Election Season Begins

This is a re-posting of our weekly email for June 6, 2014.

On June 2, the deadline for candidates to file for the 2014 elections passed. We now know who will run for what seat in Kansas, where moderates are safe, and where they face stiff challenges from well-backed extremists. Look up your district at openkansas.org, then look at the candidate list. There are a number of races where MainStream and our members can make a difference.

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Legislative Update: 2014 Session Wrap Up

Sine Die is a Latin term meaning without day. 
A legislative body adjourns sine die when it recesses without appointing a day
on which to appear or assemble again within the year.

The 2014 Kansas legislative body has left the Capitol building for the year and many have returned home from Topeka to gear up for the coming campaign season. This gives Kansans a window of time to better understand the impact of recent laws passed and how elected officials voted on key bills.

These 2014 elections will be a historical marker for the state of Kansas. If election results return the current leadership back to Topeka, 2015 is likely to send our state so far beyond the fork in the road, to a place called Really-Limited-Government, that we will spend decades rebuilding the Main Road which offers all Kansans a route to Prosperity.

The wrap up and highlights…

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Watch our 2014 KS Legislative Wrap-up

Our last Legislative Forum of the season was held on May 29, and 120 people came to hear our panelists speak about the past legislative season, what happened, and where we go from here. 

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Legislative Update: The Kansas Budget

In the 2013 legislative session in Kansas, a two-year budget cycle was adopted, a first in our state’s history.  The state budget, considerably the most important working document of the legislature, sets the boundaries from which the objectives of our state can be met. The budget is where we begin this update and its impact on the objectives of our state.

When reviewing legislative activity and the state budget, the nagging question should be, how small is too small?  Or as Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently said, "Some states are choosing to make reduced services the new normal”.

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Legislative Update: Session Ends Behind Closed Doors

The Kansas legislative veto session wrapped up last week, Saturday May 4 in the wee hours of the morning.  Sleep deprivation and lack of time for review or discourse appear to be legislative leadership’s preferred mode of doing business in Topeka.

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ALEC and the 2014 Kansas Legislative Session

We've covered what ALEC is, and how much influence they have in the Kansas Legislature. But what are the effects of that influence? The effects have been striking. This session saw ALEC-modeled legislation that gutted public education, environmental protections, teacher rights, and more.

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How strong is ALEC in the Kansas Legislature?

With the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) promoting extremist, cookie-cutter legislation across the country, much of it making an appearance in the Kansas Legislature, we wondered just how many of our most important state politicians are members of the organization. So, with help from volunteers and interested moderates, we set out to find out.

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What is ALEC? Why should moderates care?

ALEC stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council, and it is an extreme anti-government, pro-corporate think tank and policy organization. They are best known as the national organization that provides boilerplate legislation to their members (i.e., state legislators), who then introduce these "model" capitalism-at-all-cost bills at the state level. ALEC can not really be labeled as conservative because their policies are too risky, too radical. 

Why should you be concerned? Because ALEC has deep pockets, an extensive reach and they are changing the rules of the game - in Kansas and across the country. ALEC's mission is about profit. ALEC is not concerned about safety nets nor about investing in the common good.

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Guest Post: "Let it Begin with Me"

This is a guest post by Tim Owens, former Kansas State Senator and Representative, and current MainStream Board member. We occasionally present guest opinions by moderates, regardless of political affiliation.

“Let there be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me…..” the song goes. I think it is time this world and the people in it took a good look at this concept.

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Legislative Update

And the extremism continues... Governor Brownback signed the bundled education bill yesterday.

The Kansas Legislature is in recess now. The legislators who pushed through extreme policy changes during the 2014 regular session may be enjoying the break and cueing up more victory songs for the final days of this legislative session. But the same cannot be said for the Kansans who rallied behind the efforts of civic-minded state legislators who have been fighting for a smarter government and the traditional values embedded in our state constitution.

Up next on April 30 is the supposed Veto Session, a few days designated for the Legislature to react to any action taken by the Governor during the recess. But we expect the extremists to hijack it for more. Should we be prepared for another calculated attack on public education, the court system, quality health care, or our state’s financial viability come April 30?  Very likely. For a glimpse of additional extreme legislation to come, we have provided a view of the recent past and the changing face of Kansas that the MainStream Coalition is working diligently to stop, slow down, and reverse.

Be aware, Kansas budget projections under the Governor’s zero income tax policy go negative as soon as the 2016 fiscal year. The policy changes rolling across Kansas are dramatically different. Understand that these changes do not equate with party affiliation. Do not expect the same investments or protections Kansans have traditionally relied on to be there for you, your parents or your children.

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