March 28 , 2017
WHAT'S NEXT?
A monthly column by Heidi Holliday, Executive Director of the Kansas for Economic Growth
While Kansans never needed an official ruling to tell us our schools are underfunded, it sure is nice to have one. On March 2, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that school funding was unconstitutionally inadequate and set a June 30 deadline to fix it.
Most estimates are that the amount needed to satisfy the court ruling is between $500-$800 million. This is in addition to the $850 million structural imbalance Kansas faces over the next two years. Lawmakers must develop a plan that raises over $1 billion annually to get Kansas back on a sound financial footing.
Right now, both chambers of the legislature are debating budget bills, and comprehensive tax reform is certain to be on the agenda soon. Time is of the essence.
We recommend three guiding principles moving forward:
  1. We need comprehensive tax reform first. Without knowing what comprehensive tax reform will look like, lawmakers will struggle to set a school finance formula that meets the state's educational needs.
  2. The tax reform package must be large enough to meet both the structural deficit and the school finance ruling. School finance is not a short-term issue. Lawmakers must pass a bill that addresses both problems so that Kansas can escape this ongoing fiscal crisis.
  3. The two must be debated separately. Tax reform and school finance are challenging issues, but they should not be debated together. Tax reform is about stabilizing our revenue stream so we can fund basic services, like schools. The school finance debate will focus on how we allocate those dollars. Regardless of any court order, Kansas cannot comply with the ruling without a stable revenue stream. Tax reform must happen first.
How can you help? Your legislators will be home for the month of April before returning in May. Engage with legislators in your community and let them know that Kansans want comprehensive tax reform in 2017.
Learn more at www.realprosperityks.com.
DEMOCRAT, LIBERTARIAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES DEBATE IN AUGUSTA
Olivia Haselwood, ElDorado Leader
All three candidates running for the Fourth Congressional seat were invited to a meet and greet and debate Wednesday night at the Augusta Public Library. Only two showed. Candidates James Thompson (D) and Chris Rockhold (L) were on hand to answer questions from residents all across the county for nearly two hours.
The town hall style event was hosted by the Butler County chapter of Women for Kansas and covered topics ranging from education and agriculture, to healthcare and taxes. It's purpose was to give all candidates the chance to educate voters on their stance on a variety of issues before the April 11 election. Here's what they had to say in questions asked by moderator Annie Wilson.  Read more here .





GET OUT THE VOTE -- APRIL 11, 2017!

RON ESTES ( Republican) has been the State Treasurer of Kansas since 2010, and has worked with Governor Sam Brownback on Kansas' current tax policies. Ron grew up on the family farm near Osage, Kansas. He has a degree in civil engineering and a graduate degree in Business Administration.
His professional background was in the aerospace, oil & gas, and manufacturing industries. He is married, the father of three children, and lives in Wichita. Ron's issues include: increasing economic growth, rolling back of government regulations, repealing Obamacare, increasing national security, and defending religious liberty and 2nd amendment rights.  Visit website here.

CHRIS ROCKFORD  (Libertarian) is a flight instructor at FlightSafety in Wichita. He grew up in California, Arizona and Washington. He and his wife lived in Washington for almost 2 decades before moving to Kansas. They have one son. Chris is also an advocate and dedicates his spare time to the American Red Cross. He is running for office because he has known from an early age that he wanted to be a representative of the people. He believes that aviation is a vital part of Wichita's economy and he plans "to keep it that way." His issues include: establishing a completely transparent government, reducing the size of government and its regulations, privatizing or abolishing the majority of federal agencies, and simplifying the tax code and abolishing the IRS.  Visit website  here .

