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!
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
It has been an odd week with the bitter cold and with the passing of two men (one local and one national) who have been vital to the conservative movement, State Senator Bud Estes (R-Dodge City), and conservative radio host, Rush Limbaugh. We are in prayer for both the Estes and Limbaugh families.
Even with the bitter cold outside, there has still been a decent amount of activity inside the Capitol that affects family values. Here are some of the bills that are winding their way through the legislature that may be of interest to you and your family:
- H.B. 2119 will create the Student Empowerment Act for at-risk students.
- S.B. 61 will expand the existing low-income Student Tax Credit Scholarship that has already successfully helped hundreds of Kansas students have access to educational opportunities. It was passed by the Senate last week 24-14.
- HB 2054 will limit who may deliver advanced ballots and work to better enforce our current ballot harvesting prohibitions.
- HB 2183 will work to ensure the balance of power between the branches of government is respected in order to protect the election process.
- HB 2319 would shorten the time frame in which advanced ballots can be returned.
- HB 2339 was heard in committee this week and will expand the crime of election tampering.
- HB 2066 expands expedited licensing laws to other residential (or those intending to reside) applicants in Kansas. These types of laws free families to make the best work and family decisions for their particular circumstances. It also encourages families to move to our state by removing onerous and unnecessary regulations.
- HB 2184 would legalize the use of marijuana for certain medical purposes. We are watching this bill closely because bills like this often are used as a gateway to legalize recreational marijuana which is known to impact families in a multitude of ways.
Be on the lookout for more information about how we are working to protect mothers and babies through Value Them Both. And there is still time to contact your Senators about the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.
There is a lot of activity in Kansas and we are so thankful to partner with you in protecting faith, family, and freedom!
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
The Family Policy Alliance team alerted you when Nancy Pelosi tried to sneak a taxpayer funding stream for abortion into the COVID-19 relief plan—and your voice and quick action helped stop her in her tracks. We alerted you when Planned Parenthood unbelievably asked for donations of medical supplies like masks and defied orders to stop elective procedures. But another big money industry is hoping to cash in on the coronavirus crisis. Big Marijuana—and their allies in the U.S. House—are hoping to get disaster relief funding for themselves.
Big Marijuana believes it deserves your taxpayer dollars—despite the fact that marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law. It begs the question: With so many small businesses hurting during the crisis, why should taxpayer relief money go to an illegal industry already flowing in cash?
At last count, about thirty other legislators (from both sides of the aisle) joined Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) in pushing House leadership to make the marijuana industry eligible for all COVID-19 relief programs—even though these programs are already low on funding. Worse yet, the bill would require the funding to extend not just to medical marijuana dispensaries, but to recreational marijuana as well.
And what would our taxpayer money pay for if Big Marijuana were given access to COVID-19 relief? Check out our video on what Colorado looks like since legalizing recreational pot.
Keep in mind that in many states, Big Marijuana has been considered an “essential business” and allowed to continue operations—still raking in cash. Yet, America’s small businesses have been forced to close their doors, suffering major revenue loss and leaving millions of Americans without jobs.
Big Marijuana and their allies in Congress want to see money intended for America’s small businesses go up in smoke—literally.
Family Policy Alliance strongly opposes this effort to allow Big Marijuana access to COVID-19 relief programs. If you agree, please help us spread the word by sharing this article on Facebook or by forwarding it to your friends.
For the family,
Legalizing medical marijuana in North Dakota is dangerous for families and children.
|Measure 5 is harmful because the marijuana plant itself cannot be regulated. Plants vary in potency. Many medical groups oppose legalization of marijuana in part because further research is needed.|
|Measure 5 would also legalize marijuana edibles. This creates an increased likelihood that children will ingest marijuana because they can’t tell the difference.|
|In Colorado, where marijuana is already legal, the increase in drug use is staggering. Watch this 60 Minutes expose to see what’s really happening in the pot industry.
Measure 5 simply isn’t worth the risk to North Dakota’s children and families.
Vote “no” on medical marijuana!