Loud Light’s weekly Kansas politics recap: mockery, power grabs, and junk insurance
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 11th week of the 2022 Kansas legislative session
A bill legalizing STLD policies known as junk insurance passed the House. Bills banning transgender children from sports & finalizing the maps-for-measles deal by essentially removing all immunization requirements from schools passed the Senate.
For the 4th year in a row, Ty Masterson (R) who is now Senate President won the golden fork award for the legislator that lobbyists spent the most money wining & dining. Notably, this is based solely on lobbyists taking Masterson out & does not include the six-figures salary that Masterson receives from WSU that’s paid for by Koch Industries.
A wave of preemption bills to strip away local control & consolidate power in the state legislature are headed to conference committee negotiations including preventing local governments from regulating throwaway plastics & robotic delivery on sidewalks. Wyandotte County recently passed a Safe & Welcoming ordinance to improve public safety by allowing undocumented immigrations to report crimes without fear of deportation, but the House passed a bill aiming to undo the ordinance.
The house stuffed its most recent house redistricting proposal called “free state 3f” into a senate redistricting proposal called “Liberty 3.” SB563 focuses on protecting incumbents which garnered some support from Democrats, but the maps would pre-determine most elections to guarantee not just a majority, but a Republican supermajority in the state legislature for potentially the next decade. Because the Kansas legislature has historically resisted efforts to embrace the one-person one-vote principle of democracy by drawing fair districts, the state’s constitution includes mandatory state supreme court review to determine if state house & senate maps are valid.
The constitutional amendment proposals to make state supreme court justice selection more partisan & to require supermajorities to change tax policy both failed to pass the Senate. A legislative veto over executive rules & regs is currently an unconstitutional breach of the separation of powers, but the legislature succeeded in passing an amendment to change the constitution to usurp this executive power. The amendment will now go to a public vote later this year.
Rep. Ponka-We Victors (D) was making history as she presided over the Kansas House when she used her gavel to quiet the room & Rep. Wheeler (R) said that he needed to make sure she didn’t have a tomahawk. The mocking of native culture resulted in laughter from some legislators, but tribal governments condemned the remarks as degrading & inflammatory. This comes as the state’s education commissioner is on unpaid leave for making derogatory comments about Native Americans & the state is facing lawsuits for redrawing congressional maps explicitly designed to quote “take out” Sharice Davids (D) who is the only Native American woman in Congress.
This coming week is all about negotiating differences between already passed House & Senate bills in conference committees; however, anything could happen as legislators may manipulate the process to insert new ideas into already passed bills. Thanks for commenting, sharing, & donating. Stay tuned, stay engaged, & until next time, thank you so much Kansas!