Kansans Deserve Better

We never really thought it was over, did we? We suspected that the $500 million education finance legislation passed last weekend was not going to be enough to satisfy the Court. We expected we would have to revisit it. We just thought it would be in a Special Session this summer.

Now, word comes that the bill that was passed has an error in it. One that will short change many school districts to the tune of $80 million. Lawmakers will have to work extra fast to pass a correction when they return April 26, to meet the Court's deadline of April 30.

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Where are we now?

Kansas Capitol domeThe Kansas Legislature has ended the the first, and most significant part of their session. They are scheduled to return on April 26, for the so called "veto session," although there are still several issues to resolve, among them a budget for next year, and the fate of the education amendment we talked about last week.

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Defending Education

Student alone a classroomPart of straddling the line between extremes is staying away from hyperbole. We work to encourage compromise and collaboration, and call out strident calls like "Taxes are theft!" for what they are. That said, we find we cannot emphasize this next point too much: education is under attack in Kansas, and it is time to stand up to defend it, lest we lose an entire generation of children.

This week in Topeka, hearings are underway on a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to give control of education standards to the Legislature. If made law, this would irreparably hurt education in Kansas, and put one more nail in the coffin of the checks and balances that keep our government sound.

That sounds like a lot of hyperbole, right? Let us convince you.

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Arming Teachers is Ridiculous

In the wake of this weekend's worldwide outpouring of resistance to gun violence, and with a backdrop of little to no action on funding public schools, the Kansas Legislature is holding a hearing on a bill designed, not only to arm Kansas teachers, but to hold school districts liable should they not allow teachers to carry weapons and the unthinkable happens.

Concealed gun in a handbagThis is a terrible idea, and an incredibly tone-deaf move on the part of legislative leadership. We are stunned.

Nobody we have spoken to sincerely believes this bill (HB 2789) has the will behind it to pass, certainly not on the floor of either chamber if it makes it out of committee. So why is this bill being heard?

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ACTION ALERT - Oppose Anti-LGBT Adoptions Bills

FamiliesThe Kansas Legislature is hearing bills TOMORROW (Wed, 3/21/18) that would allow religious organizations to deny adoptions to LGBT families. In addition to the moral grounds (LGBT persons should not be discriminated against), and the data-driven grounds (LGBT families are at least as stable as heterosexual families), MainStream objects to this legislation because religious morality has no place in government.

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$2 billion

You may have heard that the Kansas Legislature on Friday received the report it paid for on the cost to adequately finance public schools in the state. You may have heard this because the numbers were eye-popping, between $400 million and $2.1 billion (with a B). It should be said that many expected the number delivered to be much lower. The report was commissioned by Republican leadership, already keen on spending less on public education. One of the people hired to deliver the report previously low-balled a similar report in Texas. The political rhetoric that surfaced this weekend has been pretty spectacular. And ridiculous.

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Education Movement Ahead?

Topeka CapitolLast week in Kansas politics had a few bright moments, but mostly it was still setup for the biggest issues still to come. While progress was made on stopping the Convention of the States, and Kris Kobach's defense of his citizenship requirement for voter registration faltered, we got muddled direction on gun safety from legislative leaders, and still no news on education finance, the deadline for which looms closer and closer.

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Message to Legislators on Constitutional Amendments

We have just sent this message to all 165 Kansas State Legislators, concerning Constitutional amendments and other measures that have been introduced or proposed for action in the Legislature. In short, MainStream will find it virtually impossible to support legislators who support any of these or similar measures.

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Ready to act?

There is no more powerful force in the world than the collective will of the people. In a democracy, that will is expressed at the ballot box, but also on the streets, in neighborhoods, at coffee shops and libraries, in conversations and when you contact your government representatives. To protect our democracy, citizens need to show up. That's why we ask you to do more than vote.

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Kansans in the Dark

Keeping Kansans in the DarkIf you've followed MainStream, you know we educate, advocate, and act on behalf of a number of issues. This session, we've done a lot of work on health care access, gun safety, voting rights, and women's reproductive health, among others. Our mission to advocate for Kansans is broad. But there are a few themes that touch all aspects of our advocacy. One of the most important is good governance, the idea that government should be free of corruption, be effective, be representative of constituents.

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