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Friday, July 23, 2021

Azmain,

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? POTUS’s first 6 months, Eid al-Adha, KDP Training & Updates, Platform Committee, #KSLEG Updates, The Big Lie, Frito-Lays Strike, Medicaid Expansion, Climate Change, Infrastructure, 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!

PRESIDENT BIDEN’S FIRST SIX MONTHS IN OFFICE 

On Tuesday, President Biden reached the six month mark of his time in office. Thanks to President Biden’s historic agenda, Democrats are delivering for American families and building our country back better than ever. With checks in pockets, shots in arms, and huge middle-class tax cuts, hardworking American families are optimistic about the future and overwhelmingly support the President’s plan to continue building America back, with over 60% of Americans approving of President Biden’s job in office after his first six months.

EID AL-ADHA 

Happy Eid! This week, Muslim Americans joined Muslims worldwide in celebrating Eid Al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice. This holiday is a time of prayer, community, celebration and service to the poor. At a time where divisive political rhetoric towards Muslim Americans and Islam worldwide is at a high, it is especially important to welcome people of all faiths into our communities. From the entire KDP staff, we would like to send our warm regards to all Kansans who celebrated Eid Al-Adha this week. Eid Mubarak!  

UPCOMING KDP 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. 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. The training and its description is listed below:

  • BPI State Party Leadership and Staff Resources 
    • The BPI’s 9-part DEI Training Course is now available for use by County Parties. Learn more about the process for implementing the BPI DEI Training Course in your state HERE. Those interested should email bpi@dnc.org to schedule a call with the BPI team.
  • Canvassing 101
    • The Franklin County Democratic Party in partnership with the KDP will be holding a Canvassing 101 training on 8/21, Princeton Community Building 1449 US-59 Princeton, KS, starting at 10 am.
    • Join us to learn about the most effective way to reach voters and become a great canvasser!

Platform Committee Meetings

  • The Kansas Democratic Party’s Platform Committee will meet in-person on August 14th in Salina to consider changes and updates to the platform and we want your input! All Kansas Democrats are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas with the committee — have your say in shaping Kansas policy by attending a virtual congressional district meeting or filling out the suggestion form below. Come August 14, input on the platform will only be possible by attending the in-person meeting in Salina.

KDP PRESS RELEASES

GOVERNOR KELLY’S EDUCATION SUPPORT ALLOWS RURAL COMMUNITIES TO THRIVE 

What’s happening?

(The Topeka Capital-Journal) – My name is Michael Argabright, and I am superintendent of schools in Southern Lyon County USD 252 representing the communities of Hartford, Neosho Rapids, and Olpe. I have 35 years of experience in public education with the past 15 years in Southern Lyon County.

Thank you, Gov. Kelly, for fully funding the past three fiscal years and guaranteeing funding through 2023 in Kansas public schools. Supporting a three-year funding plan allows rural school districts across the state to implement and sustain programs to support student success.

The cost of living increases have provided additional stability to sustain and improve public education.

In many rural communities, school districts are the largest employer. A sustained funding program not only allows proper planning and the tools for students and educators succeed, but sustained funding also provides economic development across Kansas.

IT’S TIME FOR KANSAS LEGISLATORS TO STOP PLAYING POLITICS AND PASS MEDICAID EXPANSION

What’s happening?

(The Topeka Capital-Journal) – Randy Keith lost his health insurance when he lost his job last January. Then another job fell through because of the pandemic. The Wichita resident needs mental health care and dental care.

Like thousands of other Kansans, Randy and his wife, who receives unemployment benefits, are stuck in the “Medicaid coverage gap”: They earn too little to get federal financial help to buy a marketplace plan and too much to qualify for KanCare, Kansas’ version of Medicaid.

That’s because in Kansas, adults with children younger than 19 can qualify for Medicaid but only if their income doesn’t exceed 38% of the federal poverty level. This low threshold makes it difficult for all but the lowest income parents to qualify.

The Kansas Legislature could help Randy and many others get covered by expanding eligibility for KanCare, something policymakers in Topeka have repeatedly failed to do.

While the American Rescue Plan provided further significant incentives for states to expand Medicaid to their most vulnerable residents, to date, none of the 12 states that have yet to expand have opted in.

