April 18 , 2017
A KANSAS SPECIAL ELECTION JUST SHOOK UP WASHINGTON
Sam Levine, Ryan Grim, Huffington Post
A last-minute intervention by national Republicans in one of the reddest districts in America was enough to stave off what would have been a crushing upset Tuesday in Kansas's 4th Congressional District -- but the unexpectedly close race still portends major problems for Republicans in 2018.
Republicans began circulating an internal poll showing Thompson trailing by just 1 point, and the national party quickly invested nearly $120,000  to back up Estes.
The infusion of cash was a signal to Democrats that, all of a sudden, the race was competitive.
Read more here.
Q&A: KANSAS SPECIAL ELECTION TURNS ATTENTION TO 2018 RACES
John Hanna, The Daily Progress
Why are people talking about the 2018 elections when voting is more than a year away?
Serious candidates for governor and Congress often start building organizations and announcing themselves during the summer or fall of the year before election. They need time to raise the several million dollars necessary to finance the most-competitive campaigns.
  • What are the big races next year?
  • Who are the leading candidates for governor?
  • What about congressional races?

Read more here.

ANALYSIS: BROWNBACK, KANSAS LAWMAKERS ARE LITTLE CLOSER TO SOLVING BIGGEST PROBLEMS
Hunter Woodall, Kansas City Star
Lawmakers, who are in the middle
of a three-week break, appear no closer to resolving the state's fiscal crisis than when they kicked off their legislative session more than three months ago. House Minority Leader Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, gave a brutal assessment of the lack of progress. 
"When we walked in the door in January, we had four crises. We had the crisis of a structurally unbalanced budget, an inherently unfair tax system, a school system that was inadequately funded and our health care system in crisis - hospitals closing, providers leaving our system," Ward said. "As of today, we're nowhere."
Read more here.
PROTECT EARNED INCOME
TAX CREDIT FROM CUTS
Richard Jackson, The Ottawa Herald
It's difficult to fathom, but some of the same lawmakers who are
fervent in their zeal for maintaining zero income taxes on rich business owners are now openly discussing cutting, or outright eliminating, Kansas' Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a common sense tax break that benefits working families just trying to make ends meet.  Read more here .
TIME TO FREE KANSAS
Duane Goossen, Garden City Telegram
Kansas is thrashing in Gov. Brownback's grip. Tax reform to restore desperately needed financial stability? Vetoed. Medicaid expansion? Vetoed. A fair and adequate school finance formula? That bill has not yet arrived at the governor's desk, but the prospect of
a signature doesn't look good.
The governor's vetoes strike right at the heart of practical, fair-minded, fiscally conservative, give-a-hand-to-your-neighbors Kansas.
Please, leaders and legislators, don't make Kansas wallow in financial stress for another year. Don't cut out the Kansans who need health care. Don't risk having schools closed in August. Unclasp us from Brownback's grip. He's not the one who will be standing for re-election. He's not the future. Override. Free Kansas.
Read more here.
HOPEFUL START ON NEW SCHOOL FUNDING PLAN
Eagle Editorial Board, The Wichita Eagle
A Kansas House committee has made a solid start on crafting a
new school finance formula.
The House K-12 Education Budget Committee has completed a new school finance plan that it likely will send to the full House soon after lawmakers return next month. It includes key features that are similar to the state's earlier court-approved finance formula.  Unlike block grants, funding would be linked to enrollment. As a result, growing districts would get additional funds.  The primary concern about the new formula is that it is underfunded.
Still the progress in the House committee is encouraging. Now the full Legislature needs to get behind this bipartisan effort and avoid unproductive fights and distractions.  Read more here .
SPENDING BLIND: SHOCKING EDUCATION REPORT SHOWS TAXPAYERS PAY MILLIONS FOR SUBPAR CHARTER SCHOOLS
Steven Rosenfeld, SALON
A blockbuster report detailing how California's charter school industry has wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars by opening and building schools in communities that don't need them and often end up doing worse than nearby public schools, is a nationwide warning about how education privateers hijack public funds and harm K-12 public schools.
"This report finds that this funding [building, buying, leasing] is almost completely disconnected from educational policy objectives, and the results are, in turn, scattershot and haphazard," the report's executive summary begins.
"Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent each year without any meaningful strategy. Far too much of this public funding is spent on schools built in neighborhoods that have no need for additional classroom space, and which offer no improvement over the quality of education already available in nearby public schools. In the worst cases, public facilities funding has gone to schools that were found to have discriminatory enrollment policies and others that have engaged in unethical or corrupt practices."  Read more here .
WILL WIND IN KANSAS LEAVE COAL IN THE DUST?
Molly Taft, ecowatch.com
