Politics is definitely a full-contact sport. But times are changing - from the focus citizens are asking representatives to keep on issues to how we talk about priorities and shared values.
There is no question that citizen participation in processes makes that happen -- and sustaining our individual interest is paramount to seeing success continue from electoral season to legislative season and back to electoral season again.
We are re-vamping our online tools on our website (coming later this summer!) to help you keep up interest and engagement, no matter your starting point! Whether a novice or a veteran, there is need for your curiosity and/or expertise.
Thank you for starting with your subscription to this email and, as always, we look forward to seeing you out and about,
Shoulder to Shoulder,
In Kansas news -
We're not going to sugar coat the pitiful end to the 2019 KS legislative session, but we want to offer the sliver of good news that did emerge from Topeka last week. While the Kansas Senate voted to override SB67 (an unethical bill mandating doctors tell patients about an unscientific and risky methodology to reverse medical abortions), the Kansas House was unable to musterthe necessary votes to override Governor Kelly's veto.
We urge you to write to your KS Representative and Senator. Let them know how you value their support of women, if they did, and how disappointed you are that they did not, if they didn't.
It should unequivocally be a communal goal that we reduce the number of abortions through better access to health care. This would certainly include information about family planning and sex education -- to say nothing of all the other policies that are proven to reduce unwanted pregnancies and all of which can be provided without curtailing women's reproductive rights.
Speaking of access to health care -- the main agenda item for the session, other than finally getting the education budget written and passed, was to expand Medicaid in Kansas. 36 other states - red/purple/blue - have managed to provide more access to health care to their poorest citizens without blowing up their budgets.
KS GOP "leaders" who resisted the push said they would allow it next year, but only after they are convinced KS can afford the cost and if the coverage would only go to people without private coverage and who are willing to work. But moderate-Republicans who had initially worked to link the annual budget to the vote for expansion saw their spines melt in the heat of pressure: former speaker, Rep. Don Hineman (R-Dighton) who has supported Medicaid expansion in theory, said moderate Republicans feared retaliation from leadership if they continued to stonewall the budget: “Any additional progress would have been very, very difficult and with an increasing amount of risk involved."
We infer from all this that no one sent out the memo to the KS Legislature what the real-world risk of living without health care actually is. Senators Wagle (running for US Senator Pat Roberts' seat) and Denning (aspiring to succeed Wagle as Senate President) must not read widely, travel the lengths and breadth of the state or talk to their own constituents regularly enough. Our state's budgets were decimated under the previous two administrations and Governor Kelly had made it clear that the Legislature had no business wading into consequential tax reform before developing a comprehensive strategy for Kansas. Posturing for election campaign PR is a terrible rationale for being in Topeka.
A Kansas Legislative Wrap for those wanting more is available here.
In Missouri -
The Missouri House passed a partial repeal of Clean Missouri this past week, which Missouri voters passed overwhelmingly last fall. What this legislation will do is put a watered-down version of the ethics reform in front of voters, versus what we’ve already passed. Most importantly, they want to change how Clean Missouri cleaned up partisan gerrymandering. This bill will now go before the Senate.
Many Indivisibles gave blood, sweat and time to help pass Clean Missouri. We'll do it again ... but we can also demand that your Senators to respect their voters and protect Clean Missouri. http://www.indivisiblekc.com/mo-leg---kc-area.html.