Kansas Common Sense

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Senate Passes Legislation to Enhance Tools in Fight Against Drug Addiction
The Senate passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524) this week, bipartisan legislation that will help America in the fight against drug addiction and the related prescription pain killer and heroin epidemics. I voted in support of the bill and hope to see it successfully implemented to the benefit of Kansans and Americans. The legislation builds upon previous Congressional action through the enhancement of drug treatment programs, greater support of law enforcement efforts, and expanded education and prevention initiatives. Drugs and addiction are increasingly taking a terrible toll on American lives and communities, and the Senate’s action is a positive step to reverse that trend and to help those in need. Click here to learn more.

Chairing the Ag Appropriations Subcommittee Review of the USDA Budget
This week, the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing to review the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) fiscal year 2017 budget. The subcommittee sets spending levels and directs priorities at USDA, as well as plays a key role in overseeing the operations within the department. As chairman of the subcommittee, I had the opportunity to raise a number of important issues with Secretary Vilsack. I began by expressing my disappointment that the president’s budget proposes massive cuts to crop insurance – even after the efforts by so many last fall to protect the program. At a time when our nation’s farmers and ranchers are facing a drastic downturn in commodity prices and falling revenues, it is critical our safety net for producers allows them to continue to grow and raise the safest, most affordable and most abundant food supply in the world. We also discussed the importance of agriculture research, rural development and broadband, and new and beginning farmer initiatives at USDA. As the subcommittee drafts the agriculture appropriations bill for FY2017, I will continue working to make rural America a priority.

Sen. Moran Hosts Roundtable on the U.S. Farm Economy

Spirit AeroSystems Selected for the Northrup Grumman B-21 Team
I am proud Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems was named a partner in the Northrup Grumman manufacturing team for the U.S. Air Force Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B), better known as the B-21 Bomber. The B-21 is intended to serve as the Air Force’s replacement bomber for the current B-52 and B-1 bomber aircraft, and is vital to the Air Force’s plans for air power modernization. Spirit AeroSystems and their talented workforce of Kansans will have a critical role part in this important project, which contributes to a strong national defense and a strong economy – both are vital to safeguarding our nation for years to come. Click here to learn more.

Urging Defense Department to Hold Off on Cuts to Autism Therapy
Each year, the Defense Health Agency, part of the Department of Defense, sets TRICARE reimbursement rates for the health care expenses of our military personnel and their families. I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues in communicating with Defense Secretary Carter this week to express my concern that the reimbursement rates for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) were set to drop by the end of this month. ABA services provide crucial therapy to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – particularly in helping autistic children increase I.Q., language abilities and coping skills. This cut would likely result in reduced access to ABA for the more than 26,000 military children with ASD. It is critical that we support the families of the men and women who sacrifice so much for our nation. Click here to learn more.

Advocating for Kansas Priorities in FAA Reauthorization Legislation
On Wednesday, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Senator Thune (R-S.D.) introduced S. 2658, legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through fiscal year 2017. With funding set to expire March 31 absent further authorization from Congress, this was an important step and the Commerce Committee intends to move quickly toward passing this bipartisan legislation later this week. 

In the House of Representatives, FAA Reauthorization legislation (H.R. 4441) has stalled due to efforts to privatize the national Air Traffic Control (ATC) system. However, S. 2658 sets aside that controversial proposal and offers many important provisions to improve aviation safety, advance the development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and help our aviation and aerospace industries better compete in a global economy. 

I was pleased to see included in the Chairman’s bill a provision I requested to halt the FAA’s attempts to remove Wichita’s ICT airport from the Contract Weather Observers (CWO) program. At 57 airports across the country, including ICT, contractors currently assist the FAA as part of the CWO program to provide critical weather information to support and ensure the safety of pilots and passengers alike. This is a misguided effort by the FAA to save costs without having properly studied the safety risks and hazardous effects that could result from the loss of this program at affected airports. 

In addition, contained within S. 2658 is the Small Airport Regulation Relief Act of 2015 (S. 239), legislation which I cosponsored to ensure airports such as Hays Regional (HYS) and Liberal Mid-America (LBL) don’t lose their critical airport improvement funding due to inconsistent service from regional airlines and no fault of their own. It is imperative that our state’s airports continue to have the support they need to provide invaluable air service for rural Kansans. 

I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Commerce Committee this week to debate, amend and pass the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016. 

Supporting the Mission at Guantanamo Bay
I joined several of my colleagues this week in introducing U.S. Senate Resolutions to support the mission of Joint Task Force (JTF) Guantanamo Bay. Although Congress has already spoken with legal prohibitions, I wanted to make it clear that I reject the president’s plan for transferring detainees from GITMO, and believe that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, militants captured by U.S. Forces should be detained at GITMO. 

My visit to GITMO last week confirmed my belief that it is the best place to detain terrorists, and I will continue to push to make certain the critical mission carried out by professional dedicated service members continues at GITMO. Congress has made it clear – detainees have no place on U.S. soil. Multiple laws prohibit both the closure of GITMO and the transfer of detainees to the United States. I am committed to making certain those laws are upheld, and the concerns of Kansans are heard. To read more, click here.

