"I will tell the people what's going on at the statehouse. I'm going to treat the capitol as a borderline crime scene. ... If businesses don't have to pay taxes, the burden should not be on those trying to feed themselves." - The Valley Falls Vindicator & Oskaloosa Independent, March 3, 2016.

Across Kansas the top 1% are looting and on-the-loose, pitting us against each other. Communities in Jefferson County need to democratically prepare themselves for food and energy autonomy.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017



[Excerpt] ... “I won’t sign it and I will veto this bill,” Brownback said in a brief speech at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce annual dinner in Topeka. “I do ask the people in this room to help us sustain this veto. This is bad policy for Kansas. This will hurt growth in this state. At the same time the administration in Washington is moving to cut taxes, we’d be raising.”

Brownback told an audience that included dozens of current and former GOP politicians who enthusiastically cheered his veto vow that legislators who voted for the bill wrapped their arms around a punitive tax plan that retroactively raised income taxes on working Kansans. State legislators endorsing the measure ignored his request to cut spending before asking Kansans to swallow another big increase in taxation, he said. ... [End of Excerpt]

Read more.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Citizens of the 47th House District! Get this newsletter! Real news, insightful tips and more! Link to sign up at the bottom.

Neighborhood News from Ann Mah
Dear Michael Caddell, 
Week 6 saw a tax bill headed to the Governor's desk. See details below. There were also several hearings on school finance formulas. Things are happening on the whole much faster than in previous years...and that could be a good thing!
In This Issue
Quick Links
Tax plan headed to the Governor's desk
While a number of plans to try and fix our state's financial imbalance were debated this week, it was the House tax plan that is headed to the Governor. Here are the key parts of that bill:
  • Eliminates the tax-free status of LLC non-wage income
  • Adds a third income tax bracket back again
  • Allows for itemized deductions for medical expenses that mirrors federal deductions
  • The tax rates for singles would be: 2.7% on income up to $15,000; 5.25% on income from $15,000 to $50,000; 5.45% on income over $50,000
  • The tax rates for married filing jointly: 2.7% on income up to $30,000; 5.25% on income from $30,000 to $100,000; and 5.45% on income over $100,000
  • Keeps the tax-free status of individuals making less than $5000 and married couples making less than $12,500.
  • Eliminates planned future income tax decreases
This plan raises $590 million in fiscal year 2018 and $454 million in fiscal year 2019. It does not totally solve the structural problem, but many voting for it believed it to be as close as the bipartisan coalitions in the House and Senate could get.

It's anyone's guess as to what happens now. The Governor is not expected to sign the bill, but he could allow it to become law without his signature or could veto it. More to follow!
Finishing up 2017
The House passed two bills to get through the end of fiscal year 2017 that ends June 30. There is still a $300+ million hole to fill. The bills freeze KPERS payments and borrow over $317 million from an investment fund. This avoids immediate cuts to education and state agencies before the end of the fiscal year and leaves about $90 million in the bank on June 30.

