Loud Light’s weekly Kansas politics recap: senator investigation, redistricting, economic development, and more

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 3rd week of the 2022 Kansas legislative session.

Redistricting (SB355)
During debate Rep. Clayton (D) said “the transparency in this process is as fake as my eyelashes” referring to the secretive fast paced process in which Kansas Republicans pushed through the controversial “Ad Astra 2” congressional map in a single week. The map slices up neighborhoods in KCK, scoops Lawrence into a rural district, splits apart tribal reservations, & would favor Republicans to win every seat in Kansas. Gov. Kelly (D) has a week to decide if she’ll sign the map into law or veto it. If she vetoes the map Republicans may use their super-majority to override her & force the maps into law; however, if the maps become law they will likely face lawsuits for diluting the voting strength of minorities through racial gerrymandering & denying Kansans the right to one-person one-vote by partisan gerrymandering that predetermines the outcome of elections.

Senator Medical Investigation (SB381)
Sen. Mark Steffen (R) an anesthesiologist who has pushed pseudoscience such as treating COVID-19 with essential oils revealed that he is under investigation by the state’s medical board for writing off-label prescriptions as COVID-19 treatments. This came to light in a hearing for a bill Steffen is pushing that would force pharmacists to fill any type of experimental off-label prescription as long as it’s claimed to be for COVID-19 & would create legal immunity for doctors engaged in the experiments which would end the investigation into Sen. Steffen. The committee plans to vote on the bill on Thursday.

Economic Development (SB347)
Kansas is among 2 finalists for a massive $4 billion advanced manufacturing facility that would provide 4,000 good paying jobs & billions a year in economic activity. Details beyond that are secret & Kansas would need to provide a variety of incentives such as tax credits that may total a billion dollars to secure the deal. A bill that does just that dubbed APEX – attracting powerful economic expansion – passed the Senate with bipartisan support & is headed to the House. If the deal is secured it could be the largest economic development project in Kansas history.

Coming Up
Things have been kind of slow with legislators out with COVID-19 & the big focus on congressional redistricting, but the Statehouse will be starting to pick up next week with more hearings on ending the food tax & proposals to reduce income tax & give public money to private schools. Stay tuned, stay engaged, and until next time, thank you so much Kansas!

Categories: Politics