The major part of legislative session wrapped up at 2:15 AM Saturday morning. Despite the best laid plans, legislative session is always a bit unpredictable. Given the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and a host of other complicating factors, this session redefined unpredictability.

But that is not to say unpredictability is always bad. This was arguably our most successful session to date despite the underlying chaos. When session started, we didn’t know how long we would be able to stay in session or how long it would take to get our premier legislation, Value Them Both, passed in both chambers.  We tried to realistically set expectations while also aggressively fighting for families. Because of how quickly Value Them Both passed, we were able to affect policy on almost every one of our core topics.

VALUE THEM BOTH

With the help of 114 pro-life legislators (86 in the House and 28 in the Senate), we were able to pass Value Them Both in record time on January 28th.   This huge accomplishment, first, required outstanding election results for pro-life candidates, and, secondly, leadership in the House and Senate who were committed to ensuring the amendment passed quickly. We once again thank Ty Masterson, Ron Ryckman, Rick Wilborn, Dan Hawkins, and Blaine Finch for their leadership on Value Them Both. And finally, we can never thank our brave advocates enough – Molly Baumgardner, Tory Arnberger, Renee Erickson, Susan Humphries, Kellie Warren, Barb Wasinger – as well as many others.

As we prepare for an election in August of 2022, we would love to speak at your church or your civic group about the impact of Value Them Both and how we protect our pro-life laws. Likewise, we would want to train you to speak about these issues in your area. Respond to this email and let us know you are interested in becoming an advocate for Value Them Both!

#SAVEGIRLSSPORTS

As soon as Value Them Both passed, we began to address the other seven objectives on our to-do list. And I am excited to report that we made major progress in every area we engaged!

Our second biggest objective was to protect women’s sports through the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. Though we failed to override the Governor’s veto by one vote in the Senate, we made significant strides in highlighting the conversation in the legislature and beyond. Be on the lookout for ways you can engage in standing up for our girls on a local level as we mobilize a strategy to continue the conversation and continue to advocate for fairness.

FALLOUT FROM 2020

After 2020, election integrity and controlling the power of tyrannical governors became the topic of national conversation. And that same conversation was reflected in Kansas. Through two elections bills, we were able to close several loopholes that could have exposed our elections to misuse. These safeguards will be especially helpful as we prepare for Value Them Both to pass on a statewide ballot. We were also able to ensure that our God-given religious freedom will be protected when a state of emergency is declared.

STOP BILLS THAT PUT FAMILIES AT RISK

While the new version of the “medical” marijuana bill was a more conservative bill than the one previously discussed, the bill that was rammed through committee and debated on the House floor last week was anything but conservative or strictly medical. This discussion is always complicated, rife with legal concerns, and real human concerns about the effect on families and society. Thankfully, the bill that the House debated did not move in the Senate. Several conservative legislators pointed out the plethora of potential harms to pregnant women, children, and society in general that we have seen in other states with liberal marijuana policies.

Also, a bill that would have further opened the door for the gambling industry to prey on families was stopped earlier in session. We recognize that the conversations around these issues are complicated in our society and the lines are not firmly drawn with well-intentioned individuals on both sides, but we will continue to dialogue with legislators and encourage legislators to put the good of Kansas families over profit.

SCHOOL CHOICE

School choice is the reason I did not get more than a few hours of sleep any night last week. While we are disappointed that a bill that included Education Savings Accounts did not make it to the Governor’s desk, we are thankful that a debate on the topic happened in both chambers. It also has garnered significant public discussion. I talk to families all across the state who are trying to discern the best way to fulfill their responsibility to educate their children in a way that glorifies God. It is my goal to equip you with as many options as I can.

One huge school choice win is the expansion of the low-income tax credit. Passing an education budget with policy requirements was one of the final things the legislature did late Friday night. The key thing for school choice advocates was the removal of restrictions for kids who can receive a scholarship from scholarship granting organizations. The new program will accept kids from any school (previously it was just an arbitrary list of the lowest performing schools) and secondly extended opportunity to kids who are a part of the reduced lunch program whereas they previously had to be part of the free lunch program. It encourages Kansans to use their resources to benefit kids in our state who would not have had any school choice opportunities without this program. This program now truly reflects that kids deserve options and opportunities no matter where they live or how much their parents make.

It is my absolute honor to represent you and your family at the Capitol each day. My goal every morning is to first bring Christ glory and secondly to represent you well. While we will still return to the Capitol for the official last day of session, known as sine die, we are turning now towards influencing local policies, educating families on how they can be involved, and working with policy makers beyond session to advance the family and honor God!

