With all the activity last week in the Missouri and Kansas Legislatures, we definitely showed the warmth of our love - and the power of working together. Our friends and partners, Moms Demand Action, showed their strength and lobbied hard in Kansas for gun sense laws (above) and we will be showing up with them again in Jefferson City on Tuesday.
Still, it's hard to not feel a certain chill after reading some of the newly proposed legislation, both in Kansas and Missouri, along with D.C.
As the Kansas Senate passed SB 22, an irresponsible tax cut that purports to be returning money to the people, but overwhelmingly benefits corporations and wealthy filers, a millionaire representative of Patriotic Millionaires (a group dedicated to pushing for higher taxes on businesses and the ultra-rich in order to fund new affordable housing, infrastructure and schools) testified before a tax and finance hearing in Albany, NY saying: “I’m a person of some means. I could live wherever I want. I could live in Kansas, if I wanted to live in a state with low taxes and low services. But I don’t.”
We all have skin in this game. Whether it's fighting for gun sense, good schools for our kids, or a government that works for us rather than making representatives wealthier. Democracy means getting involved. That means holding the people who represent us accountable by calling, writing and visiting. By making their actions public, by letting them know where we stand. We all need to get in the game, not just during election cycles, but during legislative sessions where decisions and deals are made every day for us, and in our names.
IKC is planning a series of Action Afternoons, starting on the 2nd Sunday in March, and we would be thrilled to have you participate, share and learn with us. Feet on the ground, shoulder to shoulder, building a more equal and just future.
In Missouri, we are looking ahead to Moms Demand Action Advocacy Day on Tuesday Feb. 19 in Jefferson City. See details below, under Be a Part of Local Actions.
What you can do if you can't attend: Write and/or call your representatives (find yours here)this week as a follow up to Advocacy Day. Tell them that you want them to:
Meanwhile, in Kansas, Governor Kelly's budget took its first big hit in the House. Kelly's budget relied on reamortizing the state's obligations to KPERS, the state pension funds. It's similar to refinancing a mortgage to get lower payments. The House debated that measure this week, and rejected it, 87-36. "Kelly and her allies say the rest of her budget plan can stand without the KPERS refinancing."
What you can do: If you haven't already, contact your state electeds and make sure they know what your priorities are for balancing the budget. School funding? Infrastructure? For extra points, let them know what sacrifices you could stomach. None of these choices will be easy.
Also on Valentine's Day, certain Kansas legislators introduced six far-right social bills, two of which called same-sex marriage "parody" and introduced "elevated marriage" legislation for opposite-sex couples making it harder to divorce.
What you can do: We won't say "don't get distracted" because an assault on equality by our lawmakers should not be disregarded. However, these bills are unlikely to get a committee hearing and stand virtually no chance of being passed. Here's what we suggest doing with your outrage:
Trump declared a national emergency on the border with Mexico on Friday -- trying to access billions of dollars that Congress refused to give him to build a wall. He claimed an “invasion of drugs and criminals” coming across the border constituted a threat to national security leaving him no alternative than his unilateral action. But he claimed later that he didn't have to do it right now, he could have waited... he just wanted to get it finished quickly. And then he left to golf for the weekend in FL. For one conservative's tempered, but illustrative view of the crisis, read here.
The Green New Deal has continued to draw heavy criticism and inspired new debate this week. You can read up on what is and what isn't in the resolution from source documents and analysis here (NPR). We encourage you to engage locally in finding climate / energy solutions.
The Global Public Policy Institute published their report of presumed chemicals weapons use in Syria, where the war may finally be winding down. The Syrian government and affiliates launched more than 300 attacks using chemical weapons during the nearly 8-year conflict. The tally by the policy group also could be cited as part of any possible international war crimes cases against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.