One of the most exciting days of my life was the day I finally got to vote. One-hundred years before, I could have been jailed for the simple act of casting my ballot. This week we celebrate the official ratification of the 19th Amendment – the Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects the right to vote for both men and women. The ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 was a huge step forward in our nation in creating a more perfect union.
While the political Left has tried to hijack women for their cause – saying they have to think a certain way or support certain candidates – the 19th Amendment is not about identity politics. The 19th Amendment is about recognizing the dignity and worth of women to our society. Just like the 15th Amendment further worked out the philosophy of the Founders to include all races, the 19th Amendment was a further unveiling of the original ideas of the Founders.
Women have pushed back against the Left’s attempt to hijack us for their cause. Women like Phyllis Schlafly,who stood up against the push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that would have eradicated our ability to regulate the abortion industry and erased hard won victories for women. She paved the way for so many women to advocate for their conservative belief systems. While not perfect, God used her to help wake up the church and women all across the nation from their apathy about politics.
But the Left is at it again trying to erase women from the story. Maleness and femaleness are gifts from God and therefore defined by Him. But the Left wants to buck God’s design and re-write truth. They are pushing not only the ERA on a national level but are also working to reverse or stop all state initiatives to protect life and girls’ places in our society. In fact, a major goal of the of the Biden-Harris ticket for 2020 is to stop state laws that protect life.
This is exactly what our state Supreme Court tried to do through its radical abortion ruling in 2019 that took away our ability to regulate the abortion industry for the safety of women and girls in Kansas. While pro-life advocates worked to give Kansans a say in the process, Governor Kelly and the Democrats tried to silence the voices of women and men across our state by blocking Value Them Both – a constitutional amendment to correct what the Court declared.
The wonderful thing is that we have strong female legislators in Kansas that fight for babies in the womb, who advocate for the safety of all women, that will stand up for fairness in sports, and who do not cower when the Left tries to mandate who they have to be, what they have to believe, and what they have to say to be deemed a woman. It is an honor to stand alongside these women to fight for life, religious freedom, and families every day. Together we are a force to be reckoned with as we continue to work to pass Value Them Both this next legislative session.
I am thankful for the opportunities that I have and do not take them for granted. I can only pray, that like Phyllis Schlafly and our female legislators in Kansas, that the work I do leaves a legacy for each woman in Kansas to be free to become who God intended for her to be. May we never take for granted the gift of womanhood or the ability to vote in our country.
For the women of Kansas,
Director of Advocacy
It looks like the 2020 legislative session took its final bow last week. Legislators came back for two days to discuss a COVID relief bill that is very similar to the bill Governor Kelly vetoed just two weeks ago.
The notable differences were that the bill extends the governor’s powers until September 15th with oversight from the State Finance Council (a committee chaired by the governor), allows counties more latitude in the decisions they make, does not allow the Governor to close businesses unilaterally, protects Kansans from forcibly being involved in contact tracing, and allows some oversight in how the governor can use federal dollars. The legislators I spoke with were not totally satisfied with the bill that passed, but recognized that it was a necessary bill that did allow us to control some of the governor’s actions.
There was a move in the House to insert Medicaid expansion into the COVID-19 Relief bill by Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita). When the amendment was ruled not germane to the bill, Rep. Ward challenged the ruling. Thankfully, his challenge was roundly rejected by a majority of legislators. All but one Republican voted to sustain the decision of the Rules Committee against the amendment.
This session will almost certainly go down in the record books as one of the oddest in Kansas history. It started out with two main topics – Value Them Both and Medicaid expansion. In the end, neither measure was passed, largely because the worst of COVID-19 occurred right when most of the legislative work usually gets done in March.
We are thankful for all those in the House and Senate who fought so hard to pass Value Them Both early in session. We are especially appreciative for the dedicated work of Senators Susan Wagle and Eric Rucker who carried the bill in the Senate and Representatives Susan Humphries, Renee Erickson, and Susan Concannon who carried the bill on the floor in the House. House Speaker Ron Ryckman and House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins were an indispensable part of our work on the bill this year. We look forward to working with them next year to pass Value Them Both, to provide women with basic protections.
We would like to take a moment to honor the work of Senate President Susan Wagle who has been a stalwart defender of life over the last 25 years. Most recently she carried Value Them Both on the Senate floor and was key to the passage of the Amendment in the Senate. We thank her for her commitment to life in Kansas. Even though she will no longer be working with us in the Senate, we look forward to her continued involvement in the movement to protect life.
As an organization, this session is one that did not turn out like we had planned, but we are excited about turning our focus towards elections and next legislative session. Further, we know that this is not the end of the amendment but is only the first round. We look forward to coming back next session with a legislature that is even more committed to life.
We eagerly anticipate continuing to work with you over the next several months to elect men and women who will defend life, the family, and religious freedom.
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
Just when we all thought legislative session was over, it has reared its head again. Well technically it’s a new session known as a special session. But I’ve jumped to the end of the story.
