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Friday, April 23, 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?  KDP Updates, Earth Day, #KSLEG Updates, 2022 Elections, COVID-19 Vaccine, 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!

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated across the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection, focus on preserving our Earth, and amplify the urgent need to address climate change. It is up to each and every one of us to restore our planet, not just because we care about the natural world, but because we live on it. We all need a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity. This Earth Day, let’s keep working to combat as much of the escalating consequences of climate change as we can. Happy Earth Day!

GOVERNOR KELLY COINS APRIL AS CHILD ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH

Governor Laura Kelly has proclaimed April as Child Abuse Awareness Month in Kansas.

This proclamation recognizes the importance of building safe, healthy, thriving communities to support the wellbeing of Kansas children and families.

“The future of our state depends on the wellbeing of our children,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “It’s up to us to protect our youngest and most vulnerable Kansans. During April, I urge all Kansans to familiarize themselves with the signs of abuse and the Kansas Protection Report Center’s resources.”

KDP Press Releases

GOVERNOR KELLY VETOES GOP’S ATTEMPT TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TRANSGENDER ATHLETES

What’s happening?

(The Kansas City Star) – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a bill banning transgender students from girl’s and women’s school sports Thursday, slamming the GOP-backed measure as a jobs killer that harms children.

“As Kansans, we should be focused on how to include all students in extracurricular activities rather than how to exclude those who may be different than us. Kansas is an inclusive state and our laws should reflect our values. This law does not do that,” Kelly said in a statement.

The move sets up yet another fight in the Kansas Legislature over transgender youth and girls sports when lawmakers return to Topeka in May. It is a fight that advocates have warned could be damaging to the already vulnerable queer youth watching from home.

GOVERNOR LAURA KELLY VETOES ELECTION SUPPRESSION BILLS

What’s happening?

(WIBW) – Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed divisive voter suppression bills to keep Kansas welcoming and open for business. Governor Laura Kelly says she has demonstrated her commitment to ensure that Kansas is welcoming to everyone and open for business. She said she vetoed House Bill 2183 and House Bill 2332.

“Although Kansans have cast millions of ballots over the last decade, there remains no evidence of significant voter fraud in Kansas. This bill is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. It is designed to disenfranchise Kansans, making it difficult for them to participate in the democratic process, not to stop voter fraud,” said Gov. Kelly. “We also know what happens when states enact restrictive voting legislation. Hundreds of major companies across the nation have made it abundantly clear that this kind of legislation is wrong. Antagonizing the very businesses Kansas is trying to recruit is not how we continue to grow our economy.”

The Kansas Democratic Party said the veto was the right move because if the restrictions had been in place during the 2020 election, tens of thousands of ballots would have been thrown out.

“Kansas’ 2020 elections were among the safest and most secure we’ve had thus far, and HB 2183 and HB 2332 add no new protections while making election administration more difficult,” said KDP Chairwoman Vicki Hiatt. “If these restrictions had been in place during the 2020 elections, more than tens of thousands of ballots from eligible Kansas citizens would have been thrown out. These bills would make advance voting more confusing, less accessible and less reliable for voters while criminalizing normal and healthy parts of our democracy. Thanks to Governor Laura Kelly, these voter suppression bills will not come to fruition.”

GOVERNOR LAURA KELLY REJECTS GOP EDUCATION PROPOSALS 

What’s happening?

(The Wichita Eagle) – Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed two Republican-backed education bills on Thursday, including one that would have required high school students to pass a civics test to graduate and another that would have allowed districts to incorporate gun safety courses into their curriculums.

The Republican-controlled Legislature approved the bills this month, but not by large enough margins in either chamber for override attempts to succeed, falling 12 votes short in the House and two shy in the Senate on the civics bill and five votes short in the House and nine shy in the Senate on the gun safety course measure.

It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone who opposed either bill initially might back one or both in an override attempt, or even if attempts would be made. Some Republicans who opposed the bills said they agreed with state Board of Education members who argued that the measures would have infringed upon the board’s constitutional authority to set graduation requirements.

GOVERNOR LAURA KELLY REJECTS BROWNBACK STYLE TAX CUTS

What’s happening?

(Topeka Capital-Journal) – Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed Friday a sweeping slate of tax changes that would have cost the state $284 million over three years, arguing that price tag would threaten the state’s fiscal health.

It isn’t the first time Kelly has rejected similar proposals, which would allow residents to better take advantage of the 2017 tax cuts championed by then-President Donald Trump. In 2019, Kelly vetoed an even more expansive bill that would have cost $1 billion over three years.

