May 2 , 2017
EDITORIAL: A TO-DO LIST FOR KS LAWMAKERS - THE REAL WORK IN TOPEKA BEGINS NOW
The Kansas City Star Editorial Board
The 2017 Kansas legislative session is already more than three months old, but for all practical purposes the real work begins Monday when lawmakers return to Topeka.
The same set of problems that awaited legislators in January will greet them anew: tax policy, a massive budget deficit, school funding and Medicaid expansion.
One more hot-button issue that hasn't gone away is whether guns should be allowed in state mental institutions and the University of Kansas Hospital.
All this adds up to the most loaded agenda for a wrap-up session maybe in state history, and it means that lawmakers could well surpass the state record for longest legislative session, which now stands at 113 days.
Taxpayers will need to be patient as lawmakers struggle to navigate this tidal wave of issues in a legislative body divided among conservative and moderate Republicans and Democrats.  Read more here .
THE PATH AHEAD FOR
TAX REFORM  
Kansas lawmakers returned on May 1 for the final stretch of the 2017 Legislative Session. They face three critical tasks, all of which will likely come down to one unavoidable vote:
a veto override. This veto session will require bold leadership and independent thinking from legislators, but, fortunately, there is a clear path ahead:
  1. Balance the Budget. The KS Legislature has one constitutional responsibility: to pass a state budget. The only way to prevent more painful budget cuts is to align revenue with expenditures by passing comprehensive tax reform before the budget.
  2. Reinvest in Public Education. After years of inadequate funding for Kansas public schools, the state Supreme Court ruled in March that lawmakers must fix this problem by June 30th. If lawmakers fail to comply, Kansas schools will not open in August. Lawmakers must confront this issue immediately to avoid the unprecedented chaos that would ensue from a shutdown of this magnitude.
  3. Comprehensive Tax Reform. Kansans are sick of budget cuts, broken promises, and revenue shortfalls. The only path to adjournment this session requires comprehensive tax reform that, at a minimum, generates enough revenue for Kansas to pay its bills - including money to pay for a fully implemented school finance formula. It must also include three core structural components, including ending the "March to Zero," reinstating a third income tax bracket, and closing the "LLC loophole." Anything less will create more instability and delay financial recovery.
Legislators - not Governor Brownback - will decide if 2017 makes headlines for a "Kansas Comeback" or a continued crisis. Lawmakers must join Kansans and cast this vote on behalf of their constituents. Otherwise, they share equal responsibility for prolonging the failed experiment yet another year.
 
The solution is clear, the stakes are high, and the ball is in lawmakers' court. Let's end this failed tax
experiment and put Kansas back on a path to prosperity once and for all.

For more information, visit www.riseupkansas.org.
KEPC BULLETIN: NEW STUDY
BY ECONOMISTS: 2012 KANSAS TAX BREAK MAINLY CAUSED "TAX AVOIDANCE"
Bernie Koch, KEPC
A new economic study released Tuesday concludes the 2012 elimination of business pass through income from Kansas taxation resulted in mainly tax avoidance rather than real "supply side responses."

