February 20, 2018
SHARP DIVISION MARKS KANSAS DEBATE ON JOINING CAMPAIGN FOR U.S. CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
Tim Carpenter, cjonline.com
Bill Rich, professor of law at Washburn University in Topeka, said convention enthusiasts who claimed to know what would transpire during the amendment process were either misinformed or kidding themselves. He said one likely outcome would be transfer of authority from elected representatives to a judicial branch left to enforce a new set of potentially rigid constraints.
"Having taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, and having studied constitutions from around the globe, I have difficulty imagining anything worse," Rich said.
Read more here.
KANSAS GOVERNOR CANDIDATES FIGHT TO IMPRESS AFTER COLYER DROPS OUT OF DEBATE
Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle
The four candidates on stage - Wichita businessmen Wink Hartman and Mark Hutton, along with Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer and Kobach - fought over how to fix an array of problems facing Kansas during the event, held at the Kansas GOP state convention. 
At times, the debate amounted to a rebuke of former Gov. Sam Brownback, though he went largely unnamed. During other moments, the candidates went after the Legislature, attacking what they view as a lack of transparency in government.  The current field of candidates is among the largest ever in the state. More than 20 people have entered the race, with six major candidates in the Republican race.
Read more here .
KEPC UPDATE: HALFWAY POINT, $137.7M FROM FED TAX CHANGES, MEDICAID, INCENTIVES, HPIP, EXPENSING, NEW MONEY FOR SCHOOLS, ED STUDY AUTHOR,
BILL TRACKING
Kansas Economic Progress Council
In this issue:
  • Halfway point of session is next week
  • Changes in federal law equal $137.7 million for Kansas
  • Medicaid expansion proponents try again
  • Hearing scheduled on bill that requires transparency on incentives
  • HPIP changes voted out of committee
  • Expansion of expensing incentive moves forward
  • How school districts would use new money
  • Education study author will brief legislators next week
  • BILL TRACKER
Read more here.
BIPARTISAN KANSAS BILL WOULD BRING 'SUNSHINE' TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH LOBBYING EFFORTS
Allison Kite, cjonline.com
The Topeka Capital-Journal
Concern private organizations could be lobbying for taxpayer-funded state contracts without disclosing it drove two Senate leaders to push for a bill Wednesday that would bring "sunshine" to Kansas government.
Senate President Susan Wagle, and Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, argued anyone looking to influence the judicial branch or executive offices and agencies to get a contract or push for policy should register as a lobbyist.
Hensley said the "loophole" in lobbying law had been a concern for years, but it was highlighted during a debate over whether the state should rebuild Lansing Correctional Facility.  Read more here.
KANSAS PUBLIC SCHOOLS FACE BACKLASH DURING STATE'S ENDLESS MONEY CRISIS
John Hanna, AP, LJWorld.com
Educators are well aware of the backlash but contend schools and state agencies are living with the consequences of past state income tax cuts championed by former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. Those tax policies received renewed national attention as Congress approved similar federal income tax cuts late last year.
"You can't blame schools," said Mark Desetti, a lobbyist for the state's largest teachers union. "You can lament it all you want, but it's a problem of your own making."
Read more here .
THE SCHEMES OF DESPERATE POLITICIANS
John Marshall, Rural Messenger
Why is Dale Dennis the patron saint of local schools in Kansas - and why are a handful of top Kansas legislators out to persecute him?  Through 52 years at the Department of Education, Dennis has directed a massive accumulation of fact, history and statistical data, information at the footing of nearly every school funding measure proposed (or enacted) since the late 1960s.
Nonetheless, a man such as Dennis - that is, one with brains - can be a threat to the venal or capricious legislator. A civil servant with keen recollection and intellect, an ability to acquire and store and retrieve immutable fact, is a holy terror to opportunists who would distort truth or manufacture falsehood to suit their own ends.
Read more here .
KANSAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES ON K-12 SCHOOL FUNDING: DEMOCRAT LAURA KELLY
Jay Senter, Shawnee Mission Post
We're continuing with the Kansas gubernatorial candidates' responses to our invitation to share their thoughts on how to handle the Supreme Court's ruling directing the legislature to invest more money in K-12 schools.
Here is what Democrat Laura Kelly, the Topeka state senator who is the only woman in the race, had to say:
"Thanks to bi-partisan cooperation last year, the Legislature was able to reverse the Brownback tax plan. Kansas is now on a path to recovery. Before we alter the tax code further, we should let the dust settle on the 2017 changes, as well as changes made at the federal level."  Read more here .

