February 6, 2018
MIRED TOO LONG IN SECRECY, IT'S TIME FOR KANSAS GOVERNMENT TO OPEN UP
Chris Roesel, The Kansas City Star
Kansas leads the nation in governmental opacity. We should insist this be changed so we will know what is going on and who is doing it. Only by changing our laws and ways of operating will we get a truly representative government.
Our current system of legislation includes many bizarre and some normal ways to derail democratic, representative government. Some representatives on both sides of the aisle want our procedures changed to increase their ability to represent us.
Currently in Kansas, much legislation occurs under the cover of secrecy. Bills do not have to have their sponsors recorded. Consequently, lobbyists introduce some legislation. Votes do not have to be recorded. Furthermore, bills that have been introduced can be completely changed using "gut-and-go." 
The result is that our legislature ends up being less democratic and less representative of us.  Read more here .
REBUILD TRUST IN KANSAS
Our Opinion, NewsPressNow.com
Kansas government, by any objective standard, faces an unusual array of challenges - including persistent questions about whether the public can trust state officials to do the right thing.
It makes sense lawmakers should be eager to find common ground with the public and to demonstrate they are in their service. And if this truly is their motive, then a proposal before the legislature is the vehicle to take the first step.
House Bill 2548 would put an end to a corruption of the public trust by which more than 90 percent of the laws passed in the last decade originated in bills whose authors were anonymous.
This practice, disclosed in a series in The Kansas City Star, is just one of the abuses of transparency that can be found in Kansas government. It stands out, however, because of broad interest in doing something about it.  Read more here .
47TH GOVERNOR SWORN IN TO TAKE BROWNBACK'S PLACE
Allison Kite, Garden City Telegram
Republican Jeffrey William Colyer promised a "new day in Kansas" Wednesday shortly after he was sworn in as Kansas' 47th governor to replace Sam Brownback
"I demand transparency and we embrace accountability," Colyer said. "I pledge to do the right thing even when nobody is looking, and we will set a tone and insist on an environment of openness, honesty and respect and without harassment, especially in this building."
Colyer will address a joint session of the Kansas House and Senate next Wednesday.
Sen. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican, said she hoped to see the collaboration Colyer promised.
"What I would like to see brought back to the Statehouse from Gov. Colyer is a willingness and an eagerness to work together rather than the 'my way or the highway,' " Bollier said.  Read more here.
KANSAS LAWMAKERS WAIT AND WATCH FOR COLYER'S DIRECTION
Martin Hawver, Hays Post
A month into this year's legislative session, brand new Gov. Jeff Colyer will tell the House and Senate just what he wants his 11-month governorship to look like .
He has already harvested a House member, Rep. Larry Campbell, R-Olathe, to be his budget director, and moved Brownback/Colyer budget director Shawn Sullivan to a new more global administrative post.
Colyer has met with both Republican and Democratic leaders, and nobody is talking about what, if anything, purposeful was said in those polite talks.  We'll see which way Colyer is going this week... Read more here .
SENATE COMMITTEE DEBATES CUT TO FOOD SALES TAX
Allison Kite, The Garden City Telegram
Kansas' unusually high sales tax on groceries could come down as senators weigh a constitutional amendment aimed at easing prices for consumers and supporting grocery stores near the state's borders.
According to KC Healthy Kids, Kansas' 6.5 percent statewide sales tax is more than the four surrounding states charge.  The Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee considered a resolution Thursday that would allow voters to decide in November whether the state should lower food sales taxes to 4 percent in mid 2019 and 2 percent in mid 2020.  Read more here .
RACE, GENDER AND POVERTY IN KANSAS
Emily Fetsch, KCEG
The Bad News: Kansas women, particularly women of color, are more likely than men to struggle to make ends meet and afford basic necessities.