Their conclusion:  "In 2012, Kansas undertook a large-scale tax reform that excluded certain forms of business income from individual taxation. In theory, these changes enhance the incentives to undertake more real economic activity such as new business formation or increases in employment or investment. But the reform also shifted the incentives to avoid taxation by recharacterizing income sources. This paper provides evidence of these effects using federal administrative taxpayer data. Drawing on these data from 2010 to 2014, we find evidence suggesting that, at both extensive and intensive margins, the behavioral responses were overwhelmingly tax avoidance rather than real supply side responses."
Read more and download original report here.
TAX PLAN DIES; SENATE DIDN'T HAVE VOTES TO OVERCOME VETO
Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle
standing Kansas Senate chambers.jpg
Senate Republican leaders quickly killed a new plan to increase taxes on Tuesday, saying it did not have enough votes to override an expected veto from Gov. Sam Brownback.
The decision resets the tax debate, with Senate leaders unsure whether to pursue a plan that would gain more Republican support and Brownback's signature, or compromise with the Democrats on a larger package that might draw enough support to overcome a veto.
The failure of the new plan - less than 24 hours after Senate and House negotiators agreed to it on Monday evening - underscores the difficulties of pulling together multiple factions within the Legislature.
Read more here.
KANSAS: EXHIBIT A AGAINST TRICKLE-DOWN TAX CUTS
Jared Bernstein, The Washington Post
The novelist Thomas Pynchon said something worth remembering when we find ourselves arguing about whether, as the Trump administration claims, trickle-down tax cuts will pay for themselves:
"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers."
The historical evidence provides no basis for the kinds of claims we're hearing from team Trump.
We don't have to look only to history, though. There's a real-time, trickle-down experiment ongoing in Kansas, one designed by the same folks behind the Trump plan.
In 2012, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill that, among other things, substantially cut the state's top tax rate and exempted "pass-through" business income from taxation (President Trump's tax plan includes a similar loophole). The architects of Brownback's plan predicted that it would provide an "immediate and lasting boost" to the state's economy.  They were wrong. Read more here .
Download the Wo(manifesto) here.
SCHOOL FUNDING AWAITS
AS LAWMAKERS RETURN
TO TOPEKA
Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle
Lawmakers have just two months to approve a new school funding system - one that could include hundreds of millions in new spending - and the only proposal under serious consideration is still in a legislative committee.
Alan Rupe, an attorney for Schools for Fair Funding, which represented the Wichita school district and others in the lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court ruling, said he doesn't have high confidence that legislative leaders are headed in the right direction.
"I'm willing to work with people on school finance, as long as we get some reforms in the school finance that I talked about during the State of the State message," Brownback told reporters earlier this week.
Rooker said Brownback's comment about reforms fascinates her.
"What that's saying is 'my way or the highway' and that is not the way to negotiate, period," Rooker said. "He wants what he wants, that's fine. But we as lawmakers have the power to decide to do things differently."
Read more here.
DISMAL VOUCHER RESULTS SURPRISE RESEARCHERS AS DEVOS ERA BEGINS
Kevin Carey, The New York Times
For the first time, the nation's highest education official is someone fully committed to making school vouchers and other market-oriented policies the centerpiece of education reform.
But even as school choice is poised to go national, a wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them. The results are startling - the worst in the history of the field, researchers say.
Three consecutive reports, each studying one of the largest new state voucher programs, found that vouchers hurt student learning. Researchers and advocates began a spirited debate about what, exactly, was going on.
But while vouchers and charters are often grouped under the umbrella of "school choice," the best charters tend to be nonprofit public schools, open to all and accountable to public authorities. The less "private" that school choice programs are, the better they seem to work.
Read more here.
COPS AS IMMIGRATION AGENTS? A BAD - AND LIKELY EXPENSIVE - IDEA
Mary Sanchez, The Kansas City Star
The idea is that law enforcement officers - everyone from beat cops to sheriff's deputies to highway patrol officers - must be enlisted in immigration enforcement.
Many law enforcement officials coast to coast adamantly oppose this idea - although most police departments already assist federal immigration agents when necessary. But where many police draw the line is enforcement actions that may lose the trust of whole immigrant communities.
Crime is more easily prevented and solved with the cooperation of communities. When people fear the police, that relationship is undercut. You can't have people fearful that every 911 emergency or a call to get help for domestic violence might trigger a deportation of someone in the household.
Read more here.

A workshop on running for office
TUESDAY, MAY 9, 6:30-8:30pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
(71st & Mission. Parking, south side in back & across street at Macy's)
7039 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS

Are you planning to run for office this election season or in the future?  Do you have questions about developing a campaign message and strategies? Does the thought of fundraising or asking people for money make you consider not running? Then attend this workshop and develop the knowledge needed to run a successful campaign.

Our speakers will share their experiences and expertise in the following topics: Campaign Strategies, Campaign Message Exercise, Digital Tools and Social Media during the campaign, and Fundraising.

Ticket and speaker information available here.
PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MOVEMENT SPURNS TRUMP AMID KC'S RAIN, THUNDER AND WIND
Mark Davis, The Kansas City Star
Saturday's showers were no match for Kansas City's version of the People's Climate Movement march and rally. Grandparents, parents and children filled the Country Club Plaza sidewalk along 47th Street as midday showers pelted their clothes and wind gusts inverted their umbrellas.
"I'm here because this is what's important to me. It matters to me, it matters to my children, it matters to my neighborhood and my city. People need to realize this is important," said Anne O'Leary of Kansas City.
Terrence Wise said  "We march for justice, whether it's climate justice, whether it's racial justice, whether it's economic justice, that's why we march and that's where daddy's going," Wise said.  Watch here .

GET OUT THE VOTE TRAINING WITH LOUD LIGHT & PSNKC
Hosted by Loud Light

SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2:30-4:00PM
Tony Aguirre Community Center
2050 W. Pennway St., Kansas City, MO

Join Loud Light and PSNKC for a
Get Out The Vote training that will prepare you to:
  • Register KS & MO Voters
  • Navigate Restrictions like Voter ID & Proof of Citizenship
  • Gather Signatures for MO Ballot Initiatives
  • Increase Voter Engagement
Speakers Include: Davis Hammet, Loud Light
Denise Lieberman, Advancement Project
Wesley Reed, SEIU - Justin Stein, Jobs with Justice.

