A Weekly Rundown of Important Activity in Topeka, from a Principled Perspective
Week One - January 20, 2020
No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!
- Ronald Reagan
The Facts of the Matter is a feature in The Truth Report each week, highlighting important information, some of which is not always reported or emphasized in the mainstream press:
  • Most Potential ObamaCare (Medicaid) Expansion Enrollees in Non-Expansion State Already Have Private CoverageA recent analysis concluded that nearly 54 percent of potential Medicaid expansion enrollees were already insured, and in some states, such as Wisconsin, that number was as high as 71 percent. These figures represent millions of Americans that could potentially move over from their current plans and onto taxpayer-funded Medicaid. (Foundation for Government Accountability)

  • Kansas Voters Oppose Medicaid Expansion. Kansas voters oppose Medicaid expansion to able-bodied adults under ObamaCare. Automated telephone interviews were conducted with 515 likely Kansas voters in February 2018. When they were informed of the facts, 52% of Kansans opposed the expansion of Medicaid. (Source)

  • Kansas ranks fifth for people leaving the state. People are moving out Kansas quicker than they are moving in, according to a survey by moving company United Van Lines. (Source)

News & Views is a weekly collection of relevant news items and editorials regarding what's going on in Topeka and around the State of Kansas.
Medicaid expansion could turn Kansas into the same welfare-state disaster as California
By Sam Adolphsen, Policy Director at the Foundation for Government Accountability

Key Excerpt:
The so-called “bipartisan” proposal to adopt Medicaid expansion in Kansas is certainly earning Gov. Laura Kelly major political points. The Democrat ran on the liberal policy, and within a year of Kelly assuming office, Kansas is on track to become the latest state to expand the welfare health insurance program.

But while it might make good headlines for Kelly, Medicaid expansion is bad for Kansans. No amount of “bipartisan” posturing will change that.

This deal masquerades as a bipartisan solution to the high cost of healthcare. But it’s basically the same policy that Democrats in states such as California, New York, and New Hampshire championed: bigger government, more dependency on welfare, and more state spending — all at the expense of the truly needy.
Truth Report Archive
Check out past Truth Reports in the Truth Report Archive by clicking here.
Transparency Center: Follow the Kansas Legislature
You can view video streaming of both chambers via the Kansas Legislature YouTube page. In addition, many committees are now audio streamed. Finally, the Kansas Legislature website remains a great resource. Here are the relevant links:

YouTube Streaming:

Spending: Ever curious about how your tax dollars are spent, particularly on items like government salaries? Then look no further than KS OpenGov, a large database of hundreds of reports at the state, city, and school district level. 

Get there by clicking here:
Conservatives Should Not Capitulate on ObamaCare Expansion 
Governor Laura Kelly, joined by members of both parties ready and eager to give her everything she asked for, conducted a press conference prior to the legislative session announcing a so-called “compromise” to expand the reach of ObamaCare in Kansas. The bill would extend Medicaid benefits to able-bodied adults, changing the very nature of the Medicaid program. 

Despite the talking points about compromise and working together, the reality is that the legislation produced is largely a carbon copy of the very proposals Governor Kelly and her left-wing allies have been promoting all along.

Conservatives will not capitulate, however. The stakes are simply too high, particularly when one looks at the issue over the long haul. For both fiscal and moral reasons, expanding ObamaCare in Kansas is a profoundly bad idea. The consequences would be enormous.

As the Foundation for Government Accountability states on its website dedicated to Medicaid Expansion, “While nearly 650,000 truly needy individuals with disabilities are trapped on Medicaid waiting lists, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion gives limited taxpayer resources to a new welfare class of able-bodied, childless adults. Even worse, ObamaCare expansion states have enrolled more than twice as many able-bodied adults as expected. This enrollment explosion is consuming limited taxpayer dollars that could go to education, public safety, infrastructure, or the truly needy.”

Kansas will be no exception and there is nothing in the capitulation bill that will address the core problems with expanding ObamaCare, which are:

  • It will have a significant negative long-term impact on the state budget that will be nearly impossible to rein in. Costs of expanding Medicaid have proven to be impossible to estimate, which could easily lead to tax increases.
  • Expanding Medicaid undermines the original purpose of the program by doing nothing to help those who Medicaid was intended to assist - the elderly, the disabled, children, and vulnerable women. Medicaid expansion ONLY covers ABLE-BODIED adults age 19-64. This new population are predominately childless adults and over half of them do not work at all. 
  • Expanding Medicaid will push tens of thousands of Kansans off private insurance and making them dependent on government. The end result will be that the truly needy – who are already struggling to get care due to a limited number of providers acceding Medicaid – will find it even more difficult to get the care they need.
  • Medicaid Expansion does not guarantee quality care – quite the opposite. Wait times and health outcomes are worse under Medicaid than private insurance, and much of the money in the program never directly benefits the enrollee. 
  • It does nothing to save rural hospitals, despite the rhetoric.

Furthermore, the compromise bill contains none of the elements that would commonly be seen in an attempt to make expanding ObamaCare less problematic. It contains no work requirements, as other states are implementing. It does not limit the reach of the program. It contains no pro-life protections, which are already under threat due to the ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court.

Conservatives have successfully resisted expanding ObamaCare for several years, and there is no reason to relent now. And despite the rhetoric from proponents that the public supports expanding Medicaid, the reality is that when presented with the facts, 52% of Kansans oppose the idea.

The Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee will begin hearings this week, and the Truth Report will report on the testimony. 

