“Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another.” Romans 14:19
Saint Paul’s appeal in his letter to the Romans is timeless. Part of the Catholic Church’s response “to peace and building up one another” is involvement in public policymaking. It’s not easy in today’s toxic media and political environment.
The Catholic effort is led by the four Bishops of Kansas—Archbishop Naumann (Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas), Bishop Brungardt (Diocese of Dodge City), Bishop Kemme (Diocese of Wichita) and Bishop Vincke (Diocese of Salina). The Bishops guide and direct as their public policy voice the Kansas Catholic Conference (KCC). The KCC engages elected officials and seeks to inject the voice of Christ into the public square.
Our state faces significant issues as the 2024 Legislative Session unfolds in Topeka. Here is a brief look at the Kansas political and policy landscape and what lies ahead.
Every seat for State Senator and State Representative is up for election in 2024. Legislators will be listening to their constituents extra closely. Do you know who represents you in Topeka? You can connect with your elected officials, sign up for KCC legislative alerts and find legislation by going to: https://kansascatholic.org/take-action/
The Kansas State Government is awash in cash. Income tax increases, Covid-era dollars and other factors helped create a surplus exceeding three billion dollars. Should taxpayers get some of 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 helps the households of working families, particularly low-income Kansans. The state sales tax on your Kansas grocery bill was cut in half— from 4% to 2% —starting Monday, Jan. 1. The first cut to the tax on groceries occurred in January 2023, when it was cut from 6.5% down to 4%. The goal is total elimination of the state’s food sales tax by 2025.
Access to healthcare is key to human flourishing. Healthcare policy is highly complex and contentious, with no easy answers and concerns about unintended consequences.
Many people earn too much money to qualify for healthcare coverage under the current Kansas Medicaid plan, but not enough to access health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s subsidized insurance marketplace. This means some are falling between the cracks as they seek comprehensive healthcare access.
The KCC supports Medicaid Expansion, even while acknowledging that government-sponsored insurance is a flawed solution. Yet legislators have failed to produce viable alternatives to Medicaid Expansion. There are other projected consequences to Medicaid Expansion.
Largely ignored by proponents and the secular press is the link between Medicaid Expansion and projections of increased abortions if passed. Kansas Medicaid Expansion and Abortion
The infamous 2019 Hodes State Supreme Court ruling created a Constitutionally protected right to abortion. The failure of the abortion-neutral Value Them Both amendment further embedded this so-called “right.” In the words of the High Court, abortion restrictions are now “presumed unconstitutional.” This includes current, but legally unstable (some would say indefensible) 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+ reproductive-age women will enroll in Medicaid. This dynamic is expected to increase abortions even more.
Did you know that, according to a pro-abortion advocacy group report abortions in Kansas have tripled since 2019? This grave and growing offense against the unborn and women goes virtually unnoticed.
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 of those who assist them. Payday loan reform, enhanced mental health coverage, expanded educational opportunities, and defending the family from radical gender ideology measures are among the many other legislative priorities of the KCC.
To stay informed and view a comprehensive list of issues, go to www.KansasCatholic.org.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, pray for our elected officials. Many (perhaps most) Kansas legislators r leave their homes and families far behind to serve in the Legislature under difficult conditions in the best of times. Very often this is a great sacrifice. Once again, the KCC will host a daily Rosary followed by the Litany of St. Joseph for legislators and others before the start of each legislative session day.