But for all the show during the signing, power utilities don't seem to have gotten Trump's message. Last week, a Reuters survey  of utilities in states that sued to block the Clean Power Plan  found that, despite Trump's executive order, most remained committed to their long-term plans to shift away from coal.   Read more here.
MORAN'S MISS: SENATOR HAS
A RESPONSIBILITY TO STEP
UP ON IMMIGRATION
Dena Sattler, The Garden City Telegram
Immigration reform has been one of the more politically divisive issues of our time.  Unfortunately, extreme partisanship has stymied any meaningful attempt to fix the nation's broken immigration system.  Count U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran among those who've disappointed in that regard.
After a recent town hall presentation in Garden City, the Republican shared his thoughts on immigration - and mostly stated the obvious.
"Our immigration system is broken," Moran said. "We spend a lot of time trying to get people through the process, and it's a bureaucracy that doesn't work.
While the senator talked a good game, actions speak louder than words.  Read more here .
STILL HOPE FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION?
Eagle Editorial Board, The Wichita Eagle
Good for health care advocates for not giving up on Medicaid expansion this legislative session - though it likely is a long shot.  Large bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate approved Medicaid expansion last month. But the House fell three votes short   of overriding Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of the bill.
Expansion also could boost the Kansas economy. A 2014 study estimated expansion could increase federal funding by $2.2 billion between 2016 and 2020. Kansas has already missed out on $1.8 billion in federal funding since Jan. 1, 2014.
The public overwhelmingly supports expansion - 82 percent, according to a recent statewide survey.
"The issue of expanding KanCare is too important to Kansans not to make another attempt to address this issue before the session ends," said Jordan of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas.  Read more here.
BROWNBACK EVADES BLAME ON MEDICAID
The Capital-Journal Editorial Board, cjonline.com
After Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed a Medicaid expansion bill at the
end of March, an override vote in the House failed (the final tally was 81 to 44). The possibility of Medicaid-related hospital closures - particularly in rural parts of the state - has long been a major concern for legislators, the Kansas Hospital Association (KHA), health care providers and hospital administrators.  On Friday, Brownback was asked if his position on Medicaid expansion would change if a large hospital (like St. Francis) is shut down.
He responded, "We'll look and see whatever situation comes up. Brownback has no control over what happens in the nation's capital, but he single-handedly crushed Medicaid expansion in Kansas. When it comes to assigning blame for our state's suffering hospitals, Kansans need look no further than Topeka.
Read more here .
IN A VOTER FRAUD FOG
Kris Kobach's obsession with voter fraud distracts from the real threats to our elections.
Tom Lopez & Adam Gitlin,
US News & World Report
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been making the rounds on Fox News  this week. After years of shouting about in-person voter fraud as an excuse to push for restrictive voting laws that could prevent hundreds of thousands eligible Americans from voting, he finally obtained   his first conviction of someone who unlawfully voted while not a citizen.  On the same day Kobach promoted his singular conviction, the Republican chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, or EAC, refuted claims of massive fraud. "It's not widespread. It's not an epidemic," Matthew Masterson told Time.  "Voters should have confidence in the process, that it's accessible, that it's accurate, that it has integrity." He is one of many Republican officials  who have repudiated these assertions.  Read more here .
EDITORIAL: KOBACH FINALLY CONVICTS AN IMMIGRANT, BUT KANSAS IS PAYING A PRICE
The Kansas City Editorial Board,
The Kansas City Star
Hand out the celebratory cigars.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach finally nabbed himself an immigrant.
The secretary of state's nearly two years of work have netted a grand total of eight convictions for election law violations. The other seven people prosecuted by Kobach's office were U.S.-born citizens found to have done things like voting in one state, moving to another and also voting there. That's voter confusion, not intentional fraud.
Elsewhere, secretaries of state are content to concentrate on ensuring that the voting rolls are up to date and that people are eligible when they register. Some even encourage citizens to vote.  Read more here .
SUPERCOMPUTERS VS. GERRYMANDERING: DATA COULD BE THE NEXT KEY TO CREATING FAIR STATE VOTING DISTRICTS
Angelo Young, Salon
For nearly as long as the Unites States has existed there have been partisan hacks trying to draw up voting districts  in a way that gives one political party an unfair advantage over the other. Though judges acknowledge that this partisan gerrymandering occurs, there's hasn't yet been a definitive way for them to decide whether a district has been egregiously engineered to politically neuter voters of an opposing party.
But thanks to the power of algorithms and the latest supercomputing powers, new methods are arising that can help answer this unanswerable question.
Read more here .


 
LEAGUE & LIBRARY PRESENT
TUESDAY TOPICS
Winter/Spring 2017, 4th Tuesday

Central Branch Public Library
223 S. Main,  3rd Floor Auditorium,
Main & William, Wichita

Bring a brown bag lunch, drinks furnished. Program starts promptly at noon.

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
Tuesday, April 25, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.
LWV and WPL sponsor Tuesday Topics: Separation of Church and State, Americans often hear the phrase "separation of Church and State" when discussing the proper role of religion in American life. Is this the proper understanding of the First Amendment, and if so, how is that carried out today? This month's speakers will be Thom Scott, President of the Great Plains Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Dr. Jamie Finkeldei, Associate Superintendent for the Catholic Schools in Wichita. Join us to learn more about both sides of this important issue.

This program is free and open to the public.
TOWN HALL ANYONE?
Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts will be in Wichita for the congressional recess, April 10-21.
If your organization would like to schedule a town hall meeting contact:
Senator Jerry Moran's scheduler in Olathe,  913-782-0397;

Senator Pat Roberts's scheduler in Overland Park, 913-451-9343.

 

SEE BOTTOM OF NEWSLETTER FOR INFORMATION ON TOWN HALLS AND FORUMS IN YOUR AREA.

THE RED STATE BLUES
Richard Crowson, kmuw 89.1
Well, Baby, I'm sad, and I'm down
'Cause I'm progressive but I live in a conservative town.   I may be battered and I may be a little bit bruised,  but I'll stay right here in Kansas with the red state blues.  Listen here .
SENATE MINORITY LEADER BELIEVES SIMILAR TAX BILL TO ONE VETOED CAN GET OVERRIDE VOTES
Nick Gosnell, WIBW News
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley told a legislative coffee in Topeka Saturday that he believes a bill similar to the one vetoed earlier this session by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback can pass with a veto proof majority.  I'm hopeful that we can run a similar bill. I think it should start in the Senate, because the House has done their job. Now, it's time for us to do our job."  Read more here .
GUNS ON CAMPUS DEBATE LIKELY TO RETURN TO THE KANSAS HOUSE
Stephen Koranda, KPR
A Kansas law will allow guns on university campuses and in public hospitals later this year. Efforts to amend the policy have faltered in the Legislature, but the issue is likely to come up again after lawmakers return to the Statehouse in May.
The law says most public places in Kansas must allow concealed weapons, unless there is security in place to make sure no one carries a gun. An exemption for universities and hospitals expires this summer.
Listen here.


BECOME A MEMBER OF WOMEN FOR KANSAS!   

Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of determined Women for Kansas, 2016 was the year we began turning the ship around. In the Senate, we picked up 10 moderate seats; in the House, we added 28. Not quite a legislative majority but changed enough so that Brownback and his lemmings can no longer stream roll over us.
 
Up next: two busy years planning for the 2018 gubernatorial/statewide races. With your support, Women for Kansas will again help lead the way.