MORE CANDIDATE RESPONSES AVAIBLE:  Josh Svaty, Todd Mitchell, and Jim Ward.
EDUCATION'S MERCHANT OF DOUBT: ONE MAN'S DECEITFUL MISSION TO UNDERMINE FAIR
AND ADEQUATE SCHOOL FUNDING
School Finance 101
Back in 2012, I opined: "It is hard to imagine a time in the history of American public education when there has been such a widespread political effort to argue that improving the quality of schools has little or nothing to do with the amount of money spent on public education. That is, that money simply doesn't matter." It seemed as though at some point, discourse might begin to turn the corner on this question. That it might become more publicly acceptable and even acceptable in some political circles to acknowledge the relevance of money for improving the quality of schooling, and creating more equitable and adequate schools for achieving modern outcome goals.  But that rhetoric persists as strong as ever both in political circles and in the pseudo-academic policy research which informs that rhetoric.  In short, the decline of state school finance systems continues and the rhetoric opposing substantive school finance reform shows little sign of easing.  Read more here .
KS SCHOOLS SAY EXTRA FUNDING WOULD ALLOW HIRING MORE TEACHERS, COUNSELORS AND SOCIAL WORKERS
Ben Kuebrich, HPPR
Kansas school districts plan to use proposed additional $600 million on personnel and programs for at-risk children.
As the Topeka Capital-Journal reports, school district officials told legislators Monday they plan to use the additional $600 million dollars on funding to raise teacher salaries in order to help recruit new teachers and alleviate the current teacher shortage, and also to help at-risk children by hiring more counselors and social workers.
Read more here.
SENATE EXPLORES BILL TO EXPAND ELIGIBILITY FOR MEDICAID IN KANSAS
Tim Carpenter, The Topeka Capital-Journal
Mulvane school board member and volunteer firefighter Amy Houston was stricken a decade ago with Hodgkin lymphoma.  Her inability to consistently maintain health insurance while enduring chemotherapy and radiation treatment left her exhausted, deep in debt and fearful cancer would again ravage her body. The mother of four outlined her life-and-death predicament for a Senate committee Wednesday considering a bill to expand eligibility for Medicaid in Kansas. If state lawmakers approved the bill, she would qualify.
"Due to over $60,000 worth of medical debt, and not qualifying for bankruptcy, I had to stop going to the oncologist. To this day, I do not know the status of my health," she said.
About 140 people submitted written testimony to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee in support of broadening Medicaid eligibility to approximately 150,000 low-income Kansans. Opponents to the bill made their case, too.  Read more here.
IF LAWMAKERS REMOVE THESE SERVICES FROM KANCARE, WHERE WILL THE DISABLED GET CARE?
Andy Marso, The Kansas City Star
Kansas legislators are discussing a bill to remove services for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities from KanCare for the first time since the fully privatized Medicaid program began in 2013.
But the discussion quickly hit a snag during last week's hearing on Senate Bill 332: Even groups that agree the private KanCare companies shouldn't be in charge of administering the services don't agree on who should be.
That leaves legislators uncertain about how to proceed.
As part of a series of stories on government transparency last year called Secret Kansas, The Star reported that caregivers and case managers say the process of getting and keeping services has become less transparent and more confrontational since KanCare started. Some said the KanCare companies had asked them to sign blank plans of care only to later find out services were cut.
Read more here.

