Immediately after a challenging session, Kansas children’s advocates appear to better procedures in the 2022 Legislature

There is so much very good that our Legislature can do for Kansas youngsters and families in the future session, writes Adrienne Olejnik of Kansas Action for Little ones. (Getty Illustrations or photos)

The Kansas Reflector welcomes viewpoint pieces from writers who share our goal of widening the conversation about how general public insurance policies impact the day-to-working day life of people today during our point out. Adrienne Olejnik is the vice president at Kansas Motion for Little ones.

Let us talk about 2022.

Certainly, I know that we’re not even midway by 2021. But this most new legislative session established up loads of possibilities for up coming calendar year.

You could have listened to grumbling about this a short while ago concluded session, and I’m not heading to assert it was effortless. But our team at Kansas Motion for Young children retained close enjoy. We attended committee meetings. We monitored floor motion. We followed news protection in stores like the Kansas Reflector.

Beneath the battling and unpleasantness, progress was built. Even far better plan was proposed and awaits action from committees and chambers. Kansas youngsters and people stand to gain.

In the months ahead, Kansans need to do the job with their reps and senators to make guaranteed they get up this unfinished enterprise in January 2022.

Progress Built

Conveying federal reduction: The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that without the need of child treatment, several grown ups simply just simply cannot perform. KAC advocated for federal relief in the youngster treatment sector. We labored with national and point out partners to spread the word about funds in the different stimulus packages. With this spring’s American Rescue System, $50 billion will go towards early discovering programs, a sector that shed one particular in six jobs. With this help, Kansas providers will have obtain to funding they need to remain open up or re-open — so the rest of our financial state can, too.

Anti-vaccine attempts defeated: We had been a single of 29 businesses and folks testifying against Senate Monthly bill 212, an anti-vaccine monthly bill, in the Senate overall health committee. At the moment, experienced medical pros collaborate to update the record of essential vaccines for Kansas universities and little one treatment amenities. But SB212 slice out the gurus, putting kids’ well being in the arms of politicians. The bill also was amended to prohibit employers from requiring vaccines — even in health and fitness treatment configurations. The committee handed the bill, and the child vaccination aspect of its contents were being released on the ground as an modification. Thankfully, advocates’ function paid off and the attempt failed, 17-18 in the Senate.

Tax calamity averted: Short-sighted tax expenses threatened to undo the development we have created since tax reform passed in 2017. Recall, condition revenue resources our educational facilities, hospitals and roadways. This session, we watched Senate Monthly bill 22 balloon from a $175 million bundle when it was handed out of committee to $500 million when it was handed by the Senate. The invoice integrated tax breaks for massive enterprise and greater-earnings Kansans, but it was inflated by amendments that created it shockingly expensive and irresponsible the Household did not just take it up. An additional tax bill, Senate Bill 50, in the long run handed the two chambers. Despite the fact that problematic, it will price the point out considerably less than the defeated SB22.

UNFINISHED Company

Obtain to important supports: House Bill 2371 removes a need that mother and father search for child aid enforcement in advance of they can obtain little one care assistance or food guidance. It also eradicates the operate requirement from these plans for mother and father enrolled in an instructional plan. In other phrases, it taken out limitations to programs that maintain youngsters and their mom and dad nutritious and finding out. KAC and fellow proponents submitted virtually 40 parts of testimony. A bipartisan bulk supported it in committee — but the total Home didn’t just take a vote. These simple adjustments would assist our fellow Kansans as we all recuperate from the pandemic, and the Household will have to take up the monthly bill subsequent 12 months.

Growth continues to be elusive: Medicaid expansion has constantly been the suitable matter to do in Kansas, for moral, monetary and simple explanations. Yet all over again a Medicaid expansion invoice was released and did not receive a listening to. KAC has been significantly worried that the legislature continues to deny Medicaid enlargement for the reason that an escalating amount of Kansas little ones remain uninsured — an approximated 43,000 in 2019. Whilst most of these young ones may possibly previously qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, expanding Medicaid is critical to reversing the trend. The American Rescue System adds up to $450 million in incentives to increase — extra than sufficient to include the cost.

Restoring a significant credit history: Just before 2013, Kansas experienced a refundable food stuff income tax credit history, indicating filers whose credit amount of money exceeded their tax liability gained the variation in their refunds. Nonrefundable credits are much less valuable for lower-revenue Kansans, who often do not owe plenty of in taxes to advantage. The shift to nonrefundable credits considerably reduced the quantity of filers employing the credit. Young ones and their people paid out the rate. Property Bill 2091 would reinstate the refundability of the credit and assistance thousands. Despite only favorable testimony, the bill didn’t even get a vote in the committee.

As you can see, boy or girl advocates supported great coverage and aided direct the cost towards undesirable plan in the 2021 session. But there is so significantly still left to achieve, and so considerably fantastic that our Legislature can do for Kansas kids and households. We have mapped out the path forward.

Let us get it completed together. Will you sign up for us in keeping our elected leaders accountable to creating much better choices in 2022?

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