June 20 , 2017
WOMEN'S CAUCUS PLAYED PIVOTAL ROLE IN RESTORING SANITY TO KANSAS STATEHOUSE
Jeffrey Ann Goudie, Huffpost
One day an idea floated within a group
of these female legislators. They would leave the building for lunch, and bring back pieces of paper with three things they'd like to accomplish. The group cohered and began meeting, and eventually invited men and committee heads. Rep. Holscher said she likes to say: "We have to draw the circle wide."  Sen. Kelly said the tax plan the Women's Caucus crafted was more progressive than the one that passed. Still, the final bill accomplishes significant reforms.
So you could say the Women's Caucus and their flip-charts flipped the atmosphere, or that the class of freshman lawmakers, one-third new faces, made the difference. Or you could also say that inside and outside the Statehouse, folks were tired of letting an entrenched ideologue call the shots.  Again, and dramatically this session, our Statehouse belongs to all of us.  Read more here .
NY TIMES OP-ED MISSES AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE
KANSAS STORY
John W. Carlin and Civic Leadership
In the June 12th New York Times,
there was an excellent op-ed piece that Kansans should take pride in. The title was " Finally, Something Isn't the Matter
with Kansas," written by Michael Tomasky. The focus of the article is the Kansas Legislature's override of the Governor's veto of the tax package.
But it's the rest of the story, left out in this op-ed, that I want to focus on and what I believe will be needed if this kind of action is to spread...m aybe the most significant aspect is that much of the initial leadership came from a group of female legislators from both parties, working over a period of time, to lay out key elements of a tax package that ultimately passed.
in order for this direction to continue--support  for legislators from both parties who made progress possible must continue. And we should be judging future candidates by whether they support a solid, stable financial future for the state or a return to the reckless and failed fiscal and economic direction that landed us in this mess in the first place.  Read more here.
FIVE LESSONS FROM FIVE YEARS OF CUTTING TAXES IN KANSAS
Dave Helling, The Kansas City Star
The five-year fight over the Kansas tax cuts has ended. The pay-your-bill caucus has defeated the shot-of-adrenaline crowd.  What lessons have we learned?
  1. The tax cuts failed on their own terms, not because Kansas failed to cut spending.
  2. The tax cuts didn't fail because of problems in the oil and agriculture industries.
  3. The tax cuts didn't fail because they ran out of time.
  4. Tax fairness is as important as tax rates.
  5. It wasn't the media's fault.
Brownback's stubbornness didn't help. He still seems reluctant to admit the failure of the centerpiece of his administration's approach to the Kansas economy.
The rest of Kansas appears less conflicted. Supply-side tax cuts are fool's gold, their representatives said this month, destined to fail. 
Perhaps the rest of the nation has now learned that lesson, too.  Read more here .
EDITORIAL: KANSAS LAWMAKERS DELIVERED HALF A LOAF, BUT THAT'S AN IMPROVEMENT
The Kansas City Star Editorial Board
All things considered, we'll take it.
Kansas lawmakers finally wrapped up their 2017 session last weekend by passing a two-year state budget that sets the state back on the road to recovery after years of damage wrought by Gov. Sam Brownback's tax cuts.
The session was far from perfect, but in the Brownback era, half a loaf is an achievement. Kansans got that much and maybe a little more.
Among the accomplishments is the heroic reversal of the 2012 tax cuts and the end of the LLC loophole, which amount to a stunning rebuke of the once-dominant Brownback. Lawmakers wisely passed a three-bracket individual income tax system that's more progressive than Brownback's two-bracket structure, which favors the wealthy over the poor.  Read more here .
RELATED:
NEW PLAN: MANY DETAILS TO CONSIDER IN LEGISLATORS' TAX REFORM
Dena Sattler, The Garden City Telegram
With a nearly $1 billion deficit over the next two years - and with several rounds of deep cuts to core services already executed - state lawmakers recently restored badly needed revenue.
Lawmakers rightly restored the child and dependent care credit, as well as deductions for mortgage interest rates, property taxes and medical expenses.
As for the new tax policy, it's not perfect. Rather, it's a tourniquet applied to stop hemorrhaging from a gaping, self-inflicted wound, and the best lawmakers could do considering they received no help from the governor.
And now, Kansans must brace for still more painful problem solving in years to come, as lawmakers continue remedying an epic blunder by Brownback that only worsened over time.  Read more here .
KANSAS' SHATTERED
ECONOMY SHOWS THAT DEMOCRACY CAN STILL WORK
Matt Phillips, Vice News
America should thank Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.
After his election in 2010, the hard-right Republican launched the state on an adventure in conservative policymaking by slashing personal income taxes in what came to be known as the "Kansas Experiment." 
The experiment failed - spectacularly.
American democracy needs a fundamental course-correction to a more moderate path. And one way to temper the current Republican appetite for extreme policies may be if America, like Kansas, gets a good look at what those policies do when actually put into practice.