For Kansas,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

Save Girls Sports

Unfortunately, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act fell just one vote short in the Senate and so the House did not get a second opportunity to review the bill. While it means that the bill is likely dead for this session, it does not mean we will stop fighting for opportunities for girls. To see how your legislators voted, you can find the information HERE ( NOTE: This vote link is for SB 55 which included the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act even though the bill description does not include that information.)

Kansans don’t believe the lie that this is mean spirited – they know that this is a common sense bill. Governor Kelly is under the false delusion that she reflects Kansas. Almost universally as I talk to every-day Kansans they are horrified that we can’t protect girls’ sports in Kansas. The number of times I’ve heard, “I thought this was Kansas.”

To all Kansas girls – know that we will keep fighting for you. Governor Kelly has stood in the way of your opportunities, but we will not let this continue. We will keep working with legislators and work to elect a Governor that will fight for our girls’ opportunities.

Election Integrity

Yesterday, the legislature passed two different overrides of Governor Kelly’s vetoes of common-sense election laws. Kansans want our elections to be accurate. We want to know we can have confidence in the outcome. These bills simply allow us to close loopholes that certain representatives even admitted having used in the past. We are thankful for the 85 Representatives and 28 Senators who voted in favor of HB 2183 and 86 Representatives and 28 Senators who voted in favor of HB 2332.

Marijuana

In an unusual move, the House Federal and State Affairs Committee held hearings during veto session. In an even more unusual move, they amended and passed a medical marijuana bill. While this bill has more safeguards than the previously passed bill, this bill still leaves much room for abuse and is a pathway for recreational marijuana in our state. Kansans do not want to become California or Colorado. Ask your legislators to reject this move by the House. It’s easy to find their numbers on our action page!

It has already been an interesting week at the Statehouse. While we have had a few setbacks this week – on the whole the legislature has done some great work to fight back against Governor Kelly’s overreach which helps all Kansas families. There is still a lot of work to do! Keep praying for your legislators and letting them know how important it is to protect families in our state.

For Kansas,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

 

The legislature begins its final week of work on Monday. And boy do they have a lot of work to do! For people who care about families there are three key topics that the legislature will be discussing over the next seven days that are important.

So I need you to take time to contact your legislators on just three things today:

  1. Save Girls SportsAfter passing Value Them Both at the very beginning of session, protecting girls’ opportunities in sports became our number one priority. This is a national movement and now at least seven states have passed legislation to ensure a level playing field for girls. But our Governor wants to stand in the way of the majority of Kansans, and instead sided with the Biden Administration and radical LGBTQ+ activists.Now is the time for us to ensure that Kansas girls going forward that we had.Now is the time to stand up for Kansas girls!

    Now is the time to tell your legislator to override the Governor’s veto.

    It’s easy on our action center!

  2. Educational FreedomAfter falling just one vote short the last day of the regular session, educational freedom will continue to be a discussion during veto session. The legislature still has to pass a bill that contains school funding. This funding should include policies defining how the budget should be spent. We should be able to ensure that the money going to schools is used in ways that actually help kids learn and excel. Educational options for families is just one of the ways to do that.Ask your legislators to support legislation that will unleash families’ choices as they seek educate their children in a way that best prepares their children for the future! You can find your legislators names and numbers on our action page.
  3. Election IntegrityDo you believe that only the legislature should set election law? Do you believe ballot harvesting (allowing someone else besides the voter to turn in a ballot) should be limited? These are pretty common-sense protections, that thus far, have not been enforceable in law in Kansas. We’ve even had legislators admit on the floor that they have used some questionable election practices.Our nation relies on the integrity of elections for the legitimacy of everything the government does. HB 2183 simply closes some loopholes in our laws so that bad actors cannot exploit them. Governor Kelly, without giving much explanation, vetoed this important law.Reach out to your legislators and ask them to override the Governor’s veto and protect our elections!

These are just three of the topics that that your legislators will be discussing over the next week. Pray for them as they discuss a variety of topics. They need wisdom and insight to lead our state. Pray that God will shape their hearts and that they will choose to make decisions that protect our families and honor God.

For Kansas,

Brittany Jones
Director of Advocacy

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. — Winston Churchill

Today, Governor Kelly betrayed Kansas women as she sided with radical LGBTQ+ ideology and the corrupt NCAA. However, we won’t stop fighting for women! Contact your legislators and ask them to override Governor Kelly’s veto.

The media wants you to believe that the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act would ban transgender kids from sports. This is simply untrue. Let’s talk about what the bill actually says and does.

