February 13, 2018
Members of the Independence chapter gathered for dinner at the home of Val DeFever on February 9th to share ideas about the upcoming election season.  The ladies in attendance were  Jana Shaver,  Sue Landwehr,  Cindy Couch,  Carole Farthing,  Jacque Oakes, Leader  Lea Shepard (bottom right), Leader  Val DeFever (bottom center),
Marsha Hayes, and  Susan Couch.
WOMEN LEGISLATORS CROSS 25% THRESHOLD
Katie Ziegler, Medium
This is a banner year for women in state legislatures, as 2018 marks the first time that the share of female legislators nationwide has crossed  25 percent.
Though the 1,866 women serving in legislatures is just a couple dozen more than in 2017, crossing the one-quarter threshold is highly symbolic. It has taken quite a while to get here.
As filing deadlines and state primaries pass in the coming months, we'll have a better understanding of the pool of female candidates for state legislative seats.
Read more here.
KANSAS LAWMAKERS USED SECRETIVE MANEUVER TO PASS NEARLY A QUARTER OF LAWS LAST YEAR
Bryan Lowry, The Kansas City Star
Nearly a quarter of the laws passed by the Kansas Legislature last year started out as bills on entirely different subjects - a symptom, critics say, of the lack of transparency in state government. 
Of 104 laws passed by the Kansas Legislature last year, 24 started out as unrelated legislation, according to an analysis  by the state's nonpartisan Legislative Research Department. Lawmakers stripped out the original contents of bills and replaced them with entirely different legislation, a move commonly known in Topeka as a "gut and go."
"A gut and go is where you take a bill, delete all of the contents of the bill and substitute the contents with another bill in place," he said. "That can be done at any step of the process. The most common use is by committee chairman around the end of turnaround (the session's halfway point) or the end of session."  Read more here .
CALLS FOR RESTORATION OF KANSAS AUDITOR'S POST STEMS FROM YEARS OF DEBATE ON LEGISLATIVE AUDIT PRIORITIES
Tim Carpenter, The Ottawa Herald
A conservative Kansas House member running for Congress, a Democrat campaigning for governor and a Republican state senator agree time has come to resurrect the office of state auditor to broaden analysis of Kansas government operations.
For at least a decade, questions have been raised about whether political considerations too heavily influenced what the GOP-led joint committee decided to audit. The Legislature's audit committee, for example, recently declined to dig into activities of Gov. Sam Brownback's appointee as secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce.  Former Brownback campaign workers were hired by CoreCivic to help market their idea of building a new state prison at Lansing. State law didn't require the one-time Brownback aides to register as lobbyists for CoreCivic, which was awarded a $362 million, 20-year contract to build an maintain the new prison.
"Taxpayers deserve to know who is involved and what role they've played in influencing action within each branch of state government," Hensley said. "This is an opportunity to increase transparency."  Read more here.
NEW KANSAS GOVERNOR PROMISES NEW OPEN-GOVERNMENT WEBSITES
John Hanna, The Emporia Gazette
New Gov. Jeff Colyer promised Thursday that Kansas will launch two new government accountability websites within the next four months as part of a larger effort to make the state more transparent.
He also told reporters that he is willing to work with legislators on other transparency proposals, such as making police body camera footage more accessible and disclosing more information about economic incentives used to lure businesses to the state.
Rep. Stephanie Clayton, an Overland Park Republican who has advocated greater transparency, said she is pleased that Colyer is taking up the cause while acknowledging that she wonders about the cost of setting up the new websites and how it will be covered.  Read more here.
HOW KANSAS MIGHT MAKE YOUR GROCERIES CHEAPER
Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle
How much you pay for groceries in the coming years may depend on whether Kansas lawmakers endorse proposals to cut the sales tax rate on food.
People buying groceries in Kansas pay among the highest tax on food of anyone in the country.
"Our constituents are demanding relief from Kansas' burdensome sales tax rates when it comes to putting food on the table for their families, and our state-line grocers need a more level playing field," said Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, referring to grocery stores that sit near the border with other states that have lower rates.
Read more here. 
KANSAS HAS SPENT $3 BILLION MEANT FOR ROADS ON OTHER THINGS. STOPPING WILL BE HARD
Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle
More than $3.3 billion of your tax dollars meant for highways have been spent elsewhere over the past 20 years.
Calls to stop using highway funding for other purposes are mounting, and now, Kansas's new governor has joined in.
But that's easier said than done.
Colyer offered no concrete proposal or timeline for ending the shift of money from highways to other areas. Former Gov. Sam Brownback's budget proposal for next year continues taking money from highways , and Brownback said Colyer took the lead in its development.
"We need to begin to wean off that money from the transportation fund," said Ward, who is also running for governor.  Proehl sounded a similar note.
"We would love to see that," Proehl said of ending the transfers. "Unfortunately, at this point in time, I don't see how that will happen."  Read more here .
GOV. JEFF COLYER'S FIRST MAJOR POLICY SPEECH WAS SHORT ON REALISTIC SOLUTIONS
