For Kansans

Last week, the Kansas Legislature passed nine bills in their 23-hour final day. Eight of them remain to be signed by the Governor, but another she vetoed this past Tuesday, as the Governor's emergency powers to keep Kansans safe during the pandemic ran out.

HB 2054 was the bill created to rebuke the Governor and reduce her powers in this emergency. It was crafted in backrooms and stacked committees, introduced in the marathon session with no debate allowed, and ultimately voted on along partisan lines. Here's the content, but in summary, it took from the Governor the ability to distribute relief funds, declare emergency orders, or take measures to protect Kansans during this pandemic. All those powers were transferred to committees controlled by Legislative Leadership. It was, in essence, a coup.

Woman in dramatic red
 Sen. Pres. Susan Wagle

Let us say that again, a different way.

Legislative Leadership took away the ability of a Governor elected by Kansans to protect those Kansans. Leadership has shown itself in the past to favor the advice of lobbyists for the Kansas Chamber and Americans for Prosperity over that of scientists, medical health professionals, and everyday Kansans. This bill was an attempt to enroll those preferences in statute.

In short, that is why Governor Kelly vetoed the law and called for a Special Session. Not because she craves power, as some extremists have suggested. Rather, because the law protected big business, not Kansans. With the veto, Kelly effectively ended any restrictions, calling the Legislature back to work as soon as possible to do their jobs to protect Kansans.

Sen. President Susan Wagle crowed victory after the veto, declaring that "We won!" What she meant was that she had vanquished her foe, Laura Kelly, not that she had helped Kansans. Instead, she has turned the pandemic into a free-for-all, trickle-down, health "economy" where the wealthy and privileged can survive, and the poor and under-represented are forced to work at risk of their lives.

"People want to work!" is the cry from the extremists. "People can't survive without their jobs." If this country had competent leadership people out of work would be supported, cared for, and able to stay home, safe. Instead, the feckless officials appointed to lead us out of this crisis have wasted time, wasted money, and passed the blame while 100,000 Americans died. Now, the Kansas Legislative Leadership has stepped up to waste time, waste money, and pass the blame in Kansas, too. How many more Kansans will die as a result?

Walk the Vote logoIf you are as fired up about this as we are, join us on June 13 at 10 am for Virtual Walk the Vote 2020, where you can show your support for the issues that matter most to you. In past years, we've had hundreds of Kansans get together to show their support. This year, we're doing it virtually, with a Walk that's taking place all across Kansas, in living rooms, back yards, and neighborhoods.

With your help, the Mainstream Coalition will continue to stand up to extremists working against Kansans, as we have for twenty-six years. Join us. Why do you walk?

Watch this video message from Michael Poppa, Mainstream's Executive Director, about Virtual Walk the Vote 2020.

Snapshot of video with Michale Poppa

When we talk about joining Walk the Vote, we're asking you to walk the vote for your cause. Raising money for Mainstream allows us to keep doing the work to support all the issues we hold dear, to work with our partners like the ACLU, PP, the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, the KNEA and others, to work with legislators and other elected officials to change Kansas for the better.

Stay safe, vote, and do more than vote: Walk the Vote!

- Danny Novo
  Communications Director

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