Senate Leadership had preferred to cut education and state agencies by about 5% before the end of the fiscal year, but could not get enough votes to pass that plan. Not sure where the Senate will go with this. Both House and Senate committees continue work on the budgets for 2018-2019 fiscal years.
Other hearings this week
There were a number of hearings on other topics this week:
  • The House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee heard HB 2167 that would abolish the death penalty in Kansas. It would not impact any current death sentences, but prohibit any additional ones after July 1. There are currently 10 prisoners on death row in Kansas.
  • The House Education Committee heard a bill to restore due process rights for Kansas teachers. The chairman, Rep. Clay Aurand, had indicated he would not allow a vote on that bill, but rumor has it he may change his mind on that.
  • Secretary of State Kris Kobach had hearings for two of his bills.  SB 157 would require the Kansas Highway Patrol seek permission to do immigration enforcement for the federal government. SB 158 would stop cities and counties from passing any laws that allow them to be sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants.
Education update
The State Board of Education met this week. Some actions we took:
  • Approve a new teacher preparation program where students can get a K-6 certificate plus qualify for special education. We need more special ed teachers!
  • We certified the following "hard to fill" positions, to give school districts more leeway to hire teachers: Elementary classroom teacher; 5-12 Mathematics; 5-12 Physical Sciences; 5-12 English Language Arts; and PreK-12 Fine and Performing Arts
  • We approved a number of school district requests to have votes on bond issues
Things I learned:
  • We learned that Kansas has dropped to 41st in the nation in teacher salaries. That is one reason we have a hard time attracting and keeping teachers. 
  • One of the goals of the Board is to measure how successful students are after leaving high school. We saw the first results of data from the National Student Clearing House. We will be able to track where our students go for seven years after high school and will give districts that information by building. This is an awesome tool for districts to fix systemic problems. 
  • The state is revising the Math and Language Arts standards and they should be complete by next year. 
  • We met the 2017 Teachers of the Year from across the state.  Very impressive group of educators! 
Community Calendar
If you have community events coming up, let me know.  This email goes to nearly 3000 homes in Shawnee, Osage, and Douglas counties. I'd love to help you get the word out!  Just remember to send your activities ahead of time.     
  • Saturday, Feb. 18: Highland Heights Christian Church hosts a movie night with "To Joey with Love - the True Story". Doors open 5:30 pm; movie at 6 pm  Free snacks provided.
  • Saturday, Feb. 18: Gospel concert at Berryton United Methodist Church with The Lesters from St. Louis, MO. Two performances at 3 pm and 7 pm. Love offering for the performers. Concessions available.
  • Saturday, Feb. 18: Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum annual meeting and pot luck dinner. 6 pm. Guest speaker is Diane Eickhoff on "Women Soldiers of the Civil War". Meeting will be at the Clinton Presbyterian Church.
  • Saturday, Feb. 18: Free Fiber Arts workshop at Our Savior's Lutheran Church sponsored by the Lutheran Fine Arts Council of Topeka. 9 am to noon. Workshops on weaving, quilt art, needlework, soft-sculpture dolls and felting/tapestry. RSVP to JoLana Pinon at jolanapinon@gmail.com.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21: Community meal night featuring lasagne at the Stull United Methodist Church from 5-7 pm. Dine in or carry out. Donations accepted.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22: Community dinner at Berryton United Methodist Church. Pulled pork sandwiches, cheesy potatoes, baked beands, homemade dessert. From 5-7 pm.  Free will donation.
  • Thursday, Feb. 23: Mobile food pantry at Stull United Methodist Church parking lot from noon to 1 pm.
  • Saturday, Feb. 25: Tecumseh Kiwanis Club pancake feed at the Tecumseh United Methodist Church from 7 am to noon. Tickets $5. 6 and under free. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee, and orange juice. Silent auction items. 
  • Saturday, Feb. 25: Perry Pride ribbon cutting to celebrate the mural at the Perry Post Office and recognition as a Community of Excellence. 9:30 am
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28: Fat Tuesday pancake feed at Berryton United Methodist Church from 5-7 pm. Freewill donation.
  • Wednesday, March 1: Tecumseh Community Dinner at Tecumseh United Methodist Church from 5-6:30 pm. Featuring beff with homemade noodles, mashed potatoes, salad and more. Free-will donation.
  • Saturday, March 4: Free children's theater workshop at Topeka Civic Theater sponsored by the Lutheran Fine Arts Council of Topeka. Children grades 2-8. Limited to 40 children. To RSVP, write to Ann Mah at annmah@att.net.
  • Saturday, March 4: Auburn Elementary School Carnival 4-7 pm
  • Saturday, March 4: Chicken Noodle Dinner at Berryton United Methodist Church from 4-7 pm. Sweet shop and silent auction
  • Tuesday, March 14: Pre-St. Patrick's Day party sponsored by the Auburn Lions Club at the Auburn Civic Center. 5:30-7:30. Reservations required by March 8. Traditional Irish meal. For information call 256-7274.
  • Wednesday, March 29: Community dinner at Berryton United Methodist Church from 5-7 pm. Meatloaf, cheesy potatoes, vegetable, salad and dessert. Free will donation.
  • Saturday, April 15: Museum and grounds clean-up at the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum
  • NEW! Swap meet at Premier Farm & Home last Saturday of the month from March to October from 7 am to noon. 900 SW University Blvd (across from Forbes Field). No fee to set up.  No goats. 
  • Kansas Prairie Pickers meet to jam the fourth Sunday of each month from 1 to 5 pmat the Auburn Community Center. Free music. No jam in December. 
  • Storytime at the Auburn Community Library starts up for the fall again on Sept. 8 and continues on Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 pm.
  • CARE meets monthly on the second Thursday at the KNEA building, second floor, at 2 pm. For retired teachers or Kansans interested in advocating for education. For info: Larry Brayton at larrydene@cox.net
  • Enjoy BUNCO at the Carbondale Community Building once a month on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.  Call 785-836-7478 for details about dates, prizes, treats, etc. 
  • The Berryton Pickers are at Berryton Baptist Church the first Saturday of the month from 7 to 9 pm.  Bring snacks and have some fun!
  • Country and ballroom dancing at Croco Hall on Thursday nights from 6 to 9 pm.  For information call Edwina Hamersky at 379-9538.
  •  First Saturday of the month community breakfast buffet at Shawnee Heights United Methodist Church.  7:30 to 10 am.  Free will offering.
More to follow as bills come out of committees. Stay tuned!
Ann Mah

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

E-Newsletter: Shawnee County Democrats, February 14, 2017 Reminders

A Letter from KS04 Congressional Candidate, James Thompson

Kansas Democrats,

I am humbled and honored to have been selected to be our Democratic Candidate for the Kansas 4th Congressional District. This election is the first in the nation where we can fight back at the ballot box against the disastrous Donald Trump agenda.