The Good News: Much can be done by policymakers and employers at the state level to strengthen the economic outlook for Kansas women.
Women have made great gains in the workforce and in education the past few decades, yet women remain more likely to live in poverty. There are many reasons why this might be the case, including:
  • Pay inequity,
  • Being sole providers for their children,
  • Occupational segregation, in which women are more likely to go into certain occupations and have difficulty entering other jobs, and
  • The impact of pregnancy on women's career trajectories.
Women are an essential part of the Kansas economy. 
Read more here.
EDITORIAL: GIVE KANSANS A REAL, IMPACTFUL TAX BREAK
Kansas Editorial Board, The Kansan
A couple of different groups spoke to a Senate committee about sales tax on food. One was a grocer, close to a state line, who has a hard time competing for customers as people in their community duck across the border for groceries - most headed to Cornhusker territory, where the sales tax on groceries is nil.
Another group was pediatricians - who told the Senate committee that children in Kansas are only getting an average of one serving of fruits or vegetable per day.
The current state sales tax rate is at 6.5 percent. Local sales taxes bring the total to 8.5 percent in Harvey County, and 11 percent in some parts of Kansas.
We believe the Kansas Legislature and our shiny new governor need to confront this head on. Time to move forward. Time to consider a real, impactful tax break for the lowest wage earners. This state gave a tax break to the wealthy wage earners, and the promise of new jobs and economic growth was not fulfilled.  Time to give the lowest wage earners a break.  Read more here .
INSIGHT KS: THE 'SECRETARY OF STATE' ELECTION
Burdett Loomis, Hays Post
On Wednesday, Kansans got a new governor.  Colyer has six months to establish a record and a persona that will carry him to victory in the crowded GOP primary election. No mean feat.
What's the problem? In short, the 2018 election is all about gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach, the current Secretary of State.
Kobach, given his unapologetic support for voter suppression, nativism, and the Brownback tax cuts, has become the focal point - explicitly or not - of all Republican and Democratic candidates.
Kobach has certainly raised the relevance of his office, but so have disputes about voting rights, both in Kansas and across the country. The governor's race will surely be the main event in 2018, but the important undercard battle to become secretary of state will be worth watching as well.
Read more here.
SCHOOL FUNDING STALL
Paul Johnson, Kansas Rural Center
Until school funding is settled there will no final budgets for the rest of the Kansas budget. The Senate and House education committees are meeting occasionally but everyone is waiting for a legislative commissioned cost study by Dr. Lori Taylor. 
The cost study is to be delivered on March 15 and then subjected to lawmaker review before final conclusions are drawn. 
The timing is important since the Kansas Supreme Court has ordered oral arguments on April 30, 2018 to debate the new school funding plan and rule on its constitutionality by July 1, 2018.
Kansas' new Governor Jeff Colyer promised that schools would be properly funded and in no case would public schools close down after July 1. Governor Colyer will give his own version of a 'State of the State' address before the Legislature on February 7.  Read more here :
THE USE OF "ALTERNATIVE FACTS" IN KANSAS SCHOOL FINANCE
John W. Carlin and Civic Leadership
Last week, "alternative facts" on school finance were sought by some leaders of the Kansas Legislature to help them meet the funding goal set by the Kansas Supreme Court. To say the least, this has certainly caused a real concern and rightfully so. Alternative facts have been a huge issue for sometime in Washington. For example, prior to recent times, the non-partisan Congressional Research Services was clearly the go-to place for analysis of any subject tied to action or potential action by the Congress of the United States. That changed sometime back when very conservative members of Congress wanted analyses to be more to their liking. With the ability to use their own facts, it was much easier to accomplish their agenda.  Read more here .

