On Saturday, the Kansas legislature adjourned for their annual spring break. They will return on April 26 for one final week of work before the end of the 2018 session. I wanted to update you on the progress Family Policy Alliance of Kansas made during the session, roadblocks we encountered, and what’s left to do.
First, the good news. After successfully partnering with KFL and other pro-life groups on Simon’s Law and the Disclose Act during last year’s session, we had one policy priority still in progress: the creation of a palliative care advisory council, which will explore ways to expand knowledge, training, and access to palliative care in Kansas. I’m pleased to report that the legislation passed both chambers and is headed to Gov. Colyer for his signature.
Another win is the creation and approval of a “Choose Life” license plate. The legislation has passed both chambers and a conference committee, and just a couple legislative steps remain before it goes to Gov. Colyer.
A new priority for 2018 was our “Tim Tebow” bill, legislation that will expand access to opportunities for homeschool students to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities at their local public school. Rep. Clay Aurand, Chairman of the House Education committee, partnered with us to develop the bill and ensured it a hearing. Despite powerful personal testimony from home school parents, the bill was opposed by several public education interest groups. Because of that, Chairman Aurand and I agreed we were unlikely to pass the bill this session.
Two major priorities remain: the Adoption Protection Act and a constitutional amendment on life.
The constitutional amendment on life is a response to an expected decision from the Kansas Supreme Court on Kansas’ dismemberment abortion ban. History tells us that the Kansas Supreme Court is likely to issue a radical ruling, perhaps even declaring a constitutional right to abortion. A constitutional amendment is the only remedy to such a ruling. As of today, the Court has yet to rule, so we wait. If the Court fails to rule before the end of the legislative session, we will push for a special session during which the amendment can be considered and approved to go to Kansans for a public referendum.
The Adoption Protection Act will ensure that faith-based adoption and foster care service providers are not forced out of business because their work to help kids is inspired by their religious beliefs, as has happened in several other states. It received hearings in both the House and Senate Federal and State Affairs committees, but was not “worked.” As a result, the provisions of the Act were amended to another bill dealing with adoption. That bill, with the Adoption Protection amendment, passed the Senate 28-12.
Disappointingly, the House failed to support a “motion to concur” by 58-64 vote; 27 Republicans voted no. Nevertheless, Adoption Protection is still alive and there will be a full-court press to pass the bill in the legislature’s final week.
Thank you for your support of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas. We couldn’t fulfill our mission to defend the dignity of every human life, protect religious freedom, and honor God’s plan for the family without you.
President and Executive Director