Kansas Common Sense

Dear Friend, 

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.

Legislative Update

Last week, I voted to proceed to S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, which would help address the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) financial troubles. Without reform, the USPS will start closing post offices on May 15 and will not be able to stay in business beyond September. The motion failed 51 to 46. With these deadlines quickly approaching, it is critical that Congress considers postal legislation this spring.

On Thursday, the Senate held a vote on whether to end debate and proceed to vote on S. 2204, the “Gas Tax” legislation which eliminates some tax subsidies for energy manufacturers. Requiring a 60-vote threshold, the motion was not agreed to by a vote of 51-47. Members on both sides of the aisle agree this bill would have had minimal positive effect on high gas prices, which continue to increase financial hardships on Kansas families and businesses.

Also on Thursday, the Senate confirmed former Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Tom Hoenig to the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Nominated by the President to this important position, Tom joins the FDIC at a critical time given the work load placed on the agency by Dodd-Frank and other burdensome legislation. Tom spent more than 40-years working with Kansas bankers and other leaders in our community. He knows our economy and how best for government to encourage its growth. In short, he knows Kansas and his commonsense approach should serve the nation well as the FDIC attempts to solve such complex issues as the future of community banks and the end of “too big to fail” institutions. I was pleased to be supportive of his nomination throughout the process and wish him well as he extends his public service.

Lastly, the Senate passed by unanimous consent a 90-day extension for highway funding this week. The legislation, H.R. 4281, is intended to give the House and Senate time to enact a long-term reauthorization for surface transportation programs, as the current authorization expired on March 31.


Supreme Court Examines Constitutionality of Health Care Reform Law

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard an extraordinary three consecutive days of oral arguments regarding constitutional challenges to the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health care law. On Monday, the Court examined whether the fines the law levies on individuals who do not buy health insurance are considered a tax or a penalty. On Tuesday, the Court questioned attorneys on the constitutionality of the law’s individual mandate, which requires most Americans to purchase a certain level of health insurance as defined by the federal government. On Wednesday, the Court examined two issues: whether the individual mandate could be severed from the rest of the law when considering its constitutionality; and whether Congress can condition federal Medicaid assistance to the states on their adoption of the law’s new eligibility and coverage thresholds. The Court is expected to issue a decision this summer. This decision largely will decide the fate of the President’s health law and determine future deliberations in Congress on our country’s health care delivery system.

I had the opportunity to witness a portion of this historic case during Wednesday afternoon’s argument at the Supreme Court. I am pleased the Court is considering the constitutionality of the health law because I am concerned that Congress acted outside its constitutional authority in enacting the individual mandate and other requirements of the health law. 

This law has also generated significant uncertainty for American families and businesses – compounding the steep economic challenges already facing our nation. This uncertainty imposes an enormous drag on our economy at the worst possible time. It is important that the Court determine whether the law is constitutional.


Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus Briefing

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of hosting a Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus briefing to educate lawmakers and their staffs on the important role pharmacists play in rural America. I serve as a co-chair of this caucus with Senator John Tester of Montana. The purpose of the Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus is to raise awareness and advocate for community pharmacy issues. Community pharmacists are a vital part of our nation’s health care delivery system, and in many Kansas communities the local pharmacist is often a patient’s most direct link to health care. Access to medications, health care supplies, and the counsel pharmacists provide is very important to the health and well-being of every American.

I invited Brian Caswell, R.Ph of Baxter Springs to speak at the briefing in order to better illustrate how pharmacists in rural communities care for patients by administering immunizations, and helping patients manage their medications and understand their health care choices. Brian is the past president of the Kansas Pharmacists Association and president of Wolkar Drug in Baxter Springs. Brian also told us about Kansas and Missouri pharmacists who worked together last year to provide emergency care and medications for those affected by the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri. Thanks to Brian for sharing those inspiring stories and for sharing more about the important role of pharmacists in Kansas. Click here to view a photo.

 Sen. Moran Hosts Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus Briefing

Medical Research Turning Discovery Into Health

On Wednesday, I attended a Senate Appropriations health subcommittee hearing on the 2013 budget proposal for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world. NIH supports more than 325,000 scientists and research personnel, who work at more than 3,000 institutions across the United States and abroad. Among those testifying at the hearing were NIH Director Francis Collins and Harold Varmus, Director of NIH’s National Cancer Institute.

