The Latest on the Value Them Both Amendment from Kansans for Life
By Jeanne Gawdun, Director of Government Relations, Kansans for Life.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the state legislature to adjourn early on March 19, the understanding was that the 2020 session would resume on April 27. That did not happen, and instead, legislators returned to Topeka for one day on May 21 with the express goal of passing a bill to address emergency powers during the health crisis.
Kansans for Life’s legislative team was at the capitol on that day to monitor the activity. The final day of the 2020 session turned into a 24-hour long marathon with the emergency powers bill passing both chambers in the early morning hours of May 22.
Due to time constraints, there was no opportunity to revive the Value Them Both Amendment, KFL’s top legislative priority. If you recall, Value Them Both passed the Senate in late January, but failed to receive the 84 votes needed in the House on February 7 when four male Republican representatives joined all of the Democrats in blocking its passage.
It is interesting to note that only one of the four Republicans responsible for stopping the passage of Value Them Both chose to run for re-election, Rep. Jan Kessinger (R-Overland Park).
Value Them Both is critical due to recent court rulings that cleared the way for unlimited abortion in the state of Kansas and would protect many life-saving regulations on the abortion industry, including a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion.
When Value Them Both failed to pass the House, KFL took a stance in opposition to the expansion of Medicaid, as it would directly lead to taxpayer-funded abortions. Legislators were made aware of the connection and were strongly urged not to expand Medicaid until the amendment passed the legislature.
However, on May 21, a motion was made by pro-abortion Senator Dinah Sykes (D-Lenexa), to put the Medicaid Expansion legislation into another bill. Fortunately, a majority of senators voted against the motion, knowing that expansion would lead to taxpayer funding of abortion.
Governor Kelly eventually vetoed the emergency powers bill passed by the legislature on the final day of the regular 2020 session and called for legislators to return to Topeka for a special session beginning on June 3.
Once again, the KFL legislative team was at the capitol to keep an eye on the legislative action. After two days of work, the House and Senate were able to reach a compromise with the governor and pass a bill addressing the many concerns brought about by the pandemic.
Another attempt was made, this time in the House by pro-abortion Representative Jim Ward (D-Wichita) to expand Medicaid, but was stopped as legislators refused to allow the taxpayer funding of abortion that would result from the failure of Value Them Both to pass.
The 2020 Special Session ended on June 4 and the legislature has adjourned until Monday, January 11, 2021.
Value Them Both remains the top legislative priority for KFL as the organization shifts into campaign season. It is critical that pro-life candidates who support the amendment are elected to both the state House and Senate in order for it to pass in the 2021 session. Please visit the Kansans for Life Political Action Committee website at www.kflpac.org for information on endorsed candidates. Volunteer to help with their campaigns and encourage your family and friends to vote pro-life!