Church and state Contributors

Blocking and tackling at the Kansas Statehouse

Chuck Weber is the executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference. He can be reached at

by Chuck Weber

The Kansas Catholic Conference (KCC) serves as the voice of the Catholic bishops of Kansas on matters of public policy.

The KCC formulates ideas, then invites elected officials to consider our perspectives. This is the basic “blocking and tackling” of legislative advocacy we undertake at the Kansas Capitol and in Washington, D.C. 

As the 2024 Kansas legislative session nears its halfway point, we offer this update and analysis from the Statehouse.

The projected $3 billion-plus budget surplus for Kansas triggered conflicting election-year tax cut packages from both the governor and the Legislature. The KCC is not taking a position on either option, although we support further reductions or the elimination of the state sales tax on food (included in both proposals) which will help lower-income Kansans.

Medicaid expansion (government-sponsored health care insurance) is a complex and often confusing topic. The KCC supports Medicaid expansion, while also acknowledging that the Medicaid health care delivery option is less than ideal.

A committee hearing (step one in the legislative journey) on Medicaid expansion will take place this session, but chances for action are slim. 

Kansans rejected abortion restrictions and safeguards for pregnant women and their preborn children when it voted down the “Value Them Both” amendment. The consequences of that outcome are disturbing, though sadly, not surprising.

Kansas is now the Midwest abortion destination we feared it would become. The number of abortions performed in Kansas has tripled over the past five years and continues an upward trend.

The extreme legal landscape now entrenched in Kansas law prevents meaningful abortion restrictions. Many women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy feel abortion is their only choice. Fighting against the abortion industry and the abortion-friendly secular news media, our legislative focus is on bolstering resources for pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and adoption options so pregnant women can have and make a real choice for life.

There is momentum in the Legislature for ensuring mental health services are available to those in need, especially children. The KCC is advocating for expansion of a pilot program where mental health services would be provided to children from both public and nonpublic schools.

Likewise, the KCC supports proposals designed to stop a minor’s access to pornography and rein in the outsized influence of social media on children — some of whom are following false messengers encouraging them to commit tragic suicides.

Payday loan reform is a challenge, but one we will continue pursuing. Changes to asset forfeiture law, where law enforcement has great discretion in seizing property they believe is being used to commit a crime, even without an arrest or conviction, are among our social justice initiatives.

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Pray for our legislators.  We persevere.

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Chuck Weber

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