The Pitch has partnered with a local political advocacy organization called hard light. Their goal is to engage and empower individuals from under-represented populations to build community power. And impact decision-makers. Every week of the year that Kansas State House is in session, they publish a small video recap what the legislator does.
Knowing the details of what’s going on with your representatives is the only way to stay involved in how local government affects your life. You can donate to support Loud Light’s work by clicking here.
Here is the video transcript from this week:
Hey! I’m Davis Hammet with Loud Light. Here’s what happened in Week 8 of the Kansas Legislative Session.
Energy relief (SB88)
Small towns in Kansas face potential bankruptcy to deal with astronomical natural gas bills incurred during the February cold snap. A bill to create $ 100 million in low-interest energy loans to cities has passed with remarkable speed and bipartisanship, moving from a committee hearing Wednesday morning to enactment by the governor in the night. The bill gave newly appointed state treasurer Lynn Rogers (D) 2 weeks to implement the program, but the former farm banker implemented the relief program within 24 hours. The loans will allow cities to spread the cost of utility surges over several years.
Kansas Republican officials have condemned the US bailout which includes direct relief checks of $ 1,400 for most Kansans and about $ 1.6 billion in state funding. As Senator Moran (R), Senator Marshall (R) and all Republicans in Congress voted against, the Republican supermajority at Kansas Statehouse is counting on passing emergency aid in the hope that it will cover the cost of many of their proposals, including a half-billion-dollar tax cut that has already been passed by the Senate.
Criminalization of protest (SB172)
In response to protests by water protectors on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, the oil industry lobbied for bills to criminalize environmental and human rights protests across the country. On Monday, the Senate passed such a bill introduced by US fuel and petrochemical manufacturers. This would make basic acts of vandalism like graffiti a serious crime if committed on property owned by petroleum or chemical manufacturers. In addition, it could treat organizations such as churches and indigenous nonprofits involved in environmental protests as organized criminal enterprises.
Emergency management (HB2416)
The House passed its own version of a bill aimed at restricting the ability of the governor and local government to respond to emergencies. The bill includes a process by which a small group of legislative leaders can block executive orders and even change them.
Concealed transport (HB2058)
A bill passed by the House would lower the age for carrying concealed firearms from 21 to 18. An amendment allowing college campuses to determine their own firearms policies was defeated, meaning the bill law would allow virtually all students at Kansas public colleges and universities to carry hidden weapons.
Governor Kelly (D) announced that the Department of Labor is training 500 new call representatives to double their unemployed customer service staff and has deployed extended hours of service. Meanwhile, House Republicans passed a major unemployment bill that would immediately reduce the length of time Kansas workers are eligible for unemployment. The Ministry of Labor is already upgrading its 40-year-old unemployment system, but the bill adds a variety of detailed requirements for the new system and establishes a 13-member committee to oversee the modernization project. . In addition, he is calling for $ 450 million to be transferred to the unemployment fund from the state aid portion of the US federal bailout that has yet to be adopted.
We are officially halfway through the legislative session and the legislature is taking recess on Monday and Tuesday next. Thank you for loving, sharing and donating. Stay tuned, stay engaged, and until next time, thank you very much Kansas!