Kansas Dems call on GOP to legalize medical marijuana on last day of session
Immediate tax relief, gerrymandering ban also called for
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Democrats are calling on the other side of the aisle to help legalize medical marijuana, provide immediate tax relief and prohibit gerrymandering on the last days of the 2022 legislative session.
Kansas House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer (D-Wichita) says on Monday, May 23, the Legislature will return to the capital city to wrap up the 2022 season’s work. He said there are three things that must be addressed before the session is wrapped - Providing immediate tax relief, legalizing medical marijuana, and prohibiting gerrymandering.
Since the Legislature adjourned on April 18, Rep. Sawyer noted that inflation has grown and so have calls for tax relief.
“There is no reason legislators cannot come together to pass urgent tax relief on Monday while the state continues to have an abundance of money in its coffers. This is common sense,” Sawyer said.
The Kansas Dem called on legislators to cut the state sales on food tax immediately. He said the simple truth is that families cannot wait until 2025 for a 0% rate on groceries.
Due to a multitude of factors, Sawyer said gas prices have skyrocketed. He said a tax holiday on gas through Jan. 1, 2023, would provide direct relief to families during a time it is most needed. He said general fund balances would maintain the highway fund.
Lastly, Sawyer said Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s tax rebate of $250 per filer is a straightforward policy that would return money to hardworking taxpayers. In fact, he said Missouri just passed a tax rebate for its residents.
“We are open to any measures that provide tax relief to Kansans now,” he noted.
Additionally, Sawyer said Kansans continue to demand access to medical marijuana. He said the conference committee on medical marijuana needs to respond - the House is ready to meet and awaits the Senate’s cooperation. Unless this happens on Monday, he said the process will restart in the next biennium.
Sawyer noted that legislators are accountable to constituents and they have made it clear - legalize medical marijuana. He said it is time to listen.
Finally, Sawyer said gerrymandering must also be addressed or it will only worsen across the Sunflower State. In the statewide redistricting tour in August 2021, he said Kansans of every party in each corner of the state repeatedly urged the Legislature to pass fair maps without gerrymandering.
Sawyer noted that Wednesday’s Kansas Supreme Court decision on the congressional maps cites a lack of jurisdiction, which also indicates a need to amend the constitution. Thus, he said he has proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit gerrymandering in future reapportionment.
“These are policies that invest in Kansans, stay accountable to constituents, and provide financial security for hardworking families. Kansans have a right to fair representation in Topeka. They aren’t asking for much. Let’s get this done,” Sawyer concluded.
13 NEWS has reached out to Republican legislative leaders for a response and awaits further communication.
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