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Friday, March 5, 2021

Friend,

Welcome to the KDP Weekly Newsletter – 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? Women’s History Month, Medical Marijuana legalization, Medicaid Expansion, Vaccination efforts, Social Media Updates, KDP Merch and more!

Interested in helping the Party get out our messaging to encourage Kansans to vote blue? Sign up for our new Letter to the Editor program here!

 

The KDP is sending our condolences to the friends and family of Jack Glaves, a former Kansas State legislator and our Party’s former Chair, who passed away this morning. Jack was a dedicated Democrat and a champion of hardworking Kansans. The KDP is proud to have benefited from his leadership and know his memory will live on through his friends, family, and our organization.

Happy Women’s History Month!

Let us take this time to express gratitude to the women who fought bravely for equality over the years.

While the KDP celebrates all that women have accomplished throughout our nations’ history, Kansas Republicans are busy dismantling reproductive rights and attempting to send women’s progress back decades.

This women’s history month, be sure to view KDP Merch at the Kansas Dems Online Store. Make your voice heard by picking up our new shirt from the KDP Store. And remember each purchase includes a donation to the party to help elect Democrats across the state.

We are excited to announce the results of our 2021 officer election!                                 

CHAIR

VICKI HIATT

VICE-CHAIR

EDGAR PANDO

TREASURER

YOLANDA TAYLOR

SECRETARY

FRANCES JACKSON

KDP PRESS RELEASES

UPCOMING TRAININGS

In an effort to ramp up training for upcoming elections in 2021 and beyond, the Kansas Democratic Party together with the DNC Best Practices Institute are excited to offer a series of virtual trainings over the course of the next few months. All trainings and their description are listed below.

These programs will enhance the skills of progressive activists and volunteers by ensuring comprehensive training is free and accessible for Democrats all over the country.

  • Train 2 Win (T2W) Webinar Program 
    • T2W webinars are tailored towards State Party staff and leadership. All T2W webinars occur at 4:00 pm ET, unless otherwise stated. See below for upcoming T2W offerings, and sign-up today!
  • Train the Trainer (T3) Launch
    • T3 is a free six-week, twelve-part webinar training program that covers several aspects of grassroots campaigning; the target audience is volunteers, activists, and entry-level down ballot candidates / staff.
    • T3 trainings are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET, from March 16, through April 22. The deadline to register is Sunday, March 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
      • CLICK HERE to submit your registration for the 2021 T3 Training Program!

 

KDP Trainings: 

 

 

KANSAS SENATE BEGINS FIGHT FOR LIFE-SAVING MEDICAID EXPANSION, FACES REJECTION FROM REPUBLICANS

What’s happening?

(Kansas Reflector) – Efforts to expand Medicaid in Kansas were dealt a blow Wednesday after an amendment to do just that was rejected largely along party lines on the Senate floor. The proposed expansion came in the form of an amendment to a bill increasing funding for community mental health clinics and addressing telemedicine treatment. The amendment sparked the first formal debate on the issue this session, with Republican legislators signaling the idea would not gain much traction in 2021.

Opponents of the amendment raised concerns that it had not been raised or vetted in committee and questioned the cost of expansion. Supporters countered that the expansion would complement efforts within the bill, and costs would be offset through federal funding and secondary economic gains.

Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes, D-Lenexa, introduced the amendment to Senate Bill 238 to force some discussion during this legislative session. More than 100,000 Kansans stand to gain health care coverage through such action.

“We need to realize that Kansans will be healthier if they have insurance. Going to be less cost to insurance and allowing them to miss work less, and they’re going to be able to properly manage that care instead of going to the emergency room every time they have an issue,” Sykes said.

 

 KANSAS GOP LAWMAKERS DISCUSS HOW TO ALLOCATE COVID FUNDS

What’s happening?

