Legislative update from Rep. Pam Curtis, D-32nd Dist.

Rep. Pam Curtis

by State Rep. Pam Curtis

A very exciting week as the House passed Medicaid Expansion (see report below) which now heads to the Senate. Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore (from Wyandotte County) did an excellent job carrying the measure on the House floor.

Expanding Medicaid will provide about 150,000 working Kansans, that fall in the coverage gap, with access to much-needed health care options. It will also return our already paid federal dollars to Kansas, provide support to hospitals and clinics as well as stimulate our economy.

The REACH Healthcare Foundation sponsored the Wyandotte-Leavenworth Delegation Luncheon on Tuesday. Brenda Sharpe, president and CEO, spoke about REACH’s commitment to addressing health care coverage and access to quality health, mental health and oral health services as well as the need for Medicaid expansion. We appreciate Brenda Sharpe, Pattie Mansur and Todd Jordan joining us for this important discussion at our lunch and learn.

Many thanks to Amanda June Smith and Sara Rust-Martin for testifying in support of HB 2279 to help arm victims of domestic violence with the information they need at time of arrest to make safe decisions. HB 2279 is the bill that Rep. Ponka-We Victors and I co-sponsored. We appreciate everyone’s help and support with this effort. The bill passed in the House unanimously and on Friday passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It will now advance to the full Senate.

I want to give a shout-out to the young adults from Wyandotte County that have been actively involved in this year’s Kansas legislative session. Having young people from our community at the Statehouse testifying on issues they are passionate about makes me proud. Appreciate their involvement, which is so important because the laws we pass today will affect them and their voices must be heard.

It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I value and appreciate your input on issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address at the Statehouse is: Room 452-S, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at 785-296-7430 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. You can also e-mail me at: pam.curtis@house.ks.gov


House passes Medicaid expansion
On Wednesday, March 20, after almost eight hours of debate on the House floor, the House voted 70-54 to advance Medicaid expansion. In arguably one of the most action-packed debates this session, Democrats offered an amendment to replace the contents of House Bill 2066, a controversial bill to expand the practice authority for registered nurses, with Medicaid expansion. Though the amendment was ruled non-germane by the rules chair, a bipartisan coalition came together to overrule the chair and finally have a real debate on expansion on the floor.

Medicaid expansion offers innumerable benefits for Kansas. Presently, more than 150,000 Kansans fall within the health coverage gap—most of whom are employed, but whose incomes are narrowly outside the threshold to qualify.

This would broaden the current threshold to include Kansans earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level — $17,236 for an individual or $35,535 for a family of four. Expanding Medicaid will return billions of our taxpayer dollars back to Kansans, stimulate the Kansas economy, create thousands of jobs and maintain thousands more, help over 150,000 hardworking Kansans, including children and military veterans, and keep Kansas hospitals and clinics open. This is critical for rural hospitals because many disproportionately serve poorer, sicker, and older patients.

After a 69-54 final action vote on Friday, the bill now advances to the Senate. It is expected to have a narrower margin, but we remain optimistic that the Senate will do what is right for Kansans. In a nonpartisan study, over 70 percent of Kansans support Medicaid expansion. Newly elected Gov. Laura Kelly ran on Medicaid expansion as a top issue, receiving overwhelming support. We are thankful to our Republican colleagues for working alongside us. We look forward to continuing this bipartisanship moving forward.


Here are a few resources to learn more:
• Why Medicaid Expansion Matters to Kansas, https://www.expandkancare.com/why-expansion-matters/
• Kansas House Approves Medicaid Expansion, But The Fight Isn’t Over Yet, https://www.kcur.org/post/kansas-house-approves-medicaid-expansion-fight-isnt-over-yet#stream/0

House Democrats meet with Department of Children and Families Acting Secretary Laura Howard
On Thursday, the House Democratic Caucus played host to Acting Secretary Laura Howard, of the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Aging and Disability, at our Thursday summit. Secretary Howard spoke on issues important to child welfare in Kansas. She brings an extensive background in social services to the table.

House Democrats have been continuously advocating for reform of DCF, especially within the foster care system. We look forward to working with Secretary Howard to address these necessary reforms and programs.

