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About KS onAir

This Kansas onAir hub supports its citizens to become more informed about and engaged in federal and state politics while facilitating more civil and positive discussions with their representatives, candidates, and fellow Oregonians.

  • KansasonAir is one of 50 state governance and elections hubs that the US onAir Network is providing to reinvigorate our imperiled democracy.
  • Virginia onAir is US onAir’s model of how a state’s onAir Council and curators can enhance a state Hub with fresh Top News and state legislature content, moderated discussions, and production of zoom aircasts with committees, interviews and debates with candidates, and presentations.

For more information  about the many opportunities to learn about and engage with this Kansas onAir hub, go to this US onAir post on the US onAir central hub.

Our two minute vision video about the US onAir network is below.

Streaming onAir

Kansas government livestreams

http://www.kslegislature.org/li/

Upcoming Livestreams
None scheduled

Recent livestreams:

Senate Committee aircasts

These aircasts will be focused on the recent activities of House committees during the 2021 General Assembly. Committee chairs will host these aircasts with members of their committees and their invited audience.

Aircasts are Zoom meetings with a host, featured guests, and an online audience livestreamed to the public and archived as YouTube videos in this Hub and YouTube channel.

Here is an example an aircast on a state committee (Virginia).

House Committee aircasts

These aircasts will be focused on the recent activities of House committees during the 2021 General Assembly. Committee chairs will host these aircasts with members of their committees and their invited audience.

Aircasts are Zoom meetings with a host, featured guests, and an online audience livestreamed to the public and archived as YouTube videos in this Hub and YouTube channel.

Here is an example an aircast on a state committee (Virginia).

About the US onAir Network
June 6, 2021 (02:00)

Kansas News

Kansas agrees to $1.9M settlement for defending Kobach’s baseless voter fraud claims
Kansas Reflector, Sherman SmithSeptember 10, 2021 (Medium)

TOPEKA — The Kansas Attorney General’s Office has agreed to pay the American Civil Liberties Union and other attorneys $1.9 million in fees and expenses for a five-year legal battle over an unconstitutional restriction on voter registrations.

The high-profile lawsuit was filed 2016 in response to former Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s signature law, which required residents to prove their citizenship before registering to vote. The law blocked more than 35,000 eligible voters from participating in elections.

U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson held Kobach in contempt of court following his embarrassing performance in a 2018 trial. The judge determined there was no evidence to support Kobach’s claims of widespread voter fraud and ruled the law unconstitutional.

“The fees in this case are a reflection of the incompetence and intransigence of former Kansas Secretary of State Kobach, who unnecessarily prolonged this litigation, and was sanctioned repeatedly for bad behavior,” the ACLU said in a statement. “That the state of Kansas is on the hook for the costs of this litigation is an unfortunate consequence of Kobach’s desire to fight for his unconstitutional law.”

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The violence and neglect suffered by inmates at a pre-trial detention facility in Leavenworth has become so severe the facility should be shut down, a group of civil rights leaders and public defenders wrote in a letter to officials in Kansas and Washington, D.C.

The letter, dated Thursday, said leaders at CoreCivic Leavenworth have shown “deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of the incarcerated.”

“CoreCivic Leavenworth is dangerously understaffed, poorly managed and incapable of safely housing its detainee population,” the letter says. “Stabbings, suicides and even homicide have occurred with alarming frequency in the last year with weapons, drugs and other contraband now a common occurrence.”

The group — which includes ACLU chapters and public defender offices in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa — also wrote that inmates’ “basic human needs are not being met.” Food, medical care and showers are limited, and contact with legal counsel and family members has been denied.

Mann returns campaign favor, endorses Colyer in Kansas GOP governor’s race
Kansas Reflector, Tim CarpenterJune 2, 2021 (Short)

U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, who served as Jeff Colyer’s lieutenant governor, became the second member of the Kansas congressional delegation to endorse Colyer’s campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2022.

Mann, who represents the largely rural 1st District covering the western half of the state, said Wednesday that Colyer had demonstrated an appreciation of the state’s conservative agricultural roots.

“During Governor Colyer’s leadership, Kansas increased advocacy for international trade, addressed multi-state water conflicts and elevated agriculture issues in the statehouse,” Mann said. “Governor Colyer has always had the Kansas agricultural community’s back. He understands what it takes to lead with conservative action.”

A group of business leaders from across Kansas met Tuesday with Gov. Laura Kelly, pushing the Democratic governor to change her stance on supplemental unemployment insurance offered during the pandemic.

As businesses across the state look to return to pre-pandemic routines and fill vacancies, many are hoping Kelly will end Kansas’ participation in the American Rescue Plan Act’s unemployment boost. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has argued the $300 boost per week to state payments was hindering businesses ’ ability to fill job openings.

On the final day of the legislative session last week, the Legislature also sent Kelly a message by passing a resolution calling on her to cut off federal unemployment aid immediately. The resolution noted several other states have taken similar action.

2021 Legislature

TOPEKA — The state of Kansas paid an estimated $700 million in state and federal unemployment benefits to illegitimate claimants during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic while blocking $2 billion in potentially fraudulent jobless claims from people attempting to rip off the system, auditors said Monday.

