Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Jim Denning is in a Tight Spot

I’m posting this on my personal blog because it is my analysis and is not meant to speak for KIFA.

Jim Denning is in a tough spot.

By saying this, let the reader not get the impression that I feel in any way sorry for him. Denning, along with Susan Wagle and Dan Hawkins, squashed Medicaid Expansion this year solely through the use of  McConnell-esque power tactics. Sympathy is not owed him. But he is in a difficult situation. 

To recap: leadership in both the Kansas House (Majority Leader Hawkins and Speaker Ron Ryckman) and Senate (Senate President Wagle and Majority Leader Denning) refused to give Medicaid Expansion so much as a hearing, despite the fact that a clear majority of legislators wanted it, and the new governor would have signed it, and in fact made it one of her highest priorities for the legislative year. No hearings, no floor action, and in fact bills that might have been “germane” were also kept off the floor, to prevent them from being amended to include Expansion.

In the House, a confluence of circumstances (not least that much (most?) of the Republican caucus despises Dan Hawkins) led to a bill that was ruled not germane by the Rules Committee being stripped and amended as a Medicaid Expansion bill. It required a supermajority to do this and that, of course, required a significant number of Republicans. But, said Republicans were brave enough to pass a bill, but not brave enough to put it in a Senate shell, which would have prevented further interference by Denning and Wagle by allowing the Senate to pass Expansion by a simple majority vote.