(Kansas City Star) – Early Saturday morning, Kansas’ three Republican U.S. House members voted against the massive Biden administration pandemic relief package that will send an estimated $1.6 billion to the state.

Rep. Jake LaTurner, who represents the Topeka area, ripped the measure earlier this month as a “liberal state bailout.” Freshman GOP Sen. Roger Marshall is one of the $1.9 trillion bill’s most outspoken critics in the Senate, which will now take it up.

Their GOP counterparts in the Kansas Legislature? They’ve effectively spent much of it already.

Republican lawmakers are eyeing the relief dollars to fund $500 million in tax cuts, heavily targeted to multinational corporations and wealthy and retired Kansans. They also want the money for refunds to students relegated to online learning and replenishment of the state’s unemployment insurance fund, which has been depleted by a record volume of legitimate and fraudulent claims.

A House committee on Thursday recommended using the federal aid to fund $500 bonuses for teachers and grants for school security. The state Senate approved the tax cut earlier this month after growing its size from a proposed $175 million to an estimated $500 million. Though the House has not yet picked up the measure, Senate Republicans have pitched federal dollars as a way to keep it alive. The tax measure has been blasted by Senate Democrats, who said it would decimate the state budget by using a one-time federal stimulus to pay for on-going expenses. They called it a “bullet train to Brownbacksville,” a reference to the deep tax cuts under Gov. Sam Brownback that created huge budget shortfalls for the state.

Gov. Laura Kelly said any stimulus funds need to be spent on one-time programs, not tax cuts or regular expenses.

 

KANSAS GOP LAWMAKERS SEEK TO LIMIT GOVERNOR KELLY’S AUTHORITY

What’s happening?

(Kansas City Star) – Kansas lawmakers moved closer Monday to a showdown with Gov. Laura Kelly over her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Senate approved major limitations on her emergency powers.

It is the latest turn in a year-long dispute between the Democratic governor and the Republican legislative supermajority over the extent of her authority in a crisis. The GOP blames Kelly for the weakened state economy, which they contend is the result of sweeping stay-at-home orders and business closures she ordered in the early months of the pandemic.

The governor and lawmakers reached a deal last spring imposing some limits. But as the first anniversary of the virus’s arrival in Kansas approaches, GOP lawmakers want further restrictions on Kelly’s power. On Monday, the Senate, voted 27-12 for a package of new rules.

The bill now goes to the House, where a similar measure is under consideration.

The House and Senate bills both require Kelly to seek approval from a legislative committee and review by the Attorney General for any executive orders issued during a public health emergency. The Senate bill prohibits Kelly from restricting religious activity, from declaring businesses “non-essential,” and from allowing abortion clinics to remain open if other medical procedures are unavailable or businesses are closed.

 

JEFF COLYER SIGNALS BID FOR 2022 GOVERNORS RACE

What’s happening?

(Lawrence Journal-Word) – Former Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer signaled Friday that he’ll make a comeback bid in 2022 by bringing a granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower onto his team for the Kansas governor’s race. Colyer stopped short of formally announcing his candidacy but described philanthropist Mary Eisenhower as joining “our campaign” as its treasurer. The announcement came on “Jeff Colyer Governor” letterhead and quoted Colyer as saying Kansas needs “an authentic, effective conservative.”

The path to the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly is far from open. Many Republicans expect three-term state Attorney General Derek Schmidt to run, and Colyer’s last race was his narrow loss as governor in the August 2018 primary to conservative firebrand and then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who lost the general election to Kelly.

“Kansas made a mistake in 2018, and it’s time to fix that mistake,” Mary Eisenhower said in a statement.

State law requires a campaign to name a treasurer to raise money. Colyer never closed his campaign account but collected no contributions in 2019 or 2020 other than a few uncashed checks, its reports show. Colyer was governor for a little less than a year after serving seven years as GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s lieutenant governor. He rose to the higher office in January 2018, when Brownback resigned to become U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom under President Donald Trump.