BOB DOLE CONDEMNS THE BIG LIE EVEN AS KANSAS GOP CONTINUES TO INSIST TRUMP WON 2020 ELECTIONS

What’s happening?

(USA Today) – Bob Dole turns 98 years old Thursday and is battling lung cancer, but he is still outspoken about what’s going on in the Washington he once helped lead – from the Keystone Pipeline to the need to protect the Senate filibuster.

“Both sides use it,” the former Senate majority leader noted of the parliamentary rule, then praised “the guy from West Virginia” who is defending it. That would be Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Dole decided on the spot that he’d like to meet Manchin – to invite him over for a chat, no big agenda, across party lines. Like the old days.

“I keep fairly busy,” Dole said during a 45-minute interview in his apartment in the Watergate complex, and he has more things he wants to do. He hopes to regain enough strength to make “one more trip home,” to Kansas, to visit the Veterans Affairs medical center in Topeka and meet with students at the University of Kansas’ Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence.

When he blows out the candles on his birthday cake – at a celebration hosted by his wife, former North Carolina senator Elizabeth Dole, and joined by a dozen or so friends – he’ll make a wish for “pretty good health” for a while longer.

TOPEKA UNION MEMBERS TO VOTE ON PROPOSED CONTRACT FRIDAY 

What’s happening?

(The Topeka Capital-Journal) – Some union members at Frito-Lay’s Topeka plant aren’t optimistic the company’s latest contract offer will pass.

After three consecutive days of talks between Frito-Lay representatives and the contract-negotiating committee for Local 218 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union, the two sides reached a tentative deal Wednesday.

Union members are expected to vote on the proposed contract Friday. But Brent Hall, president of Local 218, said union leadership isn’t recommending the offer to its members, as it doesn’t make much progress on issues of working conditions and wages.

“They did not move on the economics,” Hall said. “It’s not a recommended offer.”

If union members go against the negotiating team’s recommendation and approve the latest proposal, they would put an end to the nearly three-week-long labor strike outside Frito-Lay’s Topeka plant. It’s unclear how much longer the strike might last if the offer is rejected.

In a statement released Thursday, Frito-Lay said the latest offer “addresses the most pressing issues raised by our employees, and we believe it represents a win-win for both the union and Frito-Lay.”

DEREK SCHMIDT PUSHES AHEAD WITH STOPPING GOVERNOR KELLY’S EMERGENCY MANDATE EVEN AFTER COURT OVERRULES HIM 

What’s happening?

(WIBW) – Attorney General Derek Schmidt has filed a notice of appeal in a court case that renders provisions of Senate Bill 40 unenforceable.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he filed a notice of appeal on Wednesday in a Johnson Co. District Court case that recently made provisions of 2021 Senate Bill 40 unenforceable. He said the bill reforms the Kansas Emergency Management Act.

According to Schmidt, he notified the court that he is appealing the decision to the Kansas Supreme Court. Additionally, he said he filed a motion to ask a lower court to stay its decision in the case, pending appeal.

In the filings, Schmidt said the court’s ruling was causing “unnecessary and disruptive confusion” due to many provisions of the bill that were not at issue in the case but nevertheless appears the court ruling may have invalidated them. He warned that failure to stay the ruling could result in “legal anarchy” and “potentially hamper the State’s ability to respond to a future disaster emergency.”

TOM MATTIVI JOINS RACE FOR KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL

What’s happening?

(The Sunflower State Journal) – Less than two hours after Rep. Blaine Finch announced he would not run for attorney general, a former career prosecutor has emerged as a candidate to be the state’s top law enforcement officer.

Tony Mattivi, a former assistant U.S. attorney, announced Monday morning that he was appointing Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett as his treasurer for an upcoming campaign for attorney general.

The Republican Topeka attorney said a formal announcement of his candidacy is expected in the coming days.

He would face Republican state Sen. Kellie Warren and former Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the primary election.

“We look forward to seeing where Mr. Mattivi stands on key issues important to Kansans,” a spokesman for the Warren campaign said in a statement.

KANSAS HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE RON HOWARD PASSES AWAY   

What’s happening?

