The situation across our state is changing rapidly and one person told me long term planning feels like next week. We all have questions about what our futures hold whether that be because our jobs or our businesses are at risk, you are learning to homeschool your kids, or your concerned about the health of loved ones. I want you to know that the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas® team is here for you, walking through this season of uncertainty with you.
One place uncertainty is showing up is in the legislature – mainly if and when they come back. The legislature concluded its essential business late last week. The legislature is constitutionally bound to pass a budget before adjourning at the conclusion of session. After several days of discussion and negotiation, both chambers passed the budget easily, something that rarely happens. Conservative’s major concern was that the budget could be used as a way to expand Medicaid without going through the legislature and bypassing important protections in the Value Them Both amendment.
The major concern focused on a line item in the budget for Expansion. Even some expansion advocates stated repeatedly that the budget was not an appropriate place to expand Medicaid because of a 2014 statute. We reminded legislators that a vote for Expansion would create a funding stream for taxpayer-funded abortions in our state. As a way to further ensure that Governor Kelly doesn’t try to exploit this provision, the final budget stipulated that the funds allocated in the budget should be used for COVID-19 relief if the legislature does not expand Medicaid this year.
The real question is whether the legislature can or will come back now that they have passed a budget. When the legislature adjourned, they adjourned until April 27th. But even in this it is unknown whether they can come back, given the spread of the COVID-19.
Many are wondering what this means for the Value Them Both amendment. The answer is that we simply don’t know. Of course, we would welcome the opportunity to pass the amendment in order to ensure that the lifesaving limits are placed on the abortion industry, however, under current circumstances there are too many unknowns. We want to be wise, protecting legislator’s health, protecting voters, and ensuring the final passage of Value Them Both on the ballot.
As you sit at home in the coming weeks, I ask that you take some time to pray for all our local, state, and national decision makers. They are dealing with a complex, unknown, and ever evolving situation. We need to pray that God gives them wisdom and that they focus on the main thing – and don’t get sucked into the trap of using this moment to advance their political ambitions.
During this time, I’m thankful for the One who holds all the uncertainty and all the unknowns and yet He is walking with us in today.
My prayers are with you all,
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy