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LWVJoCo closely follows current events and issues at the local, state and national levels.

LWVJoCo urges EPA not to change how waters of the United States are defined

LWVJoCo President Ellen Miller recently submitted a comment to the EPA opposing the revised definition of “waters of the United States”:

The League of Women Voters of Johnson County (Kansas) does not agree with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army’s (Army) proposed revision of the “water of the United States” (WOTUS) as it will dramatically reduce the scope of streams and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

Taking this action will result in the EPA disregarding its own peer-reviewed scientific studies, jeopardizing sources of drinking water in our community. We base our argument against the WOTUS revision on the January 2015 EPA report (EPA/600/R-14/475F) “Connectivity of Streams & Wetlands to Downstream Water: A Review and Synthesis of Scientific Evidence.” Conclusion 4, “Degrees and Determinants or Connectivity,” on page ES-4 supports including ephemeral streams in the definition of WOTUS.

We request that the EPA and Army defend why they are now changing the WOTUS definition since it will conflict with their prior supported evidence and result in polluting waters that are currently under their protection.

 

The EPA is accepting public comments through April 15, 2019. To submit comments, go to this website and click on “Comment Now” at the top right side of the page.


LWV Kansas urges representatives to vote NO on HB2395

House Bill 2395 (Short Title: Amending the Kansas school equity and enhancement act and other statutes related to the education of elementary and secondary students, and making appropriations to the department of education.)The League of Women Voters of Kansas urges that you contact the K-12 Budget Committee. Explain that you want public schools funded per Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution. Compliance with the Supreme Court will stop further litigation under the Gannon Case.

House Bill 2395 would wipe out the final two years of funding put in place by last year’s legislature to comply with Kansas Supreme Court Order (see article by Sherman Smith, Topeka Capital-Journal on 3/13/19). More than $200 million previously earmarked for public school funding increases, would be eliminated for the years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. It would give taxpayer-funded vouchers and tax breaks to private school parents, remove mandatory requirements for special education funding, remove local control over spending decisions and guarantee an unconstitutional school finance formula that will mean continuing costly litigation. The bill cuts funding for bilingual students if they are not fluent in English in four years, puts restrictions on at-risk spending. This bill has $42 million in new base aid funding – far less than needed to keep up with inflation, as called for in the Supreme Court decision. This hearing will continue on Monday and Committee Chair Kristey Williams has announced her intention to vote on the bill next week.

Please contact members of the committee and ask them to reject HB 2395 and instead adopt the Senate’s plan in SB 142.

Members of the committee are Republicans Kristey Williams, Kyle Hoffman, Brenda Dietrich, Renee Erickson, Steve Huebert, Brenda Landwehr, Adam Smith, Sean Tarwater, and Adam Thomas, and Democrats Valdenia Winn, Cindy Holscher, Nancy Lusk, and Jim Ward.


LWV Kansas supports these topics as priorities during the 2019 legislative session

Elections:  

  • Enact Election Day Registration
  • Expand the early voting period
  • Allow for permanent or semi permanent advance voting by mail
  • Enact Automatic Registration
  • Create an independent special commission responsible for redistricting
  • Remove SOS authority to appoint County Election Officers
  • Withdraw Kansas from the Crosscheck data system
  • Enroll in ERIC – Electronic Registration Information Center
  • Remove Kansas Sec. of State authority to prosecute voter fraud
  • Election of US President by Popular Vote
  • Repeal proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voter registration

Government Transparency:  

  • Disallow anonymous bills
  • Require all votes of legislators be recorded
  • Eliminate “Gut and Go”
  • Change the process for the appointment of committee members and committee chairs and the process for scheduling bills to be debated in each chamber

School Finance: Provide funding for public education (pre-K-12) education that is adequate and equitable

Taxes:  Create a broad-based state tax system that has diverse sources of revenue and that is equitable, provides adequate revenue, and is effectively and economically administered

Death Penalty Abolition of the Death Penalty

Medical Care:

·         Support Medicaid Expansion for Kansas

·         Support Women’s right to reproductive choice

 


Local news:

KCUR (89.3 FM) Statehouse Blend  is one-part profile and one-part insider look at the Kansas Legislature. Each week, host Sam Zeff welcomes a state representative or senator to the podcast to talk policy and politics, as well as their personal life. We also invite a citizen voice and journalist to round out the conversation over good coffee and donuts. You can hear part of the conversation every Tuesday on Up To Date at 11 a.m.

Kansas news:
Civil rights: Kansas Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issues report about voting rights and the SAFE Act. The report urges the Kansas legislature to reconsider voting requirements in the context of these findings.
LWVK State Council included a presentation, “Effect on Schools by State Education Funding” by Salina School Superintendent William Hall.

National news:
LWVUS suggests Ten Ways You Can Help Defend Our Democracy