The Kansas Truth Caucus stands firmly against expanding ObamaCare in Kansas and will fight such efforts throughout the process.
Value Them Both: Constitutional Amendment Introduced to Overturn Supreme Court Decision
On Thursday, a press conference was held announcing the introduction of a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Hodes & Nauser vs. Schmidt decision regarding abortion from May that opened the floodgates to limitless abortion in Kansas. The conference was led by a large coalition of women leaders and legislators dedicated to giving Kansans a say in whether they have a right to regulate the abortion industry in Kansas – regulations that protect both mothers and babies.

More about the “Value Them Both” effort to pass a Constitutional Amendment can be found here:

A History Lesson:

Just prior to the 2019 Veto Session, the Kansas Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling in the case involving a challenge to the law the Legislature enacted banning live dismemberment abortion. The case had been before the Supreme Court for two years as the lives of countless unborn children hung in the balance.

Unfortunately, the worst fears of Kansans were realized in the decision. By a 6-1 vote, the Court invented an independent and distinct right to abortion under the Kansas Constitution, which was written in 1859. The consequences of the decision are dire as it threatens to undermine and overturn every pro-life law ever enacted in Kansas, including those which have been upheld by federal courts as it pertains to Roe v. Wade.

Immediately following the decision, the Kansas Truth Caucus issued a strong statement sharply criticizing the ruling and noting the dissent of Justice Caleb Stegall:
Truth Caucus: Shocking Kansas Supreme Court Dismemberment Abortion Ruling Threatens All Pro-Life Laws in Kansas

The Kansas Truth Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that declared an independent right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution, which was enacted in 1859. Because this shocking decision invented an independent right to abortion under the Kansas Constitution, it opens the floodgates for potential litigation on previously enacted laws that have been routinely upheld by federal courts.

“The ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court is extreme and sets in motion a process by which even the most basic protections of the unborn are under threat, even those which have been upheld under Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Ty Masterson, Chairman of the Truth Caucus. “The decision by the Court twists the words of the Kansas Constitution to usurp the rights and liberties of the people of Kansas, whose elected representatives have adopted laws by wide margins to protect both women and their unborn children. We pledge to work to enact a Constitutional Amendment which will allow the people of Kansas to reclaim the Kansas Constitution and restore its fundamental truth as a document that protects the life and liberty of all human beings in Kansas.”

The Kansas Truth Caucus also pointed to the lengthy dissent of Justice Caleb Stegall, which includes these statements:

"Reading today's majority opinion is a follow-the-white-rabbit experience. One is left feeling like Alice, invited by the Queen to believe "'as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'" Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass 100 (1899). Indeed, the story told by the majority is a strange one. In it, all the luminaries of the western legal tradition— from Sir Edward Coke and William Blackstone to Edmund Burke and Thomas Jefferson—would celebrate and enshrine a right to nearly unfettered abortion access. In this imagined world, the Liberty Bell rings every time a baby in utero loses her arm."

"The majority's decision is so consequential because it fundamentally alters the structure of our government to magnify the power of the state—all while using that power to arbitrarily grant a regulatory reprieve to the judicially privileged act of abortion. In the process, the majority abandons the original public meaning of section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights and paints the interest in unborn life championed by millions of Kansans as rooted in an ugly prejudice. For these reasons, I dissent."
A number of informative articles have been written regarding the breadth of the decision and why it must be overturned. Here is a sampling:

The Kansas Truth Caucus signaled in May it was ready to support a Constitutional Amendment and is ready to do so now.
That Ain’t Gonna Happen: Kelly Again Proposes to Re-amortize KPERS  
Apparently, last year’s message by legislators in both parties was not heard by Governor Laura Kelly.

For the second time in as many years, she has proposed to re-amortize KPERS debt by extending the length of time to pay off the debt by 10 years. While it would save $130-160 million annually over the short term, the total cost to pay off the debt would go up by a staggering $4.4 billion.
She proposed a similar plan last year, but it was soundly rejected.

Her budget director, Larry Campbell, was quoted as justifying the proposal by saying that the legislature has never kept its promise to pay the debt off on schedule in the past, implying that sticking to the schedule now was unrealistic. 

“That ain’t gonna happen,” he said.
You know what else ain’t gonna happen? Re-amortizing KPERS. We cannot break the promise to our retirees again, nor should we cost the state $4.4 billion.
Thank you, Mary!
Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook, a strong conservative who has served in the legislature for 15 of the last 19 years, retired on Thursday. A Kansas Truth Caucus board member, Mary is a champion for life, liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

She gave a powerful farewell speech on Thursday afternoon, which you can watch by clicking here – her remarks begin at the 34:42 mark of the clip. She received a bi-partisan standing ovation afterwards.

Earlier in the week, Senator Ty Masterson presented her with the first “Lifetime Freedom Award” from the Kansas Truth Caucus, a well-deserved honor.

Thankfully, Mary will not be going away! She will be advocating for the principles and truth, like she always has. 

Thank you, Mary, for your dedication to principle and for your years of service to the people of Kansas. 

Below Left: Picture of the Lifetime Freedom Award
Below Right: Mary Pilcher-Cook and Senator Ty Masterson, Chair of the Truth Caucus
Wallet Watch
From time to time, the Truth Report will have a “Wallet Watch”, where we examine efforts to remove money from the wallets of hard-working Kansans. 

Ronald Reagan once warned us, “ “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” 

This prophetic warning showed itself this week, when Governor Laura Kelly announced her proposal to tax all digital property and subscription services include digital audio-visual works, digital audio works, digital books, artwork, digital photographs and pictures, periodicals, newspapers, magazines, video, audio and other greeting cards, graphics, applications (desktop, mobile, web, and cloud-based) games (online, video, and electronic), digital codes and streaming services.”

Kansans, already burdened by a high sales tax rate, would now see a sales tax on services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. All so government can spend more of your money.