by Chuck Weber
The 2024 Kansas legislative session opens soon with elected officials facing significant decisions. The Catholic bishops of Kansas, through their office of the Kansas Catholic Conference (KCC), seek to inject the voice of Christ into public policies.
Here is a brief look at the Kansas political landscape.
Every seat for state senator and state representative is up for election in 2024. Legislators will be listening to you.
Kansas government is awash in cash. Income tax increases, COVID-era dollars and other factors helped create a surplus in the “bank of Kansas” exceeding $3 billion dollars. Should taxpayers get this money back? If so, which taxpayers? And how much?
The Kansas Catholic Conference supports further reductions in the sales tax on groceries, as it positively impacts the households of working families, particularly low-income Kansans.
Access to health care is key to human flourishing. The KCC supports Medicaid expansion while also acknowledging that government-sponsored insurance is a flawed solution. Many people earn too much money to qualify for the current Kansas Medicaid plan, but not enough to afford health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s subsidized insurance marketplace.
State legislators have failed to produce viable alternatives to Medicaid expansion. People who need help are falling between the cracks as they seek comprehensive health care access. There are other consequences to Medicaid expansion.
Largely ignored is the link between Medicaid expansion and projections of increased abortions likely to result if passed. The infamous 2019 Hodes Kansas Supreme Court ruling created a constitutionally protected right to abortion. In the words of the high court, abortion restrictions are now “presumed unconstitutional.” This includes current, but legally unstable, prohibitions in Kansas for taxpayer-funded (Medicaid) abortion.
No matter what happens with Medicaid expansion, Kansas taxpayers may soon be forced to pay for abortions. If Medicaid expansion passes, it’s projected that 40,000-plus reproductive-age women will enroll in Medicaid. The number of abortions will likely increase even more than they have already — a three-fold increase since the Hodes ruling.
The KCC supports legislation supporting women in unplanned pregnancies. This includes, but is not limited to, tax-credit incentives for donations to pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes, and help with the cost of adoption. Despite the lies of the abortion industry and complicit secular news media, Kansas lawmakers cannot pass significant abortion restrictions. But they can help those in need.
The scourge of human trafficking must be addressed while also protecting the rights of immigrants. Payday loan reform, enhanced mental health coverage, expanded educational opportunities and defending the family from radical gender ideology measures are among our many other legislative priorities.
To stay informed and view a comprehensive list, go online to: www.KansasCatholic.org.
Finally, and most importantly, pray for our elected officials.