JAMES THOMPSON ( Democrat) faced adversity as a child-he rose from homelessness in childhood to his position as a civil rights attorney in Wichita.
While serving in the U.S. Army, James was promoted to be a member of the Presidential Honor Guard. After his honorable discharge, he moved to Kansas to be close to his family. He earned his J.D. at Washburn Law School.  He is married with one daughter, Liberty, and lives in Wichita. His issues include: promoting economic growth and jobs (while fighting against the trickle-down theories promoted by Governor Sam Brownback), promoting and funding public schools, making higher education as inexpensive and assessable as possible, providing a voice to the needs of our veterans, and making government work for everyone.  Meet James Thompson on  YouTube .
Visit website here.
SENATE PANEL ADVANCES BUDGET BILL WITH $874 MILLION DEFICIT; PAY RAISE AND ADDITIONAL
KU FUNDING INCLUDED
Peter Hancock, LJWorld.com
The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Thursday endorsed a two-year budget bill that would make full payments into the state pension system as scheduled, provide a 2-percent across-the-board pay raise for state employees and partially restore some of the cuts that Gov. Sam Brownback ordered last year for the University of Kansas and Kansas State University.
It would also require at least $874 million in new tax revenue over the next two years, something that lawmakers so far have not been able to get past Brownback's veto pen Read more here .
KANSAS BUDGET PROPOSALS WOULD LEAVE STATE IN THE RED WITHOUT TAX HIKE
Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle
Spending proposals in the Legislature would leave Kansas hundreds of millions of dollars in debt -- unless lawmakers generate enough new revenue to support them.  The budget bills under consideration wouldn't cut state agencies, might restore some funding for the state's pension system and would boost pay for state workers.  But they would place Kansas more than $800 million in the hole over the next two fiscal years under current tax laws.
The proposals assume lawmakers will pass a package of tax increases to bring in additional revenue. Most lawmakers have shown little appetite so far to reduce spending as an alternative.
But how much taxes might be increased remains unclear, as does whether Gov. Sam Brownback would approve any increases or if lawmakers could go around him if he doesn't.  Read more here .
KEPC UPDATE: SCHOOL FINANCE, MEDICAID EXPANSION, INCOME TAX, RECISSION, SENATE CMTE BUDGET, GAS TAX, STAR BONDS, PROPERTY TAX, AND EARLY BREAK
Kansas Economic Progress Council
In this issue ...
  • Lawmakers and educators try to understand
    House school finance bill
  • Medicaid expansion goes to the full Senate
  • House Tax Committee may move ahead on
    income tax
  • Rescission bill in conference
  • Senate Committee passes a budget
  • House holds hearing on 11 cent gas tax increase
  • STAR Bonds out of House committee
  • Property tax lid changes
  • Will lawmakers break early?
Read more here.
KANSAS SENATE INCREASES TRANSPARENCY MEASURES
Nick Gosnell, WIBW News
The Kansas Senate is pursuing additional transparency measures.
"We think it's time to put an audio and video image up on the Internet of the proceedings in the Kansas Senate," said Senate President Susan Wagle. "We have to make some changes within the Senate floor to make sure we can wire that live feed, but we'll have that done by next January."
The next step after that is to get audio streams in all the Senate committee rooms.  Read more here .
FROM MERRIAM TO TOPEKA: GROUP ARRIVES AT STATE CAPITOL TO RALLY FOR EDUCATION
Ariel Rothfield, KSHB 41
After 66 miles or 132,000 steps, a group of mothers, teachers and concerned Kansans arrived in Topeka early Monday morning. 
The group, protesting cuts to education and the state's budget, left Merriam Friday morning. They spent three days walking to Topeka. 
"I had a considerable amount of experience before all of the budget cuts took place. And the thing that frustrates me more than anything is that the most vulnerable students have been hurt the most by budget cuts," said Angie Powers, a teacher in Olathe who has been teaching for 17 years.
The group is calling for the elimination of the LLC loophole, restoration of the three tax bracket, and the removal of the glide path to zero income tax. Additionally, they would like to see cuts restored and education "fully funded." Read more here .
PANEL HEAD HOPES MEMBERS RETURN FROM BREAK WITH
K-12 FUNDING IDEAS
Celia Llopis-Jepsen,
The Topeka Capital-Journal
Posted in The Garden City Telegram
The head of a specialized Senate panel is hoping committee members will have a concrete K-12 funding proposal from the Kansas House in time for the Legislature's spring break in April.  That would give the Senate's committee time to familiarize themselves over break with the House's ideas for school funding, then take over the work when they return, Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said Tuesday.  The Legislature is facing a June 30 deadline from the Kansas Supreme Court to fix a system that the court has deemed unconstitutional.
"We've let the House take the lead at this point," said Denning, R-Overland Park. "That was the agreement going in."
He anticipates receiving the House's bill by the April 7 adjournment for break.  Read more here .
PAST SUGGESTS HOPE FOR KANSAS SCHOOL FINANCE
H. Edward Flentje, The Wichita Eagle
In its unanimous decision of March 2, the Kansas Supreme Court determined the "block grant" scheme for funding schools did not meet the constitutional standard of adequacy and ordered the Legislature back to the drawing board to write a school finance law that meets constitutional muster no later than June 30.
Overall school funding will substantially increase. While the court emphasized that "total spending is not the touchstone for adequacy in education," its order admonished lawmakers that "the state should not ignore" experts' cost estimates that point to a sizable boost in base funding for schools.
School funding will rely more upon state sales and income taxes and less on property taxes. The disastrous tax experiment of 2012 followed by jumps in sales and property taxes have narrowed options for lawmakers.
As a result, income taxes now stand as the only realistic choice for funding schools and rebalancing state finance.
Read more here.
GOP FAILURE IN CONGRESS BOOSTS MEDICAID EFFORT
IN KANSAS
Nick Viviani, AP; WIBW13
Legislators and advocates in Kansas pushing to expand the state's health coverage for the poor and disabled to thousands of adults are buoyed by events in Washington.
They see it as a plus that Republicans in Congress have failed to repeal former President Barack Obama's signature health care law.
The GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature already was more receptive this year to expanding the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. The state Senate was debating a bill Monday and could send it to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback later this week.
Brownback, however, has stopped short of saying that he would veto a bill to expand the Medicaid program in Kansas.  Read more here .
KANSAS SENATE VOTES TO EXPAND MEDICAID AS GOV.
SAM BROWNBACK DOUBLES
DOWN  ON OPPOSITION
Hunter Woodall and Bryan Lowry,
The Kansas City Star
Kansas lawmakers ignored Governor Sam Brownback's wishes Monday  and gave initial approval to a bill that would expand Medicaid to thousands in the state.  The Kansas Senate voted 25 to 13 to expand KanCare, the state's privatized Medicaid program, after a lengthy debate Monday afternoon.
The Senate still needs to give final approval to the measure, which takes advantage of a key provision of Obamacare, in a vote that is expected to come Tuesday.
House Bill 2044 would expand health care coverage to an estimated 150,000 people in Kansas. Moderate Republicans and Democrats helped push the bill through the Legislature this session in a stark contrast from past years where expansion efforts failed to gain much traction in either chamber.  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.