SENATOR MARSHALL ENDORSES JEFF COLYER FOR GOVERNOR

What’s happening?

(Kansas City Star) – More than a year before Kansans will cast a vote in the 2022 gubernatorial race, Sen. Roger Marshall announced Monday he’d made his choice.

Marshall endorsed former Gov. Jeff Colyer at a press conference in Topeka as Colyer formally launched his campaign.

“Just like he’s been a loyal friend to me all these years, Jeff is the person we can count on to stay loyal to the traditional Kansas values,” Marshall said.

SENATOR MARSHALL TARGETS MEATLESS MONDAYS AND TRANSGENDER TEENS

What’s happening?

(Kansas City Star) – In his first major address on the floor of U.S. Senate Wednesday, Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall said he was elected “to protect the Kansas values I was raised on.”

Those values, such as faith, family and limited government, “are still held by the majority of Americans and many of us are tired of being canceled, censored and lectured to,” he said.

Marshall went on to mock the term “woke,” which originated in the Black community and is now used widely to describe people or groups awakened to the realities of systemic racism.

EQUITY IN VACCINE DISTRIBUTION HAS BEEN PAYING OFF IN WICHITA

What’s happening?

(KSN) – The Wichita Black Nurses Association announced on Monday that they have been able to vaccinate more than a thousand African American people, and they plan to continue to encourage minorities to get vaccinated.

Governor Laura Kelly shared that one way to get more people in the state vaccinated is to reach out to more minority groups, something that the Wichita Black Nurses Association has been successfully doing.

“Our goal is to get immunity in our community,” said Margaret Thompson with the Wichita Black Nurses Association. The Wichita Black Nurses Association said efforts to get minorities vaccinated in working. “I know from a fact our numbers are up for black and brown in Wichita,” said Thompson.

CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS HITTING HOME IN KANSAS

What’s happening?

(KMUW) – Ellen Welti has a Ph.D. in, essentially, grasshoppers. And yet she was still mystified about why the number of grasshoppers in a long-protected and much-studied patch of Kansas prairie was dropping. Steadily. For 25 years.

After all, the grass that the springy bugs feast on had actually grown more robustly as it absorbed mounting levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So why were the grasshoppers faring increasingly worse?

“We thought that this is a pretty nice habitat for grasshoppers,” she said.

The insects dwell on the Konza Long-Term Ecological Research site. Their home sat in preserve, shielded from development, from farming, from just about everything people do to the planet. “It doesn’t have a lot of the pressures we usually associate with insect decline. Like, there’s no pesticide spraying,” Welti said. “The size of the habitat is not shrinking. It’s the big natural reserve.”

And yet the numbers showed an alarming decline — nearly 2% a year for about a quarter century.

DEREK CHAUVIN’S GUILTY VERDICT IS FIRST STEP IN ACCOUNTABILITY

What’s happening?

(New York Times) – A former police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck until well past Mr. Floyd’s final breath was found guilty of murder on Tuesday in a case that shook the nation’s conscience and drew millions into the streets for the largest racial justice protests in generations.

The verdict, which could send the former officer, Derek Chauvin, to prison for decades, was a rare rebuke of police violence, following case after case of officers going without charges or convictions after killing Black men, women and children.

At the center of it all was an excruciating video, taken by a teenage girl, that showed Mr. Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on the neck of Mr. Floyd, who was Black, for nine minutes and 29 seconds as Mr. Floyd pleaded for his life and bystanders tried to intervene. Mr. Floyd repeated “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times during the encounter.

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.

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.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Today, April 23:

  • Ellis County Democrats – Conversation with Representative Haswood
    • When:  4:45 pm – 6:00 pm
    • More info here

Saturday, April 24:

  • Butler County Democrats – Monthly Meeting
    • When:  11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Monday, April 26:

  • Shawnee County Democrats – Executive Board Board Monthly Meeting
    • When:  6:00 pm – 7:15 pm

Tuesday, April 27:

  • Ellis County Democrats – Monthly Meeting
    • When:  6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Johnson County – Young Democrats Meeting
    • When:  6:00 – 8:00 pm

Wednesday, April 28:

  • Reno County Democrats – Monthly Meeting
    • When:  5:30 pm – 6:45 pm
  • Dickinson County Democrats – Monthly Meeting
    • When:  6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • KDP Watch Party: President Biden’s Speech to Joint Session of Congress
    • When:  7:00 pm – 8:00 pm CT

Onward,

KDP Team

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Paid for by the Kansas Democratic Party, Yolanda Taylor, Treasurer

Kansas Democratic Party
501 SE Jefferson St
Suite 30
Topeka, KS 66607
United States