Kansas Common Sense


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Using Common Sense to Conserve Lesser Prairie Chicken
This week, my amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill to restrict the use of funds for enforcement of the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) to list the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act passed out of committee. I believe the FWS acted prematurely when listing the LPC. The five states with habitat area – Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas – came together with stakeholders to develop a broadly supported plan to conserve the bird. However, they were not given adequate time to implement the conservation plan due to the federal government unnecessarily stepping in and listing the bird as a threatened species.

Critics of my amendment expressed a belief that the FWS knew best when deciding to list the LPC as a threatened species and we should trust their judgment. I disagree. I believe the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, landowners and conversation organizations in Kansas and other stakeholders know better than the federal government how to preserve the bird and its habitat area.

I am confident there are ways to conserve the species without burdensome regulations from the federal government that hinder economic opportunities in rural communities. Rainfall this spring and conservation efforts at the state and local level will be far more effective at replenishing the lesser prairie chicken population than rules and regulations coming from Washington, D.C. I am pleased my amendment passed in the appropriations committee and am committed to continuing my efforts to shield Kansas from the impacts of the listing. Click here to learn more.

Protecting Kansans from EPA Overregulation
As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, I also took aim Thursday at the Obama Administration’s pattern of unnecessary federal overreach and costly environmental regulations. The 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill, which now heads to the full Senate for a vote, would block the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), as well as allow states to opt out of the EPA's Clean Power Plan rule which threatens to increase energy costs for Americans while providing minimal environmental benefits. 

For both the WOTUS rule and the EPA's Clean Power Plant rule, the EPA has ignored the clear objections of stakeholders from across the country about the devastating impacts these regulatory schemes will have on families and businesses. I will continue to work to protect Kansas families, the rural economy and small businesses from these deeply flawed regulations and work for commonsense, local solutions to protect our environment. Click here to read more. 

Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act
This week, the United States Senate continued consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation authorizes the appropriations process for the Fiscal Year 2016 for the Department of Defense, military construction and defense related projects for other federal agencies. I was pleased by the full and open discussion that took place regarding numerous amendments to the bill, which passed the full Senate by a vote of 71-25 this past Thursday. Providing the men and women of our military with the proper training and equipment they need to defend our nation has always been and continues to be one of my top priorities.

I was pleased that an amendment I offered to the NDAA passed unanimously and was included in the final bill. My Sense of Congress Amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to review and consider findings and recommendations from the Council of Governors regarding cyber mission force requirements and the synchronization of cyber capabilities in the active and reserve components of the Armed Forces, particularly as it relates to reducing capabilities. The Council of Governors – created to enable governors and federal officials to address matters pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense and defense support to civil authorities – has an inherent coordination role between state and federal governments. This amendment highlights the importance of the Council of Governors and their role in determining the Department of Defense’s cyber capabilities, specifically in the National Guard.

Oversight of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
On Wednesday, I convened my third hearing as Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security. As part of the Subcommittee’s role to conduct oversight of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the hearing examined the agency’s FY 2016 Budget Request, its current rulemaking agenda, and issues identified in recent reports by the CPSC Inspector General.

Created in 1972, the CPSC is an independent regulatory agency led by five commissioners, each of whom presented testimony at Wednesday’s hearing. A relatively small but powerful agency, the CPSC is responsible for protecting the public against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with more than 15,000 consumer products, such as household products, toys and sporting goods. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) greatly expanded the scope of the agency’s mission, and implementation of this law has been controversial and required Congressional action to limit the Commission’s new authority. While protecting the safety of Americans is a top priority for the Subcommittee, it is important to make certain CPSC activity is supported by sound data and engagement with manufacturers, importers, retailers and other stakeholders.

