Time's Up! Fix the Problems!

Even after over 100 days of the 2017 legislative session, the four most urgent issues facing our state remain to be addressed:  

  1. Revenue policy that meets budget needs without endlessly increasing debt and stealing from retirement plans and highways funds, and that restores fiscal responsibility through equitable taxation,

  2. A school funding formula that will fund our schools adequately and equitably and that will pass constitutional scrutiny,

  3. Medicaid expansion that will support the health needs of the nearly 150,000 low-income people currently uninsured, and will assure access to health care in rural areas without bankrupting rural communities, and

  4. Uphold the exemption from concealed carry for public college and university campuses, and state hospitals and community mental health centers, avoiding burdensome and unnecessary costs as well increased risks which would come otherwise.

In response, Kansas People's Agenda (the coalition of which KIFA is a part) will be holding a press conference on this Thursday, June 1, at noon in room 118-N in the State Capitol. Speakers will address these issues and call on lawmakers to end the session with progress toward solutions instead of stalemates and half-measures, and to begin to move Kansas onto a path where growth, prosperity and safety are possible for all Kansans. In other words - legislators, governor: "Time's up! Fix the Problems!"  

If you can make it to the Capitol at noon on Thursday we invite you to stand with us. If you can't there's an action you can take: email or call legislative leadership asking them to: fix the budget and tax mess; fully fund public education; expand Medicaid; and exempt our campuses and state hospitals from concealed carry. 

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Save the Earned Income Tax Credit!

Part of Brownback's tax "experiment" included eliminating virtually all deductions that were available to lower-income and working people: the homestead exemption on rental housing, the child care tax credit; sales taxes were raised on food as well.

The one worker-friendly policy that remained on the books was the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This very effective anti-poverty measure is refundable, meaning the person gets it as cash back, whether they have an income tax liability or not.


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KIFA Calls on Gov. Brownback to Sign KanCare Expansion

Lawrence, KS—March 28 — Kansas Interfaith Action today called on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to sign HB 2044, the KanCare expansion bill passed by a large majority in the state Senate yesterday.

Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, board chair of KIFA, said, “Access to healthcare is a human right. For too long KanCare expansion has been held hostage to politics. We call on the governor to do the right thing, the moral thing, and sign the bill, which is supported by the overwhelming majority of both houses of the state legislature and by the vast majority of Kansans as well.” 

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"Revenue Rev" Takes a Walk

by Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan
Board Chair, Kansas Interfaith Action
Unitarian Universalist Minister, Topeka

Aka "Revenue Rev"

This weekend (March 24-26), I will embark on an epic journey with intrepid fellow Kansans who will walk from three different cities (Manhattan, Emporia, and Lawrence) to Topeka – over 60 miles. We walk to demand that the state legislature "Restore the Revenue." We are asking for comprehensive and fair revenue reform—a return to responsibility. I am walking because I believe that revenue policies provide a moral compass for communities and, together with our budget, tell us what goods and service we will provide, who should pay for these goods and services, and who should receive them.


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KanCare Expansion Update - 3/10/17

The week of February 20th saw one of the most extraordinary events in recent memory in the Kansas legislature.

As you know, expansion of KanCare (Kansas' Medicaid program) has been a major priority this year for both KIFA and literally dozens of other organizations, hospitals, etc., working under the umbrella of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas. A large number of the many new legislators this year had also run on the platform of expanding KanCare, so there has been a lot of expectation that something would be accomplished this year.  

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Repeal and Renege: What Faith Communities Need to Know About Health Care Reform Now

This article was written by Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact, the KIFA equivalent in Texas. It says what needs to be said and we appreciate her allowing us to use it here. The information on legislative contacts, of course, has been changed for Kansas.

On March 6, U.S. House leaders made public their long-awaited plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and restructure Medicaid. Key committees will have about 36 hours to review the legislation before voting on them on Wednesday morning.

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Stand with Muslim Neighbors Week - March 6 - 12, 2017

Kansas Interfaith Action, in partnership with CAIR-Kansas, is encouraging congregations to participate in a week of solidarity and friendship with Muslims in their community and in our state. There are a number of suggested activities that individuals, small groups, and whole congregations can do – see below.

The current political and cultural climate has enabled increasing hostility toward religious minorities in general and Muslims in particular. Hate crimes are up, and in recent years we have also seen efforts both on the state and federal level to target Muslims legally. Yet Muslims, both immigrant and native, are vital, contributing members of our communities, entitled to the same protection and care as any other Kansans.

By participating in these events, our congregations will send a message of love and rejection of hate. We also will demonstrate to our elected officials – state and federal – that we will not stand idly by while members of our communities are discriminated against or scapegoated. 

Please let us know you're planning to participate by RSVP'ing here.

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Op-ed: "I Have an Obligation to Support Muslims"

This op-ed, by KIFA Executive Director Rabbi Moti Rieber, appeared in the February 12, 2017, edition of the Wichita Eagle. To read the original column, click here

At the beginning of last century, my great-grandparents and many others like them immigrated to the United States from Poland and Russia. They were as poor as dirt, and didn’t speak the language.

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Legislative Update 2/12/17

This legislative session has been a very busy one for KIFA. The tone of the legislature is much different than in previous years, which is not surprising, since there are a large number of moderate Republicans and Democrats serving this year. From the very start, we knew that (for the first time since I've been around), we might be advocating for positive policy changes, as opposed to just trying to stop terrible things from happening, as has been the case in recent years.

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KIFA Joins with Crescent Peace Society in Opposition to "Muslim Ban" Executive Orders

(Overland Park, KS, 1/30/2017) -- Kansas Interfaith Action today joined with The Crescent Peace Society (CPS), a Kansas City area interfaith organization, and other area groups in opposing President Trump’s “Muslim Ban” Executive Orders halting the acceptance of Syrian refugees and restricting immigration and travel from several Muslim majority nations, including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

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