Kansas to cut off cash for Planned Parenthood
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas will prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving any funds through its Medicaid program, Gov. Sam Brownback announced Tuesday in a State of the State address that encouraged state legislators to enshrine such a policy into law.
The Republican governor spent part of his speech before a joint session of the GOP-dominated legislature criticizing Democratic President Obama on national security issues. Brownback said Kansas is prepared “to thwart every action” by the Obama administration to move prisoners being held as terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Fort Leavenworth.
In addition, Brownback said he favors tightening limits on local property taxes approved last year and putting them in effect before 2018, as previously planned. He urged lawmakers to design a new formula for funding Kansas’ public schools that includes bonuses for exceptional teachers.
Brownback used his speech to outline a broad legislative agenda on multiple issues and announced his action against Planned Parenthood near the end.
“We have become the shining city on the hill and the champions for life,” Brownback said in remarks prepared for delivery.
Brownback’s 30-minute speech did not mention the issue that could occupy much of the legislative session: closing a projected $190 million budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning in July. His administration plans to release budget proposals Wednesday.
Democrats were quick to note the omission and the unusually strong criticism of a president by a governor in a State of the State address. Veteran Democratic Rep. Tom Sawyer of Wichita called the speech a “waste of time.”
Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said attacking her group is an attempt to divert attention from Brownback’s policy failures.