By Kansas Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee
We need honesty and integrity in campaigns. It is crucial that Kansas citizens receive correct information about legislators’ voting records and not just rhetoric with platitudes. Kansas Senate President Steve Morris said he never supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. However, his actions and votes indicate he was not willing to protect Kansas citizens and their liberty against the controversial federal health care law.
Over the course of three years, President Morris was continually asked to allow a vote on the Senate floor for a Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment so Kansas citizens would be able to vote for it on the ballot this year and continue to act freely concerning their own health care decisions. State sovereignty as guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment in our U.S. Constitution gives the primary duty to the state to protect the liberty of the people in regards to their health care. However, the legislation was repeatedly given roadblocks in the Senate and it was necessary to maneuver the measure around several Senate leadership-imposed barriers.
Please review the votes from official Senate journals so you are not deceived by “Washington-DC style politics.” The accurate historical record with links to these journals is on www.kansashealthcarefreedom.com, which also explains the voting gymnastics that transpired over the years.
In 2010, the proposed constitutional amendment was referred to two committees and a subcommittee (usually a bill is only referred to one committee by leadership). One committee passed it without a recommendation, and the second committee referred it to a subcommittee. In the final hours before adjournment, a motion was made to move the measure out of committee. President Morris voted against this motion. (Senate Journal April 28, 2910. A “Yea” vote was in favor of health care freedom. Yeas: Abrams, Apple, Barnett, Brownlee, Bruce, Colyer, Donovan, Huelskamp, Kelsey, Lynn, Marshall, Masterson, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Pyle, Schmidt D, Taddiken, Wagle. Nays: Brungardt, Emler, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hensley, Holland, Huntington, Kelly, Kultala, Lee, McGinn, Morris, Owens, Reitz, Schmidt V, Schodorf, Steineger, Teichman, Umbarger, Vratil.)
In the 2011 session, I amended the language of the Health Care Freedom Amendment into a prescription health care bill on the Senate floor as the “Kansas Health Care Freedom Act” — a law instead of a constitutional amendment. President Morris voted against the floor amendment. Only after the amendment was added and it was obvious the measure was going to pass is when “every” Republican in the Kansas Senate voted for it. (Senate Journal Mar 22, 2011. A “Yea” vote was in favor of health care freedom. Yeas: Abrams, Apple, Bruce, Huntington, Kelsey, King, Longbine, Love, Lynn, Marshall, Masterson, McGinn, Merrick, Olson, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Pyle, Schmidt V, Schodorf, Steineger, Taddiken, Teichman, Umbarger, Vratil, Wagle. Nays: Brungardt, Emler, Faust-Goudeau, Haley, Hensley, Kultala, Morris, Owens, Reitz, Schmidt A. Present and Passing: Francisco, Holland, Kelly. Absent or Not Voting: Donovan.)
In the 2012 session, the Health Care Freedom Amendment was defeated in the Senate. Interestingly, seven senators who voted for final passage first voted to send the measure back to committee. (Senate Journal Feb. 23, 2012. A “Nay” vote is in favor of health care freedom. Yeas: Brungardt, Emler, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hensley, Holland, Kelly, Kultala, Longbine, McGinn, Morris, Owens, Reitz, A. Schmidt, V. Schmidt, Teichman, Umbarger, Vratil. Nays: Abrams, Apple, Bruce, Donovan, Kelsey, King, Love, Lynn, Marshall, Masterson, Merrick, Olson, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Pyle, Schodorf, Steineger, Taddiken, Wagle. Present and Passing: Huntington.)
As far as money being involved in politics, President Steve Morris is in charge of a Senate Leadership PAC that receives out-of-state money and spends massive amounts sending out nasty and false attacks on fellow Republicans who did not vote for President Morris to be in his leadership position. President Steve Morris voted against abolishing this PAC last session.
When there are conflicting views, please get the facts and evaluate the votes. On Tuesday, August 7, be prepared to vote for the candidates who stand with integrity about their votes.