Friday, September 2, 2021
Welcome to the KDP Weekly Newsletter – the Kansas Democratic Party’s update of the biggest things going on in the state party and the state government. What are we focused on this week? Abortion Laws, COVID-19, 2022 Elections, Demofest, Kansas Schools, Voting Rights, Child Tax Credit, Republican Obstruction, Medicaid Expansion, Democrats Care, Social Media Updates, KDP Merch and more!
Interested in helping the Party get out our messaging to encourage Kansans to vote blue? Sign up for our new Letter to the Editor program here!
On Labor Day, we celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions of American workers. For decades, pioneers across the country have organized to stand up for the dignity of working people. Democrats are continuing that fight today, having passed the American Rescue Plan and working to pass the American Jobs Plan to bridge back our economic recovery and create thousands of good, secure jobs for hard working Americans. This year, we stand proudly with laborers and uphold our commitment to fair wages and benefits, and safe, healthy workspaces free from discrimination for all.
KDP PRESENTS: DIGITAL DEMOFEST 2021
The KDP will be hosting a virtual Demofest Reception online on September 18 at 12 p.m. Due to the uptick of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Kansas, the KDP, in conjunction with the KDP Executive Committee, have decided to pivot this year’s event to an online reception. We’ve secured an exciting lineup of featured speakers and you won’t want to miss this year’s programming that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home!
The Keynote Speaker for Demofest will be former Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and we’ll also be hearing remarks from SGOTUS Doug Emhoff, US Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), with virtual appearances by our very own US Representative Sharice Davids, Governor Laura Kelly and Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple! This is an event you won’t want to miss.
TEXAS IMPLEMENTS THE WORST ANTI-ABORTION LAWS IN THE NATION, KANSAS FACES SIMILAR FUTURE
This week, Texas implemented SB8, the most dangerous and draconian ban on our right to abortion in healthcare history. The ban places a bounty on the heads of anyone who receives an abortion after six weeks and has no exceptions for rape or incest — adding to the horror of the bill that will harm millions.
This nightmare law is chillingly similar to the Value Them Both amendment here in Kansas, which was passed by Kansas Republicans and will be on the Primary ballot in August 2022. It is more important now than ever, with reproductive rights on the line in Kansas, that we show up to the ballot boxes and make our voices heard so that no person will have to forfeit the right to their autonomy in our great state.
- Read more about the news here.
UPCOMING KDP TRAININGS
In an effort to ramp up training for upcoming elections in 2021 and beyond, the Kansas Democratic Party, together with the DNC Best Practices Institute, are excited to offer a series of virtual trainings over the course of the next few months. These programs will enhance the skills of progressive activists and volunteers by ensuring comprehensive training is free and accessible for Democrats all over the country. The training and its description are listed below:
- BPI State Party Leadership and Staff Resources
- Democrats Care Projects
- Are you working on a community service project in your area? KDP and the DNC would like to amplify your work as part of the new Democrats care project.
- To learn about the program, you can read more here.
- How has the Biden Administration impacted you? Let the DNC know!
- The DNC is putting together a story bank of real people who have been positively impacted by the Biden agenda. They are looking for people from every state, every identity, every professional, and activist behind every issue! If you are interested, please fill out this form.
GOVERNOR LAURA KELLY FIGHTS FOR 165,000 KANSANS TO RECEIVE MEDICAID
(The Kansas City Star) – Gov. Laura Kelly urged Congress Thursday to approve a federal workaround that would expand Medicaid in Kansas and 11 other states that have yet to do so under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and budget committee chairs Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. John Yarmuth, Kelly endorsed creation of a federal “look-alike” program. Her letter comes a week after Rep. Sharice Davids announced she would seek to add the initiative to the federal budget this year.
The program would provide Medicaid coverage to those eligible under expansion at no cost to the state government and could be passed through the Medicaid Saves Lives Act or as part of the annual federal budget.
“For the better part of a decade, our efforts to pass this common sense legislation, despite its widespread popularity and tangible economic benefits, have been blocked by Republican leaders prioritizing their future political ambitions over the health of their constituents,” Kelly said
“Medicaid expansion is now a matter of life and death for Kansans.”
- Where can I learn more?
- Kelly urges Congress to pass federal Medicaid expansion workaround for Kansas, other states. Kansas City Star, September 2, 2021.
REPUBLICANS HARM KANSANS BY MAKING IT HARDER TO VOTE
(KSNT) – National Voter Registration Month kicked off Wednesday, as people get ready for local elections around the country. But, the national push comes as some voting rights groups in Kansas are putting the brakes on efforts to increase voter registration.
Some voting rights advocates like Davis Hammet, President of Loud Light, said their outreach efforts are at a stand still, as they wait for a ruling on a new law that he said prevents them from participating in voter registration activities.
Hammet told the Kansas Capitol Bureau on Wednesday that it would be “impossible” for the suspension to not have an impact on voter turnout.
“We would normally have been contacting tens of thousands, if not, hundreds of thousands of voters,” he said.
The pause is due to a law that went in effect in July, which makes it illegal “give the appearance” of being an elected official. Voting rights advocates said that’s even if you’re mistaken as one.
Where can I learn more?
- Kansas’ new law halts voter registration efforts, as local elections draw near. KNST, September 1, 2021.