TEACHERS HAVE TO BE SO MUCH MORE IN TODAY'S EDUCATIONAL CLIMATE
Sharon Iorio, The Wichita Eagle
There once was a time when teachers were held in high opinion by the public. Those days are gone. 
The public's respectful perception of our nation's teachers and schools is being eroded.  Even though researchers and the public acknowledge the classroom teacher as the most important school influence on students, blaming teachers for all student achievement issues is a simplistic way of looking at an extremely complex challenge. 
What drives the disapproval? An expectation of teachers that doesn't match reality, because teaching is not the same job it used to be.
We can fix a lot of problems if we treat teachers as the
experts they are. Read more here.
OFFICIALS: STABILITY A CHALLENGE FOR KS HOSPITALS
Morgan Chilson, cjonline.com
Kansas hospitals have one foot on the boat and one foot on the dock, creating a distinctly wobbly environment that leaves leaders looking for stability, a Kansas hospital spokesman said.  "I think the biggest challenge facing hospitals, and frankly anybody in health care, is to try to understand where this system is moving," said Tom Bell, president and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association. "Look at the way Washington and Topeka policymakers have dealt with health care. Especially in Washington, there is absolutely zero confidence from a provider's point of view that you know what the rules are going to be next year and sometimes even next month."  Read more here .
HERE'S ONE THING GOV. JEFF COLYER COULD DO TO SET A
NEW TONE IN TOPEKA
The Kansas City Star Editorial Board,
The Kansas City Star
Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer spent his first
full day in office making the media rounds, talking about his plans for the state.
Colyer deserves the best wishes of Kansans as he settles into his new role. "I will set a tone and insist on an environment of openness, honesty and respect," he said Wednesday.  Yet Kansans know words are less important than deeds. In the coming days, they'll be looking to Colyer for evidence of a willingness to compromise on issues that will move the state forward.
Here's a good place to start: Expand Medicaid coverage in Kansas.  Read more here .
VOTER FRAUD COMMISSIONER SEEKS TO SUBPOENA KOBACH TO SAVE RECORDS
Tierney Sneed, Talking Points Memo
The Democratic voter fraud commissioner who sued the now-defunct panel last year claiming it had shut him out of its operations is now asking a court to allow him to serve a subpoena on its one-time leader so that records related to the lawsuit are not destroyed.
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said in the filing that he is concerned that the commission's co-chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, will not preserve internal communications a judge had previously ordered he handed over.  "Defendant Kobach's record with respect to compliance-even with court orders-is spotty, to say the least," Dunlap said.  Read more here .
'NO TYSON IN TONGIE' INSPIRES BILL GIVING  VOTERS VETO OVER POULTRY
Celia Llopis-Jepsen, KCUR 89.3
Last fall's dramatic public backlash against plans for a massive poultry operation in northeast Kansas could lead to a change in law.
Gov. Sam Brownback and Tyson Foods sent Leavenworth County residents into revolt last September by announcing plans for a $300 million plant with the capacity to process 1 million birds a week.
"That agreement," Democratic Sen. Tom Holland said, "was made behind closed doors and without any public input."
The backlash was swift. Hundreds of people turned up for protest events and "No Tyson in Tongie" signs sprouted in front yards.  That deal fell through. So did incentives to woo the company to Sedgwick County instead.  Read more here .
BARRY FLINCHBAUGH MINCES NO WORDS WHEN TALKING AG POLICY
P.J. Griekspoor, American Agriculturist
When Kansas State University professor emeritus Barry Flinchbaugh is the keynote speaker, you can expect to hear exactly what he thinks with no beating around the bush. And that's just what the audience at the Kansas Commodity Classic in Manhattan, Kan., heard on Jan. 26.
Flinchbaugh warned his audience they might not agree with everything he had to say.
"This is ag policy under the Trump administration, which is to say the Age of Uncertainty and the Age of Twitter," he said. "So you might not agree with all I say. If I thought you would, I'd rewrite my speech."
Flinchbaugh, who has been an ag policy adviser for more than 50 years, said there are some words that are no longer in the lexicon - words like logic, stability, and consistency.  Read more here .
LOUD LIGHT: WEEK 4 RECAP
Davis Hammet, LoudLight
New Governor, energy merger, guns for teens, and more.
"Like, follow, share, retweet, spread the word, start meaningful conversations with your friends and family. Stay tuned, stay engaged, and until next time, Thank you so much, Kansas.
Watch here.
THE U.S. STATES PEOPLE ARE FLEEING (AND THE ONES THEY ARE MOVING TO)
Karsten Strauss, Forbes
Kansas: Total moves, 2,370. Percentage moving out: 56.7%.  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
Sustaining support $500.00 year
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Mail your check to:
Women for Kansas Civic Group
( or) Women for Kansas
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Pay online with PayPal:
W4K Civic Group, click here.
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(You are not required to have a PayPal account).
FOR EVERY WOMAN IN POLITICAL OFFICE IN THE UNITED STATES, THERE ARE THREE MEN
Darla Cameron and Kim Soffen,
The Washington Post
In the wake of Donald Trump's election, an unprecedented number of women are running for office in 2018. Final numbers will not be available for some time, but Emily's List, an organization that works to elect Democratic women, has reported being contacted by more than 26,000 women who are interested in running for office since Election Day 2016. That is compared with 920 during the entire two-year 2016 election cycle.
Read more here .
EGGS AND ISSUES: RETIRED TEACHERS HEAR FROM LAWMAKERS
Carly Willis, ksn.com
The Heartland Retired Educators group hosted several lawmakers for a legislative update about education at a west side Golden Corral on Saturday.
Representatives John Carmichael (D-92nd district), Ed Trimmer (D-79th district), Steven Crum (D-98th district) and Senator Lynn Rogers (D-25th district) were all present for the "eggs and issues" discussion.
Retired teachers posed questions about education funding, industrial hemp and KPERS.  Watch here .
Become a precinct committee woman! There are two precinct chairs for each Kansas legislative District, one of each gender, for each party. Precinct Chair is an elected position, and while it has few duties, it is critical in the democratic process.  For information about Kansas statute describing precinct chairs click here Precinct Committee person

Candidate's Declaration of Intention application available here .
VoteRunLead supports the aspirations of women who want to transform our country and democracy through their participation as leaders.  Visit  here .
KOBACH WILL REPRESENT HIMSELF IN UPCOMING TRIAL. IS IT A SMART MOVE?
Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle
When a federal lawsuit challenging Kansas's proof of citizenship voter law goes to trial in March, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach plans to be in the courtroom.  He'll be the attorney defending the law he crafted.
At stake in the trial: a 2011 law that requires people to provide documentary proof they're a citizen, often through a passport or birth certificate, when they register to vote. Kobach says the law keeps non-citizens from voting. But critics say voter fraud is relatively rare and the requirement makes it more difficult for citizens to vote.
Read more here.
TOWN HALL ON
SECRECY  IN KANSAS
Thursday, February 8, 7pm
Emerald Ballroom of the Capitol Plaza Hotel,  1717 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka

Several legislative leaders
 and a former lawmaker who has been a strong advocate for openness in government will
 make up the panel.

To RSVP to attend, fill out form here. Read more here.

Hosted by Great Plains Chapter Americans United for Separation of Church and State

WHY DO SO MANY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE  WANT THE GOVERNMENT  ON THEIR SIDE?

Saturday, February 10
Olive Tree Banquet Hall
2949 N. Rock Road, Wichita (entrance on 29th)

Cost: $35 per person
Doors open at 6:30 pm, followed by
Dr. Minor. Dessert will be served after Dr. Minor's talk.

RSVP: Please make your reservation here by
February 6, or call Raye McAdam 
at 316-650-6641.
You may pay at the door, but   please   do reserve in advance.

For more information, please visit
NEWTON COC: SPRING LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10
9:00-10:30am
USD #373 District Offices
308 E. 1st Street, Newton

Come hear what your Kansas Senator McGinn and Reps Shroeder and Hodge have to say about bills being proposed and passed in the Kansas Legislature.

The cost to attend this event is free, but each attendee is responsible for his/her own breakfast ticket.
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 .
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

Are hate crimes in Kansas on the rise? How does Kansas compare to other states in the number of incidents? And are there are  ways to reduce these?

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.
SAVE THE DATE!
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.
"The practice of democracy is not passed down  through the gene pool.
It must be taught  and learned anew by each generation of citizens."

Visit iCivics.org to learn more.

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATIONS ACROSS KANSAS, AND AROUND THE UNITED STATES

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