Each legislative session, we provide the Shawnee Mission area’s elected officials with the chance to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Rep. Brett Parker, Rep. Cindy Neighbor and Sen. Dinah Sykes were scheduled to send updates this week. Here’s Rep. Parker’s column for the week:
In January I highlighted three major issues to watch this session: the budget, education funding, and Medicaid expansion. A couple of weeks ago, we adjourned for the April break with a solid education funding bill passed and the governor’s budget largely intact on its journey through the House and Senate. While we must wait for word from the court on education funding and a few hurdles remain on passing the final budget, those two topics are big wins for Kansas.
With two of the big three items largely done, Medicaid expansion remains front and center for our return to Topeka on May 1st. Kansas is one of only fourteen states left that has chosen not to bring home billions of our tax dollars to reduce the cost of healthcare. Each day that goes by costs the state an additional $1.8 million and leaves more than 100,000 working Kansans without access to the affordable coverage intended for them under the Affordable Care Act.
The arguments for expansion are numerous and well known by now. That is why it passed the House with a bipartisan majority, why twenty four of forty Senators support it, and why three fourths of Kansans support it. So the challenge for supporters now is not to win an argument for the policy, but to win an argument for a functioning democracy in Kansas. The Representatives we have elected have passed expansion. The Senators we have elected support it. Kansans are denied this life saving and economy boosting policy because two Senators have chosen to stand in the way of the democratic process.
Senate President Wagle and Senate Majority Leader Denning have thus far ignored the will of the House, the Senate, the Governor, and the people of Kansas. Using the incredible powers given to their positions, they have thwarted all efforts so far to debate the bill. There is just over a week until the legislature begins its final two weeks of session. In that time, your Senator needs to hear from you. A majority of the Senate will have to rise up, as the House did, to circumvent leadership’s obstruction and pass Medicaid expansion. You can find your Senator using www.ksleglookup.org. Call and email their offices to remind them to let our democracy work and pass a bill with overwhelming support from Kansans.
It is an honor to serve the people of Overland Park. Please feel free to reach out to me any time.