During the hearing, I asked Dr. Collins and Dr. Varmus about NIH’s mission of turning basic scientific discoveries into advances in health treatments and cures and how these objectives are being pursued in Kansas. In particular, we discussed a ground-breaking private-public collaboration between the University of Kansas Cancer Center, NIH, and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society to expedite the development of therapies for rare blood cancers. The goal of this unique collaboration is to conduct clinical studies that drug companies can then use to develop and market medical discoveries. The first project will test whether a certain arthritis drug could be useful in treating a major type of leukemia that typically affects older individuals. This project will enable Kansans to participate in clinical trials close to their homes at KU. These trials have the potential to help change the course of a patient’s treatment for the better. I believe that collaborations such as this one are critical to advancing medical discovery and maximizing the return on the investment of federal dollars. 

At the hearing, we also discussed the integral role that NIH plays in establishing the U.S. as a world leader in research and innovation.  Given the vast amount of progress made over the last century and the great potential current research holds, now is not the time to waiver on America’s commitment to advancing disease cures and treatments. If researchers cannot rely on consistent support from Congress, we will squander current progress, stunt America’s global competitiveness, and lose younger generations of doctors and scientists to alternative career paths. In 2010, NIH investment led to the creation of nearly 490,000 quality jobs and produced more than $68 billion in new economic activity across the country.  Click here to see video clips of my discussions at this hearing.


Fighting Against Government Overreach on Private Property

This week, I joined 29 of my Senate colleagues in introducing S. 2245, the Preserve the Waters of the U.S. Act, to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from using their proposed “guidance” to change legal responsibilities under the Clean Water Act (CWA). This guidance document, which was sent in final form to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on February 21, 2012, significantly changes and expands what features are considered protected under the CWA. It makes substantial additions, such as a first time inclusion of ditches, ground water, potholes, gutters and other water features that may flow, if at all, only after a heavy rainfall. 

These new regulations would make it harder for Americans to build in their backyards, grow crops, manage livestock, expand small businesses and carry out other activities on private lands without significant EPA permitting requirements. By issuing their final guidance, the EPA and the USACE are effectively taking authority over a wide array of water policy from states and placing that power in the hands of unelected federal bureaucrats. To change the legal responsibilities defined in the CWA through the guidance process without any congressional directive would set a dangerous precedent. I will continue to work towards swift passage of this legislation so that farmers, ranchers, homeowners, and small businesses can continue to make their own decisions about how they operate on their own property.


Visiting JP Morgan

Before returning to Washington this week, I stopped by to tour and meet with the folks at JP Morgan in Overland Park. Located on the Sprint campus, JP Morgan is new to Kansas. It was great to welcome them to Kansas and learn more about their business. At this location, the employees work in their Retirement Plan Services division. They currently manage nearly 700 corporate retirement plans and help more than 1.9 million individual investors. Thanks to the management team and staff for the informative tour and good conversation. Click here to view photos from my visit.

 Sen. Moran Visits JP Morgan

Attending Handel’s Messiah at Bethany College

On Sunday, Robba and I attended a performance of Handel’s Messiah at Bethany College in Lindsborg, sung by the Bethany Oratorio Society. We were honored to be the guests of President Edward Leonard. Bethany College was established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881 and has a rich history in Kansas. The Bethany Oratorio Society, or the Messiah Chorus, has its own unique history. In addition to student performers, the Oratorio Society includes community members from across Kansas and faculty. The Messiah performance has been a tradition for the chorus for many generations and current chorus members include mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons. Some members have been participating in Handel’s Messiah for more than 50 years. We enjoyed the performance; it was a great way to begin Easter observances. Click here to view a photo.