The Kansas City Star Editorial Board,
The Kansas City Star
To say that Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer's first substantive speech to the Legislature was a bust would be going too far.
But not by much.
Colyer faces the daunting task of assuming office after the Legislature has already been in session for a month. Given that, the state's new-look chief executive has little time to dance around the big issues, especially the state's ongoing school finance crisis. He has to be realistic and cut to the quick when it comes to solutions. 
But on Wednesday afternoon, Colyer laid out an illogical and unworkable path forward. In his first serious policy address, he proposed settling the state's school funding issue once and for all, boosting support for highways and spending more to safeguard Kansas' most vulnerable kids - apparently without raising taxes.
Simply put, that's impossible, and it does nothing to pave the way for lawmakers struggling to craft a solution to the state Supreme Court's order   to adequately fund education.
Read more here.
CAN COLYER SHAKE BROWNBACK'S SHADOW? 'NOBODY CONFUSES TRUMP AND PENCE,' HE SAYS
Hunter Woodall and Bryan Lowry,
The Kansas City Star
Jeff Colyer wants you to know he's not Sam Brownback.
But he also wants you to know that he's a conservative Republican willing to strike the same notes, if not exactly sing the same song, as his predecessor.
But with the title of governor comes a major challenge - he'll actually have to govern.
The challenge comes in a time of tough budgets in Kansas, scrutiny of the state's privatized Medicaid system and continued concerns about transparency in state government.  Read more here.
A KANSAS-BASED DREAMER FIGHTS FOR HER FELLOW IMMIGRANTS
Larissa Lawrie, Salon Young Americans
In 2013, Claudia Amaro made national headlines as part of the Dream 9, a group of nine undocumented activists from Mexico who demanded to be let into the United States and granted asylum. In 2018, she is making local headlines again for her activism in Wichita, Kansas, the place she considers her hometown.  Amaro was brought to the U.S. from Mexico in 1988, when she was 12 years old, on an expired visa. She says that was the year that her father had been murdered, and her mother, fearing for their safety, brought her four daughters to America for a better life. 
As immigration reform and DACA continue to make national headlines, Amaro hopes that her efforts will change some 
hearts and minds. Read more here.
KOBACH SITS ON BOARD OF VETERANS GROUP THAT ISN'T USING MONEY TO HELP VETERANS
Bryan Lowry, The Kansas City Star
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach sits on the advisory board of a Missouri-based veterans' group that received a failing grade from the Better Business Bureau this week.
Kobach, a candidate for Kansas governor, is listed as a member of the advisory board for Veterans in Defense of Liberty, a Springfield-based nonprofit with a stated mission of upholding the Constitution. 
He said he would be reviewing the group's finances after a Better Business Bureau report that found only a small fraction of the group's money actually goes toward veterans' issues. 
"This is the first I've heard of any suggestion that the monies raised by the charity aren't going to the various causes for veterans," Kobach said Thursday.
Read more here.
COLYER EVADES SHOUTING CONSTITUENTS IN AGGIEVILLE
Stephanie Casanova, The Mercury
Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer evaded a group
of people shouting and questioning his position on Medicaid Saturday afternoon during a visit to Manhattan. The group followed him to his car in an Aggieville parking lot, and the governor drove away, though he appeared later at his next scheduled stop.
The group of residents asked the governor whether he would sign a bipartisan bill to expand Medicaid, and said Colyer tried to "lecture" them and didn't give satisfactory answers.  Medicaid is a federal and state health care program for low-income families. Expanding the program in Kansas, which would cover about 180,000 more adults, has gained bipartisan support in the state legislature. Colyer, a conservative Republican, has openly opposed the expansion.  Read more here .
THE COMPUTER SCIENTIST WHO PREFERS PAPER
Barbara Simons, The Atlantic
For years, Barbara Simons was the loneliest of Cassandras-a technologist who feared what technology had wrought. Her cause was voting: Specifically, she believed that the electronic systems that had gained favor in the United States after the 2000 presidential election were shoddy, and eminently hackable. She spent years publishing opinion pieces in obscure journals with titles like Municipal World and sending hectoring letters to state officials, always written with the same clipped intensity.
Simons is not grappling for mics anymore. In late July, at
the annual Def Con hacker conference.
Four voting machines had been secured for the event, three of them types still in use. One team of hackers used radio signals to eavesdrop on a machine as it recorded votes. Another found a master password online. Within hours of getting their hands on the machines, the hackers had discovered vulnerabilities in all four.
"Anything that's happening in here, you can be sure that those intent on undermining the integrity of our election systems have already done," she told a reporter from USA Today. Paper, Simons said, is the best answer to this riddle.
Read more here.
KANSAS VULNERABLE TO ELECTION HACKING, GETS FAILING GRADE ON SECURITY, GROUP SAYS
Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle
Kansas is vulnerable to undetected Election Day hacking, according to a new report that gives the state a failing grade on election security.