WOMEN AND HOMELESSNESS
Tuesday, March 28, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.
Women who are homeless face some challenges unique to their gender. Many have faced domestic violence and have increased risk of assault, some have children to support, and have few job skills that make finding a job difficult. Sandy Swank, Homeless Services Director for Interfaith Ministries, sees these women on a daily basis. Join us as she shares information on the scope of the problem and what the need is in Wichita .

This program is free and open to the public. Feel free to bring
a brown bag lunch, drinks will be provided.
APNEWSBREAK: POLLING CHANGES COULD CONFUSE KANSAS VOTERS
Roxana Hegeman, The Washington Post
Nine polling sites - affecting 36,417 registered voters across 50 precincts - will be moved for the special election in Sedgwick County, which includes the state's largest city of Wichita, the county's election office told The Associated Press.
The polling site changes have raised concerns among the congressional campaigns and voting rights advocates because some of the precincts are located in low-income or minority districts where transportation may be difficult. Special elections are already typically low turnout affairs.
"It happens over and over again and it confuses voters... primarily some inner-city or people with disabilities or senior citizens and a lot of them don't drive," said state Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Wichita Democrat who has introduced a bill that would require Kansas election offices to mail registered voters a notification 30 days prior to a change in their voting location.
Read more here .
VOTING RIGHTS ENTHUSIASTS 
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 7:30pm
TOWN CENTER 20,
11701 Nall Ave., Leawood
Tickets $12.  Deadline to purchase tickets is April 12, 2017.

Purchase tickets at  gathr.com  by the deadline day of April 12 for the screening of the movie
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.

Tickets and additional information available here.

If fewer than 78 tickets are purchased by individual moviegoers, the movie will be canceled and moviegoers' purchase will be refunded.   JO Votes is co-sponsoring this with American Promise-Kansas City, Mainstream, and True Blue Women (so far). 
4TH DISTRICT CANDIDATE EDUCATIONAL: Q&A FORUM
Hosted by Student Government Association of Wichita State
Thursday, April 6, 12:30-1:30pm
WSU CAC Theater
1845 Fairmount St., Wichita
This is a chance for students to ask their potential representatives questions they may have about their platform and their stances on current issues. The following candidates will be present at this forum:
  • Ron Estes
  • James Thompson
  • Chris Rockhold
We look forward to seeing you on
April 6th at 12:30 p.m.!
If you have any questions, please contact Legislative Director Morton at sga.legdirector@wichita.edu.
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

4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SPECIAL ELECTION EARLY VOTING LOCATOR
Download and/or print this useful PDF with early voting locations, times and Election Office contact information.
View here.
CONGRESSIONAL FRONT-RUNNERS ESTES, THOMPSON CLASH IN FIRST DEBATE
Dion Lefler & Daniel Salazar,
The Wichita Eagle
In their first debate, 4th District congressional candidates Ron Estes and James Thompson clashed over Planned Parenthood, Obamacare and immigration.  Read more here .
4TH DISTRICT CANDIDATE'S RESPONSES TO W4K SPECIAL ELECTION QUESTIONNAIRE
W4K supports candidates who believe in the principles of good government-including public policies that are fiscally and morally responsible, fair to all people, and arrived at openly and transparently. We are nonpartisan, but not neutral where those principles are concerned. To view the candidate's responses, click here.