Tickets available at www.eventbrite.com.
LAWMAKERS FACE TOUGH JOB AS THEY GO BACK TO WORK KWCH 12
Lawmakers will head back to Topeka for what they know as the Veto Session. It's only supposed to last a couple days, but it could take weeks as lawmakers try to come up with money to fill a nearly $900 million budget shortfall.
And that's not the only thing they'll be dealing with.
Kansas lawmakers will once again tackle some of the toughest issues facing the state, things like coming up with a new budget for the next couple of years, figuring out how to fill that nearly $900 million budget shortfall, and designing a new school finance formula for K-12 public schools. The only item from the big four they started the year with that is done is fixing this year's budget shortfall.
Watch here .
LOUD LIGHT
What is Loud Light and why the heck should you support it? Davis Hammet explains why Kansans are not being represented in the legislature.
Watch here.
THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE
Sam Zeff, Matt Hodapp & Stephen Koranda, KCUR 89.3
Some have said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been largely absent from this legislative session, but the power of his veto has loomed large. KPR's Stephen Koranda reports on the relationship between the Governor and the Legislature.  Listen here .
RELEASE: GOV. SAM BROWNBACK PROPOSES UNNECESSARY $4 MILLION  SWEEP FROM CHILDREN'S INITIATIVES FUND IN CURRENT FISCAL YEAR
Kansas Action for Children
Kansas received $62 million in tobacco settlement funds for the 2017 budget year, $4 million more than previously estimated. On Thursday, Gov. Sam Brownback proposed an unnecessary sweep of these funds, which are dedicated to children's programs.
"It is disappointing that the Governor wants Kansas kids to sacrifice yet another $13 million over the next three years to pay for failed tax policy," said Annie McKay, President and CEO of Kansas Action for Children.  Read more here .
TIMELY LEAD: EFFORTS OF FORMER GOVERNORS SERVED AS EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS
Dena Sattler, Garden City Telegram
Bipartisanship hasn't died in Kansas.
It did all but disappear for a time in the state Capitol when ultra-conservatives took control in 2013, and wouldn't tolerate input into policymaking from anyone outside their circle.
But the hard-right turn didn't sit well with many Kansans who grew weary of the extremism and its damaging fallout on economic and social fronts.
The sad decline compelled voters in 2016 to speak with conviction in sidelining numerous allies of Gov. Sam Brownback in favor of more moderate candidates. When the dust settled, nearly 30 legislators who helped rubber-stamp Brownback's radical agenda were no longer around.
Read more here.
INSIGHT KANSAS: WILL THE REAL SUSAN WAGLE PLEASE STAND UP?
H. Edward Flentje, Hays Post
"For most of her legislative career Wagle has been aligned with the radical right faction of Kansas Republicans.  Wagle has voted on numerous occasions for measures designed to save Brownback's tax experiment.
However, once Kansas voters became aware of this financial disaster, Wagle's tune began to change.
Wagle has a unique opportunity to lead lawmakers in addressing the state's financial dilemmas. Kansans will soon learn whether she will act in their best interests and demonstrate her fitness for higher office. Or will she revert to her ideological past for short-term political advantage?"
Read more 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.

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.


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, KANSAS OPEN RECORDS ACT & OTHER LEGISLATION YOU CAN USE
Tuesday, May 9, 5:30-7:30pm
The Monarch
579 W. Douglas Ave., Wichita

Join us to learn about the Freedom of Information Act, Kansas Open Records Act, and other legislation you can use to be a more informed citizen.

There's a lot to know...come find out where to look.

Panelists:
Seth Etter, Open Wichita
Dr. Patricia Dooley, WSU Elliott
School of Communication
Jean Hays, The Wichita Eagle

Engage ICT is sponsored by 

Tickets at www.kmuw.org.
PROTESTORS DISRUPT KOBACH DURING FORUM
Joe Robertson, The Kansas City Star
The student organizers of a legal forum Thursday with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wanted a spirited debate.  What they got was the shouted protests of Kansas City civil rights activists who came to decry Kobach's work in restricting immigration and pursuing voter fraud.
But some five minutes into the talk, Indivisible KC member Paffi Flood launched the first disruption, rising and asking a question accusing Kobach of squandering resources to prosecute "non-existent" voter fraud.
When Kobach started to answer the question, Flood and several other people with her broke into a shouted chant - "Let us vote!" - then filed out of the room.  Watch 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 .

TRACK YOUR SENATORS' & REPRESENTATIVE'S VOTES BY EMAIL!

Each week ( (that Congress is in session) you will receive:
  • Key votes by your two Senators and U.S. Representative.
  • Links to send e-mail to your members of Congress using pre-addressed forms.
  • Upcoming votes for your review and a chance to offer e-mail input before they vote.
Use this weekly vote monitor to track the decisions made by your elected officials on key issues.
Sign up 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
Emily's List reports a wave 
of 11,000 women  in
all 50 states are preparing to run for local, state and  Federal office.
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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