A Weekly Rundown of Important Activity in Topeka, from a Principled Perspective
Week Seven -- March 4, 2019
"The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man: and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate."
  • - James Madison, 1785

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:
  • 54% of Kansans Don’t Want to Expand Medicaid. In a SurveyUSA Poll released in January asking Kansans their preference on how to pay for Medicaid Expansion, 54% said don’t expand Medicaid. (Source)

  • 71% of Kansans Support Efforts to Prevent a Tax Increase. In the same SurveyUSA poll, 71% of Kansans agreed that the legislature should take steps to prevent an unintended tax increase as a result of the federal tax cuts. (Source)

  • Kansas technical colleges riding a wave of demand for job-focused education. Kansas is near the end of a 10-year strategic plan to get more students into college classrooms. Instead, many of those classrooms have emptied. The exception lies in the state’s technical colleges whose enrollment has swelled over the last decade. Advocates credit an emphasis on employer-focused, hands-on training rather than the sports and out-of-class activities that can define college life elsewhere. (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.
Alan Cobb: Stopping a Kansas tax increase
( Source)

Key Excerpt:
Taxes can be complicated. In fact, Kansas “conforms” with many federal tax codes to help simplify state tax codes. So, when Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in December of 2017 to grow the country’s economy, Kansas tax codes also changed. Unfortunately, some of those changes increased state taxes on Kansas individuals and small and large businesses.
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:
The Realities of Medicaid Expansion: Video Series from Majority Leader Hawkins 
Health care can be a complicated issue, particularly as it pertains to government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. So, as state legislatures across the country have wrestled with whether to expand Medicaid or not, sometimes the realities of Medicaid Expansion can get lost in the debate.

Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, in a video series, discusses many of these realities in a way that is easy to understand. Below are links to those videos:

Currently Covered:
The Costs of Expansion:
Unintended Consequences:
Rural Health Care:
Alternatives to Expansion:
Stopping a Tax Increase: SB 22 Passes Out of Committee
This week, the House Taxation Committee forwarded to the House floor SB 22, which contains important components to decouple provisions of federal and state tax code in order to prevent an unintended tax increase. The Kansas Truth Caucus, as do many other organizations in the state, including the Kansas Chamber, the NFIB, AFP, and many others stand firmly behind these important parts of the bill.

The bill, as passed by committee, includes amendments which would require out of state businesses above a certain minimum threshold of sales to collect internet sales tax on consumers from Kansas. It also includes a 1 cent reduction in the food sales tax. Time will tell if these provisions remain in the bill or not.
SB 9 Presented to Governor: Will She Sign It?
On Tuesday, SB 9 was presented to Governor Laura Kelly, who has 10 days to sign the bill. Practically, that means she must make a decision by Friday, March 8th.

As a recap, the legislation, which the Kansas Truth Caucus got behind early ( read our statement here ), makes up for a missed payment to KPERS by sending $115 million to the school group in KPERS. It was adopted by both chambers without a single vote in opposition. However, Governor Kelly, despite the fact no members of her own party stood with her on SB 9 and the fact she lost four Democrats on the cornerstone of her budget, appeared to dig in against meeting our obligations to seniors by issuing a rather combative statement after the vote

Despite her rhetoric, the reality is that the Legislature sent a powerful message that SB 9 is a proper remedy and she should sign the bill.
Democrats Conduct Meaningless Show Votes on Education; Republicans Seek Solutions
Earlier this week, Senate Republicans stood unified in opposition to an attempt by Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley to haphazardly amend automatic school finance increases – with no accountability measures - onto an unrelated bill, demonstrating the Democrats are only about playing games through show votes which accomplish nothing.

While the Democrats apparently are okay with turning over their voting power to seven judges and simply throwing hundreds of millions more at the problem, Republicans are working hard to ensure both current and any future dollars on education go to where it intended: classrooms and students so gaps in achievement are dealt with appropriately.

As Senator Molly Baumgardner indicated in this article , a majority of those hired in school districts this year were not licensed educators and around 1/3 of those entering Kansas community colleges had to take remedial courses. Statistics like these deserve to be carefully examined before any education plan is passed.
Principled Focus: Safeguarding Constitutional Liberties
Each week, the Truth Report will highlight one of our Principled Priorities, which were recently adopted by our membership.

The Kansas Truth Caucus Principled Priorities state:

Safeguarding Constitutional Liberties
We will robustly defend the Right to Bear Arms, the Right to Life, Freedom of Speech, and the Free Exercise of Religion. Additionally, we will defend the rights of Kansans under the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the Tenth Amendment. We will work to safeguard against all intrusions into the constitutional liberties of the people of Kansans.

This session, efforts to uphold this principle include fighting left-wing attempts to rollback recently-enacted 2 nd Amendment protections in Kansans. Also, support for HB 2288, which would clarify the right to free exercise of religion for both students and teachers. You can read more about the bill via the release from the FPA of Kansas by clicking here .  
Liberal Legislation Watch: Same Day Registration Bill Killed by House Committee
One piece of legislation the Kansas Truth Caucus was carefully watching was a proposal to bring about same day registration, which would have allowed people in Kansas to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. Last week, the House Elections Committee voted against the bill on a vote of 7-5. 

The legislation, which the Kansas Truth Caucus officially opposed in a vote of our members in January, would have increased costs to county election offices and dramatically increased the chances for voter fraud. For those who believe in fair elections and not needlessly increasing the burden on local election officials, this was a good decision.