Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Corporate Welfare
Dear Friends,

We just finished week three of the legislative session, and it was quite eventful, to say the least.

There are three very important topics I wanted to give you a quick update on, so that you can keep on top of the happenings here in Topeka.

This newsletter will cover:

  • Rally for Life
  • Kansas Doctors speak out on medical tyranny
  • One billion dollar tax break/funding approved for mystery corporation

My hope is to give you a perspective you may not get in the media, as well as an opportunity to view testimony from other Kansans, including physicians, with regard to health freedom.

With that said, here's your update!
Rally for Life
On Tuesday, I was pleased and proud to stand on the statehouse steps with other Senators and Representatives, in support of life, and the Value them Both Amendment.

There were life affirming events throughout the day, with workshops at the Capitol Visitor Center and the Topeka Performing Arts Center (TPAC), as well as church services and Catholic Mass being offered. Following the morning events, more than 1,000 people braved the cold and marched from TPAC to the statehouse for a rally in front of the Capitol Building. It was so encouraging to see so many people, young, old, and in-between, speaking out for the rights of the unborn.

Later that day, there were resolutions introduced in both the House and the Senate, honoring pregnancy maintenance resource centers in Kansas. Sen. Kellie Warren introduced Senate Resolution1725 in the Senate, and Rep. Megan Lynn introduced House Resolution 6022, both honoring the centers for their "unique and positive contributions to the individual lives of women, men and babies; both born and unborn." 26 of my senate colleagues and I joined Sen. Warren in sponsoring the Senate resolution, while 55 House members joined Rep. Lynn in sponsoring the House resolution.

We are facing the enshrinement of abortion as a constitutional right in Kansas, if the Value them Both Amendment is not passed in 2022. Look for more on this amendment in future newsletters.
Kansas Doctors Speak Out
Wednesday was also an eventful day in the Public Health and Welfare Committee, of which I am a member. That morning we had a hearing on SB381, which allows for the prescribing and dispensing of medications for off-label use to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections, namely, the medications Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine.

This bill is necessary due to what is happening to physicians who are prescribing early treatments and preventative care, in order to keep their patients out of the hospital. A Kansas pharmacist with 45 years of experience practicing pharmacy, and seven Kansas physicians gave oral testimony in the one hour hearing, including Sen. Dr. Mark Steffen, an anesthesiologist from Hutchinson. Dr. Steffen and these health professionals described how they have been intimidated, fired, professionally belittled, demoted, and investigated for prescribing medications in an attempt to help relieve suffering and prevent death. Further, pharmacists who are employees, and some independent pharmacies, are refusing to fill prescriptions for these medications, which are legal, safe, and FDA approved. (It's important to note that the bill leaves the pharmacists immune from damages for filling the prescriptions.)

Here is an excerpt from the testimony of one of the physicians.

"It’s an honor to speak to you on behalf of my patients. I am Dr. Gayln Perry and have thirty plus years of medical experience, having been boarded in five areas including Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, adult Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep Medicine. I’ve cared for all age groups, patients with complex chronic illness as well as patients in the ICU all while working in an academic setting. I am here to bear witness that the very foundation of medicine is crumbling because we have been forced to turn our backs on the sick, betraying the basic tenet of medicine to treat early to avoid progression of disease which is one of the primary reasons our hospital are full and large numbers of people have died. Patients have been betrayed when they were the most vulnerable, left scared and bewildered. Public trust has been lost. Early treatment can be very effective. Dr’s Brian Tyson and George Fareed, have treated over 7000 patients in California and have lost no one when early treatment has been used."

"...The profession of medicine is at a crossroads due to the unprecedented assault on our ability to care for our patients expressing a resolve that the physician – patient relationship must be restored. I will never refuse to treat you regardless of your lifestyle decisions or your vaccination status. Medicine for me is not a job, or a profession; it is a calling and I am called to care for the sick utilizing my best clinical judgement based on over three decades of experience. Will you let me fulfill this sacred call and do what I do best – take care of sick patients?" You can read her full written testimony here.

Almost 400 people submitted testimony for this bill, the bulk of which has not yet been made public. The testimony for all who presented in person can be seen here. I highly recommend watching the hearing so you can hear all of the testimony and understand what is happening in the medical community. YouTube: Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee 01/26/2022 S

With the continued masking of our school children, and the lack of a cogent or consistent response from our public health officials, I think there is still much more that needs to be done to push back against the medical tyranny that is taking place, but this bill is a good first step!

The committee is scheduled to have discussion and action on the bill next Thursday, Feb.3rd. I will keep you posted!
$1B for Mystery Corporation
Do you remember when Nancy Pelosi said, "...we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it"? That is similar to the situation I was faced with last Thursday…and I voted “no”, along with 6 other Senators. But, the bill passed, 32-7.

Let me explain the bill, my reservations and concerns, and the reason I voted "no".

Senate Bill 347 is 59 page “economic development” bill designed to attract an unnamed large company. People who knew the details of the potential agreement had to sign non-disclosure agreements, so those of us who were not privy to the discussions had no way of knowing all the details of what we were voting on. Furthermore, the unnamed business put time deadlines on passing the bill, so it had to be rushed through. That’s never a good starting point for making a good decision.

I am all for economic development, as long as it done the right way. But this is another example of going down a road we have traveled before, with disastrous results.

SB347 is designed to attract a purported $4 billion dollar company and we were told it would bring thousands of new jobs, but there is no guarantee, and right now ALL businesses in Kansas are already having trouble finding employees. A massive new company in our area would put the state and this unknown corporation in direct competition with all the rest of the businesses in Kansas. Most businesses do not have access to these types of advantages handed out by the state. It would likely pull employees away from already struggling businesses and possibly put some out of business.

Where will this business be located in Kansas? I don’t know.
What kind of business is this? I don't know.
What is the the track record of this company? I don't know.
Are there potential environmental or regulatory concerns? I don’t know.
Will it cause us to spend more on infrastructure for this business? I don’t know.

There are way too many “I don’t knows” for my comfort level. It would have helped if I could have known all these details but, they were not available for me to consider.
I hope you understand that if I am going to make decisions on your behalf, I have to later defend them and understand the consequences. Absent that, I can’t in good conscience take someone else’s word that I should just vote "yes" and not worry about it.

In addition, the state is on the hook for paying for the reimbursement of up to 50% of training and education expenses for new employees for this business in each year for up to five successive years, up to an annual amount of $5,000,000, as determined by the secretary of Commerce.

It also provided a 50% cut on property tax for this unknown company…so the rest of us would still be footing the rest of the bill. Some say that 50% is better than nothing…that is true, but we are also making other concessions in this bill that would offset those gains significantly.

The bill was amended in attempt to make it more palatable by adding some tax cuts for Kansans, but those cuts would be predicated upon the deal being struck with this large undisclosed company. We should restructure our tax schedule in Kansas to make us more competitive, but that should be done in a clean tax bill with no strings attached and no sunset on the tax cuts. That was not the case here.

Whenever the government gets involved by offering huge tax abatements to attract a single employer, it creates an uneven playing field for everyone else who is trying to make ends meet. Often, once the incentives run out, the large companies either leave or need additional incentives to stay. Even when all the details are known, it’s a dangerous path to tread as there are numerous examples of these thing blowing up. Cerner is one recent example. And the 25 Kansas STAR Bonds projects have a horrible track record with only one success story. That’s a 4% success rate…in return for hundreds of millions of tax breaks and other incentives.

The other problem is that it puts virtually all the negotiation and oversight of this undisclosed deal in the hands of the Secretary of Commerce. These large companies have legions of attorneys who are sophisticated negotiators and are used to managing large deals of this nature. These people know how to gain an advantage, legally and financially. And they will be negotiating directly with our current Secretary of Commerce, or whomever that might be in the future, on behalf of all Kansas taxpayers. This should worry us all. It feels to me like this new undisclosed business is similar to an expensive, shiny new car that we just gotta have…no matter the price!

Finally, a company purportedly capable of investing over $4 billion is likely a publicly traded company. Remember, that in these companies, investment decisions are made based on how to keep stock prices high, and investors happy. Not that’s a bad thing…but it doesn’t place Kansans as their first priority when making future plans for their company. Oh…they can say that…but it’s naïve to believe otherwise.

As I said earlier, I am FOR economic development, but we have been approaching it in the wrong way for a long time. Kansas is one of the highest taxed states in the union. Our electrical rates are generally higher than surrounding states, and we are losing population due to these things. There are other problems as well, but all of these problems must be addressed first if we are truly going to fix the eco-devo problems here.

The bill is now in the House, where it will be debated this week.
Forecasting the Future
The session speeds up over the next three weeks as we head toward turnaround, where the Senate sends their bills to the House and the House sends over their bills. That happens on February 21st, so we have a lot of work to do in the next three weeks.

The work in my Utilities Committee will focus on some health and safety measures for those living near renewables, in addition to a couple of energy bills to help stem the cost of electricity and to improve reliability. And we'll see what else we can get done before the clock runs out.

I encourage you to follow the happenings at the statehouse in the following ways:

YouTube Streaming:

I look forward to reporting on our progress next weekend. 

Your Senator,

Mike Thompson