Kansas Common Sense
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Questioning Labor Secretary about DOL Proposed Youth Farm Rules
On Wednesday morning, I had an opportunity to question U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis about her Department’s proposal to ban youth under the age of 16 from participating in many common farm-related activities during a Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. I’ve been continually working to show the Department of Labor (DOL) that its proposal is not only an unprecedented overreach by the federal government, but will fundamentally alter rural America. As currently drafted, the proposal would prohibit our youth from operating the most basic tools like a battery-powered screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose. A major concern that I have, and a question that I continually find myself asking is: “if the federal government can regulate what youth can do on their own family farm, what can’t they regulate?”
On Thursday morning, I spoke about this ridiculous federal overreach with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” morning show. In the weeks ahead, I will continue to work with my colleagues to try to stop this destructive rule. If you are also concerned about the DOL’s proposed rules, you can share your concerns at www.keepfamiliesfarming.com. Click here to watch my comments on Fox.
Senate Legislative Activities
On Wednesday, the Senate passed a two-year, highway bill (S.1813) with the support of 74 senators. The passage of the bill was preceded by a day of voting on Tuesday, with ten amendments voted on by the Senate. A range of issues were debated, including the federal government’s role in surface transportation activities, tolling, energy tax credits, and state recoupment of gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund. I was pleased that a long-term solution was reached, and I voted in favor of supporting highway infrastructure and construction jobs. The House now has the option of considering the Senate-passed bill.
Also, the Senate came to an agreement to move forward on 17 judicial confirmation votes. Senate Majority Leader Reid had attempted earlier in the week to rush these judges through the confirmation process. Instead, both sides have agreed to consider nominations, including District Court and Appeals Court judges, between now and May 7th. Two District Court judges were approved by the full Senate on Friday, under the new agreement.
As part of the agreement on judges, next week the Senate will move to the House-passed JOBS bill which would make it easier for new businesses to raise capital, create a phase-in period for small and growing companies to comply with burdensome government regulations, and update securities laws written in the 1930s to reflect the 21st Century marketplace which will help expand access to capital for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
TechAmerica Endorses Startup Act
On Thursday, I met with TechAmerica, a trade association comprised of more than 1,000 member companies that represents the U.S. technology industry. We discussed a range of issues facing the industry, including cybersecurity, tax policy, STEM education and supporting startup companies.
During my visit, I also met with TechAmerica’s new CEO Shawn Osborne, who announced the organization’s endorsement of the Startup Act. I appreciate the support and look forward to future discussions about the importance of technology to our economy. Click here to view a photo from my visit. Click here to view a copy of the TechAmerica’s endorsement letter.
Startup Act Gets Attention at SXSW
Last week, I reported about my recent visit to SXSW in Austin, Texas, to discuss the Startup Act. Several media, including TechDirt, POLITICO, TechCrunch and Silicon Prairie News, covered the story and have helped draw attention to the need to get our economy going again through startup legislation. Here are the stories that appeared recently:
TechDirt: Senator Moran Chats with Techdirt About SOPA, Innovation And The Importance Of An Open Internet
POLITICO: At SXSW, Jerry Moran pushes startup bill
TechCrunch: Democrats and Republicans Agree: We Need More Startups [TCTV]
Silicon Prairie News: Kansas Sen. Moran talks Startup Act at SXSW, urges big social media push
Strengthening our Nation’s Domestic Energy Supply
This week, Gov. Brownback and I co-authored an op-ed to explain our support for a temporary extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC) and its importance to Kansans. Government policies are hurting our country’s ability to compete within the global economy, limiting our domestic energy supply and driving up the cost of energy for consumers. To ensure Kansans have access to a reliable and affordable supply of energy, we must develop more of our nation’s natural resources.
Rather than make it more difficult for the private sector to develop energy sources, we should lower taxes, reduce regulations, and allow the private sector to succeed in the free market. In turn, the wind industry will grow and become fully competitive – no longer needing the wind PTC. Click here to read our op-ed.
Attending Kansas TRIO Legislative Breakfast
On Tuesday, I attended the Kansas TRIO Programs’ 18th Annual Legislative Breakfast on Capitol Hill. TRIO programs operate in 19 Kansas postsecondary schools and provide services to students from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds, students with disabilities, adult learners, and veterans to support them in achieving their goal of completing higher education, and oftentimes becoming the first in their family to earn a college degree. TRIO services include academic tutoring, college and career counseling, financial aid advising, and personal mentoring. This breakfast gives me the opportunity each year to meet with students in our state’s university and community college TRIO programs.
I had the opportunity to meet Kansas students currently pursuing higher education with the support of TRIO and hear their personal stories about pursuing higher education. This year I met KU students Yliana Ruiz, Suraj Keshary, and Ithar Hassaballa. Thank you to Wichita State’s V. Kaye Monk-Morgan for emceeing the event and for the TRIO staffs from Emporia State, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State, and University of Kansas for helping host the breakfast. As a first-generation college graduate myself, I am proud of the effectiveness of TRIO programs at our schools and have seen their success firsthand.
Congratulating Kyle Deaver on Winning Photo in 4-H Photography Contest
On Wednesday, Kyle Deaver, a 4-H member of Garden City, and his parents, Mike and Carol, visited Washington for the Kansas Farm Bureau fly-in. In Kansas, more than 6,600 young people participate in 4-H programs and 2,000 of those students entered their photos into the 4-H photography competition at the state fair this year. Two hundred of these participants were given a “purple” achievement award and 30 photos were ultimately chosen to be presented to a Kansas member of Congress to hang in their office.
Kyle’s impressive photo of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will hang in my office for the next year. I want to congratulate Kyle on his achievement and thank him for coming to deliver the photo in person. Click here to view a photo from the meeting.
