Make a Difference
1. The first step is to get informed.
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.
- Budget and Taxes
- Civil Rights
- Health Care
- Public Education
- Reproductive Health
- Voting Rights
Know the Voting Record of your Legislators
Knowing how your representatives in State Government voted on your key issues is important. MainStream has created Voting Scorecards for state legislators from Johnson, Wyandotte, and Douglas Counties. See how your legislator did on moderate issues.
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.
- 2012 - Kansas Governor Signs Tax-Cut Bill - Wall Street Journal
- Kansas tax revenues fall while other states see rise - KCStar
- Lessons for Other States from Kansas' Massive Tax Cuts - Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
- "Kansas is a cautionary tale..." New report slams Kansas tax cuts - Washington Post
- A Kansas failure-tale - Hutch News
- Don't Blame Capital Gains for the Revenue Collapse - Duane Goossen
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.
2014 - The Kansas House passed HB 2453, a bill ostensibly aimed at "Religious Freedom" but clearly designed to allow legal discrimination against same-sex couples in business and employment. The language was so broad, that some opponents feared it could extend to refusal of services to other individuals as well, for no other reason than a "deeply held" religious belief. Facing a groundswell of protest, including a rally co-sponsored by MainStream, the Kansas Senate quietly refused to hear the bill.
- Wikipedia overview of Kansas House Bill 2453
- Kansas State House Passes Bill Allowing Refusal of Services To Same Sex Couples - Huff Post
- Kansas Legislators Explain their Votes on Bill - LJ World
- KansasSenate Judiciary Chairman says ant-gay bill is dead in Legislature - KC Star
- Kansans Urged to Thank Lawmakers Who Voted for Controversial Bill - KC Star
- Rally on Kansas Capitol decries House "religious freedom" bill
2015? - Supporters of HB 2453 have declared that the fight isn't over. We can expect similar legislation to be re-introduced next year.
The extreme right, funded and prodded by the combination of ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, and the Koch family, have continued to strike at environmental protections and initiatives, going so far as to defy Federal statutes. Protection of the environment, of quality of life, of Kansas' glorious natural history is nothing the the face of corporate profits.
2014 - Despite a well orchestrated and funded effort, a combination of moderates and Western Kansas conservatives defeated an attempt to gut wind and alternative energy industries in Kansas, in favor of traditional goal and gas utilities. But the Lesser Prairie Chicken's endangered designation started a firestorm of anti-Federal grandstanding that ended with the State in yet another ill-advised, expensive lawsuit.
2015? - There is no question that the alternative energy requirements will come under attack again in the next session.
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 gift to a few insurance conglomerates that has turned sour, losing money, holding back refunds, and limiting care.
2013 - Governor Brownback refuses expanded funds from the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of dollars Kansans have already paid in Federal taxes. Our money, not helping Kansas, because the Governor and the extremists are too petty to see reason.
2014 - Along with continued and strident refusals to take Federal ACA money, the Tea Party right in the Legislature have Kansas join the Health Care Compact, a wish fulfillment consortium of conservative states urging Congress to let them manage all aspects of the ACA.
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.
2013 - The Legislature passed a bill that made Appellate Court Judges political appointments by the Governor, taking away the role of an independent review board. They became, in essence, political appointees.
2014 - The extremists in the Legislature coerced the Courts into giving up some oversight of Court functions by withholding budgetary funds until the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court relented.
2015? - It is expected that, sooner rather than later, the extremists will move to make the Kansas Supreme Court a body appointed by the Governor, too, bringing it fully under their political sway. In the meantime, in an end run around the restrictions, and with just nine months of judicial experience, former Brownback legal counsel Caleb Stegall was appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court.
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.
This page briefly explains the political situation surrounding public school financing in Kansas, brings you up to date on the latest news, and connects you with our partners working to support a strong future for public education, teachers, and school children.
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.
When more citizens vote, more moderate positions win. The in Kansas to limit voting rights, to suppress voter turnout, and to govern without the will of all the people of Kansas.
2014 - In a rare show of unity, both parties agreed to pass a bill limiting the ability of voters to vote in Primary elections. It is MainStream's position that any limiting of voting rights is an abrogation of the public's right to representation. Simply put, if the only election of consequence in your District is in the Primary, you should have the right to vote in that Primary.
This year also saw Secretary of State Kris Kobach continue his drive to limit the voting rights of regular Kansans. Unwilling to stop at onerous citizenship requirements for voter registration, he sued the Federal Government to require the citizenship document requirement be present on Federal voter registration forms. Barring that, he said, he would look into preventing Federally approved voters who had not signed up with KS citizenship requirements from voting on KS races.
2,126,179 Kansans of voting age
1,644,614 registered to vote
17,000 Kansas voter registrations "in suspense" for lack of citizenship proof
7 convictions for voter fraud in the past thirteen years
- Voter ID now Kansas Law - Topeka Capital-Journal
- Kris Kobach op-ed: The Case for Voter ID - Wall Street Journal
- Kobach thinks Kansas voting law unaffected by Supreme Court ruling - Wichita Eagle
- Law professor says ‘dual elections’ a real possibility this year - LJWorld
- Kobach Uncovers Massive Voter Fraud…In 1855