 Attending Handel's Messiah

In the Office

This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office, including the Kansans listed below. Click here to view photos of some of the visits:

Warrior Protection & Readiness Coalition
Ashley Palmer of Wichita

Blinded Veterans Association
Tim Hornick of Lawrence

Oliver's Hair Salon
Oliver Steinnagel of Overland Park

Kansas Beer Wholesalers Association
Barry Schwan of Wichita
Terry Parr of Wichita
Bill Goodlatte of Wichita
Pat Scherzer of Overland Park
Bob Bush of Hutchinson 

Kansas State Council of Fire Fighters
Matt Jackson of Junction City
Chris Booth of Junction City

Kansas State University Delegation
Carol Shanklin of Manhattan
Dennis Kuhlman of Salina
Ernie Minton of Manhattan
Gary Pierzynski of Manhattan
James Guikema of Manhattan
John English of Manhattan
Josh Mosier of Manhattan
Kurt Shultz of Manhattan
Kyle Reynolds of Manhattan
Peter Dorhout of Manhattan
Ralph Richardson of Manhattan
Ron Trewyn of Manhattan
Sue Peterson of Manhattan
Tim de Noble of Manhattan
Virginia Moxley of Manhattan

Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors
Scott Perkins of Overland Park
Eric Cenovich of Overland Park
Ryan Branfort of Salina 

Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace
Earl Carter of Augusta
Debbie Logsdon of Douglass

Employers Council on Flexible Compensation
James Ogden of Topeka
Barbara Berry of Topeka 

Sunflower Electric
Clare Gustin of Hays

MOARK/Kansas City Industrial Council
John Patrick of Lenexa
Tom Roberts of Lenexa

Distributed Wind Energy Association & American Wind Energy Association
Miranda Ellis of Greensburg

Kansas Recreation and Park Association
Doug Vance of Topeka
Ernie Shaw of Lawrence
Doug Kupper of Wichita
Bob Johnson, Jr. of Blue Valley
Linda Lanterman of Pratt
Kathy Pritchett of Pratt 

American Coalition of Ethanol
Greg Krissek of Colwich

Kansas Electric Cooperative
Bruce Graham of Topeka

Wheat Growers Research
Allan Fritz of Manhattan
Dalton Henry of Randolph

American Society of Agronomy
Fred Vocasek of Dodge City

KU Internship Program
Kelci Ankerholz of Lawrence
Erica Bennett of Lawrence
Anres Carrizosa of Lawrence
Kyle Christian of Lawrence
Ryan Derry of Overland Park
Jordan Diekmann of Lawrence
David Hopton of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Taylor Huhn of Overland Park
Andrew Probasco of Lawrence
Charles Range of Lawrence
Julian Viso of Lawrence
Jon Abrahamsen of Wichita
Hannah Coen of Wichita
Sahar Eshghi of Wichita
Robert Fugit of Wichita
Sasha Johnson of Wichita
Katherine Rodriquez of Wichita
Rana Zayed of Wichita

Wheat State Telephone
Archie Macias of Udall
Mary Meier of Madison
Andy Denzer of Overland Park
Diantha Stutesman of Madison

Mike Shannon of Elkhart
Bob Boaldin of Elkhart
Dian Boaldin of Elkhart
Linda Ward of Liberal

National Association of Postal Supervisors
Larry Ewing of Topeka
Kelly McCartney of Lawrence
Dawn Neece of Mulvane
Gary Townson of Rose Hill
Stephanie Alexander of Topeka

Kansas Chapter of the National Association of Postmasters
Tom Lippert of Hays
DeAnna Stevens of Harper
Karol Pykiet of Wellington
Judy Wasko of Hanston
Shelly Lippert of Hays
Marlene Poole of St. Marys
Rex Poole of Wamego

Kansas 4-H Youth Leadership Counil
Steven Buchele of Garden City
Leah Kimzey of Fredonia
Jill Seiler of Valley Center
Julia Shields  of Lenexa
Rod Buchele of Garden City

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
Michelle Knowles of Hays

American College of Surgeons
Tyler Hughes of McPherson
Joshua Mammen of Kansas City
Joshua Broghammer of Kansas City

Kansas State Department of Education
Diane DeBacker of Topeka
Brad Neuenswander of Topeka

Kansas State Board of Education
Sally Cauble of Topeka

Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy
Jennifer Bickel of Kansas City

American Health Information Management Association
Ann Nowlin of Salina
Kathy Tucker of Downs
Julie Hatesohl of Junction City
Mary Sue Moore of Manhattan
Preston Sauers of Ellsworth 

