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Planned Parethood of Mid-Missouri & Kansas Merging with OKC Operation
May 25, 2016

(AP) – Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri announced plans Wednesday to merge with the abortion provider’s central Oklahoma affiliate in July and open a new Oklahoma City clinic, even as political leaders in the three states seek to cut off Medicaid funding.
Laura McQuade, the Kansas and Mid-Missouri affiliate’s president and CEO, said the merger is designed to create a regional health care “powerhouse” and isn’t a response to attempts by legislators and governors in the three states to prevent public funds from going to Planned Parenthood.
She also said the merger is part of a larger, 20-year trend of smaller, local Planned Parenthood affiliates consolidating into regional organizations. The central Oklahoma affiliate’s CEO retired last year, and McQuade has been the organization’s interim CEO since January under a contract in which the Kansas and Mid-Missouri group has managed operations in central Oklahoma.
“Really, this was about a sustainable business model,” she told reporters during a telephone conference call.

Nixon Sefs Photo ID Vote for November
May 23, 2016

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has placed the proposed constitutional amendment requiring a photo ID to vote on the Noevember ballot.
The Governor has the discretion where to schedule a vote.
Nixon, in the past, has said he wanted a measure like this voted on by as many registered voters as possible.
Previously, Nixon has said he did not like the concept of a photo ID requirement to vote.
His statement Monday setting the November election dates had no comment from him.
There is another bill passed by lawmakers that deals with photo ID voting.
The bill requires a photo ID.
Otherwise, a potential voter must sign a statement, under the penalty of perjury, that they have no photo ID –at all.
Then that voter is permitted to cast a ballot.
Another provision of the bill says the state would pay to assure that person has a photo ID.
That law is moot if the constitutional amendment fails at the polls.

Transgender Bathrooms May Be Sine Die Issue in Kansas
May 23, 2016

(AP) – Republican lawmakers say they anticipate taking up the issue of transgender school bathrooms upon reconvening next week.

The issue gained attention after the Obama administration’s recent guidance that transgender students at public schools be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

The Wichita Eagle ( ) reports that Rep. John Whitmer says he and other conservative lawmakers will try to run a resolution that would express the Legislature’s displeasure. The Wichita Republican says the plan is to send the resolution to federal officials.

A bill introduced in the Kansas Legislature this year would have ordered schools to require transgender students to use the facilities corresponding to the sex determined by their chromosome makeup as recorded on their birth certificate. But that bill stalled in committee.

Kansas School Takes Up Transgender Bathroom Order
May 17, 2016

(AP) – The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday criticized the Obama administration’s directive that public schools allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identities, not their sex at birth.

Board members called the directive an encroachment on local control, but voted 6-4 against issuing a public statement rejecting the federal mandate. Members agreed to discuss the issue again next month after consulting with their attorney and reviewing school districts’ policies.

State board member Ken Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, asked that the Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback protect the state from what he called federal overreach. The board needs to take a stance on the issue, he said.

Jeff City Session Ends; Gun Bill Passes
May 14, 2016

KC Star:

To say Kansas City leaders spent the 2016 legislative session playing defense would be an understatement.

Kansas City’s earnings tax, which accounts for nearly half the city’s general fund, was on the chopping block as GOP lawmakers pushed to repeal it.

An ordinance the city passed last spring regulating vehicle-for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft was the target of legislators seeking to replace it with more lenient statewide standards.

A “religious freedom” amendment to Missouri’s constitution that local business and government officials complained could be a disaster for the region’s economy began picking up momentum early in the session.

It seemed every day there was a new proposal causing city leaders sleepless nights.

“Win, lose or draw, this has been the roughest legislative session of my entire career,” said Bill Gamble, who has lobbied for Kansas City since 1985 and worked in the Capitol since 1973.

But by 6 p.m. Friday, when the Missouri General Assembly adjourned for the year, each of those bills was dead.

Despite holding supermajorities in the Missouri House and Senate, Republicans were unable to get many of their top policy priorities across the finish line. In the end, the 2016 legislative session may be remembered as much for the bills that failed as the ones that were approved.

To be sure, Republican leaders had plenty to celebrate.

“Thanks to the hard work of my colleagues, we had a very successful session,” said Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, a Joplin Republican. “We passed legislation that will help improve the communities across the state.”

On the session’s final day, the GOP pushed through a wide-ranging gun bill that would establish a “stand your ground” law, allowing a person to use deadly force in self-defense without the duty to retreat when faced with a perceived threat.

The bill also contains a provision making it legal for people to carry concealed weapons without a permit anyplace they can currently carry guns openly. The bill also allows a houseguest to use deadly force to defend themselves in someone else’s home.

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