DAN HAWKINS REJECTS SCIENCE AND JEAPRODIZES THE SAFETY OF OUR STUDENTS
(Kansas Reflector) – Kansas House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins told his newsletter subscribers he was “heartened” to see so many school districts reject the governor’s advice that students wear face coverings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
And he found it “troubling” that some schools were willing to embrace “mask madness.”
“Nothing about these recommendations makes sense,” Hawkins wrote in the Aug. 6 newsletter. “Mask mandates have not been shown to be effective and healthy children have had few issues with COVID.”
Now, the number of Kansas children who are getting sick — especially in districts where masks are not required — is forcing school officials to rethink their approach. On Friday, the Wellington school district announced it was closing its doors until Sept. 7 because of three separate outbreaks of infections in schools where students didn’t have to wear face coverings.
- Where can I learn more?
- House leader warned of ‘mask madness’ in Kansas schools, downplayed risk of COVID-19 to kids. Kansas Reflector, August 27, 2021.
- ICYMI: DAN HAWKINS PUTS OUR KIDS AT RISK BY PRESSURING SCHOOLS TO REJECT CLASSROOM SAFETY. Kansas Democratic Party, August 30, 2021.
ANOTHER BROWNBACK REPUBLICAN JOINS TREASURER RACE
(The Topeka Capital-Journal) – Campaigning as a “conservative CEO and outsider,” Sara Hart has joined the crowded race for Kansas state treasurer.
Weir is running in part on her experience as a CEO. She was formerly the top executive at the National Down Syndrome Society.
While Weir’s statements focused on a potential general election against incumbent Treasurer Lynn Rogers and his role in Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration, she will first face a growing GOP primary field.
Rogers, a Wichita Democrat, spent more than 30 years as an agriculture banker before retiring in 2016. He served on the Wichita school board before being elected to the Kansas Senate in 2016. He was Kelly’s running mate and lieutenant governor from 2019 to 2021, when Kelly appointed him treasurer when Jake LaTurner resigned the office after his election to Congress.
- Where can I learn more?
- Sara Hart Weir joins crowded Kansas state treasurer race, with four Republicans vying to face Lynn Rogers. The Topeka Capital-Journal, August 30, 2021.
COVID WORSENS IN KANSAS, LEADERS ENCOURAGE VACCINATIONS
(The Topeka Capital-Journal) – The pandemic was worse in Kansas in August than the same month a year ago, killing more people despite the existence of three COVID-19 vaccines that experts say are safe and effective.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment data shows about 3.5 times as many COVID-19 deaths reported in August 2021 than August 2020. Meanwhile, there were about 2.5 times as many new cases and nearly double the number of hospitalizations.
“Please Kansans, hear these doctors, feel for these health care workers who are here today,” Gov. Laura Kelly said Wednesday during a media briefing at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. “Do everything you can to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep people healthy and out of the hospital. Wear your mask, socially distance and — most importantly — get vaccinated.”
Public health officials have primarily blamed the the highly contagious delta coronavirus variant, hesitancy and refusal to get vaccinated, and people who ignore precautions in the absence of mandates.
Where can I learn more?
- COVID killed 3.5 times as many Kansans in August 2021 than August 2020. Leaders renew calls to get vaccinated. The Topeka Capital-Journal, September 2, 2021.
GOVERNOR LAURA KELLY PUTS OUR STUDENTS’ SAFETY FIRST, IMPLEMENTS SAFER CLASSROOM WORKGROUP
(Wichita Eagle) – Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday called on Kansans to protect school children from the coronavirus, but will likely not enact more widespread COVID-19 interventions such as a statewide mask mandate or limits on mass gatherings.
The governor appeared at a news conference in the children’s unit at Wesley Medical Center, where she announced the formation of a task force to advise her administration, local government and school districts on the growing issues of school transmission of COVID-19.
“We have to do everything in our power to protect our students, our teachers and our staff in schools,” Kelly said. “And that’s why today, in addition to celebrating the five-year anniversary of Wesley Children’s, I’m also here to announce a new Safer Classrooms Workgroup. We’re bringing together a group of highly skilled health professionals, pediatricians, family physicians, school nurses, pharmacists and psychologists.”
- Where can I learn more?
- Gov. Kelly announces task force on school COVID, nixes state mask mandates. Wichita Eagle, September 3, 2021.
THANKS TO BIDEN AND THE DEMOCRATS, KANSANS WILL RECEIVE THIRD CHILD TAX CREDIT CHECKS SOON
(Wichita Eagle) – A new tool is available to eligible families to sign up for the child tax credit if they aren’t already receiving it.
Code for America launched the bilingual, mobile-friendly tool along with the White House and the U.S. Treasury Department. It’s designed to help some families with low or no income get access to the enhanced credits or missing COVID-19 stimulus payments without having to file a full income tax return.
The child tax credit provides eligible parents with up to $3,600 per child over the course of the year. The first half of the credit will go out as direct payments each month through the end of the year if parents do not opt out of them. The second half can be claimed when filing income taxes for 2021.
A third round of payments is set to go out to families on Sept. 15.
- Where can I learn more?
- Third child tax credit checks go out soon. Here’s a new tool to help families sign up. Wichita Eagle, September 2, 2021.
Here are some of our top posts from this week.
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Paid for by the Kansas Democratic Party, Yolanda Taylor, Treasurer
Kansas Democratic Party
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