School funding update
The Kansas Senate passed SB 142, the school funding bill proposed by Gov. Kelly, through the chamber, but the House K-12 Budget Committee will not kick the bill out to the House floor despite bipartisan support of the plan. Rather, House Bill 2395, a Republican bill that removes funding for the last two years of the finance plan passed last session, is now the focus of the House.

On Thursday, after voting down SB 142 in committee, the K-12 Budget Committee used the gut and go procedure to insert HB 2395 into Senate Bill 16. HB 2395 contains no new funding and will not meet the requirements established by the Kansas Supreme Court ruling in the Gannon case. The state has a deadline of June 30, 2019, to pass a plan that meets the requirement.

HB 2395 passed on an 8-4 vote and heads to the House floor. House Democrats remain staunch supporters of fully funding K-12 education, and will continue to work towards a constitutional solution.

This week on the floor
This week, the House worked several bills on the floor. All of these bills passed through the chamber. They include:

HB 2188: Dissolves the White Clay watershed district no. 26, city of Atchison assumes obligations and amending the tax lid relating to the dissolution of any taxing subdivision

SB 40: Removes expired warning provision for approach of an emergency vehicle traffic violation.

SB 41: Clarifies that a violation of the statute requiring seat belt use is a traffic infraction.

HB 2041: Prohibits certain unfair or deceptive acts or practices under a life insurance policy for a living organ donor.

HB 2066: Expands Medicaid eligibility by enacting the KanCare bridge to a Healthy Kansas program.

HB 2082: Allows pharmacists to administer drugs pursuant to a prescription order.

State Library of Kansas
Consumer Health Complete covers all areas of health and wellness. Did your doctor prescribe a new medication? Recently diagnosed with a condition? Look it up here. Designed for the everyday consumer, this online database provided by the State Library of Kansas offers popular reference books, medical encyclopedias, fact sheets, and magazine articles. This full-text database covers topics such as aging, nutrition, cancer, fitness, drugs and alcohol, even yoga. https://kslib.info/ConHealth.

If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas. Most people will be automatically recognized as being in Kansas and will not need this step. Questions: kslc@ks.gov or 785-296-3296.

Resources

My Legislative Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PamCurtisKCK.
My Twitter account, https://twitter.com/pcurtiskck
My website, https://www.curtisforkck.com/
Kansas Legislature website, http://kslegislature.org/

KCK police shooting range on river flooded

The Kansas City, Kansas, police shooting range on the Missouri River is now covered with water, and police are waiting to see when it will reopen again, according to a police department spokesman.

According to a news release from the police department, operations at the range have been postponed until the flood water recedes.

The road to the range became impassable on Sunday, March 17, according to the news release.

Officers were transported to the range with help from the Unified Government to begin preparing for the rising water. Weapons and ammunition were stored in a secure vault on high ground. Other valuable equipment was moved to higher ground and the facility was secured, according to the news release.

The range is used mostly for firearms training and qualification. Training dates and qualification schedules have been postponed until the range goes back into operation, according to the news release.

The extent of the flood damage will be unknown until the flood water recedes, the news release stated.

Community calendar

In the event of inclement weather, contact the sponsoring organization to see if the event is still being held.


Growth group offered for women
Affirmations and Living Free Growth Group for Women will meet from noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 25, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The group helps women change the way they think about themselves and their lives. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Free tax preparation offered
AARP will provide free tax preparation services from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays at the Bonner Springs City Library, 201 N. Nettleton Ave., Bonner Springs, Kansas. The program continues every Tuesday through April 9. Volunteer tax preparers will be at the Bonner Springs Library from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This location will be a walk-in site and people do not have to sign up in advance. There is a list of what items you should bring, available at the library’s checkout desk. There are guidelines on what kinds of returns they can help with, and check with the library in advance for details. For more information, visit https://bonnerlibrary.org/aarp-tax-assistance/.

