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Dear Friend: 

End of Veto Session

At about 2 AM on Sunday May 5, 2019 the Kansas Legislature adjourned for 2019 session. The veto session was a short one when compared to past years. The final days of the session focused on two priorities. Passing the final budget and Medicaid Expansion. 

Final Budget (H Sub SB 25)

The final budget was a true compromise between the House and the Senate and provides the needed funds to help get Kansas back on track and ensure our financial stability for the future. Some of the key investments include:
  • Increased reimbursement rates for nursing homes
  • Funding for our community mental health centers
  • Plans for reducing state debt
  • Funding to accelerate the delayed projects in T-WORKS
  • Restoration of funding to the Regents system
  • $5 million for the Safe and Secure School Grants
  • New program at the KBI for cyber and financial crime investigating
  • 2.5% pay increase for state employees, including the judicial branch
  • Critical funding for our Corrections facilities including salaries for corrections officers and facility renovation
Contact Rep. Karleskint
At the Capitol:

300 SW 10th, Room 512-N
Topeka, KS 66612

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Medicaid Expansion

There are passionate views on both sides of this issue.  My support for this bill is simple, it will help our local hospitals and the people they serve.  

The bill includes some important financial protections for our state, ensuring that if the federal government doesn’t hold up their end of the deal, we aren’t stuck with the costs. 
  • It’s not free. Those Kansans receiving these dollars will have to have some skin in the game and make modest premium payments. 
  • For a number of years, doctors and the experts who run our hospitals have told me that these dollars are important. They say they’d rather see Kansas put these dollars to use in our local hospitals than let them go to hospitals in other states - and I think that makes a lot of sense.  
  • Some folks will try to politicize this vote as supporting Obamacare. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This isn’t a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. This is a Kansas problem and I support Medicaid Expansion to help our local hospitals keep their doors open to provide service to our community.
  • The burden caused by not expanding Medicaid eligibility has caused hospitals across Kansas to struggle, some of which have closed their doors, leaving communities without healthcare. That is unacceptable.
  • I supported Medicaid Expansion in the past. My support for this Medicaid Expansion plan is rooted in the support from our local hospitals, and the checks and balances in place to make sure the dollars would go to the people they are intended to serve.

Medication Abortions (HB 2274

I believe that more information can never hurt when making an important decision, especially one as important as life. Requiring facilities to post information for women regarding medication induced abortions and their potential reversal is not only the right thing to do, it is our obligation. The governor’s veto of this legislation shows we must continue the fight for our pro-life values. 

End of Session/What’s Next?

A lot of people want to talk about what didn’t happen this session.  That will be an unfair description of the efforts to expand Medicaid this session. I have continuously fought on behalf of taxpayers, our local hospitals and our community to bring Medicaid Expansion to Kansas.

Not only have I voted to expand Medicaid, but I joined many of my colleagues in using a procedural motion to demand a debate in the House on the issue. Unfortunately, the Senate Leadership stifled debate in the Senate despite the majority support for the issue.

Efforts were made to negotiate with the Senate, but when it became clear they had no intention of acting on the issue this year it was time for the grown-ups to come to the table and find a solution that would move the session and the issue of Medicaid expansion forward.

Because of the willingness of folks like me, we have a commitment that an interim committee will work to build a bipartisan bill and that the Senate will debate the issue in January of 2020. You can count on me to hold their feet to the fire to ensure they are accountable for the deal they made. 

Final Tax Bill (HB 2033)

Following the Governor’s veto of SB 22 (which I did not vote for because there was too much unknown about this bill) we began work on another plan to provide tax relief to Kansans. 

I supported this new tax bill, which removed the retroactive piece of the original bill, lowering the fiscal impact to the state, and uses the proceeds of the sales tax on internet sales to buy down sales tax on food along with returning the federal dollars to Kansans. 

I believe the state can and will meet our obligations for schools, roads, social services, etc. and help every Kansan by passing meaningful tax reform. 

AFP (Americans for Prosperity) continue to try to dictate my vote by spending thousands of dollars on postcards and going door to door in the district leaving misleading information on my voting record. I was sent to Topeka to stabilize the budget, increase corrections officer’s pay, give teachers resources they need to do their jobs, and ensure rural hospitals can survive. Special interest groups that only care about wealthy pocketbooks over people will not dictate how I vote.  

I will continue updating you throughout the rest of the year should legislative issues arise. For example, the Kansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the state’s school finance solution, so there will certainly be a decision released this summer, as well as other happenings throughout the state. Please keep in touch during the interim!

Thank you, 

Rep. Jim Karleskint
Serving rural Leavenworth & Douglas Counties
Copyright © 2019 Paid for by Karleskint for Kansas, Lois Meadows, Treasurer, All rights reserved.