(The Topeka Capital-Journal) – Rep. Ron Howard, who represented Wichita’s south side in the Kansas House for two terms, died Tuesday after an illness, a spokesperson for House leadership confirmed. He was 67 years old.

Howard had missed a chunk of session due to the ailment, although he returned for the final days for votes to override a slate of vetoes from Gov. Laura Kelly.

In a statement, House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, praised Howard’s dedication to the caucus and to his work as a legislator.

“Ron Howard fought the good fight, showing strength in his efforts to recover and in his commitment to serve his district,” Ryckman said. “Even during the most difficult moments of his illness, he made sure his constituents were represented on critical issues like taxes and Value Them Both (anti-abortion constitutional amendment). Ron will be remembered for that.”

Howard first won election to the Kansas House in 2019, narrowly defeating Democrat incumbent Steve Crum in the district, which covers part of Wichita’s south side. He won a second term last year, again defeating Crum by a wider margin.

CLIMATE POLICY WOULD PROVIDE A BOOST FOR KANSAS RURAL COMMUNITIES   

What’s happening?

(The Wichita Eagle) – As climate change effects are felt across the nation and the national government considers combative action, a recent study found that investment in climate policy would only help rural communities, boosting the numbers of jobs and economic investment dollars.

Like many rural states, Kansas already has a robust clean energy workforce, but with federal climate policy, they would see an addition of more than 5,200 jobs. The study was conducted by the U.S. Climate Team at the World Resources Institute, an international research nonprofit, and looked at how climate policy would impact rural counties.

“Rural America is really indispensable to the success of U.S. climate policy,” said Devashree Saha, lead author of the study and senior associate who researches the economic impacts of climate action. “As the U.S. moves to ramp up on renewable energy deployment, it’s more and more likely to happen in these rural counties where we have the land to host these projects.”

The study looked at potential outcomes of a federal investment of $275 billion or $55 billion per year for five years. The investment was focused on seven key areas:

LAW SIGNED BY GOVERNOR KELLY AND PUSHED FORTH BY DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVES CRACKS DOWN ON SEXUAL EXTORTION AND SPOUSAL ABUSE  

What’s happening? 

(Kansas City Star) – Kansas lawmakers and legal leaders are praising a new law that creates the crime of sexual extortion and removes a spousal exemption to sexual battery.

Senate Bill 60, which went into effect July 1, bundles several criminal justice and law enforcement actions. The law amends when a person can be tried in Kansas, prohibits a court from ordering a victim of a crime to undergo a psychological evaluation, and amends law for those fleeing from a police officer, in addition to the extortion and battery provisions.

Legislation like this should serve as a reminder to lawmakers that review of past laws and their merit in the present day is critical, said Gov. Laura Kelly. She pointed to the loophole previously in law that prevented spouses from being charged with sexual battery.

“No matter what the original authors of this statute might have thought at the time, marriage should never have been used to inflict harm on a partner,” Kelly said. “Thankfully, we can say time’s up for the spousal exception to sexual battery.”

SENATE REPUBLICANS BLOCK BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE DEBATE   

What’s happening?

(The New York Times) – Republicans blocked the Senate on Wednesday from taking up an emerging bipartisan infrastructure plan, raising doubts about the fate of a major piece of President Biden’s agenda even as negotiators continued to seek a compromise.

The failed vote underscored the intense mistrust between the two parties, which has complicated the effort to complete a deal. Both Republicans and Democrats in the group seeking a deal say they are still making progress toward agreement on a package with nearly $600 billion in new funds for roads, bridges, rail, transit and other infrastructure, which could be the first major infusion of federal public works spending since the 2009 stimulus law.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, forced the vote in a bid to intensify pressure for a swift resolution to the talks, acting over the pleas of centrist Republicans who said they needed more time to solidify their deal with Democrats. With many Democrats harboring concerns that Republicans will drag out the process only to withhold support from a final bill, he argued that there was still time to iron out final details.

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.

Saturday, July 24th

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

Tuesday, July 27th:

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

Wednesday, July 28th:

  • Reno County Democrats – Monthly Meeting
    • When:  5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Dickinson County Democrats – Monthly Meeting
    • When:  6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

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