Loud Light’s weekly Kansas politics recap: map override, voter suppression, food tax, and renewables
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 transcription:
Hey, I’m Davis Hammet with Loud Light. Here’s what happened in the 5th week of the 2022 Kansas legislative session.
Sen. Tyson (R) amended the bill abolishing the food tax so that it wouldn’t go into effect for 3 years. If this version passes the entire legislature it would mean Kansans will keep paying taxes on groceries until the state senators are up for election in 2024.
Map Veto Override
A chaotic effort to override the Governor’s veto & force the controversial congressional maps into law succeeded. The map is now the law, but lawsuits are expected any moment. To secure the supermajority of Republican votes needed, Sen. Pres. Masterson (R) cut a deal with Sen. Steffen (R) to advance bills stopping the medical investigations into Steffen & to end all immunization requirements in schools. The map for measles deal caused immediate backlash leading to Masterson stripping Steffen & others of some of their committee seats saying the punishment would improve Republican unity.
Last year saw a massive wave of voter suppression bills nationally & that trend has only increased this year. Kansas already has over 20 election bills introduced in 2022. The bills cover everything from purging voters from the registration list to making it more difficult to vote by mail & less likely votes are counted. This coming week committees in both chambers will hold hearings to end the 3-day grace period for delayed mail sent on or before Election Day. According to the Secretary of State, had this been law in 2020 it would have thrown out the ballots of 32,367 Kansas citizens.
On Thursday, Gov. Kelly (D) signed the APEX bill which may offer a billion in incentives for the largest economic development project in Kansas history. It will be weeks before Kansans know if the company is coming or who it is, but there’s speculation it’s a Panasonic electric battery advanced manufacturing facility that would be built on the grounds of the De Soto WWII ammunition plant in Johnson County.
Sen. Mike Thompson (R), who denies the scientific consensus on climate change, has introduced several anti-renewable energy bills that could effectively halt renewable energy growth in Kansas & encourage renewable investment in other states. The bills would require wind & solar farms be built only on land zoned for industrial use, tighten requirements for wind & solar development, & consider wind & solar projects abandoned if nothing is constructed within three years.
This next week will be busy as committees rush to pass bills to the floor in preparation for turnaround week. Most bills are supposed to pass either the House or Senate by February 24th to stay alive. Stay tuned, stay engaged, & until next time, thank you so much Kansas!