Red Alert on Healthcare

Sep 21, 2017 by

From Alliance for a Health Kansas:

Just two months ago you helped stop reckless legislation that would have stripped health coverage from millions of Americans.

But a handful of Senators in Washington, intent on taking health care coverage away from millions and remaking Medicaid, have cooked up a new bill.

The latest ACA repeal bill is called “Cassidy-Graham” and — like each of its predecessors — it eliminates patient protections in the insurance market and slashes federal funding for the Medicaid program.

How will it affect Kansas? Here are a few low-lights:

  1. It will end our opportunity to expand KanCare, costing our state billions — much more than we would ever gain under any version of repeal and replace.
  2. It will gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  3. It will cut coverage and services for those who rely on Medicaid — primarily seniors, people with disabilities, and children.
  4. It will result in tens of thousands of Kansans, and millions of Americans, losing their health coverage.

KS Senators Moran & Roberts

Call Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts. Find the office closest to you, tell them to VOTE NO on Cassidy-Graham, and urge them to get back to work on bi-partisan solutions to improve the ACA.

Senator City Phone
Pat Roberts Dodge City 620-227-2244
Jerry Moran Hays 785-628-6401
Jerry Moran Manhattan 785-539-8973
Jerry Moran Olathe 913-393-0711
Pat Roberts Overland Park 913-451-9343
Jerry Moran Pittsburg 620-232-2286
Pat Roberts Topeka 785-295-2745
Pat Roberts Wichita 316-263-0416
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Senate to Vote on Tax Bill Tonight! Urgent Action Needed NOW!

May 30, 2017 by

Things are happening under the dome.  We’ll have a full recap tomorrow.  In the meantime, please read the following message from our coalition partners at Rise Up Kansas.  Then, TAKE ACTION!


Tonight, the Kansas Senate will vote on a bill to end the most harmful provisions of Governor Brownback’s failed tax experiment.

The bill, CCR for HB 2067, would be a MAJOR step in the right direction for Kansas. It closes the LLC loophole, repeals the March to Zero, and reinstates a third income tax bracket – three key policy components of comprehensive tax reform that are essential to putting Kansas back on a path to recovery.

But we need your help to make it happen. 

Click Here to take action now with our easy action alert tool!

After you take action, please share the link with your friends and family. The vote will happen tonight, so we need to share this alert as much as possible in the limited time remaining. 

The legislative session is already in overtime, and this might be our last chance for a good tax bill to pass. We can’t afford to throw away this shot.

Sincerely,

Rise Up, Kansas Coalition

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KNEA President Op-Ed

May 23, 2017 by

CLICK HERE  to read an Op-Ed by KNEA President, Mark Farr, responding to last night’s House vote on SB 30 (rolling back the Governor’s failed tax experiment).

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Mostly quiet today… mostly.

May 8, 2017 by

As legislators returned to the statehouse today, most were looking forward to a week of steady, but not necessarily frantic work.  The full House gathered briefly this morning, but our attention was drawn to the Old Supreme Court room where the House K-12 Budget Committee was to meet.  And meet they did, for about 2.5 hours to work on Proposed Substitute for House Bill 2410.  This is the bill the committee is working to amend, tighten, and present as the fix to school funding that will hopefully pass court muster.

Last week, former Senator Jeff King who has been hired as legal counsel, basically said that it is time for gamesmanship to end and that the Supreme Court ruling on adequacy was a very direct charge to provide full constitutional funding for all public schools and that particular attention should be given to students identified as “at-risk.”  King’s remarks essentially shut down the argument brought by some staunch conservatives that adequacy was only about at-risk students and not about providing full constitutional funding for all public schools.

Still, some ideologies are hard to break, to whit, Rep. Brenda Landwehr was one of the first to speak at the opening of the committee meeting.  Landwehr expressed- in no uncertain terms- her belief that the current bill up for consideration failed to deliver mechanisms for accountability and the consequences necessary to punish districts who did not meet new accreditation requirements due to lack of adequate academic progress.  It seems that the “test and punish” culture of “no child left behind” is something Landwehr refuses to leave behind.  Others like Rep. Scott Schwab agreed with Landwehr.  “We’re in a catch 22” Schwab lamented, stating that new accreditation requirements fail to address individual failing schools within a district (although he admitted there are few), and that the cycle would eventually mean “I’m back in court.”  Rep. Melissa Rooker, one of the bill’s chief architects, was able to assure the committee that there are mechanisms in place to ensure accountability while also providing for paths to success and improvement.

More amendments followed, all were carried favorably, although some after vigorous discussion.  Chief among them were:

  • Provision to “grandfather” districts such that none lose transportation funding under a move to a new transportation formula.
  • Amendment by Rep Rooker to count pre-k at risk students in current year rather than previous year so that more can access a special pool of state funding for building new early childhood, at-risk programs.  Rooker suggested that although the pool of money was relatively small $2 million, it was one more step the legislature could take to show that it recognizes how “extraordinarily important” early childhood and at-risk programs are.
  • Another Rooker amendment seeks to tighten language under the current definition of “at-risk.”  (See a draft of proposed changes here).

One final amendment proposed by Rep Landwehr, but ultimately withdrawn, sought to impose upon the KSDE to create a new report to the legislature.  This report would be a “quick look” style report of information gathered from other existing reports.  Several committee members were opposed to adding this unfunded responsibility to KSDE, citing increased pressure on staff and resources to create a report that essentially duplicates other reports.  KSDE’s venerable Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis responded in his typical endearing and folksy way to a committee member who asked if this would present an increased workload on already stretched staff.  “I’ll be shot if I say yes, but I’d be lying if I say no.”  Landwehr ultimately withdrew the amendment but promised to revise it and bring it back to the committee.

No announcement was made for the next committee meeting time, although legislative schedules show a standing meeting throughout the week.

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KSEdTalk Episode 9: Here’s where we stand ahead of the legislative “veto session.”

Apr 19, 2017 by

This Special Edition of Under the Dome highlights last night’s episode of Kansas EdTalk Podcast with Representative Melissa Rooker, Senator Laura Kelly, Kansas Center for Economic Growth Senior Fellow Duane Goosen, Kansas NEA Director of Legislative Advocacy Mark Desetti and Public Middle School Social Studies Teacher Charles Walther.  The panel enjoyed a lively discussion focusing on the upcoming “veto session” of the Kansas Legislature what to expect regarding a school funding fix as well as a tax and revenue fix and how these issues impact students : CLICK HERE to listen now.

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