Program offered on healthy relationships
“Healthy Relationships: Domestic Violence Education and Support” will be offered from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The group is facilitated by Jaime Peterson. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Programs offered for Spanish-speaking women
Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, offers programs for Spanish-speaking women: Grupo de mujeres: con lideres Ana Maria Sauer, Los Martes, 10-11:30 a.m. Grupo de salud emocional para la mujer, ofrecido por MOCSA, contacte a Sinead McDonough, llame al 816-285-1349, los Martes, 11:30-1 p.m. Taller Para Padres CARE – Fortaleciendo la relación entre niño y el adulto presentado por Michelle Bertuglia- Haley. Miércoles, 27 de Marzo, – Estrategias para el cumplimiento – Elementos de disciplina efectiva y control de los hijos. El centro de mujeres, Keeler ofrece consejeria espiritual a mujeres y hombres en espanol y ingles. Gratis. Se aceptan donaciones. Llame al 913-906-8990 para hacer su cita o para mas informacion. For more information and registration, call 913-906-8990.

Caregivers support group to meet
A caregivers support group for men and women will meet from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The group is facilitated by Jackie Tigges, LSCSW. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Parenting support group to meet
A parenting support group will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The education and support group is presented by Marqueia Watson, MSW. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Knitting and crocheting group to meet
A knitting and crocheting group will meet from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. Those attending may learn a new skill or work on a current project. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Program planned on reducing food and household waste
“Reduce Food and Household Waste” will be presented from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. This program will help participants take a closer look at their shopping habits, learn how to monitor food packaging and make use of what they have. The program will be presented by Pat Callaghan. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Book Club to meet March 26
The Book Club will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. To be discussed is “Faith Club” by R. Idliby, S. Oliver and P. Warner. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Blood drive planned March 27
An American Red Cross blood drive is planned on March 27 at Donnelly College, 608 N. 18th St., Kansas City, Kansas. The blood drive will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. According to a spokesman for the Red Cross, donors of all blood types are needed to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients this spring. Cancer patients, for example, often are in need of red blood cells and platelets. Those interested in donation may make an appointment by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, accessing the Red Cross blood donor app at www.redcrossblood.org/bloodapp or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

‘Pretty Nails’ program offered
Appointments for a “Pretty Nails” program will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, March 28, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. Those interested must call 913-906-8990 to schedule an appointment.

Topic to cover how to plan meals on a budget
A program, “Meal Planning on a Budget,” will be presented from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 28, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. Heather Neds will present the program. Participants will learn how to shop the ads and make the most of their food budget. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

UG Commission to meet March 28
The Unified Government Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at the Commission Chambers, City Hall, lobby level, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas. An agenda will be posted at www.wycokck.org.

Two legislative coffees set for Saturday, March 30
The League of Women Voters, the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library and the Bonner Springs City Library will hold legislative coffees on Saturday, March 30. One coffee will begin at 10:30 a.m. March 30 at the Main Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library, 625 Minnesota Ave. A second coffee will be held at 1:30 p.m. March 30 at the Bonner Springs City Library, 201 N. Nettleton, Bonner Springs. Legislators who are planning to attend the coffee at the KCK library include Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist., Sen. Kevin Braun, R-5th Dist., Rep. Pam Curtis, D-32nd Dist., Rep. Valdenia Winn, D-34th Dist., Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-36th Dist., and Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-37th Dist. Legislators who plan to attend the coffee at Bonner Springs City Library on March 30 include Sen. Pat Pettey, D-6th Dist., Sen. Kevin Braun, R-5th Dist., and Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-33rd Dist. The legislative coffees are open to the public.

UG committees to meet April 1
The Unified Government Neighborhood and Community Development Committee will meet at 5 p.m. Monday, April 1, at the fifth floor meeting room, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas. The Economic Development and Finance Committee meeting will follow. To see an agenda, visit www.wycokck.org/Clerk/Agendas.aspx.

Social media program planned April 1
“Introduction to Social Media” will be presented from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Monday, April 1, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The program will be presented by Shelly Nance Durst. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Former mayor to speak at Women’s Chamber meeting
Former Mayor Joe Reardon is scheduled to be the guest speaker at 11:30 a.m. April 3 of the Kansas City, Kansas, Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Reardon, who is the CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, plans to speak about the importance of pre-kindergarten education and how it is a long-term workforce issue. The luncheon meeting, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., will be held at Kansas City Kansas Community College, upper Jewell Center, 7250 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The cost of the luncheon will be $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. Reservations may be made to https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eg49k31pa05cf5b9&oseq=&c=&ch=. For more information, visit http://kckwomenschamber.org/events/ or email kckwcc@gmail.com.