 

KANSAS POLICE, FIREFIGHTER AND TEACHER ORGANIZATIONS FIGHT AGAINST DISASTROUS ANTI-UNION HOUSE BILL

What’s happening?

(Kansas Reflector) – Labor attorney Jake Miller warned legislation characterized by a network of conservative think tanks as sound bookkeeping to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling was actually a political overreach intended to deter participation in public employee unions in Kansas.

“To me, this is a waste of the committee’s time,” said Miller, who represents Working Kansas Alliance and practices labor law in Kansas City, Missouri. “Remember you’re going after cops, firefighters, corrections officers, electrical workers, snowplow drivers and everyone else.”

He told the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee there was no legitimacy to arguments by the Kansas Policy Institute, Illinois Policy Institute, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Americans for Prosperity-Kansas and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce that the 2021 Legislature had to pass a law in response to Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. That 2018 ruling prohibited public-sector unions from requiring payment of fees by workers who weren’t union members, but were beneficiaries of union representation in terms of working conditions and compensation.

Miller’s point: Kansas has been a right-to-work state since 1958. Union participation is voluntary. Fees can’t be forced upon a nonmember. There have been no lawsuits tied to the court’s decision filed in Kansas.

TRANSGENDER WOMAN FIGHTS HATEFUL SPORTS BILL, ASKS LEGISLATORS: ‘I’M TIRED OF BURYING TRANS KIDS. WHY AREN’T YOU?’

What’s happening?

(Kansas Reflector) – Kendall Hawkins is the mother of a second-grader, works as a special-education teacher, coaches middle-school cross country and served in the Kansas Army National Guard. She’s also a transgender woman who understands the harassment, assaults and hostility aimed at trans students by teachers and peers in schools across the state. She volunteers with GLSEN, which works to end discrimination based on gender identity and expression, and knows transgender students are scared. In the past two years, three in the Wichita area lost their lives.

The Senate Education Committee’s decision to consider Senate Bill 208, which bans transgender girls and women from participating in female sports teams from elementary school through college, could prove deadly.

“As a trans woman,” Hawkins said, “I understand and share many of the struggles transgender kids endure when one of them has lost the violence or suicide. I don’t just feel their loss. I experience it. I’m tired of standing up the candlelight vigils. I’m tired of burying trans kids. Why aren’t you?”

 

KANSAS LAWMAKERS LAUNCH ANOTHER ATTEMPT AT LEGALIZING MEDICAL MARIJUANA, A BIG STEP FOR STATE-WIDE DECRIMINALIZATION

What’s happening?

(The Pitch) – After previously unsuccessful efforts, Kansas lawmakers have introduced a new bill in hopes that the state will follow through with medical marijuana legalization. Under the House bill, only certified physicians could prescribe marijuana and prescription could only result from a specific list of symptoms such as chronic pain, cancer or brain injury. It would also require doctors to see patients for at least a year before prescribing marijuana and would limit to use to forms like edible products and oils, excluding smoking.

This bill follows Gov. Laura Kelly’s proposal to use revenue from medical marijuana for Medicaid expansion. Some Kansas Democrats have also pushed legislation in favor of recreational marijuana legalization.

Efforts to make marijuana medicinally accessible has been met with opposition from several state officials, including Sheriff Cole Presley of the Kansas Sheriff’s Association.

“This is just one step closer to legalizing recreational marijuana,” he says.

Kansas is currently surrounded by four states that have either fully or partially introduced marijuana legalization. In total, 36 states have introduced forms of marijuana legalization, leaving Kansas as one of 14 that have not. Without legalization of marijuana, Kansas residents who want or need it have to travel or relocate to other states for access. With them goes the revenue that Kansas could receive from sales under legalization.

 

 

What’s happening?

Make sure to follow Kansas Dems on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep up with the latest party news, events, and updates!

Here are some of our top posts from this week.

Onward,

KDP Team

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