Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.
Cyber Attack at United States Office of Personnel Management Affects Millions
It was troubling to hear the news Thursday of a massive cyber attack breaching the personal information of 4 million current and former federal employees stored at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Even more troubling is the fact that this is the second OPM breach in less than a year. These cyber criminals, which some have suggested are state-sponsored, gained access to 4 million federal government employee records including Social Security numbers, job assignments, performance ratings and training information. Last year in an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, I asked a number of questions to OPM Director Archuleta about how to attract and retain cyber talent within the federal workforce to protect against breaches like this. As Chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee for Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security, I will pursue answers to how this breach occurred, how long the hackers were in the system, and what steps the federal government should be taking to protect other agencies and sensitive information.
Senate Votes on Legislation to Extend Government's Surveillance Authorities
This week, the Senate passed the USA FREEDOM Act – legislation altering and extending the government’s surveillance authorities. I voted against the bill as I am concerned by the government’s domestic data collection practices and the intrusion of the privacy of American citizens. The U.S. intelligence community should be equipped with the tools necessary to reduce national security risks, but the USA FREEDOM Act fails to provide the reform necessary to safeguard individual rights. At the same time, it does not adequately improve the security of Americans.
Effective intelligence gathering does not have to come at the expense of civil liberties. Limited debate in the Senate failed to yield appropriately meaningful reforms. By waiting until the last few days before expiration to address the legislation, Americans were shortchanged in finding a responsible solution. I will continue to push for intelligence policies that protect both national security and the privacy of American citizens.
Frustrating Update from Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center
My request for an update about the delay in reopening Colmery-O’Neil’s emergency department this week resulted in frustrating news from VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson – certain emergency department service areas aren’t yet fully capable of meeting the needs of the veterans. Colmery-O’Neil has a plan in place to address these areas and will seek approval to reopen in the coming weeks. While my first priority is the safety and quality of care for veterans, I will continue to work with Congresswoman Jenkins to press the VA until this issue is resolved.
Additionally, this week at a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing I questioned the Veterans Health Administration Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health Clinical Operations Thomas Lynch about the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center’s Emergency Department. Click here to read more about this issue.
Sensible Environment Protections Act
I joined a bipartisan group of senators this week in introducing legislation to eliminate a duplicative EPA regulation that results in added cost and bureaucratic red tape for Kansas farmers, ranchers, state and local governments, and other pesticide applicators. The Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) clarifies Congressional intent concerning the safe use of pesticides around bodies of water under jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
For decades, the EPA has rigorously regulated pesticide applications under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) with the aim to protect human health and the environment. FIFRA requires pesticides to be extensively tested and registered with the EPA. Pesticide users must then strictly comply with agency approved labels when applying the registered pesticide. However, despite this clear regulatory framework in place, a 2009 court decision forced EPA to require additional permits for pesticide use under the CWA. SEPA would eliminate this unnecessary and redundant permitting requirement for pesticides that hinders stakeholders without any environmental benefit. Click here to learn more.
Drawing Attention to Issues at FIFA
Last week, nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives were formally charged by U.S. prosecutors for racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering – charges that suggest FIFA officials may have been bribed to select certain locations as host countries for the World Cup soccer tournament. This week, the newly re-elected President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, who has presided over international soccer’s governing body for 17 years, announced his immediate resignation amidst allegations he is also connected to the high-profile corruption scandal.
As FIFA prepares to elect a new president, I believe now is an opportunity to examine some of the tragic human rights abuses occurring in one of those host countries, Qatar. In 2022, Qatar is scheduled to host the FIFA World Cup. The country, which has a population of less than 300,000 citizens, plans to import as many as 500,000 migrant workers to construct the World Cup stadiums. Last year ESPN aired a riveting documentary, which highlighted the unsanitary living conditions, troubling working conditions and extreme heat that has cost nearly 700 lives in recent years. Should the pace of death continue, as many as 6,000 workers are expected to lose their life before the first World Cup 2022 game begins. As Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, our jurisdiction includes sports. I intend to hold a hearing to examine these abuses in Qatar, and determine how the United States can play a productive role in encouraging the new president of FIFA to improve worker conditions and restore integrity to the organization. Click here to learn more.
Visiting Central Kansas Hospitals
On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit health care providers and hospital administrators at two Kansas community hospitals to learn more about their efforts to provide quality care to patients.