During the hearing, senators from both sides of the aisle discussed a wide range of issues related to CPSC rulemaking and jurisdiction, including expanded surveillance on imported goods at our nation’s ports, the safety risks of liquid laundry packets, and legislation to study the safety concerns of recreational off-highway vehicles, or ROVs. In particular, my questioning focused on the issue of consumer fireworks. Every Fourth of July holiday, thousands of American consumers are critically injured using fireworks, and yet the CPSC has not updated its mandatory fireworks standards in many years. In fact, CPSC staff often determines which fireworks are safe on the basis of a subjective “ear test” related to the sound a product makes when detonated. This creates additional uncertainty for manufacturers and importers who struggle to predetermine compliance in the absence of measurable scientific standards. I strongly encouraged the five commissioners to make the development of objective fireworks testing criteria a priority of the agency, and have been assured that meaningful progress will be forthcoming.

I look forward to working with the CPSC and my colleagues on the Senate Commerce Consumer Protection Subcommittee in the future to further explore these and other important issues, as each of us shares the common goal of protecting consumers and doing what we can to prevent tragic injuries or fatalities from consumer products. To watch a video of the hearing or to read the witness testimony, please click here.

Meeting with the 931st Air Refueling Group
I always enjoy meeting with Kansans who serve in our Armed Forces, and this week I had the opportunity to catch up Colonel Mark Larson, who commands the 931st Air Refueling Group stationed at McConnell Air Force Base. I am pleased to report that the group now meets the threshold to transition into an Air Refueling Wing, which will give them the resources and manning necessary to fuel the new KC-46A tankers arriving at McConnell in 2017. I have advocated for their Wing status for several years and I am glad that the transition is now underway. 

Kansas Vietnam Era Veterans Medallion Ceremony in Independence
On Saturday, I was honored to be the keynote speaker at a ceremony honoring our veterans in Independence. In conjunction with the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs, 200 individuals were presented with the Kansas Vietnam Era Veterans Medallion. These brave men and women served in our Armed Forces between February 1961 and May 1975. This year, as we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, it is fitting that we honor them. 

During the Vietnam War, 248 Medals of Honor were presented to our American troops who courageously fought for our freedom. There is no group of people I hold in higher regard than our nation’s troops and veterans who have dedicated their lives to serving our country. Thanks again to Kathy Shepard for inviting me to be a part of this special event. Thanks also to Ryon Knop, Jason Sterling, and the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs' Gregg Burden and Wayne Bollig for assisting with the ceremony. The day also included a parade, preservation workshop, reunions for all war veterans and a free will donation dinner and auction.

Visiting Southeast Kansas Hospitals
Also on Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit two community hospitals in southeast Kansas. My first stop was at Coffeyville Regional Medical Center (CRMC). CRMC is an 88-bed acute hospital that serves on an annual basis more than 45,000 patients from Montgomery, Chautauqua, Labette, Allen, Neosho, and Wilson counties in Kansas, as well as Nowata and Craig counties in Oklahoma. I shared valuable conversation with hospital staff and administrators, including CRMC’s newly-appointed CEO, Mark Woodring. Mark previously served as associate administrator of operations at Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo. Mark brings valuable experience and knowledge in health care management to the CRMC team. Thanks to Mark for hosting my visit and to all the members of the CRMC staff and board of trustees for attending. I appreciate having you as partners in the effort to improve the quality of life of we enjoy in our Kansans communities.

Next I visited with hospital administrators and staff at Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center (NMRMC) in Chanute. NMRMC is a Critical Access Hospital serving Kansans in Neosho County and the surrounding area since 1951. Recently, NMRMC announced it received a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the agency’s patient satisfaction survey. I enjoyed visiting with NMRMC staff and administrators about several investments the hospital is making to enhance patient care, including a new state-of-the-art mammography unit, and plans to purchase a new surgical system that will allow for the performance of minimally invasive procedures. Thanks to NMRMC CEO Dennis Franks for hosting my visit.

