A Weekly Rundown of Important Activity in Topeka, from a Principled Perspective
Week Two -- January 27, 2019
“I believe that life is valuable, even when it is unwanted, even when it is physically imperfect. I believe our society has a responsibility to defend the vulnerable and the weak. And I believe our nation should set a goal that unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law.”
~ George W. Bush

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:
  • Expanding Medicaid Hurts Who It’s Supposed to Help. There is a misconception that Medicaid Expansion brings more dollars to the populations already being served by Medicaid. This is simply NOT true. Medicaid Expansion only opens eligibility to abled-bodied adults between the age of 19 and 64, and federal expansion dollars are limited to that population. Medicaid expansion puts the most vulnerable patients at risk by creating a perverse incentive for states to focus on the able-bodied adult expansion population that brings in the highest dollar match rate.

  • Kansas Ranks in Top Five of Pro-Life States. Kansas has been named again in the Top 5 of pro-life states by our national ally Americans United for Life (AUL.) AUL produces a yearly report that rates each state from 1 to 50. This is the second year that Kansas has ranked number 5. (Source)

  • Kelly Flip Flops - Proposes KPERS Plan She Recently Opposed. Governor Kelly’s KPERS re-amortization plan is similar to a plan proposed by the Brownback administration in 2017 that then Senator Kelly opposed and said, “would unravel all the work done to ensure the financial stability of KPERS.” Senator Kelly also went on to criticize Governor Brownback for “short-term thinking.” (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 Supporters Ignore That the Policy Breaks Budgets

The Kansas Truth Caucus is opposed to Medicaid Expansion and there are several reasons why. One is the negative impact on the state budget. Despite arguments from proponents that it is essentially free money. In the linked analysis, Michael Austin refutes that argument with facts.

Key Excerpt:

This makes Medicaid expansion a ticking time bomb. The full cost of Medicaid expansion is split between the state government paying 10% and the federal government  paying 90% . However, that deal is only in place until 2020. It is believed federal matching for expansion will eventually decrease, over some time-table, to match non-expansion levels, for  Kansas that’s 57.1% . It may be possible for Kansas government researchers to accurately estimate initial costs of Medicaid expansion. However, when the federal matching drops closer to 57.1%, Kansans could be on the hook for billions more than expected. With federal debt approaching $1 trillion in 2019, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the them shift spending burdens onto state governments.
Medicaid expansion isn’t a pathway for Kansas to close its fiscal gap. On the contrary, history shows Medicaid expansion will only serve to dig the state a deeper fiscal hole.
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:

Transparency Improves: House Rules Adopted
This week, the House of Representatives, with a large bi-partisan majority, adopted a package of rules governing itself for the next two years. The rules represented a smart step forward in the area of transparency while bringing consistency to the process, making it easier for the public to follow the proceedings of the Kansas Legislature.
The rules package adds transparency to the “gut-and-go” maneuver, which is when one bill’s contents are replaced with another. It also makes it far easier to determine which legislator introduced a bill. Combined with previous initiatives to add audio and video to proceedings in both chambers, including in committee, citizens have an enhanced ability to track what is going on in the halls of government.

Included in the rules package is the consistent requirement for a super majority to do things contrary to normal legislative order. For instance, the committee process is extremely important, as it is where issues are heard, and bills are crafted. If a committee thus decides not to advance a bill, it should take a higher threshold to advance the bill. The rules package preserves a slightly higher threshold of 70 votes to do so. 

The rules package passed 104-15.
Transparency Backtracks: Kelly Medicaid Expansion “Working Group” Meets in Secret 
This week, Governor Laura Kelly appointed a “working group” of several individuals to help her craft legislation to bring more ObamaCare to Kansans by expanding Medicaid. The governor’s own release indicates the group is drafting the legislation and will help shepherd it through the Kansas Legislature.

In the new era of transparency, it would seem that such an important “working group” would have scheduled meetings with enough notice for the public to attend. Yet, the group is only meeting for five days, in secret, in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. In a recent article in the Sunflower State Journal, the governor’s spokeswoman says that the law is not subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act since it “only provides advice.”

So much for transparency. Apparently, open government goes out the window when you’re talking about expanding government.

Regardless of one’s opinion on the merits of imposing more ObamaCare on Kansans, surely most Kansans would agree that a special “working group” tasked with such important duties as crafting and shepherding legislation should meet in the light of day. 

Besides, if Kansans strongly support their effort as the governor claims, what are they afraid of?
March for Life Comes to Topeka
On Tuesday, the March for Life was held in Topeka in the rotunda. Hundreds of Kansans descended on our State Capitol to hear many pro-life leaders and figures discuss the importance of embracing a culture of life in Kansas. You can learn more about the event by clicking here .

As the March for Life website indicates , “being pro-life is not in opposition to science. It’s quite the opposite in fact! Medical and technological advancements continue to reaffirm the science behind the pro-life cause – that life begins at fertilization, or day one, when egg meets sperm and a new, unique, human embryo is created.”

As demonstrated by the New York Legislature adopting a radical bill (the Reproductive Health Act) allowing abortions up until the point of birth, and the subsequent and appalling decision to celebrate that illuminating the Freedom Tower in pink, the battle for the culture of life is never ceasing.

Here in Kansas, one of the top five pro-life states, all of our efforts are sadly under severe threat by the Kansas Supreme Court, who is sitting on a case where some expect them to rule that there is an independent right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution, which was constructed in 1859. Should that pass, all of the legislation – even the most basic laws such as parental notification – would be at severe risk of being invalidated.
Educational Freedom Day Held in Topeka
On Thursday, Educational Freedom Day was held in the State Capitol, where hundreds of Kansas – including children positively impacted by school choice – came to Topeka to rally for more freedom in educational decisions. Students should not be forced to attend schools that are not meeting their unique needs, and parents should have an array of options to better the lives of their children.

The Kansas Truth Caucus will oppose any rollback of the modest educational freedom we currently have in Kansas and will continue to look for opportunities to expand such programs to benefits more students. School Choice is the educational answer for the future, for improved outcomes, for increased parent involvement, and for removing the chains of the education bureaucracy that prioritizes leftist indoctrination over character and skill development.
Left-wing Legislation Alert: Democrats Want to Use Your Money to Lobby Against Your Freedoms 
Current state statute includes a common-sense restriction on money appropriated by the state legislature from being used to promote gun control. This essentially prohibits your money from being used to lobby against your constitutional rights. 

That simple restriction removes an indoctrination tool of the left. An extreme progressive Democratic State Representative has introduced HB 2036 , which would repeal this simple statute, as this article in Campus Reform discusses.
The Kansas Truth Caucus stands in support of the 2 nd Amendment and opposes such efforts to use your money to lobby against that basic constitutional freedom.
Every week, the Truth Report contains a “Wallet Watch," where we examine efforts to remove money from the wallets of hard-working Kansans.  
As noted above, Governor Kelly has a Medicaid expansion group is meeting in secret, discussing how they’re going to recommend bringing more ObamaCare to Kansas, which will bring a significant hit to the Kansas Budget - $14.9 million in the first six months alone, according to the governor’s own budget. 

With estimates in other states falling well short of reality, and the likelihood of the federal government’s match dipping below 90%, the risk to Kansa taxpayers is enormous.