The Pitch has teamed with Loud Light, a neighborhood political education group. Their objective is to involve and empower members of marginalized populations in order to strengthen community power. impacting those who make decisions. Every week while the Kansas statehouse is in session throughout the year, a brief film summarizing what the legislature is doing is released.
The only way to keep informed on how local politics effect your life is to be intimately familiar with what your politicians are doing. By clicking here, you may make a donation to help Loud Light’s mission.
Here is the video and transcripts from this week:
Davis Hammet from Loud Light here. Here’s
Here is what happened during the first week of the 2023 Kansas legislative session—I can’t believe I’m still creating these movies!
Results of elections
On Inauguration Day, when Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly took the oath of office for a second term, the 2022 election cycle, which saw voters reject a power grab by the legislature and overwhelmingly support abortion rights, came to a close. Democrats gained a House seat, but Republicans moved further to the right and kept control of the Legislature with a supermajority after some moderate Republicans were ousted in the primary.
Inciting nationwide anger, Kansas police last month arrested a cancer patient who was near death and charged him with marijuana possession. One of the only states in the US without medicinal marijuana legislation is Kansas. It appeared to be passing this year with support from the governor and house, but a key opponent, Senate President Ty Masterson (R), pulled senators from the committee working on the bill and said it was “not a priority.”
Religious sex abuse
The Kansas Bureau of Investigations concluded its four-year investigation by concluding that all Kansas’ catholic dioceses had worked together to conceal sexual abuse involving nearly 200 clergy members, 15 victims committed suicide as a result of the abuse, and 14 priests should face criminal charges. However, the Kansas statute of limitations protects the alleged pedophiles. A bill to allow the alleged pedophiles to be prosecuted is being introduced by a bipartisan group of politicians, but Sen. President Masterson (R) has made disparaging remarks, and he and Speaker Hawkins (R) will ultimately decide whether the bill is put to a vote.
In the first two weeks, lawmakers have largely held informational hearings, but numerous contentious legislation have already been presented, including two that Sens. Steffen and Thompson co-sponsored. SB20 would essentially eliminate all vaccination mandates and mandate that childcare providers reimburse anti-vax parents $25,000 if their child is turned away. SB12 would make it illegal for physicians to treat transgender Kansans under the age of 21 in certain ways.
Kansas had a $1 billion deficit five years ago, but Governor Kelly was mainly able to restore the state’s finances during her first term by repaying hundreds of millions in overdue payments, money that was double counted, and debt that Brownback had racked up. The state currently enjoys a surplus of about $3 billion, which is a record. The governor is recommending a range of small-scale spending increases for public services, money to stop college tuition rises, infrastructure and cyber security projects, more financing for special education, early debt repayment, and the addition of $500 million to the state’s rainy day fund. The governor wants the food tax to be eliminated immediately, and Republican legislators are looking to slash income and corporate taxes. This year’s largest struggle will, however, be about tax reduction.
We are beginning our seventh year of reporting Kansas politics, and your contributions have made it possible. Please think about making a monthly donation at loudlight.org/donate if you are able to. Thank you Kansas, and until next time, stay connected, keep involved.