First, I visited Stafford County Hospital (SCH), a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH) serving the community since 1961. SCH provides a wide range of services, including imaging and laboratory services, physical, occupational and speech therapy, and wound care.
Following my time in Stafford, I visited Ellinwood District Hospital (EDH). EDH is also a 25-bed CAH providing care since 1952. EDH also operates a rural health clinic specializing in family medicine, which has seen patients for more than 20 years. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Health Subcommittee, which has funding jurisdiction over most agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that impact hospitals and providers, meeting with Kansas hospital administrators, physicians, nurses, and other staff gives me important insight on the challenges they face caring for patients.
My discussions with SCH and EDH administrators and staff spanned various topics including concerns with proposed changes in Medicare reimbursements and the consequences to CAHs, and the challenges of providing quality patient care under regulations that do not account for the realities of delivering care in a rural setting. It is important that the federal government allow rural providers the flexibility necessary to adequately care for their patients, many of whom are older and live across wide areas. Thank you to SCH CEO Todd Taylor and EDH CEO Kile Magner for hosting my visits to their hospitals.
Working to Prevent Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Kansas
This week I met with two groups that are working to end domestic violence and child abuse: the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Children's Advocacy Centers of Kansas.
On Wednesday, I met with Joyce Grover to discuss the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV). KSCDV is a nonprofit network that works to prevent and eliminate sexual and domestic violence across our state. The ongoing efforts of KCSDV are critical to the individuals and families it serves, as well as the various organizations it coordinates with. I appreciated the chance to visit with such a respected leader on this important issue.
The Children's Advocacy Centers of Kansas visited with my staff about their work to prevent abuse and keep children safe. In 2014, the Child Advocacy Centers of Kansas served over 4,000 children. Among other things, the CACs’ work assists law enforcement and the judicial system efficiently process child abuse cases while prioritizing the child’s health and safety.
Continuing Kansas Listening Tour Stops
I continued my Kansas Listening Tour stops with visits to Ellis and Barton Counties on Saturday. For a list of my upcoming Kansas Listening Tour stops, visit my website.
More than 50 Hays-area residents joined me for a Kansas Listening Tour stop in Ellis County. We discussed a number of issues including health care for rural veterans, the Fair Tax, national security, and the importance of improving our country for future generations. Thanks to Hays Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tammy Wellbrock and the City of Hays Welcome Center for hosting my visit.
Thanks to the Barton County area residents who attended my Kansas Listening Tour stop in Hoisington. The conversation focused on a number of issues of importance to our state and nation including veterans' health care, Critical Access Hospitals, frustration with the Affordable Care Act and the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Thanks also to Hoisington Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristi Lovett and the Hoisington Recreation Commission for hosting.
FHSU’s Annual President’s Dinner
On Friday, Robba and I attended the Fort Hays State University annual President’s Dinner, which is held every year to thank those who have contributed to the University’s success. It was great to spend the evening with many FHSU alumni and supporters as we celebrated the university’s outstanding achievements. I appreciated the opportunity to speak with Dr. Mirta Martin on her first year as FHSU’s President and the great things happening at FHSU.
Honoring Captain Christopher Norgren
On Friday, flags across Kansas were flown at half-staff to honor fallen Marine and Wichita native Chris Norgren. Chris was killed on May 12 aboard a Marine helicopter that crashed while delivering disaster aid to earthquake victims in Nepal. His bravery serves as an inspiration to us all, and I attended his funeral to pay respects on behalf of all Kansans and Americans.
Visiting with Kansas Students in Washington
Over the past couple weeks, it’s been a real pleasure to visit with students from across the state visiting our nation’s capital including Blue Valley Northwest’s “We the People” group, Nemaha Central Middle School and students from McPherson, Geneseo, Windom, Little River, Claflin, Bushton and Holyrood. I shared with them how my interest in politics began when I came to Washington as an intern during college, and I appreciated their questions on current issues facing our state and nation.
Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2015 Internships
The deadline for fall internship applications is quickly approaching, and anyone interested should submit their application before Friday, June 26. Application forms can be obtained and completed under the “Services” section of Sen. Moran’s website at https://www.moran.senate.gov. Applicants should submit a completed application form, resume, academic transcript, two letters of recommendation and a cover letter explaining the applicant’s interest in public service and goals of serving as an intern. Please submit required materials to: email@example.com.
For questions, please contact Sen. Moran’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-224-6521 and request to speak with the Intern Coordinator.