KANSAS PREPARES TO IMPOSE HEFTY FINE ON MEDICAID CONTRACTOR FOR FUMBLING APPLICATIONS
Tim Carpenter, The Topeka Capital-Journal
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment's director of Medicaid told a legislative oversight committee that Maximus, which began contracting with the state in 2015, remained desperately far behind on handling applications and had a 40 percent accuracy rate in making financial payments.
Since the beginning, Brownback and Colyer were the target of complaints that privatization undermined medical services, expanded red tape and weakened state government accountability.  Read more   here .
UNSEALED DOCUMENTS SHOW THAT KRIS KOBACH IS DEAD SET ON SUPPRESSING THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Orion Danjuma, ACLU.org
For almost a year, Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, has struggled to hide the truth about his efforts to lobby the Trump administration to make it much harder for Americans to vote. Part of that struggle ended today when a federal court ordered excerpts of Kris Kobach's testimony disclosed along with other documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in our challenge to his restrictive voter registration regime.
The unsealed materials confirm what many have suspected: Kobach has a ready-made plan to gut core voting rights protections enshrined in federal law. And he has been covertly lobbying Trump's team and other officials from day one to sell them the falsehood that noncitizens are swinging elections.  Read more here .
EDITORIAL: KANSAS MUST PUSH TOWARD PAPER BALLOTS
The Hutchinson News
Technology has made it easier to hack into voting machines and potentially change elections.
There's no way to debate that sobering fact - or that measures must be taken to ensure the most accurate voting results possible.
The FBI reported many states had their election systems scanned or targeted by Russian hackers in 2016. While Kansas wasn't one of them, the state still has serious questions related to election security - and should heed the call of experts who recently testified in Congress about the need to abandon vulnerable touchscreen voting machines in favor of paper-based systems.  Read more here .
ELECTION SECURITY IN ALL
50 STATES
Danielle Root, Liz Kennedy, Michael Sozan, & Jerry Parshall, Center for American Progress
In 2016, America's elections were
 targeted by a foreign nation-state intent on infiltrating and manipulating our electoral system.
By now, the American people have been alerted to many vulnerabilities in the country's election systems, including the relative ease of voting machine hacking, threats to voter registration systems and voter privacy, and disinformation campaigns waged by foreign nation-states aimed at confusing voters and inciting conflict.
Free and fair elections are a central pillar of our democracy. Through them, Americans make choices about the country's future-what policies will be enacted and who will represent their interests in the states, Congress, and beyond.
Election security is not a partisan issue.  Read more here.
CONGRESS IS STILL TIED IN KNOTS OVER IMMIGRATION. ARE KANSAS AND MISSOURI SENATORS WILLING TO COMPROMISE?
The Kansas City Star Editorial Board,  The Kansas City Star
The U.S. Senate on Thursday considered three comprehensive immigration reform bills.
The bills differed on other details. One provided nothing for a wall on the southern border; a second provided $25 billion for border security; a third, supported by the Trump White House, proposed aggressive limits on further legal immigration and money for a wall.
That suggests America's tangled argument over immigration remains knotted.
Immigration is a tough issue. Infrastructure repairs, gun violence and health system reform are tough issues, too. They'll require a genuine commitment to compromise.
Sadly, that commitment seems to have disappeared from the nation's capital. If you run into any members of Congress this week, you might point that out to them.
Read more here.
IT IS PAST TIME TO FULFILL OUR PROMISE TO THE DREAMERS
Natalia Campos, The Kansas City Star
In 2012, our government implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. It allowed these young people - who have resided in the U. S. continuously since at least 2007, have not committed a serious crime, and are in or have graduated from high school or are serving or honorably discharged from the U. S. military - to be secure from deportation, and to be eligible for work permits and Social Security cards so they can pay taxes. However, they do not qualify for federal programs - including student aid, like I do.
Last September, President Donald Trump's administration announced that, having determined the program had been put in place without proper authorization, DACA would end this March.  Read more here .
WHITE HOUSE BUDGET TARGETS CROP INSURANCE
Chance Hoener, Kansas Agland Editor,
Salina Journal
The Trump administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 calls for large changes in funding to the United States Department of Agriculture, and chief among them is reducing crop insurance subsidies.
The FY19 budget request was presented Feb. 12 and calls for Congress to cut taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance by one-third over the next decade. That comes out to around $2.6 billion over 10 years. The announcement came just over a month after President Trump told the American Farm Bureau he would support a farm bill with crop insurance at a Jan. 8 meeting.  Read more here.
WILLIAM GOLDING: REGARDING WOMAN  

I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been.
Whatever  you give a woman, she will make it greater.

