Kansas Common Sense

Hello,

Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter.

What we saw in Dallas with the targeted murder of law enforcement is an attack on every American those officers serve to protect. My heart goes out to the officers and their families affected by this tragedy. Americans are right to be deeply disturbed by violence in our country. Initiatives are already underway in Kansas to strengthen and reinforce relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve. I commend those efforts and call on each of us to actively work to make America and its communities a more safe, unified and peaceful place for everyone.

Democrats Block Efforts to Stop Sanctuary Cities
The Senate voted this week on the consideration of two bills related to illegal immigration and Sanctuary Cities. The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (S. 3100) and Kate’s Law (S. 2193). The first bill would withhold federal funding from jurisdictions that limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officials and provides legal protection for cooperation. 

The second bill, Kate’s Law, would increase penalties on individuals who unlawfully reenter the country after being previously deported one or more times. I voted to proceed to consider both bills, but neither measure met the necessary 60-vote threshold due to broad opposition from Senate Democrats. This is a troubling outcome because Sanctuary City policies facilitate violent crime and lengthen the criminal careers of habitual lawbreakers. The dangerous consequences of Sanctuary City policies include violent criminal acts in our state and nation. Until changes are made, Sanctuary City policies will continue to undermine federal immigration policy and permit undocumented immigrants with criminal records to remain in our communities.

Approving Legislation to Benefit Kansas Consumers and Producers
The Senate passed legislation this week to create a mandatory, national disclosure system for foods produced with biotechnology. Consumers are increasingly interested in knowing more about the food they purchase, including where and how it was produced. I have been a consistent advocate for more local control over decision making, but because food is often grown and shipped across state lines a nationwide standard is the most balanced approach for both producers and consumers. This legislation will equip consumers with important information and prevents an unworkable patchwork of state laws that would be harmful to farmers and ranchers. Agriculture producers should be encouraged to use safe, proven technology to sustainably produce healthy food. And consumer choice is important – Kansans and Americans should have the ability to decide what is best for themselves and their families. This bill will now be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.

KU Receives Funding for New Biomedical Research Center
I am excited about the $11 million grant the University of Kansas received this week from NIH to create the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE): Chemical Biology of Infectious Disease to conduct important research on antibiotic resistant bacteria and infectious diseases.  The increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria has been a source of increasing concern in the medical community who warn that ignoring the problem could result in severe consequences in the future.  The threat of infectious diseases on a major scale has also become more apparent following the outbreaks of the H1N1 flu virus, and more recently the Ebola and Zika viruses which can spread quickly and wreak havoc across populations.  This new center of excellence will allow our researchers from KU, KU Medical Center, and Kansas State University to make advances in this field that has the potential to save lives through better understandings of infectious diseases, improved prevention efforts, and new treatments. To read more, click here.

Assessing Eureka Tornado Damage
I visited Eureka this week to meet with community leaders, local officials and emergency response personnel following tornadoes Thursday evening that damaged multiple structures including a nursing home, a church and multiple residences. As members of the Eureka community come together to repair damage and assist one another, I am grateful for the work of our first responders and of all of the emergency crews. I continue to pray for all those whose homes and properties were damaged. We can be thankful that no one was hurt and that local officials and the National Weather Service acted quickly to alert the community. Special thanks to Eureka City Administrator Ian Martell, City Councilman Michael Countryman, SEK Incident Management Team Leader Fred Rinne, PSU Police Force Director Mike McCracken, representatives of the Red Cross and Greenwood County officials including the Sheriff, Emergency Preparedness Director, Clerk and Commissioners for meeting with me today. To learn more, click here.

Kansas Listening Tour Stops in Sedan and Howard
Returning home from D.C. this weekend, I continued my ‎Kansas Listening Tour in Chautauqua and Elk Counties. Kansans at both stops in Sedan and Howard shared their concerns regarding a number of topics – combating veteran homelessness and suicide, producers’ struggles with the current low commodity prices, the impact of GMO labeling, safety concerns regarding state highway K-99, FEMA eligibility for storm assistance and the important role of technical and vocational education. Thank you to those who came out to have a conversation – I especially appreciate Janice Fine and Paula McAlister’s help arranging my visits to the Chautauqua County Courthouse and West Elk Schools.

Remembering Scandia-native Marynell Reece
Our state lost a remarkable person this week with the passing of Marynell Reece – a longtime Scandia community member, devoted Jayhawk and role model for so many Kansas women. I had the privilege of getting to know Marynell and her late husband Bill when I was just a high schooler with a budding interest in government and will fondly remember my birthday spent at the Reece’s little slice of paradise: their cabin on Lovewell Lake in Jewell County. While Marynell was active in both business and politics, most will recall her peerless dedication to The University of Kansas, her love of family and her support for women in Kansas of all ages to pursue their dreams and let no opportunity go to waste. My thoughts are with her family and all those fortunate enough to have had her touch their lives and I expressed my condolences this Saturday at Scandia United Methodist Church. To read more, click here

Apply to be a Fall 2016 Intern – Deadline July 15
My own interest in public service was sparked by an internship for Kansas First District Congressman Keith Sebelius in 1974. As an intern, I had the chance to learn firsthand how a Congressional office operates and how the legislative process works. 

I am proud to be able to offer this same opportunity in my Senate office today where I have interns year-round who have a unique opportunity to work closely with my staff on behalf of Kansans. Applications are already being accepted for internships in my Washington, D.C. and Manhattan, Kansas, offices for the fall 2016 term. The deadline for the fall is Friday, July 15. Congressional internships are open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in public service and have achieved academic excellence.

Kansans in the Office
Colby Everett of Shawnee
Patrick McGrath

SELEX
Mike Warner of Overland Park 

D.C. Project
Corinne Mosher of Overland Park 

Capitol Tour
Sara Reavis of Atchison
Allen Reavis of Atchison
Hailey Mueller of Manhattan
Kris Mueller of Manhattan
Anissa Potter of Pratt
LaDonna Campbell of Pratt
Steven Potter of Pratt
Janet Stramel of Hays
Matt Kampling of Lenexa
Julianne Kampling of Lenexa
Echo Wentz of Wichita
JB Corder of Olathe
Lisa Corder of Olathe
Luke Corder of Olathe
Ginger Hamiton of Hays
Mikayla Koerner of Hays
Wayne Hamilton of Arkansas City
Charyl Hamilton of Arkansas City
Vicki Gieber of Abilene
William Stroda of Abilene
Kristen Stroda of Abilene
Dakota Stroda of Abilene
Echo Wentz of Wichita
Jason Richardson of Gardner
Heather Richardson of Gardner
Hannah Richardson of Gardner
Matthew Richardson of Gardner
George Emerson Hendricks of Gardner
John Harris of Baldwin City
Margaret Harris of Baldwin City
John Harris of Baldwin City
Victor Hwang of Leawood
Christina Wu of Leawood
Anders Hwang of Leawood
Augustine Hwang of Leawood
Larry Carder of Overland Park
Diane Carder of Overland Park
Laurel Carder of Overland Park
Dalton Carder of Overland Park
Douglas Chaney of Jetmore
Constance Chaney of Jetmore
Abigail Chaney of Jetmore
Grant Chaney of Jetmore
Candice Chaney of Jetmore
Dave McIntire of Wichita
Margaret McIntire of Wichita
Spencer McIntire of Wichita
Max McIntire of Wichita
Robin Wiebe of Hays
Karen Wilson of Hays
Colton Aldridge of Plainville
David Ade of Topeka
Stephanie Harsin of Topeka
Lori Greenfield of Lawrence
Terri Johnson of Lawrence
Dom DeRosa of Bonner Springs

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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