American Academy of Physician Assistants
Carla Deckert of Wichita
Sue Nyberg of Wichita

Delta Dental of Kansas, Inc.
Linda Brantner of Wichita
Sarah Patterson of Wichita
Mindy McPheeters of Wichita

Kansas Home Care Association
Jane Kelly of Topeka
Judith Bellome of Lawrence

National PACE Association
Karren Weichert of Topeka
Harmony Hines of Topeka
Justin Loewen of Wichita

American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Douglas Fain of Prairie Village
Matthew Lowe of Pittsburg
Tyson Marrs of Prairie Village

University of Kansas Medical Center
Donna Sweet of Wichita

American Society on Aging
Linda Redford of Kansas City

National Hospice and Palliative Care
Renee Hahn of Wichita
Kevin Kentfield of Lenexa
Sandy Kuhlman of Phillipsburg
Karren Weichert of Topeka
Julie Pinkerton of Dodge City
Denis Viseek of Prairie Village

National Association for Sport and Physical Education
Rick Pappas of Wichita
Blake Taylor of Wichita

Select Specialty Hospitals
Peggy Cliffe of Wichita
Jon Scott of Topeka
Alan Fearey of Wichita

Fort Hays State University Student Government Senators
Denise Blasi of Andale
Kyle Calvin of Ness City
Gentry Heimermann of Halstead
Angela Wary of Wichita
Debbie Hogsdon of Douglass

Society of Neuroscience
Cary Savage of Leawood 

American Rental Association
Phillip Kelling of Shawnee
Lynne Kelling of Shawnee 

National Air Transportation Association
Phil Watkins of Wichita

American Benefit Council
Bob Holcomb of Leawood

Sarah Tyree of Wichita

Kansas National Association of Housing and Redevelopment officials
Sheryl Swendson of Atchison
Michael Price of Olathe
Kathy Rankin of Olathe
Carolyn Wyatt of Kansas City

City of Garden City
Matt Allen of Garden City
Randy Partington of Garden City
John Doll of Garden City
David Crase of Garden City
Chris Law of Garden City
Lona DuVall of Garden City

City of Great Bend
Mike Allison of Great Bend
Allene Owen of Great Bend
Jan Peters of Great Bend
Ron Straub of Great Bend

Dodge City Chamber of Commerce
Cindy Malek of Dodge City
Ken Strobel of Dodge City
Cherise Tieben of Dodge City
Ed Elam of Dodge City
Terry Janson of Dodge City
Gene Dole of Dodge City
Rick Sowers of Dodge City
Gina Broeckelman of Dodge City
Michael Weece of Dodge City
Joe Peters of Dodge City
Kaci Davignon of Dodge City

Liberal Chamber of Commerce
Rozelle Webb of Liberal
Linda Ward of Liberal
Darrel Webb of Liberal
Bob Boaldin of Liberal
Dian Boaldin of Liberal
Dean Aragon of Liberal
Joe Denoyer of Liberal
Janet Willimon of Liiberal
Debbie Giskie of Liberal
Mark Hall of Liberal
Dave Harrison of Liberal

Stopped by the Office
Gabe Wilson of Lindsborg
Sam G. Wilson of Lindsborg
Phil Kelling of Shawnee
Lynne Kelling  of Shawnee


Many Kansans stopped by to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol this week including:

Dan and Sharon Deming of Hutchinson
Kameko Muramatsu of Hutchinson
Bob and Ann Bush of Hutchinson
Jack Bush of Hutchinson
Jeff  and Julie Parsons of Liberal
Gentry Heimerman of Halstead
Denise Blasi of Colwich
Angela Wary of Colwich
Kyle Calvin of Ness City
Tim and Nancy Goering of McPherson
Rod Buchele of Garden City
Steven Buchele of Garden City
Leah Kimzey of Fredonia
Julia Shields  of Lenexa
Rozanna Krull of Lenexa
Jill Seiler of Valley Center
Steve and Rachel Willis of Topeka
Marvin and Sandy McIntire of Salina


Contact Me

It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Please let me know how I can be of assistance. To send me an email, click here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.

Very truly yours,



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