The report from the Center for American Progress, says the state allows the use of voting machines that do not produce a paper record and doesn't mandate post-election audits.
"Going forward, Kansas should switch to a statewide paper-based voting system that can be audited through robust procedures that test the accuracy of election outcomes," it says.  The report dings Kansas for not allowing post-election audits. Beth Clarkson, a Wichita State University statistician, has sought unsuccessfully to review Sedgwick County voting machine tapes from the 2014 election.
One bill to require audits is awaiting debate in the Senate.
Read more here.
KANSAS VOTING RIGHTS CHALLENGE HEADED TO TRIAL
U.S. News & World Report
Legal challenges to a Kansas   law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote are headed to trial next month.
American Civil Liberties Union sued Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on behalf of the League of Women Voters and voters over the requirement that people produce a document such as a birth certificate or U.S. passport to register at motor vehicle offices.  The ACLU's lawsuit's key argument is that the Kansas law violates a federal law requiring minimal information to register. A separate but similar case also simultaneously goes to trial arguing a right-to-vote claim.
Read more here .  
THIS KANSAS ARTIST WILL BRING BROWN V. BOARD TO LIFE IN TOPEKA CAPITOL BUILDING
Mara Rose Williams, The Kansas City Star
Artist Michael Young grew up in Lansing, Kan., and remembers visiting the state capitol in Topeka on a middle school field trip.
The massive dome was impressive enough, but inside the rotunda Young's child eyes fixed on murals depicting significant moments in the state's history on the walls of this prodigious house of government.
Dwarfed by those massive murals, Young remembers thinking, "I could never do anything like that."
Then last year, Young heard by chance that a Kansas committee of state government leaders and historians was looking for a muralist for a capitol project.
"Each mural in the state capitol tells a part of the story of the state of Kansas," she said. "I'm pleased the NAACP and the state took this step. It (Brown vs. Board) is part of the narrative of the great story of our state. Events do not become history until at least 50 years.
"Now that Brown vs. Board is in fact true history, it's time for it to be part of that narrative."  Watch here .
INSPIRING QUOTES FROM 100 EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN
Samantha Ettus, Huffpost
Most lists of motivational quotes are dominated by the counsel of men, and it certainly isn't because women lack words of wisdom. So, I curated a list of my favorite quotes - from luminaries living and dead, activists and athletes, authors and actors, leaders and lovers - all women. Each of these is powerful in its own right; together, they form a motivational stew, encouraging you to seize life and sprint towards success.  Read more here.
HOW OTHER COUNTRIES KEEP MONEY OUT OF POLITICS
Act.tv
No System is perfect, but there are more than a few things we can learn from
other democracies. Watch here.
LOUD LIGHT: WEEK 5 RECAP
Davis Hammet, LoudLight
Executive orders, porn, charity scam, tons of bills, and more! Week 5 in the Kansas State House.  Watch here .
LAWMAKERS DISCUSS THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT KANSAS' TRANSPARENCY ISSUES
Courtney Ryan, KSNT.com
Addressing transparency at the capitol was the topic at a legislative forum in
Topeka Thursday night.
Carrie Lancaster from Topeka said she attended the forum because she's concerned and said she'd like to see lawmakers do away with the gut-and-go process.  "I still think we can do something better, I think we need a better tool," Lancaster explained.
Legislative leaders in both houses say since there are multiple bills addressing transparency, they're hopeful one will end up on the Governor's desk.
Watch here .
KANSAS LEGISLATORS OFFER SUPPORT FOR LIVESTREAMING COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS
Allison Kite, cjonline.com
A long-running effort to livestream hearings in the Kansas Statehouse could come to fruition under a bill House committee members heard Wednesday.
Rep. Nancy Lusk said Kansas wasn't yet transparent enough, but it was moving in the right direction. She said livestreaming would allow constituents to see where their legislators stand on particular debates and allow them to vet issues themselves.
"It would provide the public the opportunity to see a deeper look into any given issue because, generally speaking, we look at more things that get covered in sound bites," Lusk said.
Read more here.
KANSAS LEGISLATURE UPDATES HARASSMENT POLICY, MORE WORK SEEN
John Hanna, The Wichita Eagle
Top leaders updated the Kansas Legislature's policy against sexual harassment on Friday.
The revised policy approved by the top seven legislative leaders is more specific about how allegations of misconduct will be handled, particularly from legislative interns. It specifically says lawmakers identified in "well-founded" complaints could face formal - and public - discipline in the House and Senate, such as censure.  But the revised policy stops short of mandating annual sexual harassment training for legislators and their staff, and complaints still will be handled by legislative leaders or the Legislature's director of administrative services.  Read more here .
SEE WHAT YOU'VE DONE!
Your belief in W4K and the work we do to elect and keep moderates in Topeka has created  14 W4K Chapters across the state!  Thousands of moderate voters thank you.  As you know, 2018 is a momentous election year, and we're looking for committed W4K members. 