During my time representing Kansans in Washington, D.C., I’ve had the opportunity to visit each of the 127 community hospitals in our state. Each of my visits with Kansas health care providers provide me with useful insight on their efforts to provide quality care to patients, often across wide geographic areas. For Coffeyville, Chanute, and communities like them, access to the types of health care services offered by these community hospitals is essential because access to quality health care services determines whether Kansans can remain in the communities they call home, and whether their children can return to raise families of their own.

Speaking at the 60th anniversary of Iola Industries, Inc.
I ended the week in Iola, where I was invited to present the keynote address at the 60th anniversary of Iola Industries, Inc. More than 80 area community and business leaders were present for this annual meeting to celebrate their accomplishments over the past 60 years. First incorporated in 1955, the organization promotes industry and business development in the Iola area. Iola Industries has more recently become interested in addressing housing concerns in Allen County and continues to demonstrate the importance of a community believing enough in itself to invest for current and future generations. 

Thanks to the Iola Industries board of directors for the invitation to participate in their celebration, and to Board Chairperson Mary Kay Heard for coordinating my visit  Thanks also to Allen County Commissioners Jim Talkington and Jerry Daniels; Iola City Council Members Beverly and Aaron Franklin; Iola City Administrator Carl Slaugh; former-Kansas House of Representatives member Stanley Dreher; and former-Mayor Bill Shirley for attending this event.     

Last Call: 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 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: internships@moran.senate.gov

For questions, please contact Sen. Moran’s office at internships@moran.senate.gov or call 202-224-6521 and request to speak with the Intern Coordinator.

Kansans in the Office
Lisa Andrews of Overland Park
Steve Johnson of Lawrence
Khann Kim Nguyen of Wichita
Du Van Ma of Wichita
Nhuong Tran of Overland Park
Doan Tran of Overland Park
Bill Niederee of Great Bend
Robin Niederee of Great Bend                                  

Kansas Health Care Association
Cindy Luxem of Topeka
Joe Perkin of Topeka 

Lupus Foundation of America
Matthew Deangelis of Wichita
Sarah Loquist-Berry of Topeka 

Alliance for Childhood Cancer
Eric Prill of Topeka
Maxton Prill of Topeka
Robin Prill of Topeka
Stephanie Mackay of Topeka 

Daniel Toughey of Lenexa 

Wichita State University
Andy Schlapp of Wichita
John Tomblin of Wichita
Peter Perna of Wichita 

Ash Grove Cement
Jackie Clarke of Kansas City 

Crop Insurance Professionals Association
Joni Jackson of Hays 

931st Air Refueling Group
Mark Larson of Wichita
Abigail Klein of Wichita
Kathleen Lowman of Wichita 

Pat Morse of Dodge City 

American Academy of Audiology
Nicole Denney of Shawnee 

Kansas Horse Council
Pattie Stalder of Manhattan 

Kansas 4-H
Gabriel Anderson of Fort Riley
Andrea Chesnut of Clay Center
Mattison Davis of Lakin
Doran Griffin of Cimarron
Emily Hall of Scott City
Kaitlynn Hammond of Holcomb
Brooker Hickok of Ulysses
Health Hier of Maple Hill
Mallory Horton of Kendall
Asher Huck of Scott City
Chance Jones of Healy
Allison Kirkendall of Lincoln
Karlee Logan of Scott City
Caleb Maneth of Olmitz
Danean Metheny of Scott City
Sarah Pelton of Paradise
Addison Price of Scott City
Traci Ross of Rush Center
Chase Rumford of Scott City
Reilly Shore of Ulysses
Lauren Taphorn of Clay Center
Mike Taphorn of Clay Center
Donna Taphorn of Clay Center
Christina Tilton of Scott City
Melanie Tilton of Scott City
Dustin Williams of Beloit
Jaydon Zima of Junction City
Jonie Chapman of Pittsburg
Andrew Hudson of Topeka
Emily Meyer of Powhattan
Sadie Meyer of Powhattan
Levi Tucker of Thayer
Delaney Umholtz of Humboldt
Eric Underwood of McCune
Colton Hamilton of Olathe
Rachel Bellar of Howard
Madeline Hoffman of Derby
Matthew Reeves of Clearwater
Katlin Senst of Greensburg 