We are already canvassing, making phone calls, and hosting events across south-central Kansas. But with only 56 days until the election on April 11, and 36 days until advanced ballots go out, we need your help now.

Go to www.VoteJamesThompson.com today to sign up to volunteer.

From across the Kansas 4th Congressional District, the State, and from the surrounding region of the country, volunteers are coming to Kansas to fight for our Democratic Values.

This race will be decided by those that show up. An April special election will be an opportunity where together we can stand up and elect a Democrat from Kansas to Washington for the first time in 7 years.

Together, we can fight for our Kansas Democratic values in Washington.

Thank you for your support, and all that you do.

James Thompson

Standing Room Only Last Week! More Hearings This Week!

Wednesday, February 15
- 9:30 am, 548 S, hearing on SCR 1604, sales tax on food

- 10:30 am, 144 S, hearings on SB 157 and SB 158, immigration policies

- 1:30 pm, 346 S, hearing on HB 2270, new school finance plan

- 1:30 pm, 281 N, hearing on HB 2257, election offenses

Thursday, February 16

- 9:30 am, 548 S, hearing on SB 175, a tax plan

Kansas Senate and House committee bill hearings scheduled for a given day can be found at www.kslegislature.org

Click on COMMITTEES and then on COMMITTEE BILL HEARINGS to reach the page and type in the day you want. The page will display a list of Bill Hearings that includes the Committee Name, Chamber, Bill Number, Bill Short Title, Committee Meeting Time, and Room Number or go directly to: http://kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/committees/hearings/

A Rally - Thursday, February 16, 10 am, join the Interfaith Action Network at the Statehouse to oppose campus carry.

Thursday, February 16, 5:30 pm, Democratic Action Committee monthly meeting at McFarland's Restaurant (4133 SW Gage Center Dr). Guest speaker will be Nathan Schmidt. For more information, contact Debbie Snow at 785-266-4185 or email her at d.snow@sbcglobal.net.

Also, Thursday, February 16, 7:30 pm, KTWU (11.1) is airing the Community Conversation on Race & Social Justice that was recorded live at White Concert Hall Friday, February 10, as Tim Wise: A Minds That Matter Presentation. Later that evening at 10:30 pm, it will be aired again (11.3). Additional airings are Sunday, February 19, 2:30 pm (11.1); Tuesday, February 21, 10:00 pm (11.3); Thursday, February 23, 10:00 pm (11.3); Sunday, February 26, 4:30 pm (11.3); Tuesday, February 28, 1:30 am (11.1); Thursday, March 9, 9:30 pm (11.3); Wednesday, March 22, 9:00 pm (11.1); and Sunday, March 26, 10:30 pm (11.1).

From the Women's March:; #HearOurVoice

Wow. Can you believe it’s been over three weeks since we marched five million strong on January 21? We didn’t stop there, though. Hundreds of thousands of us have gathered at over 4,750 community meetings, or Huddles, across the world to strengthen our local networks and nail down a plan to win back the world we want. All of us, together, have built the Women’s March into a powerful global movement. Now, it’s time for us to mobilize and demand that our elected officials Hear Our Voice.

As the third action in our 100 Days campaign, we’re going to collectively generate a wave of thousands of grassroots-led protests, actions, and meetings directly engaging members of Congress when they're back home for the President’s Day Week.

Sign up to join our Tele-Town Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 15th at 7 PM ET announcing the Hear Our Voice campaign to the world.

Thursday, February 23, 5:30 pm, Shawnee County Dems Night Out at the Celtic Fox, 8th and Jackson.

Friday-Saturday, February 24-25, Washington Days, Ramada Inn, downtown Topeka - Join the Kansas Democratic Party at the largest gathering of Democrats in the State. Washington Days is free to attend! Registration opens Friday at 3 pm. Friday events include the Kickoff Rally and Opening Ceremony at 6 pm; the auction at 8 pm; and the dance at 10 pm! For more information, go to: https://www.kansasdems.org/washington-days-2017/.

NEWS! - This is some of what happened in Kansas politics this last week!