Women’s self-defense program offered April 3
A women’s self-defense program will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 3, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The program is facilitated by Sidney Thompson. Kansas City Shizoku Karate-Do will teach ways to defend oneself and others. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Program on diabetes to be presented April 3
“Diabetes 101” will be presented from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 3, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The presenter will be Shannon Teft. The program will discuss finding better ways to eat and manage diabetes. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Master Gardeners to discuss garden design April 4
The Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardeners will offer a presentation on “Edible Garden Design” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Wyandotte County Extension Office, Sunflower Room, 1216 N. 79th St., Kansas City, Kansas. The program will be presented by Sherry Thomas, Johnson County Extension Master Gardener. The presentation will discuss the ornamental value of edibles that should pass homeowner association restrictions. The fee for the class is $5. It will be waived for currently certified Extension Master Gardeners. For more information, call 913-299-9300.

KCK Chamber’s annual meeting April 4 to feature foundation executive, governor
Janis Bowdler, president of JP Morgan Chase & Co. Foundation, will be the guest speaker at the Kansas City, Kansas, Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, with welcoming remarks by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. The annual meeting will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Reardon Convention Center, 5th and Minnesota, Kansas City, Kansas. The theme of the event is “Building Equitable Cities: How to Drive Economic Mobility and Regional Growth.” Doors open at 11:15 a.m., followed by the annual meeting lunch at 11:30 a.m., Gov. Kelly’s remarks, board chair comments, and the keynote speech starting at noon. The cost of the luncheon is $75 per person for individual chamber members or $90 for individual nonmembers. For more information, call the KCK Chamber at 913-371-3070 or email Katelyn McInerney at Katelyn@KCKChamber.com.

Women writers to meet April 4
The Women Writers Group will meet from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The purpose of the group is to help develop the writer within, learn new approaches to writing and to share one’s own writings. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Program on acupuncture scheduled April 4
A program, “Acupuncture: How It Works, Uses, Benefits and Treatments,” will be presented from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. For more information or to register, call 913-906-8990.

Town Hall meeting planned April 6
State Sen. Kevin Braun, R-5th Dist., plans a Town Hall meeting from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 6, at the Lansing Community Center, 800 First Terrace, Lansing, Kansas.

WyCo Ethnic Festival to be April 13
The WyCo Ethnic Festival will be Saturday, April 13, at the Kansas City Kansas Community College field house, 7250 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. Hours of the event are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Music, dance and educational booths are planned at the festival. The festival promotes better understanding among people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. There is no admission charge to the festival, and it is open to the public. Ethnic foods will be available for purchase. For more information, visit www.freewebs.com/wycoethnicfestival.

Groundbreaking for Piper fire station to be April 13
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Piper fire station is scheduled to be 11 a.m. Saturday, April 13, at 2913 Hutton Road, Kansas City, Kansas. The groundbreaking was originally scheduled March 9 but was changed because of the weather. Because of construction on Hutton Road, access to the site is available only by Leavenworth Road.

Town Hall meeting planned May 18
State Sen. Kevin Braun, R-5th Dist., plans a Town Hall meeting from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 18, at the Bonner Springs Library, 201 N. Nettleton Ave., Bonner Springs, Kansas.

Counseling offered
Keeler Women’s Center, offers individual and couples counseling and individual spiritual direction to women and men —available in English and Spanish. Nothing is billed. Donations are accepted. Call 913-906-8990 for information.


Wyandotte County Museum
For information about the Wyandotte County Museum, 631 N. 126th St., Bonner Springs, call 913-573-5002 or visit https://www.wycokck.org/wycomuseum.aspx or https://www.facebook.com/wycomuseum/.


Strawberry Hill Museum
For information about The Strawberry Hill Museum, 720 N. 4th St., Kansas City, Kansas, call 913-371-3264 or visit www.strawberryhillmuseum.org.
Grinter Place Museum
The Grinter Place State Historic Site, 1420 S. 78th St., Kansas City, Kansas, is one of the oldest homes in the area, built in 1857. For more information about hours and days it is open, call 913-299-0373 or visit http://www.kshs.org/p/grinter-place-plan-your-visit/15857.


Old Quindaro Museum
The Old Quindaro Museum is at 3432 N. 29th St., Kansas City, Kansas. For more information about the museum, call 816-820-3615 or visit https://www.facebook.com/ccoqmuseum/.