Kansans in the Office
Skylar Widmer of Marysville
Chelsea Watson of Council Grove
Shianne Howell of South Haven
Chandler Huddleston of Rolla
Michael Snodgras of Kansas City
Bob Holcomb of Leawood
Hume Feldman of Lawrence
Josh Wilson of Olathe
Brad Witham of Olathe
American Academy of Pediatrics
Dennis Cooley of Topeka
JE Dunn Construction
Pete Levi of Leawood
Pittsburg City Government
Daron Hall of Pittsburg
Charlie Hall of Pittsburg
Jacqueline Hall of Pittsburg
Jenni Hall of Pittsburg
Kansas Public Health Association
Shirley Orr of Wichita
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Kansas
Aurora Myers of Wichita
Lucas Moody of Emporia
Jane Holzrichter of Hutchinson
Kerry Grosch of Newton
Cindy Riddell of Shawnee
National Small Business Association
Jeff Koenig of Manhattan
Narmin Koenig of Manhattan
Homegrown by Heroes
Janet Barrows of Manhattan
Ken DeVan of Leavenworth
Josh Debes of Hoisington
Julia Debes of Hoisington
Scott Whittington of Burlington
Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
Joyce Grover of Topeka
American Foundry Society
Ronald Pomeroy of Belle Plaine
Kurt Eck of Wellington
Kansas Livestock Association
Michael Archibald of Satanta
Josh Mueller of Halstead
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Randy O’Boyle of Manhattan
Carl Wolf of Olathe
John Bouma of Wichita
Greg Thom of Manhattan
Recreational Vehicle Industry
Art Klee of Wichita
Jeff Rutherford of Wichita
American Pizza Community
Mary Adolf of Wichita
Tom Kenwalley of Wichita
Meat Import Council of America
Todd Wheelock of Wichita
Tracy Strohm of Lenexa
Kansas Craft Brewers Guild
Steve Bradt of Lawrence
Angela Lampe of Wichita
Bob Holcomb of Overland Park
American Physical Therapy Association
Carolyn Bloom of Lawrence
Mark Dwyer of Olathe
Susan Harms of Manhattan
Marsha Lawrence of Stillwell
Camille Snyder of Wichita
Kevyn Soupiset of Great Bend
Anthony Thomas of Hays
Jennifer Westerberg of Overland Park
Shelli Hill of Wichita
Angie Hoerner of Abilene
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
Matt Flynn of Overland Park
Ed McKechnie of Arcadia
Pittsburg State University
Shawn Naccarato of Pittsburg
Pawan Kahol of Pittsburg
Landon Hughey of Fort Scott
Timothy Bohannan of Liberal
Sheryl Bohannan of Liberal
Mariah Berhns of Park City
Erin Petersilie of LaCrosse
Robert Fangman of Ottawa
Lisa Fangman of Ottawa
Andrew Fangman of Ottawa
Abigail Fangman of Ottawa
Byron Fangman of Ottawa
Ron Altman of Winfield
Cindy Altman of Winfield
Reese Altman of Salina
Ronald Clasberry of Junction City
Bernadette Clasberry of Junction City
Janelle Clasberry of Junction City
Gregory Clasberry of Junction City
Robin Parker of Shawnee
Jason Parker of Shawnee
Jacob Parker of Shawnee
Ian Parker of Shawnee
Anne Phillips of Lenexa
Dr. Rebecca Akin of Lenexa
Robert Zachary Akin-Amland of Lenexa
Adam Carey of Elkhart
Susan Carey of Elkhart
Declan Carey of Olathe
Cynthia Forman of Olathe
Christopher Forman of Olathe
Matthew Forman of Olathe
Larry Williams of Eskridge
Sandra Williams of Eskridge
Ryan Richard of Olathe
Felicia Richard of Olathe
Graham Richard of Olathe
Jerry Robinson of Lawrence
Michelle Robinson of Lawrence
Gwen Turner of Blue Rapids
Jadeane Laflen of Greenleaf
Danielle Laflen of Greenleaf
Rebecca Armstrong of Bel Aire
Charles Gaynor of Bel Aire
Katelyn Wirgler of Douglas
Rebecca Hatesohl of Greenleaf
Kelsey Hatesohl of Greenleaf
Honored to Serve You in Washington
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the many Kansans who have been calling and writing in to share their thoughts and opinions on the issues our state and country face. I appreciate the words of Kansans, whether in the form of a form of letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.
Very truly yours,
Newsletter Sign-up Form
Note: Fields marked with an * are required.