Loud Light’s weekly Kansas politics recap: state constitution, immunizations, trans kids, 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 that happened in the 9th week of the 2022 Kansas legislative session:
Redistricting Trial Set
The lawsuit challenging the new congressional redistricting maps as unconstitutional gerrymandering that predetermines the outcome of elections is now scheduled to go to trial in 3 weeks beginning April 4th at the Wyandotte County Courthouse. Meanwhile state senate maps were just introduced & a public testimony deadline set for Monday morning. This appears to be a repeat of the rushed secretive process used to pass the congressional maps.
Despite large public opposition, a Senate Committee passed a bill blocking transgender girls from playing sports begining in elementary school. The bill which may subject children to genital inspections is now headed to the Senate floor for a vote where Sen. Pres. Masterson (R) has suggested he has the votes to pass it & override a Governor’s veto.
Health Secretary Confirmed
Janet Stanek was confirmed as the state’s new Health Secretary with only 5 dissenting votes after months of contentious hearings where Republican Senators particularly conspiracy driven Senators such as Thompson (R) & Steffen (R) grilled Stanek about how they don’t believe the state should encourage immunizations & don’t think health secretaries should consider public health information from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention.
The Senate Judiciary committee approved a bill that would effectively ban mask mandates from being used during any future public health crisis & remove immunization requirements in schools.
Convention of States Fails
An effort to call a national convention of the states under article 5 of the U.S. Constitution failed to reach the 2/3 supermajority vote in the House coming up 8 votes short. There’s been a Republican push across the country to call a convention despite no one knowing exactly how the process would work or if the topics could be restricted. There were some conservative disagreements because the convention could result in things like changing the 2nd amendment.
State Constitutional Amendments
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed out two different state constitutional amendment proposals that seek to abolish the nonpartisan selection of Kansas Supreme Court Justices during the low-turnout August election which is already a special election to amendment the constitution to allow legislators to ban abortion. A different committee passed a constitutional amendment to make it more difficult for legislators to adjust tax policy. These are just a few of the many constitutional amendment proposals Senators have been floating around to solidify their ideology in the Kansas Constitution.
There’s a ton happening in the Statehouse as this coming week is the final week for most committees to meet. There’s a lot of noise, but we’ll get a picture of what ideas may become law over the next couple weeks. Thanks for sharing & donating. Stay tuned, stay engaged, & until next time, thank you so much Kansas!