If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.  If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.  If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.  If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.  She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.  So, if you give her any crap,  be ready to receive a ton of sh#t!
25 WAYS TO BE POLITICALLY ACTIVE (WHETHER YOU LEAN LEFT OR RIGHT)
AJ Willingham, CNN
Do you know who your local legislators and politicians are? Do you know how to contact them? Are you registered? Read through the list and useful links to help you become more politically engaged. List and links available here .
LOUD LIGHT: WEEK 6 RECAP
Davis Hammet, LoudLight
Medicaid Expansion, Lieutenant Governor, Wrongful Incarceration, Abandoned Homes, Solar Fees, and more in the Kansas State House. Watch here .
FEDERAL TAX CHANGES MAKE KS BUDGET 'UNSURE' FOR NOW
Becky Kiser, Hays Post
An informational hearing was held in the Kansas legislature this week regarding the new federal tax bill and its effect on the state.  "We're not sure where our money is going to be and it's making it very difficult in the Appropriations Committee to determine what kind of budget we're going to put together. The Tax Committee is also looking at this very closely," added Phelps.  Watch 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 steam 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.

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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.

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ADVOCATES STILL PUSHING FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION BUT WORRY COLYER IS 'BROWNBACK 2.0'
Hunter Woodall, The Kansas City Star
The governor's name has changed, but those hoping to see Medicaid expansion in Kansas are already facing familiar opposition.  Supporters of Medicaid expansion in Kansas testified this week at a Senate committee hearing in hopes that Colyer, Kansas' new governor, will be more open to Medicaid expansion than the last.  "But unfortunately," said Thea Perry, outreach director for the advocacy group LoudLight, "I think so far we have Brownback 2.0."  Read more here .
'I'M NOT GOING TO DEBATE THIS WITH YOU,' COLYER TELLS PEOPLE ON MEDICAID EXPANSION
Katherine Burgess, The Wichita Eagle
"So is your question about Medicaid?" a video shows Gov. Jeff Colyer asking one of the people gathered during his tour of northeast Kansas on Saturday.
The video, which had been shared nearly 1,000 times on Facebook by Tuesday afternoon, was compiled by Living and Dying in Kansas, a grassroots organization that supports Medicaid expansion.  "The video shows Colyer not answering multiple questions or stories about Medicaid expansion while on his  tour."  Watch here .
KANSAS SENATE BILL WOULD REMOVE KRIS KOBACH'S AUTHORITY TO APPOINT ELECTION COMMISSIONERS
The Topeka Capital-Journal
A dispute over Shawnee County's election budget spurred lawmakers to weigh a bill Tuesday stripping Secretary of State Kris Kobach's authority to appoint elections commissioners in Kansas' four largest counties.  Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, brought the bill, which would give county commissions the authority to appoint their own election officers to administer local and statewide races.
Hensley said his bill, which he brought before the Kansas House more than 30 years ago, would allow local counties control by granting them budget and appointing authority.  Read more here .
VoteRunLead supports the aspirations of women who want to transform our country and democracy through their participation as leaders.  Visit  here .
STILL I RISE, MAYA ANGELOU
Just like the moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides, just like hopes springing high, still, I'll rise.  Watch 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.

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 .
WE KAN! CONFERENCE 
What should Kansas look like?
Let's start shaping it!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7
9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Meridian Center
1420 E. Broadway Ct., Newton

Tuesday evening, March 6
Sippin' & Supposin' at Norm's Coffee Bar, Newton 

Registration deadline February 26. No refunds after March 1.
Register here!

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.
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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