Loud Light Kansas Politics Recap: anti-abortion myths, re-emerging disease, and anti-trans bills

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The Pitch has partnered with a local political awareness organization called Loud Light. Their goal is to engage and empower individuals from underrepresented populations to build community power. And impact decision-makers. Each week of the year that the Kansas statehouse is in session, they release a short video recapping what the legislature is up to.

Knowing the nitty-gritty of what’s happening with your representatives is the only way to stay involved with the way local government affects your life. You can donate to support Loud Light’s work by clicking here.

Here is this week’s video and transcription:

Hey I’m Davis Hammet with Loud Light! Here’s what happened in the 11th week of the 2023 Kansas legislative session.

Anti-Vaccines (SB315)
A bill to abolish all vaccine requirements at childcare facilities and public schools failed to pass out of a Senate committee on Thursday, but in a potentially unprecedented move Republican Chair Gossage declared that rules do not apply to committees, re-opened the vote, and passed the bill 5-4. This came despite bipartisan objections to the maneuver including objections from Republican Senator O’Shea who had requested security earlier in the week when anti-vaccine activists targeted O’Shea during testimony – in that scenario Chair Gossage was dismissive of O’Shea’s safety concerns telling her they didn’t have time. The bill now heads to the Senate for a full vote and comes as several preventable diseases are re-emerging due to vaccine hesitancy.

Targeting Transgender Kansans (HB2427 & HB2263)
The Kansas Legislature has not yet attempted to override the Governor’s veto of a bill banning transgender students from sports, but both House and Senate Committee’s advanced bills that seek to apply the same standards that may subject students to invasive genital inspections to play sports to also apply to students wanting to attend overnight field trips. Additionally, a Senate Committee inserted into a House bill a controversial proposal that would strip away the medical licenses of doctors who provide gender affirming care such as hormone therapy to anyone under 18.

Presidential Primaries (Senate sub HB2053)
A bill from Republican party insiders asking the state to pay for a March 2024 presidential primary was introduced and passed out of committee this week. In Kansas, political parties themselves usually conduct and pay for caucuses to select their presidential nominee. The state has only used tax dollars twice to pay for presidential primaries and each case was done at the request of the Republican party. If enacted the cost to the state is estimated at $5 million dollars.

Abortion (HB2439 HB2313)
The House passed two bills related to abortion that the professional association of obstetricians and gynecologists have condemned as not being based on science. The first would require individuals seeking a medicinal abortion to receive notice that the procedure can be reversed even though that’s unproven. The second would make it a crime if a doctor inducing an abortion does not try to preserve the life of a fetus showing vital signs. Since infanticide is already illegal the bill is most likely to impact situations where a wanted pregnancy is aborted due to a terminal defect in a fetus. The bill would require the doctor to attempt to save the terminal fetus instead of allowing the parents to hold it for the few moments it’s alive. If enacted both laws would likely be challenged immediately in Court.

School Funding Budget (SB 113)
The House passed a K-12 school funding bill that was loaded with policies that never received hearings, and did not include any additional special education funding in it. Ultimately, the bill itself may be irrelevant as this year’s school funding bill is likely to be formed by a few legislators in a conference committee over the next two weeks.

Coming Up
This coming week both the House and Senate will be on the floor each day as the legislative session draws closer to an end. The week likely will include lots of conference committees where the House and Senate negotiate bill differences and almost anything could happen. Thanks for liking, commenting, and sharing. Stay tuned, stay engaged, and until next time, thank you so much Kansas!

Categories: Politics