The first step in making a difference is to get informed. What is your issue? What are you the most passionate about? Learn about the moderate positions below, and read up on recent legislation and proposals.
MainStream was founded on the crucial issue of the separation of church and state. We have official positions as formulated by our Board of Directors, and they inform how we focus on current issues. But the truth is, that focus on good government, sound fiscal policies, and a strong public education system means we keep an eye on most everything.
These resources are here to help you get, and stay, informed.
Get the news
Keep up with what is happening right now! We link relevant news articles with the issues below, but if you're trying to follow the news up to the minute, here are some sources:
Our email updates
Sign up for our email updates. We send one email every week, and action alerts when needed during the legislative session. During elections, we send a step up email with opportunities for doing more than just voting.
Our Twitter List
We maintain a Twitter list (no Twitter account needed!) of reporters, officials, and activists that can give a lot of insight into what is happening in Topeka. Updated on the fly as news happens.
Audio feeds of proceeding in the #ksleg:
This year, live audio streams are available for committee hearings and floor debates. Links to the chamber feeds are below, links to committee feeds are available on those committee pages.
Who represents you? What do they stand for? Are their positions compatible with a moderate outlook? There are a number of resources for finding out about the people who make decisions on your behalf.
Extreme views and partisan posturing are just so much blather until the legislation is passed. Here are some resources for keeping up with Kansas legislative goings on.
Watch Our Forums
We hold educational forums every year during the Kansas legislative session. Since 2015, we have been live streaming these forums on the Internet, and making the available for on demand viewing later. Our YouTube channel, where al that happens, is here:
With so many issues at hand, we have chosen a few of topline importance to highlight. But we stay vigilant to counter extremist legislation of any kind.
- Budget and Taxes
- Civil Rights
- Health Care
- Public Education
- Reproductive Health
- Voting Rights
Budget and Taxes
In 2012, coming on the heels of a national recession that saw State services slashed, and with real economic gains starting to show up, Governor Brownback engineered a massive income tax cut under the premise that it would jumpstart the Kansas economy. Instead, revenues have plummeted, requiring even more cuts to services. The Kansas Experiment is an abject failure.
MainStream believes that a solid revenue strategy for the state does not overburden any one segment of the population, relies on sales, income, and property taxes, and provides enough funds to properly support the duties of state government.
- Current news on Kansas budget and taxes - Google news link
Civil Rights, Equality, and Religious Freedom
Kansas has a proud history of being at the forefront of civil rights issues, from the Civil War to Brown v. Board of Education. But its recent history has not been so impressive. Repeated attempts to curtail the rights of LGBT citizens, under the guise of "religious freedom" have been common the last few years. We've also seen an increasing number of attempts to curb "ethnic studies" and/or cultures and traditions not well represented in Kansas.
MainStream believes that every citizen has the same rights, regardless of gender, race, age, sexual identity, or sexual orientation. Any legislation that attempts to curtail those rights, to segregate some members of society, or give preference to one rigid morality is contrary to the spirit of the country (read: "Un-American").
- Current news on Kansas civil rights - Google news link
- Current news on Kansas LGBT rights - Google news link
- Current news on Kansas religious freedom - Google news link
There hasn't been a more contentious, tone-deaf, blindly partisan issue in recent years than health care and the Affordable Care Act. Polls have shown that nationally, and in Kansas, affordable health care is popular, as long as it isn't called Obamacare. With cries of "Socialism!" and "Government Take-over!" the far right have worked to dismantle any compassionate, patient-centered health care measures. Instead, Kansas has KanCare, a mismanaged state takeover of Medicaid that has turned sour, losing money, holding back refunds, and limiting care.
MainStream believes that compassionate, competent, affordable health care should be available to every Kansan, regardless of income or situation. The state's dubious assertion that they can manage any system well has been put to the lie by their mismanagement of KanCare.
- Current news on Kansas health care, KanCare, Medicaid expansion and Medicare - Google news link
Part and parcel of good government are the checks and balances between the three branches of government: the administration, the legislature, and the courts. The Kansas right wing ideologues, thwarted by the courts (some would say, by the State's Constitution), especially on school funding matters, have begun a campaign to unbalance these checks. The attacks have become nearly constant of late, and will culminate in a campaign to reject retention of judges on the general election ballot in November 2016.
MainStream strongly believes that an independent judiciary is vital to the health of the state, and actions by the Governor or the Legislature to usurp, diminish, or influence the judicial branch of government should be strongly opposed.
- Current news on Kansas judiciary - Google news link
The financing of public education is a requirement of the Kansas Constitution. Despite this binding obligation, and despite numerous lawsuits, Kansas legislators and lobbyists have been continuing to slash state spending on education to fulfill their mission to shrink government. Without greater voter engagement, they may ultimately cause Kansas public schools to fail.
MainStream believes an excellent education is a right given to every Kansas child by the Kansas Constitution, and that every Kansas child deserves the same opportunity to succeed. Public education is a singular responsibility of the state, and benefits every Kansas citizen. There is no excuse for shrinking, privatizing, or curtailing public education in Kansas.
- Current news on Kansas public education - Google news link
Reproductive Health Services
Kansas has a deplorable history of trying to deny access to reproductive health services. We have some of the most onerous restrictions on access to abortions, contraceptives, and sexual health education. For example, pharmacists may refuse to provide contraceptives if they choose, and are not required to refer to another source. In many Kansas towns, there is only one pharmacy, effectively denying some contraceptives to those Kansas citizens.
MainStream rejects the notion that anyone is "pro-abortion," a charge often leveled at those calling themselves pro choice. The moderate position is that reproductive health issues are medical and personal, and should not be subject to the morality of any government official.
- Current news on Kansas reproductive health - Google news link
Voting is a right and a duty. As a right, it should not be limited in any way. In Kansas, the Secretary of State has repeatedly argued that protections from voter fraud are more important than unfettered access to this right. But when asked to support voting machine audits to prevent voting fraud, his office demures.
MainStream believes that every eligible voter has the right to vote, and should be enabled and encouraged to do so by the Kansas Secretary of State, rather than confronted with obstacles.
- Current news on Kansas voting rights, voter fraud - Google news link