Visiting with Mayors and City Council Members from Cities Across Kansas
This week, mayors, city council members and city officials from across Kansas were in Washington, D.C. for the annual National League of Cities congressional fly-in – including the cities of Lenexa, Mission, Abilene, Olathe, Shawnee, Manhattan, Wichita, Emporia and Prairie Village. It was an opportunity to visit with Kansans and hear about the issues important to their communities including fighting unfunded federal mandates, infrastructure, Community Development Block Grants and the need for greater local control for city governments. A special thanks to all the local leaders for making the time to come visit with me in Washington. Click here to see some photos from the meetings.
Speaking to the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership
This week I also had the opportunity to speak to the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership (KARL) class during their trip to Washington D.C. KARL is non-profit, educational organization dedicated to developing leaders for agriculture, business and rural communities. It was good to see so many Kansas leaders in Washington D.C., representing our way of life in a place that doesn't always understand it. Click here to see a photo from our time together.
Kansas Farm Bureau Dinner
On Wednesday night I was honored to speak at the Kansas Farm Bureau dinner about the many issues facing agriculture and rural America during their annual Presidents Fly-in. I shared my serious concerns with the Department of Labor's proposed youth farm labor rule, which would affect young people around the country and the ability of families to pass the farm or ranch on to the next generation. It was good to have Kansans in Washington D.C. educating folks about our way of life. Click here to see a photo from the KFB’s time in Washington.
Attending Paola Chamber Weekly Coffee
At the end of the week, I attended the Paola Chamber’s weekly coffee at Li’l Red Hen Quilt Shop. The Paola Chamber has been growing in membership over the past year and more than 70 people attended the coffee – a record! During my visit, I gave an update on the latest from Washington, DC – as well as an update on Senate Page Zach Trigg from Paola High School, who is doing a great job in Washington, D.C. Thanks to Jenny Latendresse, owner of the Li’l Red Hen Quilt Shop, for hosting the coffee and to Loralei Crum, for the invitation and for coordinating my visit. Click here to view a photo.
Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
I also attended the Kansas City Kansas Chamber of Commerce Congressional Forum, where members had the opportunity to hear an update from Congressman Kevin Yoder. During my visit, I spoke with numerous community members to learn about the issues affecting Wyandotte County. Thanks to KCK Chamber President and CEO Cindy Cash for the invitation to attend. A special thanks to Congressman Yoder for welcoming me to the forum. Click here to view a photo.
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:
Kansas Psychological Association
Bruce Nystrom of Wichita
Jason Deselms of Wichita
Adam Buhman Wiggs of Atchison
Melissa Hopper of Wichita
David Hill of Prairie Village
Monica Kurylo of Lenexa
Aaron Harris of Wichita
American Diabetes Association
Marta Howell of Gardner
Safe States Alliance
Lori Haskett of Topeka
Sedgwick County Health Department
Alyson Taylor of Wichita
Shalae Harris of Wichita
Linda Frazier of Wichita
Kansas Association of Local Health Departments
Dan Partridge of Lawrence
Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, Inc.
Ken Mishler of Topeka
Association of Air Medical Services
Greg Hildenbrand of Topeka
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Fred Britten of HaysMarla Staab of Hays
Jack Lindquist of Manhattan
Debra Bolton of Garden City
Dan Atkisson of Stockton
Marisa Larson of Manhattan
Randall Deblor of Alma
Kelsey Holste of Manhattan
Tricia Jantz of Newton
Chris Tanner of Norton
Tyler Edger of Meade
Josh Morrill of Garnett
Natalie Gosch of Mulvane
Hannah Grape of Manhattan
Jonathan Schmidt of Minneapolis
Tanner Ehmke of Healy
Aaron Harries of Manhattan
Kris Graves of Bartlett
Apartment Association of Greater Wichita
Leah Thibault of Wichita
Tisha Cannizzo of Wichita
Philip Bradley of Lawrence
Taff Hughes of Ellinwood
Thom Rosenberg of Wichita
Charles Fletcher of Wichita
Victor White of Wichita
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
Peter Fox of Wichita
Ron Brazil of Wichita
Western Plains Energy
Steve McNinch of Oakley
Kansas Soybean Association
Bob Henry of Robinson
Teresa Brandenburg of Alton
Dave Slead of Lebo
Dennis Hupe of Topeka
Kansas Farm Bureau
Terry Holdren of Topeka
Steve Baccus of Minneapolis
Rich Felts of Liberty
Jeff Grossenbacher of Bern
George Pretz of Payola
Joe Newland of Neodesha
Bob Voegele of Arkansas City
Stacey Forshee of Delphos
Jerry McReynolds of Woodston
Keith Miller of Great Bend
Joe Jury of Ingalls
Jim Sipes of Manter
Linda Franklin of Goodland
Dan Yunk of Manhattan
Dale Maneth of Olmitz
Cindy Detar of Coffeyville
Dane Detar of Coffeyville
Rich Felts of Liberty
Shirley Felts of Liberty
Carol Deaver of Garden City
Kyle Deaver of Garden City
Dennise Ricke of Barber
Nick Guetterman of Bucyrus
Jennie Guetterman of Bucyrus
Kyle Baker of Atlanta
Mike Deaver of Garden City
Carol Deaver of Garden City
Kyle Deaver of Garden City
Greg Akagi of Topeka
Many Kansans stopped by to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol this week including: Mike and Janice Seymour of Tonganoxie; Merc Page of Wamego; and Roy Calycomp of Seneca. The following Kansans also stopped by for a tour:
Kansas City Residents:
Overland Park Residents
Smith Center Residents:
Students of Gardner High School:
Prairie Village Residents:
Baldwin City Residents:
Rose Hill Residents:
Cawker City Residents:
Glen Elder Residents:
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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