If you're interested in being involved, contact a Chapter Leader. A complete list of Chapter Leaders and their contact information is available here.

If you're interested in forming a Chapter, contact Deanna Zitterkopf at beowulfprof@cox.net .
  
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: planning for the 2018 gubernatorial/statewide races.

With your support, Women for Kansas will again help lead the way. Our work, supported 100% by individual, private donations,
 now gives you 2 options:

Women for Kansas Civic Group
A 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the Civic Group
is our primary and membership organization, providing support for our staff and advocacy activities. It is the most flexible funding source and the best choice for donors.
Donations are not tax deductible
but are the most flexible way to support our advocacy work.

Women for Kansas
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, W4K engages in non-partisan, non-political educational activities on behalf of our shared values. Donations to Women for Kansas are tax deductible.

Basic support $75.00 year
Contributing support $150.00 year
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Mail your check to:
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MEDICAID EXPANSION HEARING IN SENATE HEALTH AND PUBLIC WELFARE
Hosted by Alliance for a Healthy Kansas
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Kansas State Capitol,  I-70, Topeka

IT'S GO TIME!

Please join us in Topeka
on Wednesday, February 14th
to show our support.

The exact time and location of the hearing is subject to change, plan to be at the Capitol by 9:30 am on the 14th. We will gather in the 1st floor gallery outside the committee doors near room 118 North.
Arrive early to clear security and find the committee room.  For more
information, visit page here .
VoteRunLead supports the aspirations of women who want to transform our country and democracy through their participation as leaders.  Visit  here .
LWV: TUESDAY TOPICS, HATE CRIMES IN KANSAS

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27
11:30 for brown bag lunch
(drinks provided)
Program starts at  12:00 Noon Central Library,  223 S. Main,
3rd Floor Auditorium

Micah Kubic from the ACLU of Kansas will be our speaker.

Join us for a lively discussion on this topic of vital importance.
Co-sponsored by the League of
Women Voters-Wichita Metro.

2018 International Women's Day Solidarity Event
Hosted by The Resistance LFK
Saturday, March 10, 11am-7pm
Buford M. Watson Jr. Park
727 Kentucky St., Lawrence, KS

Speakers. Musical Performers. Organizations. Free on-site childcare. Artists. Food. Community. Solidarity. And all that good stuff!!!  Details to follow.
Visit our Facebook page.
Just a big THANK YOU! for all your work and your successes over these past few years, it is so appreciated.  Wishing us more progress through compassionate perseverance.
D. DeRoin, Lawrence
 
Looking forward to an excellent and strong 2018!
G. Stuber, Lawrence
 
 
Thank you for your efforts to inform and encourage participation in civic affairs.
L. Erickson, Manhattan

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATIONS ACROSS KANSAS, AND AROUND THE UNITED STATES

We know that the only way we'll strengthen democracy in KS and fix our broken criminal justice system is with strength in numbers.  ACLU events 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  Roster
Kansas Senate Roster

NOT SURE WHO REPRESENTS YOU?  WE CAN HELP
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