On May 21st, the legislature returned for a one-day session to conclude the legislative year. Both chambers went into session at 8 am. We knew that it would be a long day, but because the House is required by their own rules to be done by midnight, we all thought we would be done by then. It turns out we were wrong.
The House wound up suspending their midnight rule and extended their session until 8 AM the next morning. The legislature passed their COVID Relief Bill at 7:54 AM. That’s right, we were in the Capitol for 24 straight hours.
During this all-day session, the legislature worked to pass a bill to place limits on the Governor’s emergency powers and protect the medical and business communities from liability based on actions they have taken to contain the spread of COVID-19. There was also an attempt by Sen. Dinah Sykes to hijack a cable bill and insert Medicaid expansion.
As we have been talking about, without the Value Them Both Amendment, any vote for Medicaid expansion is a vote to allow taxpayer funded abortion. Thankfully, many of our senators stood strong and voted against allowing this bill to be amended. Click here to see how your Senator voted. Ultimately, the amendment failed and showed just how weak the desire for Medicaid expansion is in the Senate.
Then this week, Governor Kelly vetoed the legislature’s relief bill and called the legislature back into a special session next week. She then issued a new emergency declaration, despite many questioning her legal authority to do so. Either way, this new declaration will expire on June 10th.
There is still a lot of discussion about how a special session will play out, and we will update you as we know more.
One thing of note is that every bill that had been working its way through the legislature the last two years is now officially dead. A special session will require every bill to start from scratch – meaning all legislation will have to be reintroduced and go through the committee process.
This means that Medicaid expansion could be brought up again. Please take time today to remind your legislators to vote against taxpayer funded abortion.
As I have said many times over the last several weeks, continue to be in prayer for all those charged with leading during this time. These are important days and will have great consequences for the future of our economy, our legislature, our families, and our state as a whole. Pray that they will lead with wisdom and discernment.
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
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
What other right do you get to claim that then requires the rest of society to give you something?
Most of our rights are premised on the fact that they only require others to refrain from something. But according to many courts around the country and to abortion activist, their “right” to abortion demands something of you.
They DEMAND you pay for it!
We’re seeing this in state after state across the country and a huge push for it from every Democratic candidate for President – not only should states protect abortion to the utmost degree, but everyone else should have to pay for it. Thankfully, Kansans have historically rejected the idea that taxpayers should be required pay for any abortion.
But that’s exactly what will eventually happen in our state if we don’t reverse the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling from last Spring in Hodes & Nauser. This effect is only amplified by any sort of expansion of Medicaid.
The media and our opponents want to count us out of this fight.
But it ain’t over until it’s over. That is certainly true in Kansas.
Thankfully this means that the Value Them Both amendment still has time. They want you to believe that it’s over and that we are artificially holding up Medicaid expansion. There is a clear connection between the two and we are winning the argument. It has been verified in multiple states across the nation where courts have protected the “right” to abortion that Medicaid expansion eventually leads to an alarming increase in the number of taxpayer-funded abortions.
Medicaid expansion advocates have admitted that expansion could lead to increases here in Kansas—they know they cannot count us out.
We always knew passing Value Them Both would be a challenge.
We are nowhere near done and we are not going anywhere!
We need you to partner with us now, more than ever, to continue to encourage your legislators to do the right thing and pass the Amendment.
No one in Kansas wants to be known as the person who allowed taxpayer funded abortion in our state and we need to let legislators know that a vote against Value Them Both is a vote for that. We know that without the amendment, a vote for Medicaid expansion is a vote for taxpayer funded abortion.
Even if we insisted on pro-life language in a Medicaid bill (or any other legislation for that matter), it would all be meaningless because we would still be exposed to the whim of any future court using the Hodes & Nauser ruling to then mandate taxpayer-funding of abortion. One way or another – that is their goal and it must be stopped!
Value Them Both must pass.
Please contact your legislators today and urge them to protect all Kansas from having to be complicit in the abortion industry.
Standing for life,
We’re a little over a third of the way through the 2020 legislative session and have reached the week of session known as turnaround. Turnaround marks the part of session where bills must have made it through the chamber they originated in unless they have been otherwise “blessed” to be exempt from this requirement by leadership. This is where the legislature starts narrowing down what bills it will be considering going forward.
I wanted to take this opportunity to look at some different pro-family bills that may be of an interest to you that are winding their way through our legislature.
- H.B. 2465 – This bill would expand the number of students eligible for our existing low-income tax credit. This tax credit was designed to create a scholarship program to help low-income students move into a school where they can flourish. This allows everyday Kansans to play a role in helping our students thrive by donating to a scholarship granting organization that helps these students excel. Currently, this program is only applicable to a small group of Kansas students, and this bill will allow this program to help more Kansas kids.
- H.B. 2552 – This bill brought by Renee Erickson (an alum of the Statesmen Academy, which is a project of our sister organization, Family Policy Foundation) will help students who are falling behind educationally as determined by their 3rd grade reading assessment. There are thousands of Kansas students every year who are reading below grade level on their 3rd grade reading assessment. This bill will give them the option to take part of the state funding allotment to allow students to pursue educational opportunities that fit their needs. This broadens options for families in educating their children in our state.