First, the bill is only targeted to protect women and does not affect male teams. While the media continues to use misleading headlines that state that we are banning certain individuals from sports, that is appallingly untrue. The only thing the bill does is keep biological boys from stealing girls’ opportunities in sports that are specifically designed for biological women. Co-eds sports and men’s sports are completely unaffected.

The true intent with this law has been attacked by both individuals from the far left and by moderates who would prefer we weren’t discussing this issue and who are more concerned about the NCAA and their agenda than Kansas girls. Our intent has always been and is now only to protect women – clearly evidenced because it only goes one way by dealing with women’s sports.

Secondly, our opponents want to sideline us by elevating name calling above the facts. Because so many people from different walks of life and perspectives support this legislation, our opponents’ ad hominem attacks and name calling descend into absolute absurdity. The facts just don’t support their characterizations.

Our opponents would like for you to believe that young people don’t support this bill. That is just on its face a lie. I’m a young women who has benefited from policies like Title IX which safeguard women’s sports. One of the strongest advocates for the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act happens to also be Senator Kristen O’Shea, the youngest female senator in Kansas history. And of course, there are the brave young athletes that testified on behalf of the bill in committee. Our generation has been perhaps most impacted by Title IX and we are not willing to let it be warped into oblivion.

This bill affects mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunts – all who want to see the women in their lives succeed. In fact, some of our strongest advocates in the House debate were grandfathers who just want their granddaughters to have opportunities to do great things.  We are supported by folks across the political spectrum as well.

Finally, as an organization we have always fought for women who are being exploited through human trafficking, pornography, or abortion. We have also fought for educational opportunities for women. The Fairness in Women’s Sports bill joins these efforts as the radical Left and the NCAA continue the exploitation of women by coming after our girls’ opportunities.

The current NCAA & KSSHA policies cited by the opponents of the Fairness bill offer no protection for girls’ sports and are instead the problem. These policies expose our girls to the loss of opportunities. They demand complete surrender to their edicts and sell out our girls for a couple competitions. Our girls deserve better. We won’t give up on our girls. We will keep fighting for them.

Contact your legislators!

It’s easy on our action center. Together we can override Gov. Kelly’s discriminatory veto.

Kansas girls deserve better,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

 

P.S. If you would like to financially join us in fighting for girls sports, babies in the womb, mother’s experiencing pregnancies, educational opportunities for all our kids, and many other things, please consider a financial donation.

Kansas is one step closer to ensuring that women can compete on a level playing field. Yesterday, Kansas became the fifth state in which the legislature has ensured that girls opportunities in sports will be protected through the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. The Senate passed the bill 26-11. The House passed the bill 75-44 in a late-night vote Thursday.

The bill is headed to the Governor’s desk. The Governor should sign this bill into law and ensure that women’s opportunities do not evaporate.

But she needs to hear from you! It’s easy on our action center.

Senator Renee Erickson and Representative Barb Wasinger powerfully stood for girls on the floor. They were joined by grandparents, parents, and former student athletes all spoke about how important this law is for our girls.

We cannot sit idly by and let opportunities for our girls be erased. In fact, a bill that re-enforces that girls will have a place in Kansas should draw women to Kansas as a place to run a business and raise their families.

Governor Kelly has not been known to be a pro-family governor, but this bill has support from Democrats and radical feminists across the country.

Ask her to support our girls today!

For a fair playing field,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

It’s the whirlwind of the last week of the regular session. This is the week where bills are repackaged and brought before the legislators to vote up or down. There are several topics that I want to highlight for you today!

Your legislators need to hear from you again on the following:

  1. Educational Freedom – An educational freedom bill was passed through the House last week. It has been tightened and repackaged in S.B. 175. It should be headed to the floor soon! Contact your legislators today and let them know to support this bill. It’s easy on our action page.
  2. Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is still alive, but we need your help to get it over the line. This is a winning issue – which is why the Left is attacking it so hard. Women should have every opportunity. This is not an area we can cave to those who do not have women’s best interest at heart. We have the momentum! Reach out to your legislators on our action page today! Let’s score a victory for girls in Kansas.
  3. Election Integrity – The Senate debated and passed H.B. 2183 last week which will add protections to our election process to ensure the integrity our voting process moving forward. These are common sense measures to ensure that there aren’t loopholes for bad actors to exploit. You can find your legislators on our action page.

We are so close to the end of session. There are a lot of moving parts at this point in the session. We are so thankful for your partnership as we work to protect your family values in Kansas. It’s been a very successful session so far, but there is still a lot of work to be done before we get to the finish line.