Read more here.
LOOK FOR CENTRISTS VS. POPULISTS IN 2018
Mark Peterson, The Garden City Telegram
Last week, two events occurred here in Kansas at the same moment that Great Britain's Conservative Party was, as the London tabloids put it, moving from being the "Strong and Stable" majority parliamentary party to a "Weak and Wobbly" plurality party. It might be a stretch for Kansas readers, but there are correlations between the far of London and the near of Kansas.  Mr. Birell's comments are of value in thinking about the two Kansas events. In one, a new and substantial majority of our state's legislators demonstrated the value in his instruction. In the other, one of our collection of political super-egos showed the opposite inclination.  We shall all now be engaged in action and observation to determine if the centrist sentiment of 2016-17 prevails Read more here .
BROWNBACK SIGNS SCHOOL FINANCE BILL
Tim Carpenter, The Garden City Telegram
Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law Thursday a bill increasing state aid to public school districts in response to court rulings that the existing system unconstitutionally deprived at-risk students of a solid education.  The new K-12 funding law, which will be reviewed by the justices, would increase state aid by $195 million in the upcoming school year. The level of additional funding would rise to $290 million in the second year.
Some members of the Legislature, even those who voted for the school funding bill, expressed concern that it wouldn't be found compliant with the Kansas Constitution. Others suggested justices could affirm the first-year funding levels as adequate, but retain the case to prevent lawmakers from backing away from promised expenditures to the 286 public school districts in the state.
Read more here.
10 QUESTIONS AMERICANS ARE - AND SHOULD BE - ASKING ABOUT THE HOUSE-PASSED AHCA AND ITS PROJECTED IMPACT
Caitlin Brandt, Margaret Drling, Marcela Cabello, and Kavita Patel, Brookings.edu
On May 4th, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), complete with a series of amendments that represent compromises to gather enough votes. 
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the estimated impact of the AHCA after the bill had already passed the House, finding that the bill would reduce access for 23 million Americans compared to the Affordable Care Act, largely through changes to the Medicaid program as well as issues of affordability and what is even considered to provide enough protection to count as insurance.
Americans need to know how they may expect to be affected by this legislation. Here, we answer ten important questions about the legislation, its estimated impact, and what Americans can anticipate moving forward.
Read more here.
HOSPITAL GUN BILL BECOMES LAW WITHOUT BROWNBACK'S SIGNATURE
Daniel Salazar, The Wichita Eagle
A bill continuing a ban on guns at public hospitals in Kansas will become law without the governor's signature.
House Bill 2278 exempts from the state's concealed carry laws state or municipal-owned medical care facilities and adult care homes, community mental health centers and indigent health care clinics. The Senate passed the bill 24-16. The House passed it 91-33.
Under Kansas law, a bill that passes the Legislature becomes law if the governor does not sign or veto it within 10 days.  Read more here .
KANCARE RENEWAL PUBLIC MEETINGS
SCHEDULED IN TOPEKA, WICHITA, OLATHE, DODGE CITY, HAYS AND PITTSBURGH
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has scheduled a series of public meetings for the discussion of the state's proposed renewal of the KanCare program and to provide input and ideas for changes.  Anyone may provide comment and input about the KanCare renewal at any time from June 14, 2017 until October 15, 2017 . The state intends to submit the renewal request on November 1, 2017.
There will be a second set of meetings in the fall of 2017 to collect formal comments about the waiver renewal application.  Information about KanCare is available for public review at the KanCare website here .
THE MAN BEHIND TRUMP'S VOTER-FRAUD OBSESSION
Ari Berman, The New York Times
Kris Kobach likes to bill himself as "the A.C.L.U.'s worst nightmare."
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed tactics that prevented blacks, Hispanics and other minority groups from voting. But for decades, Republicans have fought to circumvent the law by describing their proposed restrictions - requiring specific forms of identification to vote, preventing early voting, purging voting rolls - as colorblind security measures, even though there is little evidence of any individual voter fraud in the United States. The A.C.L.U. has repeatedly argued that the Kansas law discriminated against minorities, young people and low-income people, all of whom are more likely to be registering for the first time and less likely to have immediate access to citizenship papers, because they can't afford them or were more transient and don't have copies of their documents at hand. No state has been as aggressive as Kansas in restricting ballot access, and no elected official has been as dogged as Kobach.  Read more here .
KRIS KOBACH WANTS TO DECIDE WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Southern Poverty Law Center
Kobach began removing people from his state's voter rolls in 2015, making anyone who did not provide proof of citizenship within 90 days ineligible to vote.  "It's no big deal," he once said, according to The New York Times Magazine. "Nobody's being disenfranchised."
