Each week during the 2023 Kansas legislative session, we will provide Shawnee area lawmakers with an opportunity to share their thoughts on what is happening in the state capital.
Below is this week’s presentation by Democratic Senator Dinah Sykes of Kansas Senate District 21, covering parts of Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park and Shawnee.
Picture this: Your state has just defied all expectations by defeating (by double-digit margins!) a politicians’ takeover of your freedom. Then he turned around and re-elected a sane governor, midway and came just short of breaking the long-standing Republican majority in the House.
That’s a pretty clear rejection of extremism and exaggeration by the voters, right?
It would seem that the lesson flew over the heads of Republicans in Topeka. While the leadership spent the first month of session trying to figure out what, specifically, they wanted to do with their near-total control of the Legislature, their members doubled down on the most cruel and harmful policies they can think of because they are so afraid of the people who look, live and believe differently from themselves.
This is particularly evident in my House’s Committee on Public Health and Welfare this week. In their ongoing hysteria over the concept of collective responsibility in response to mass public health crises, Republicans spent Monday morning in committee debating a bill that would strip state and local governments of their ability to prevent or contain disease infectious.
They will spend the next couple of days dehumanizing Transkansanians and considering legal language that would reduce all Kansanians to their reproductive functions. And finally, on Wednesday they will ignore the 18-point rebuke of politicians who insert themselves into private medical decisions considering the ban on telemedicine for medical abortion.
Soon enough, the Senate will also be considering a complete overhaul of our award-winning public education system. The full-blown vouchers have already passed through the K-12 House Budget Committee, and if approved, public schools will be left to rot as affluent families triple subsidies, picking up the bill for taxpayers to send their children. to schools that can choose which students they accept and are not bound by any curricular or fairness standards.
And to completely top off how out of touch they are with the people of Kansas, Republicans will continue to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars for our state when they block attempts to expand Medicaid, a policy that nearly 80% of Kansas support.
Meanwhile, they’re pushing for a Brownback-style tax experiment on steroids. Their flat tax proposal would cost more than double good old Sam’s plan that destroyed our economy, forced our schools into four-day weeks, and led to a total meltdown in government services we’re still digging out of.
The Kansans should be proud of the electoral progress we’ve made in 2022, but the job isn’t done. Until Republicans are forced to negotiate with lawmakers who represent the views of the majority of Kansans, they will continue to prioritize policies that are totally out of control with what Kansas is: the best place in America to raise a family , where every child has the opportunity to thrive and where they will always want to call home.
With the policies they are pushing this year, Republicans are making sure that Kansas will be far from where it has been and still can be.