Kansas Soybean Commission
Matt Gorsuch of Leoti
BreAnn Jaeger of Minneola
Amanda Sales of Valley Falls
Dennis Hupe of Perry 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Danette Wilson of Kansas City
Coni Fries of Overland Park 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
Sunee Mickle of Lawrence
Andy Corbin of Auburn 

Autism Speaks
Mike Wasmer of Olathe
Cynthia Small of Wichita 

Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce
Lyle Butler of Manhattan
Lucy Williams of Manhattan
Kristen Brighton of Manhattan
Matt Crocker of Manhattan
Sue Peterson of Manhattan
Dick Carter of Topeka 

Telecare Global
Tom Carter of Kansas City
Greg Corpier of Kansas City 

United Way Manhattan
LeeAnn Smith Desper of Wamego
Hannah Crowl of Emporia 

Competitive Carriers Association
Tim Donovan of Kansas City 

Growth Energy
Ed Condon of Liberal
Tom Willis of Liberal
Jeff Scharping of Colwich
Allen Ziegler of Collyer
Jacob Ziegler of Collyer
Genessa Ziegler of Collyer
Lesly Ziegler of Collyer 

American Seed Trade Association
Maurice Miller of Garden City 

International Essential Tremor Foundation
Cathy Rice of Lenexa
Jerry Rice of Lenexa 

CBYX Exchange Program
Emily Jardes of Tonganoxie 

U.S. Army
Veronica Bartley of Topeka 

United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
Teresa Owen of Wichita 

National Association for Fixed Annuities
Chris Conroy of Overland Park
James Embry of Westwood
Randy Matzke of Silver Lake
Paul McGilivray of Overland Park
Kevin Mechtley of Shawnee
Lee Stiegemeier of Overland Park
David Wolfe of Lawrence 

American Merhcant Marine Veterans
Eugene Barner of Overland Park 

Capitol Tour
Cleoda Hansen of Lenexa
Kim Newman of Medicine Lodge
Dominick Newman of Medicine Lodge
Cauy Scripsick of Sharon
Tim Wright of Emporia
Kristi Wright of Emporia
Abigail Wright of Emporia
Amy Roeder of Humboldt
Dave Ellison of Humboldt
Alley Voiers of Topeka
Martin Teague of Killeen
Dan Dougan of Bogue
Barbara Dougan of Bogue
Rick Thompson of Andover
Brenda Thompson of Andover
Jacob Thompson of Andover
Jason Thompson of Andover
Kyle Kessler of Topeka
Grace Kessler of Topeka
Daisy Peter of Topeka
Raina Peter of Topeka
Bob Watson of Hillsboro
Susan Watson of Hillsboro
Grace Unruh of Topeka
Jack Dufield of Liberal
George Rifford of Baldwin City
Michelle Rifford of Baldwin City
Paige Rifford of Baldwin City
Hailey Rifford of Baldwin City
Kathleen Buechler of Overland Park
Alexa Buechler of Overland Park
Jacob Buechler of Overland Park
Patrick Flanagan of Derby
Jenny Flanagan of Derby
Alexander Hersh of Derby
Matthew Hersh of Derby
Jacob Hersh of Derby
Robert Compton of Lenexa
Lenet Compton of Lenexa
Charles Macan of Overland Park
Dara Macan of Overland Park
Josh Eliason of Overland Park
Christina Eliason of Overland Park
Morgan Eliason of Overland Park
Ainsley Eliason of Overland Park
Charles Ernest of Overland Park
Cheryl Ernest of Overland Park
Shelby Taylor of Overland Park
Jerry Foote of Shawnee
Catherine Rice of Shawnee
Dennis Cruise of Overland Park
CeAnn Cruise of Overland Park
Hannah Cruise of Overland Park
Haley Cruise 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,


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