However alarming his claims, Kobach has successfully convicted just nine people of voter fraud since 2015 - primarily senior citizens who own property in more than one state. The reality - only one noncitizen conviction - hardly resembles Kobach's alarmist claims.
Read more here.
WITH GOVERNOR'S RACE STILL A YEAR AND A HALF AWAY, MORE THAN 500 TURN OUT FOR MAINSTREAM 'WALK THE VOTE' EVENT
Jay Senter, Shawnee Mission Post
More than 500--including Republican and Democratic legislators from Johnson, Wyandotte and Douglas counties and beyond - gathered off downtown Overland Park Saturday morning for the first-ever "Walk the Vote" fundraiser for the MainStream Coalition. Billed as a "walk party to raise money to raise hell in 2018," the event was envisioned as a way to "finish what we started in 2016," said MainStream Executive Director Brandi Fisher.
That bi-partisanship was part of the appeal of participating for many. Corliss Jacobs was part of the team organized by the progressive group MoveOn, which used the theme "join us under the umbrella." Though the MoveOn walkers weren't afraid to champion views favored by liberals, Jacobs said the goal is to find common ground with people who are more conservative.
"We're all in this together," Jacobs said. "It can be a broad umbrella, but it's got to be an approach where it's good for all Kansans, and not just a limited view."
Read more here.
A FAILED EXPERIMENT AND
A REPUBLICAN REVOLT IN KS
Tom Ashbrook, OnPoint,
WVIK Perspective
Kansas lawmakers - Republicans - revolt and undo their own austere tax cuts. We'll unpack what happened to the GOP's "Kansas Experiment."
The state of Kansas was supposed to be the great Republican model. Cut taxes deeply, said Governor Sam Brownback, and it would be "like a shot of adrenaline in the heart of the Kansas economy." The taxes were cut. The adrenaline never showed. Things fell apart. Last week, Kansas Republicans revolted against their hardline governor, overrode his veto, and ditched the model. This hour On Point: The Kansas Republican revolt against supply side economics, and what it means.  Listen here .
A NEW ERA IN KANSAS GOVERNMENT - BIPARTISANSHIP
Rep. Nancy Lusk, Special to The Star, The Kansas City Star
The new paradigm of constructive cooperation started with the 2016 election of legislators from both parties who were determined to return Kansas to financial stability.
Behind the scenes bipartisan meetings initiated by Democratic Rep. Cindy Holster  and Republican Rep. Stephanie  Clayton played a crucial role in the Legislature reaching consensus on the final tax bill.
Unfortunately, the final tax plan compromise isn't a total fix of the budget chasm created by a conservative Republican-dominated Legislature over the past five years.  But a tremendous step forward... Read more here .
WHY SB30 IS A WIN FOR KS!
Heidi Holliday, KCEG
Greetings! Overriding Governor Brownback's veto of Senate Bill 30 to end Kansas' failed tax experiment was an incredible step forward for our state.  Kansans across the state worked hard for this victory.
You attended forums, read about budget and tax policy, shared the need for comprehensive tax reform in your own communities, and asked your lawmakers to support sound tax policy. As we begin the path forward, the Kansas Center for Economic Growth has produced a two-page brief  to help you understand the ins and outs of the legislation that passed this year. We hope you will find it useful, and we thank you for your work to put Kansas on the right track!
Read the two-page brief 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.

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7 WAYS YOU CAN INFLUENCE CONGRESS
A lot of folks are concerned with the direction Congress is headed. Many who've never contacted their reps before are now engaging in the political process. Unfortunately, this means lawmakers are being inundated with TONS of messages. Wondering how your message can get through? Here are seven ways to make sure YOUR voice is heard.  Watch here .
KANSAS SUPREME COURT TO HEAR SCHOOL FUNDING ARGUMENTS IN JULY
Shawn Wheat, WIBW
The Kansas Supreme Court has set a date to hear arguments on whether the state's new school finance law meets their order to adequately fund schools.  The court says they will hear arguments on July 18th, which is past their July 1st deadline for finding a solution to keep schools open.
They will review the new law that would phase in $293-million more dollars to K-thru-12 schools over a two year period.  Watch here .
HOW TO ADDRESS THE KANSAS TEACHER SHORTAGE
John Richard Schrock, KPR
The state of Kansas needs more teachers. And universities are trying to recruit more students to pursue careers in that field. But will it be enough? As someone who spent decades teaching -- and training others how to teach --  Commentator John Richard Schrock has a few suggestions for recruiting the next generation of Kansas educators.
Listen 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

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DOLE & KASSEBAUM BAKER: GIANTS OF THE SENATE
Kaye McIntyre, KPR
This week on KPR Presents:
former U.S. Senators Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum Baker talk about politics, their careers, and Washington D.C. today.  Kassebaum Baker received the 2016 Dole Leadership Prize at this September 17th, 2016 event at the University of Kansas Dole Institute of Politics.  Listen here .

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