Note:  To date, there has been no response from Ron Estes (R) or Chris Rockhold (L) to W4K's request for completion and return of questionnaire. As soon as received, W4K will post to website for viewing.

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.
KANSAS LEGISLATURE
WEEK 10 RECAP
Week 10 #KSLEG recap: election audit, school finance formula, guns, vending machine gambling, and more. Filmed along the 65 mile #RestoreRevenue walk this weekend so please excuse the different production level.  Watch here.
TIME RUNNING OUT FOR LAWMAKERS TO SOLVE STATE BUDGET PROBLEMS
Pilar Pedraza, KWCH12
Kansas lawmakers are down to just two weeks in the regular session. That's when they'll hit a crucial deadline, and some of the biggest hurdles they face still remain.
The biggest fight to come will be how to pay for everything, with the battle coming over whether it's with cuts or tax hikes.  Watch here .
PENSIONS ARE NOT POTS OF GOLD FOR IRRESPONSIBLE LAWMAKERS
Bailey Childers, The Hill
In Kansas, severe tax cuts have resulted in years of declining revenue for the state. In response, the state legislature has cut about every program it can find to cut.
Out of areas to cut, in 2016 Governor Sam Brownback used money that should have gone into the state's pension system to fill yet another budget hole. His loan from the pension system was due back in September of last year, but he is yet to repay the money. In Brownback's 2017 budget, he proposes to not repay the $100 million he took in 2016 and wants to cap payments going forward so the state can use that money for something else.
Read more here.
EDITORIAL: EDUCATION BILL NEEDS WORK
J-W Editorial Staff, LJWorld.com
Flawed as it may be, give Kansas lawmakers credit for getting a new school funding bill on the table.
Given the state's budget problems, the demands of a Kansas Supreme Court order and the competing political interests involved in K-12 education, writing a new school funding formula is anything but easy. Writing one that everybody likes? Impossible.  That said, it's hard to imagine the current bill (House Bill 2410), which only increases public education funding by $75 million per year and mandates that a significant portion of the funding be raised by districts through local property taxes, is the best lawmakers can do.
Read more here.
THE WHITE HOUSE SAID AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS DON'T HELP KIDS. HERE'S WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Katie Reilly, TIME
A U.S. Department of Education report on the 2013-14 school year, the most recent year for which data is available, concluded that student participation in Community Learning Centers led to improvements in achievement and behavior.  And when it comes to after-school nutrition programs, research has shown the academic benefits of alleviating hunger among students.
"Hunger due to insufficient food intake is associated with lower grades, higher rates of absenteeism, repeating a grade, and an inability to focus among students," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report on health and academic achievement.  Read more here .
IMAGINE VOUCHERS FOR OTHER PUBLIC SERVICES
David Wilkerson Letter;
The Des Moines Register
The push for vouchers, a.k.a. education savings accounts, for parents seeking taxpayer assistance for use in paying for private school or homeschool costs has my friend wondering if this might not apply to his situation on the golf course. There are some beautiful private courses in the Des Moines area. And my friend believes there are many city services he pays for that he doesn't always benefit from. There are roads he doesn't drive, he's never needed the services of the fire department, police have never been called to assist at his home. So my friend is wondering if he might be able to get a tax credit or voucher, which he could use to upgrade his golf experience.
Imagine the wonderful school systems, safety services and road maintenance we can have if all taxpayers were allowed to pay only for what they personally use or value. 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.
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 .
FIRST-EVER ROSIE THE RIVETER DAY HONORS WOMEN WHO BROKE WWII'S WORKPLACE GENDER BARRIER
Dayana Morales Gomez, PBS
More than seven decades after the end of the war, Congress approved a resolution recognizing the 16 million women  who worked at a time when production couldn't meet demand. 
On Tuesday, six "Rosies" were honored at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, for their contributions during the war. Among them was Marian Sousa, 91, once a "draftsman" who drew blueprints for warships who now lives in El Sobrante, California.
"Well it's about time," she told Reuters.  Read more here .
THE POWERFUL FEMINIST SPEECH YOU HAVEN'T HEARD
Bella Abzug, MIC
Bella Savitsky Abzug , nicknamed "Battling Bella", was an American lawyer, U.S. Representative, social activist and a leader of the Women's Movement. In 1971, Abzug joined other leading feminists such as Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, and Betty Friedan to found the National Women's Political Caucus.
Abzug declared, "This woman's place is in the House--the House of Representatives", in her successful 1970 campaign. She was later appointed to chair the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year.
Watch 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
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!
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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