Tax plans.
Senate halts debate on spending cuts, tax package; Kansas’ credit outlook revised to ‘negative’ - Lawrence JW
Senate budget, tax debate axed after votes melt away; GOP leaders halt other business until new deal found - Topeka CJ
GOP plan to fix Kansas budget collapses amid pressure from educators - Wichita Eagle
Kansas House committee signs off on tax increases, repealing LLC exemption - KC Star
The Contentious Tax Plans In The Kansas Senate - KCUR

School finance.
A look at 3 school finance plans garnering debate at the Kansas Statehouse - Lawrence JW

KanCare health care expansion.
Huge crowd turns out for Medicaid expansion hearing - Lawrence JW
KanCare Expansion Advocates Stage Statehouse Rally And Pack Hearing - KCUR
Libertarian think tanks, Kansas health secretary testify against expanding Medicaid - Topeka CJ
Kansas health committee to vote on Medicaid expansion - AP via KC Star

Other news
Kansas bill requires more details about abortion providers - Lawrence JW
Could This Be The Year Kansas Abolishes Capital Punishment? - KCUR
Democrats elect civil rights lawyer as nominee for US House - Topeka CJ
Kobach Cites 115 Potential Non-Citizen Voters - KCUR
Johnson County Moderate Republicans Stand Firm Against GOP Leadership - KCUR
Stirring the Coffee: Q&A with Annie McKay, Kansas Action for Children - Topeka CJ
Border War takes to the skies: Brownback wants to build an airport in Johnson County - KC Star
Nine in Somali refugee family arrive in Kansas City to launch new lives - KC Star
Kansas board in lengthy legal dispute over abortion case - Wichita Eagle

Thank you to our office supporters who with their financial support keep our doors open. As Governor Carlin has stated, "This is the most important election...because it is the next election." And, the 2017 election will be the next 'most important election.'

Help us be ready for that election by contributing to keeping our doors open. It costs $50 per day to do that. Please send checks with "office" in the memo line to Shawnee County Democrats at 5350 SW 17th or drop by and see us. During the winter months, office hours are 10 am to 4 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 1 am to 4 pm on Fridays.

Our website is www.sncodemocrats.org; our Facebook page is www.facebook.com/SnCoDems/, and you can follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/snco_dems.

Friday, February 10, 2017


Will self-described "moderate"  Rep. Ron Ellis (R-47th) step up to the tax plate?

[Excerpt] ... Asked about the collapse of the Senate plan, Brownback said that he has been primarily working with House leadership.

“You know how this works. It takes 100 different iterations,” Brownback said.

Democrats, who rarely agree with Brownback on budget issues, also support tapping those funds to get the state through the current fiscal year. For the following years, they’ve offered an alternative tax plan that would include the creation of a third income tax bracket.

Bollier said she believes there were enough votes to pass the Democrats’ plan if lawmakers had held a floor debate Thursday, but that Republican leaders opposed the idea of partnering with Democrats.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, said that he confronted Longbine about this Thursday and told him that Republicans need Democratic votes to avoid a veto from the governor on the tax plan.

“I just said, ‘Do the math. Do the math, Jeff,’ ” Hensley said.

Hensley criticized Republican leaders for trying to craft a plan through closed-door meetings rather than through public hearings. He said he hopes Thursday’s meltdown will embolden the moderates to work with Democrats.

“We’ll just have to see whether these moderates will step up,” he said. ... [End of Excerpt]

Read more.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Federal and State Affairs Committee, Kansas State Legislature A/V Link

This link to the web page provides a link to the audio/visual when it is in section.  Rep. Ron Ellis (R- 47th) is on this committee. Information included on meeting times and location; bills filed and tabled.  Click here or the headline above.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Oskaloosa Independent, Valley Falls Vindicator newspapers, Feb. 1, 2017

Our newly elected 47th District House Rep. Ron Ellis claims,
according to your Jan. 12, 2017 article, that he is among those “anxious to begin solving the problems” coming from the statehouse.

He can begin by announcing his opposition to HB 2011 which will substantially increase campaign contribution limits and allow for more unfair rigging of the election system in Kansas.

It is a rigged and corrupt system he is all too familiar with, being part of it, even before being elected to office. He used it quite ably against me during the 2016 campaign.

According to campaign papers filed with the Kansas Ethics Committee he received at least 34 campaign donations from lobbying groups, political action committees, front groups for bankers, insurance companies, polluting carbon based energy companies, WalMart and the Kansas Republican Party. 

Many of these contributions were at the $500.00 limit which if HB 2011 is passed will double.

He spent $2520.28 of those donated funds reimbursing the “KSGOP, P. O. Box 4157, Topeka, Ks. 66604” for the rotten, unfair postcards sent out against me. 

His records identify only 5 individual donors from the district, none more than $100 each.

Rep. Ron Ellis claimed during the campaign he was such a “moderate” he could be a Democrat if it wasn’t for the abortion issue.

I suggest he’s part of the corrupting “rigged” campaign system both Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and President Donald Trump railed against during the same campaign period.

Michael Caddell
North Jefferson County