The Kansas Department of Labor and the Kansas Legislature’s audit division both had high confidence $380 million was sent to fraudsters impersonating others from January 2020 to February during the coronavirus health emergency. There is less compelling evidence in hands of labor department investigators and legislative auditors regarding $306 million in red-flagged payments requiring further analysis.

The auditors’ total of $686 million in potential loss — a number rounded to $700 million in the report — was divided evenly between the federal unemployment fund and the state’s unemployment trust fund.

A group of business leaders from across Kansas met Tuesday with Gov. Laura Kelly, pushing the Democratic governor to change her stance on supplemental unemployment insurance offered during the pandemic.

As businesses across the state look to return to pre-pandemic routines and fill vacancies, many are hoping Kelly will end Kansas’ participation in the American Rescue Plan Act’s unemployment boost. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has argued the $300 boost per week to state payments was hindering businesses ’ ability to fill job openings.

On the final day of the legislative session last week, the Legislature also sent Kelly a message by passing a resolution calling on her to cut off federal unemployment aid immediately. The resolution noted several other states have taken similar action.

The Kansas Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Kansas. It is a bicameral assembly, composed of the lower Kansas House of Representatives, with 125 state representatives, and the upper Kansas Senate, with 40 state senators. Representatives are elected for two-year terms, senators for four-year terms.

Prior to statehood, separate pro-slavery and anti-slavery territorial legislatures emerged, drafting four separate constitutions, until one was finally ratified and Kansas became a state in 1861. Republicans hold a long-standing supermajority in both houses of the state legislature, despite a short-lived dominance by the Populist Party. The state legislature approved one of the first child labor laws in the nation.

Composed of 165 state lawmakers, the state legislature meets at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka once a year in regular session. Additional special sessions can be called by the Governor.

Voting in Kansas

Kansas' New Law Has Essentially Killed Voter Registration Drives
KCUR, Frank MorrisAugust 25, 2021 (Medium)

New state laws tightening voting restrictions come in two basic varieties: those that make it harder to cast a vote, and those making it more difficult to get registered to vote in the first place.

In Kansas, one law effectively shuts down voter registration drives.

Now, it’s a felony offense to impersonate an election official and the law creates a vague standard for breaking it, a standard that depends on impressions. It criminalizes engaging in conduct that might seem like something an election official would do.

Davis Hammet, president of the Kansas civic engagement group Loud Light, says that subjective standard would probably include work his volunteers do, which is approaching people with clipboards and registering them to vote.

“So, if someone accuses you of being an election official or saying they were just confused and thought you were one, and you were arrested, you would be charged with a felony,” Hammet says. “And so, a felony means you lose your right to vote. So, you could lose your right to vote for trying to help people vote.”

Federal & state elections on the ballot: US Senator, 4 US House members, Governor, and State Senate and House members

Ballot measures:

The Kansas Division of Elections, part of the Secretary of State, oversees all Kansas elections.

2022 Elections

LAWRENCE, Kansas — Former Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer ended his campaign to win the office back Monday after announcing he has prostate cancer.

His exit all but clears the way for his fellow Republican and rival, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, to win the GOP primary for governor next summer before facing off with Democratic Governor Laura Kelly in the 2022 general election.

Schmidt now finds himself easily the highest-profile candidate in the Republican race. Kent Lee McElroy, a retired nurse from Leavenworth, has also filed to run for the nomination.

In a statement, Colyer announced his diagnosis and endorsed Schmidt.

Mann returns campaign favor, endorses Colyer in Kansas GOP governor’s race
Kansas Reflector, Tim CarpenterJune 2, 2021 (Short)

U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, who served as Jeff Colyer’s lieutenant governor, became the second member of the Kansas congressional delegation to endorse Colyer’s campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2022.

Mann, who represents the largely rural 1st District covering the western half of the state, said Wednesday that Colyer had demonstrated an appreciation of the state’s conservative agricultural roots.

“During Governor Colyer’s leadership, Kansas increased advocacy for international trade, addressed multi-state water conflicts and elevated agriculture issues in the statehouse,” Mann said. “Governor Colyer has always had the Kansas agricultural community’s back. He understands what it takes to lead with conservative action.”

Covid-19

Thousands of Kansans face threat of eviction as pandemic exposes housing crisis
Kansas Reflector, NOAH TABORDA AND SHELTON BROWN September 6, 2021 (Medium)

TOPEKA — Sheena Mooney has spent the past year without a job or a safety net, living in her orange Nissan Xterra in a trailer park a few miles from Washburn.

Mooney lost her job at Frito-Lay in March 2020, a job she enjoyed, fell behind on her rent and was evicted that August. She applied for unemployment but did not qualify, and her eviction was subsequently approved between May 26, 2020, when the state’s eviction moratorium expired, and Aug. 17, 2020, when Gov. Laura Kelly’s new order went into effect.

“I don’t like telling people my business, you know. This was something that needed to be heard,” Mooney said. “How did this happen? How was I able to fall through the cracks and get no help?”

COVID-19 Update
May 4, 2021

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Ds5ageAtU

COVID-19 Update
April 19, 2021

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPlL3IxD_t8

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