

The KDP Team has released 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.

2020 PRIMARY UPDATE

The Kansas Democratic Party is in the process of counting 2020 Primary ballots. For a complete timeline of the vote-by-mail schedule, check out this one-pager. If you have not received your ballot yet, please fill out this form to request another ballot – we are planning a supplemental ballot mailing early next week. Make sure you check in with your networks to make sure they fill out their ballots and meet the “received by” deadline of May 2, 2020.

KANSAS DEMOCRATS’ MAIL-IN BALLOTS PROTECT VOTERS – KDP CHAIR, VICKI HIATT

What’s happening?

(Kansas City Star, Editorial Column) – What’s more, Kansas Democrats currently have a unique and influential opportunity to show the nation that a vote-by-mail election can protect voters while maintaining the integrity of our Democracy during this uncertain time.

The Kansas Democratic Party began planning a vote-by-mail program over a year ago to make the 2020 Presidential Primary as accessible, inclusive and safe as possible for our members. The Party has already mailed 400,000 ballots to registered Kansas Democrats and knows that election integrity and a healthy democracy are not mutually exclusive. We prioritized security since the beginning of our planning process to ensure our election is fair, transparent and a true reflection of the preferences of Kansas voters. We welcome the Republican Party to take a few notes from us on this topic.

THE DISPARATE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON PEOPLE OF COLOR 

(Kansas City Star) – More than two-thirds of the people dying from COVID-19 in Wyandotte County are black, according to newly released data by county health officials. Although black residents make up about 23% of the county’s population, they account for more than half of the people testing positive for the coronavirus.

“Protecting and supporting underserved communities that already suffer from inequitable health outcomes and higher than average levels of chronic disease is more important than ever in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Allen Greiner, Chief Medical Officer with the Unified Government Public Health Department, in a release.

The data shows that Hispanic residents in Wyandotte County, while making up 28% of the county’s population, account for 15% of the people testing positive for the virus.

KS LEGISLATURE MUST PASS MEDICAID EXPANSION TO ADDRESS COVID-19

(The Hill) – In 2016, voters in Kansas elected a legislature that overwhelmingly supported expanding Medicaid. In the months after, when repeal of the ACA was at the top of the national agenda, our legislature overwhelmingly supported expanding Medicaid, coming up just short of overriding a veto from former Gov. Sam Brownback. The failure to reverse the veto, followed by expanding Medicaid in ensuing sessions, runs contrary to poll after poll showing over 65 percent of Kansans and a majority of legislators support expanding Medicaid.

GOP LEADERS IN KANSAS LEGISLATURE BLOCKED BY SUPREME COURT 

What’s happening?

The Kansas Supreme Court late Saturday determined a Republican-led panel did not have the power to overrule Laura Kelly’s executive order limiting public gatherings to 10 people.

(Topeka Capital Journal) – Justices determined the LCC doesn’t currently have that authority, based on the timetable outlined in the resolution. They declined to consider, as the governor argued, whether the Legislature can delegate such authority to the LCC in the first place…

The governor moved to limit church crowds in response to outbreaks of the coronavirus that were connected to church events in Kansas. Across the state, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused 56 deaths and 1,337 infections.

Governor Laura Kelly: Today’s ruling does not change my commitment to maintaining open lines of communication and collaboration with the Legislature…The only way to get through this is by working with, not against, each other in a bipartisan fashion.

TRUMP’S INADEQUATE AND CHAOTIC REPONSE TO COVID-19

What’s happening?

For months, Trump ignored warnings, downplayed the severity of this crisis, and failed to prepare, allowing the coronavirus to spread rapidly and undetected. Now we’re seeing the consequences.

Trump isn’t leading — his new guidelines to reopen the country are just another attempt to pass blame and avoid responsibility by leaving governors on their own to reopen their states and deal with the consequences. Furthermore, in the middle of a pandemic, Trump wants to stop funding the preeminent organization in charge of combating global pandemics.

COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS

What’s happening?

Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order #20-24, which extends the duration of the state’s Stay-At-Home order established in E.O. #20-16 to expire on midnight May 3.

Governor Laura Kelly: Cases of COVID-19 continue to increase and have spread to additional counties in Kansas. Extending the stay-home order will keep Kansans safe as we work to fight this pandemic…While we won’t be able to lift all restrictions on mass gatherings overnight, we will continue to develop mitigation efforts so Kansans, their families and businesses can plan for the future.

The action was taken in collaboration with Governor Mike Parson of Missouri, as well as Kansas City metro leaders. The governor believes a regional approach will reduce confusion and help keep communities safe on both sides of the state line.

BKC CAMPAIGN UPDATE

The KDP has reached the 80% mark to achieving our ambitious goal to add 100 BKC members to our team! Every new BKC member helps us to deliver our message in new and accessible ways: virtual organizing, at-home text banks, webinars focused on writing letters to the editor. Be sure to share this link with your network to help us reach our goal and build the best coordinated campaign Kansas has ever seen in 2020!

Onward,
KDP Team

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