Vernal greenery ~ verdant lawns ~ and even vestigial residue of vexing news revealed last week: all together, it made for a long weekend. Add to it the distressing news from Sri Lanka throughout Sunday, and this morning feels like a hard sell to get reanimated and set for a busy week. We have a brief newsletter to get us rolling...
At our holiday tables, discussion circled around the difficult domestic choices Democratic leadership face as the demands for transparency and accountability continue, weighed against the time to draw and make the impeachment case vs. the electoral cycle deadlines and 2020. Irrespective our individual, nuanced parsing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, we all need to keep in mind that our greatest capacity to influence the quality of our communities and lives is not always played out in Washington, or even in Jeff City and Topeka, but right in our HOA's and city halls. This is the most salient point we can make on a day marked for reflection on our environment and the course of our planet Earth.
What we wanted to leave you pondering is Nathanial Rich's new book's (Losing Earth) last paragraph:
“Everything is changing about the natural world and everything must change about the way we conduct our lives. It is easy to complain that the problem is too vast, and each of us is too small. But there is one thing that each of us can do ourselves, in our homes, at our own pace — something easier than taking out the recycling or turning down the thermostat, and something more valuable. We can call the threats to our future what they are. We can call the villains villains, the heroes heroes, the victims victims and ourselves complicit. We can realize that all this talk about the fate of Earth has nothing to do with the planet’s tolerance for higher temperatures and everything to do with our species’ tolerance for self-delusion. And we can understand that when we speak about things like fuel-efficiency standards or gasoline taxes or methane flaring, we are speaking about nothing less than all we love and all we are.”
Our continued hope is that together we can bring us to and sustain us at the issues "tables" and that the quality of the debates and firmness of our resolve will be improved by your contributions. May the season of renewal and rededication bring justice...
Shoulder to shoulder,
In Kansas this past week -
Unfilled judicial vacancy: Gov. Laura Kelly is planning to fill a Kansas Court of Appeals vacancy, in spite of an ongoing dispute over whether or not she still has the authority to make the nomination. Senate President Susan Wagle believes the Governor's clock ran out when she withdrew Labette County District Court Judge Jeffry Jack's nomination. In a similar full-court-press, the Kansas Legislature is proposing to turn the governor's power of appointment authority over to the state’s political parties.
What you can do: It's time to make your voice heard by reaching out to your state legislator to let him or her know you think it's wrong to make laws based on political gain because of electoral ambition instead of crafting the best structure to run a democratic system in Kansas.
Many commentators have said that Governor Kelly made a smart move by letting the controversial Farm Bureau health benefit plan become law without her signature. It's widely understood that, with their exclusions, these skimpy plans will leave Kansas farmers and families unprotected and uncovered when they need help the most. The question some folks are asking is how much help will the governor will get from the Farm Bureau to pass Medicaid expansion when the Senate returns on May 1st?
What you can do: We know we sound like a broken record, but your encouragement of your lawmakers' to vote for expanding Medicaid is the number one priority for this week. Email Senate Majority Leader Denning and copy your senator on the letter to tell them that stabilization of Kansas healthcare and rural economies is important to all Kansans. We need to think about the future.
The twinned goals of former Governor Sam Brownback to eviscerate government by starving it of revenues and privatizing services as much as possible were a disastrous combination for our state. A very clear picture of how this continues to play out in the state's education choices was highlighted in Sunday's New York Times for the country to see.
What you can do: Thank your representative for working to pass adequate, increased funding for Kansas school districts and remind them, at the same time, that properly funded government is an expression of our shared values -- in education as well as healthcare services, transportation, broadband access and so many other areas. Urge them to vote for thoughtful fiscal legislation when they return next week.
There are three distinct pieces of anti-immigrant legislation that are currently moving through the Missouri Legislature. Lifting verbiage straight out of the anti-immigrant playbook, these bills ignore the Constitution and are more about the politics of fear than about keeping our communities safe. Read more on our post here.
What can you do: Ask your legislators for common-sense immigration reform that celebrates all who make Missouri great, not ridiculous fear mongering.
Missouri lawmakers are also considering the most extreme abortion bills in the country. Both House Bill 126 and Senate Bill 279 would ban abortion as early as six weeks — which is before many people even know they are pregnant. The bills also include — among many other medically unnecessary measures — a “trigger ban” that would make abortion a felony if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Missouri is already one of the most restrictive states when it comes to abortion, but extremist politicians remain obsessed. Abortion is a deeply personal decision that a pregnant person makes with their family, their doctor, and their faith — not politicians.
What can you do: Contact your state legislators and tell them to stop this attack on Missourians' access to safe, legal abortion. It's time to #StopThe Bans!
An amendment to House Bill 575 would allow any students or faculty who have a conceal carry permit to carry their gun on college and university campuses in the state. Read more here.
What can you do: Tell your state senators to vote “NO!” on the Guns Everywhere bill.