- H.B. 2724 & 2725 – These bills are designed to expand options for students performing below level level in English or math or who are determined to have a disability or a learning disability like dyslexia. The programs created by these bills will allow parents to elect to use a portion of the funds allocated for their student to seek alternative education methods for their child. This promotes parent’s ability to make the best decisions for their child.
- H.B. 2506 – This bill would ease the process for military families who have professional licenses valid in other states who move to our state due to their status in the military. This would expedite the professional licensing process for military families and help remove barriers to families in our state.
We are proud to partner with Americans for Prosperity of Kansas in discussing many of these important issues and their effect on the family at the upcoming Day at the Dome Rally. This rally will be held at the Kansas Capitol on Monday, March 9, 2020 at 10:30. If you are able, I encourage each of you to attend.
Further, we are continuing to work to educate legislators on the impact of Medicaid expansion on forced taxpayer funding of abortion. Without the Value Them Both Amendment, Medicaid will become a funding stream for the abortion industry. We are persisting in our work to ensure that Value Them Both appears on your August ballot, where it has the strongest likelihood of passing to protect both mothers and babies in our state.
Many of your legislators will be back in their districts over the next several weeks. I encourage you to reach out to them and encourage them to fight for life and families in Kansas.
For a Kansas where families thrive,
Brittany Jones. Esq.
Director of Advoacy
You may have heard recently of an increased discussion about the connection between taxpayer-funded abortions and Medicaid Expansion. While some around the state Capitol in Topeka have claimed there isn’t a connection, there absolutely is. It’s something I’ve been talking about for months. Because of recent court rulings, passing the Value Them Both Amendment is absolutely necessary before any movement on Medicaid expansion can even be considered.
How could this happen? Aren’t there federal and state laws that prevent our tax dollars from funding abortion?
While it is true that the Hyde Amendment, a line that has been in every federal budget since 1976, does not allow federal Medicaid dollars to be used for abortions except in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, it does nothing to protect state dollars from being used to fund abortion. Fortunately, Kansas also passed a law that applies similar restrictions to safeguard all our state dollars from funding abortion.
This law is however under grave threat from our Supreme Court. In last year’s Hodes & Nauser decision, the Court indicated by the nature of its ruling that this is the very type of law that would be struck down under the Court’s newly created constitutional right to abortion. We could lose this most basic safeguard that protects the conscience rights of every Kansan.
Even recent attempts by lawmakers to again codify the ban on taxpayer-funded abortion in Medicaid expansion are ultimately meaningless without Value Them Both given the Court’s reckless decree that abortion is a Constitutional right in Kansas.
There are already eight other states whose courts have required that they pay for abortions through Medicaid. In the two years after Alaska expanded Medicaid, the number of abortions paid for by Alaska taxpayers through state Medicaid services shot up 18%
The Value Them Both Constitutional amendment is vital to preserving the ability of the state to prevent Medicaid (and other taxpayer dollars) from funding abortion. The problem of taxpayer-funded abortion is only compounded by adding thousands to the rolls through Medicaid expansion. Bottom line – without passage of the Constitutional amendment, Kansans are one lawsuit away from taxpayer-funded abortion.
When you offer taxpayer-funded (free) abortions to more of the population – it makes sense that demand will go up.
This problem can still be solved with the simple passage of the Value Them Both Amendment so Kansas voters can decide for themselves.
We call on all members in the House and the Senate to pass the Value Them Both Amendment in order to protect all Kansans from being coerced to pay for abortions.
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
P.S. If you would like me or another member of our team to speak on this topic in your church or civic group, send me an email!
On Kansas Day of all days, your state senators voted to reaffirm that our state is truly a pro-life state by voting 28-12 to pass the Value Them Both Constitutional Amendment. The Senate debated the issue for over four hours on Wednesday afternoon and evening and finally passed the amendment about 8 p.m.
Sen. Susan Wagle, the main sponsor of the bill, stood strongly to protect both women and babies on the floor, repeatedly stating that this amendment ensures that the most vulnerable in our society aren’t left to the predation of the abortion industry.
The opposition presented amendment after amendment, yet the pro-life senators stuck together and refused to allow the opposition to divide them.
Many senators did so much to make this happen, but there are several senators that deserve a special thanks for carrying the weight of the debate on the floor: Senators Wagle, Rucker, Tyson, Pyle and Baumgardner. If you live in one of their districts, please thank them – and any of the senators who voted for life.
We are thrilled by this victory. But there is no time for rest.
It now goes on to the House where it will be hotly debated. It is critical right now that you let your state representative know how important this is to you and to the future of Kansas. This is the biggest pro-life vote of our generation.
We have the momentum. With God’s blessing and your help, we’ll protect babies and moms all over our state.
For Kansas Values,
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
P.S. Be on the lookout for updates about the amendment on our Twitter and Facebook pages. And please reach out to your representative TODAY through our new, updated action alert!
And please – share this as widely as possible with other pro-life Kansans. Thank you!