Basic membership $60.00
Contributing member $150.00
Sustaining member $500.00
Student member $30.00

Mail your check to:
Women for Kansas
P.O. Box 8774
Wichita, Kansas 67208

Or charge your credit card via  PayPal
(You are not required to have a PayPal account).
Dues are based on a calendar year.

ARTS FUNDING IN KANSAS UNDER THREAT AGAIN
President Trump says he wants to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts. That move would be another blow to a Kansas arts community that took a hit when state funding was eliminated a few years ago. Bryan Thompson, with the Kansas New Service took a trip through central and western Kansas to find out what government arts funding means to local communities.  Listen here .
SPECIAL ED SCHOOL VOUCHERS MAY COME WITH HIDDEN COSTS
Dana Goldstein, The New York Times
For many parents with disabled children in public school systems, the lure of the private school voucher is strong.  But there's a catch.
By accepting the vouchers, families may be unknowingly giving up their rights to the very help they were hoping to gain. The government is still footing the bill, but when students use vouchers to get into private school, they lose most of the protections of the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.
Read more here.
MARCH FOR SCIENCE
Saturday, April 22
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Old County Courthouse
504 N. Main Street, Wichita

Rally with speakers at the Old County Courthouse starting at 11:00 am. 
After the speakers we will march from the Courthouse to the Mid-America All-Indian Center, 650 North Seneca, where we will be hosting a teach-in.

This is a non-partisan event for all people who support science, scientists, and policy based on scientific data and facts.

Visit our Facebook page here.
IMMIGRANTS MAKE AMERICA GREAT!
MAY 1, 10am - 7pm
Hosted by Sunflower Community Action

We are still finalizing details with members and other organizations in Wichita that will join us in unity for this National day! Please mark it on your calendar. We will march and show how immigrants already make America great and we will finish with a celebration to celebrate diversity,
immigrants and unity! Update information available here.
MULTIPLE SOURCES: ANNOUNCEMENT TO CLOSE ST. FRANCIS PLANNED FOR TUESDAY
Tim Carpenter, Morgan Chilson, cjonline.com
Multiple sources in Topeka have been told SCL Health will announce Tuesday it is closing St. Francis Health Center.
The sources all have direct knowledge of negotiations regarding the hospital's future.
Advocates of Medicaid expansion argued injection of hundreds of millions of dollars into medical services tied to Medicaid would benefit financially struggling hospitals statewide.  Read more here .
STATE GOVERNMENT: HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN KS
From tracking legislation, to contacting your state legislator or governor, to viewing campaign contributions, this article is
packed full of useful information EVERY  Kansan should know.
PDF of handout available here.
2017-2018 KANSAS ROSTER AND CONTACT INFORMATION

KS House of  Representatives Roster
Kansas Senate Roster

NOT SURE WHO REPRESENTS YOU?  WE CAN HELP

Find your U.S. State Senator

HANDY & PRINTABLE PDFS

2017 House Contact List PDF
2017 Senate Contact List PDF
Committee Analysis PDF
Transparency Comes to the Statehouse PDF
Advocacy DONTs & DOs PDF
VoteRunLead supports the aspirations of women who want to transform our country and democracy through their participation as leaders. 
VoteRunLead is proud to have trained over 15,000 women for political leadership.  Find other women in your area and get connected.  Visit  here .
VOTING RIGHTS ENTHUSIASTS
WED, APRIL 26, 7:30pm
TOWN CENTER 20
11701 Nall Ave., Leawood

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy about  "The Kansas Project,"
Kris Kobach's Crosscheck program to suppress voting rights, rolled out  across the  nation to affect the 2016 election.
 
Additional  information  available  here .
Town Hall Project  empowers constituents across the country to have face-to-face conversations with their elected representatives. We are campaign veterans and first time volunteers. We come from a diversity of backgrounds and live across the country. We share progressive values and believe strongly in civic engagement. We research every district and state for public events with members of Congress. Then we share our findings to promote participation in the democratic process.  Visit the  townhallproject.com
website  to see if there is a Town Hall happening near you.
Follow Women for Kansas on Twitter  or Instagram,
@women_for_kansas. Like us on Facebook , and visit our website at www.WomenforKansas.org .
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