Running with endurance,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

Today, the House Federal & State Affairs Committee passed a bill that is deceptively called a “medical” marijuana bill. However, as it was passed out of committee, it would essentially allow anyone to obtain marijuana for almost any reason at all.

Medical Marijuana is typically used as a step towards fully legalizing recreational marijuana. But in this case, proponents of the bill didn’t even really try to hide what they are doing by bypassing amendments that would have added regulations and medical oversight to the bill. There is nothing “medical” about the bill as it exists.

As other states have been legalizing marijuana over the last decade, the harms are no longer just hypotheticalthey are real and documented.

Here are just a couple harms that we’ve seen from other states:

These are just a few of the problems associated with legalizing marijuana. Not to mention this is still a Schedule 1 drug under federal law along with ecstasy and heroin.

Contact your Representatives and Senators today and let them know that you do not support marijuana coming to Kansas!

This legislation is dangerous for our families.

Our families deserve better,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

I am hearing that your letters supporting Fairness in Women’s Sports are pouring into the Senate! Today, the bill passed the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 6-3. It now goes to the Senate floor.

It is imperative that you let the Senate know TODAY to support fairplay for girls. Girls should not be bullied out of their opportunities by the NCAA and other powerful interest groups. Our girls deserve better.

Let your Senator know that you support Women’s Sports NOW! It’s easy on our Action Center.

With last week being one in which the world recognized International Women’s Day and March being Women’s History Month, it is vital that we stand up today for Kansas women. Fairness for women is under attack at both the federal and state level. Stand with our girls today!

For Women,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

Getting the Fairness in Women’s Sports bill out of committee was delayed last week and the Committee needs to hear from you TODAY.

Kansans agree that women should have a fair playing field! And the Senate can do something about it!

We’ve been talking about our number one priority for the rest of this session – Fairness in Women’s Sports – you need to know that it is going to be voted on in the Senate Education Committee very soon.

Let the committee know that you support Women’s Sports NOW! It’s easy on our Action Center.

With last week being one in which the world recognized International Women’s Day and March being Women’s History Month, it is vital that we stand up today for Kansas women. Fairness for women is under attack at both the federal and state level. Stand with our girls today!

For Women,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy


The following OpEd by Brittany Jones and Elizabeth Patton
was published by the Wichita Eagle on March 11, 2021.

The past year has highlighted how important it is to bridge the opportunity gaps in our educational system. As these gaps were exacerbated by pandemic-related school closures, working parent, single parents, students, teachers, and thousands of other Kansans worked through various levels of frustration attempting to navigate unchartered waters.

The island of commonality was that we all want our children to succeed. And we know the key to their success is a quality education. We also know some students thrived in virtual and hybrid learning while others struggled.

The lesson is that, in extraordinary times or ordinary times, flexibility and options are the keys to success.

As has been made painfully clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, not all Kansas families have the same options or access, and our one-size-fits-all system is not well-equipped to provide innovative educational solutions as diverse and unique as our kids are.

The legislature is considering a measure that would, in a limited way, address these challenges. Lawmakers should move quickly to send it to the governor, and she should sign it into law.

The bill would expand our current tax credit scholarship program to more families and also establish education savings accounts for certain students, allowing them to use their share of state per pupil funding in multiple ways, including private schools, virtual schools, tutoring, textbooks, services, programs, activities, classes or any other resources or programs provided or contracted by a school district, and other education-related expenses.

Our long term goal is to extend the opportunity to participate in ESAs to all families, but starting with at risk kids is still an important step. Expanding educational opportunity represents a rising tide that lifts all ships by allowing more families to customize the educational path of their children. A personalized education should be a standard feature of our educational system, not the exception to the rule. That is why we believe that to unleash the extraordinary potential of every child, all kids should have the option to customize their education  and find the educational environment that best works for them.

That would transform the status quo in a way that provides each Kansas student with the unique opportunity they deserve.

This bill has a broader vision than open or closed, and it adds another critical piece to the puzzle of lifting all Kansas kids.  It’s a good bill and the legislature should pass it.

We urge all parties to consider the world beyond the pandemic, and the opportunities for innovation we could make available to our children if we open our eyes to the possibilities.

We believe every kid counts. Every kid should have access to an education that fits their unique learning style, that prepares them for the kind of future they want to have.

Who our kids want to become should not be limited by where they live, where their parents work, or by anyone’s idea of who they are.

There is no silver bullet here, but significant and intentional policy changes can make all the difference in the lives of so many kids. Families want flexibility, options and opportunity. Our question to the legislature: If not now, when?

Elizabeth Patton is state director of Americans for Prosperity-Kansas Brittany Jones is Director of Advocacy at Family Policy Alliance of Kansas.