Speaking at South-by-Southwest
I took a detour on my way home from Washington this week, to stop in Austin, Texas, where the South-by-Southwest Interactive Conference is held each spring. I spoke on a panel about the engagement between the startup community and lawmakers in Washington. Entrepreneurs are critical drivers of economic growth in America but too often bad policies in Washington make it harder for good ideas to come to market or for emerging companies to survive. Pro-growth policies can start with entrepreneurs and their success will result in improved products at lower prices, more jobs, and a growing American economy. While in Austin, I had the pleasure of meeting with a number of Kansans who traveled to SXSW. I will continue to push for legislation in Washington that eases the path for Kansans with good ideas to launch a small business and compete in the free market system.

Recognizing Preservation of Topeka’s Dillon House
It was great to help honor Topeka's Historic Dillon House, which received the Preservation's Best Award by the National Trust for Historic Preservation last week. Located adjacent to the state capitol in Topeka, the Dillion House was built in 1911 by Hiram Price Dillon. Since it was renovated to its former glory, the house has hosted thousands of guests. Congrats to Ross Freeman with the Pioneer Group and Vance Kelley with Treanor Architects.

Kansans in the Office
Juliana Alvey of Kansas City
Jason Crum of Leavenworth
Sharolyn Hutton of Gardner
Thomas Hutton of Gardner 

National Teacher’s Hall of Fame 
Carol Strickland of Emporia 

Experimental Aircraft Association 
Jack Pelton of Wichita

Council for Agriculture Research and Teaching 
Connie Kays of Weir
Ernie Minton of Manhattan
Steve Irsik of Ingalls 

2016 ONE Power Summit 
Andrew Collins of Leawood
Katie Goebel of El Dorado
Anna Herrick of Olathe 

National Trust for Historic Preservation 
Vance Kelley of Topeka 

American Medical Association 
Coulter Cranston of Kansas City
Kathleen White of Kansas City
Dihan Thilakaratne of Kansas City
Weston Schaper of Kansas City
Vusala Snyder of Kansas City
Erik Unruh of Kansas City 

Kansas Municipal Utilities 
Mark Chesney of Wichita
Paul Mahlberg of Overland Park
Don Gray of Kansas City
Robert Milan of Kansas City
Tim Maier of McPherson
Greg DuMars of Lindsborg
Merl Page of Wamego
Stan Luke of Blurlington
Bob Peter of Ellinwood
James Ging of Winfield
Olivia Hansen of McPherson
Cory Peterson of Lindsborg 

YouthBuild 
CJ Irvin of Kansas City
Takeyla McCutchen of Kansas City

Kansas Tourette Association 
Carson Bishop of Overland Park
Stephanie Bishop of Overland Park 

Kansas PTA 
Josh Halperin of Lenexa
Denise Sultz of Overland Park 

National Guard Bureau Office of Legislative Liaison
Dana Graf of Wichita 

Kansas Wheat 
Will Zorrilla of Manhattan 

Human Rights Campaign 
Abbey Logan of Overland Park 

Organization of American-Iranian Communities 
Seyed Sajade of Overland Park 

Risk IQ 
Jason Zam of Olathe 

National Apartment Association 
Jeannette Cox of Lenexa
Joshua Turner of Derby
Mike Pharis of Wichita 

League of Kansas Municipalities 
Randall Hardy of Salina
Lisa Larsen of Lawrence
Leslie Soden of Lawrence
Diane Stoddard of Lawrence
Andy Huckaba of Lenexa
Becky Fast of Roeland Park
Isaac Hook of Shawnee
Carol Gonzales of Shawnee
Brandon Kenig of Shawnee
Jim Neighbor of Shawnee
Mickey Sandifer of Shawnee
Jeff Vaught of Shawnee
Erik Sartorius of Lawrence 

National Association of Postal Supervisors 
Larry Ewing of Topeka
Kelly McCartney of Lawrence
Stephanie Alexander of Topeka
Will McIntyre of Gardner
Dawn Neece of Wichita
Patricia Aguilera of Goddard
Gary Townson of Rose Hill

Kansas Alliance for the Arts in Education 
Barbara Warady of Overland Park 

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 
Kent Bradley of Valley Center
Christopher Graber of Salina 

National Barley Improvement Committee 
Jessica Alexander of Quinter 

City of Wichita 
Jeff Longwell of Wichita
James Clendenin of Wichita
Bryan Rye of Wichita
Janet Miller of Wichita
Lavonta Williams of Wichita
Robert Layton of Wichita
Ken Evans of Wichita
Jim Davenport of Wichita 

City of Ottawa 
Sara Caylor of Ottawa
Ava Caylor of Ottawa 

City of Olathe 
Kavian Kalantari of Olathe
Disha Dasgupta of Olathe
Leslie Herring of Olathe
Rachel Wilkes of Olathe 

Kaman Composite Structures 
Molly Griffin of Wichita 

Capitol Tour 
Ryan Taylor of Overland Park
Kathleen Taylor of Overland Park
Alexander Taylor of Overland Park
Julia Taylor of Overland Park
Bryan Witt of Overland Park
Suzanne Witt of Overland Park
Braden Witt of Overland Park
Jessica Witt of Overland Park
Annika Witt of Overland Park
Ella Dysinger of McPherson
Mary Hessenflow of Salina
Max Mays of Lenexa
Liam Mays of Lenexa
Kyle Campbell of Abilene
Kendra Campbell of Abilene
Edith Campbell of Abilene
Lela Campbell of Abilene
Warren Campbell of Abilene
Margaret Campbell of Abilene
George Campbell of Abilene
James Mick of Overland Park
Jenny Mick of Overland Park
Eli Mick of Overland Park 

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.

Please let me know how I can be of assistance. You can contact me by email by clicking here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.

Very truly yours,

Jerry

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