All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, June 6th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Friday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 6, 2014
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
This year, we`ve been going out on the road to find stories across the
country and across the political spectrum, stories at the ground level of
American life that illuminate the biggest conflicts in American lives.
And tonight, we examine the state that lives in our imagination for a
couple of reasons. First, the Wizard of Oz.
And second, a book written ten years ago by Thomas Frank. It was in
June 2004 that Frank published a book which became not just a best seller
but the defining story of the Bush years for an entire generation of
liberals. Frank looked at his home state of Kansas and showed how it had
gone from being the heart of left populist movement to the frontier of the
extreme right wing.
Ten years later, Kansas is no longer just the frontier. It`s the
laboratory for ultra conservative ideas throughout the entire country.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Today, he
signed into law a bill that requires Kansas voters to prove their U.S.
citizenship before registering to vote for the first time.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
signed into a law a bill that requires a drug test for recipient of both
welfare and unemployment benefits in the state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republican Governor Sam Brownback signed into a
law a measure that bans certain abortions and codifies that life begins at
MADDOW: Sam Brownback signed a bill into law that cuts taxes for the
richest people in the state and raises taxes on poor people.
HAYES (voice-over): You might have noticed that Kansas has been
something of an innovator it political absurdism lately. It`s become the
kind of state that threatens to exploit its draconian ideas as other states
look to it as an example. But it wasn`t always this way.
HAYES: The home state of Dwight Eisenhower has a long history of
being the kind of place where moderation reigns and common sense is prized
in politics. The governor`s mansion has been occupied by an equal number
of Democrats and Republicans over the past 50 years. So bipartisanship has
been a way of life in Kansas, until recently.
GOV. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: The state of our state is strong and
getting much stronger and we are leading an American renaissance.
HAYES: The state`s recent sprint to the right started with Sam
Brownback, a man "Bloomberg Businessweek" described as having been a Tea
Partier before the Tea Party was born. Brownback was elected governor in a
landslide, 2010, after 15 years in Congress. When he took office in to
2011, Governor Brownback said about turning his home state into a
laboratory of ultraconservative policies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Specifically, what do you want to do on state
BROWNBACK: Get it to zero, the whole thing.
HAYES: His road map for Kansas was not built on broad bipartisan
consensus. In fact, it wasn`t even built on Republican consensus.
SANDY PRAEGER, KANSAS COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE: There aren`t many
moderates left serving in the legislature because of the attempts to -- to
defeat them by conservatives.
HAYES: Brownback saw a group of moderate Republican state senators as
roadblocks, so in 2012 he got involved in their primaries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor recruited Republicans to run against
his own party`s incumbents and with the help of Americans for Prosperity
and the Kansas Chamber successfully ousted most of those moderate
HAYES: With the moderate majority defeated in the state Senate, the
grand conservative experiment has been allowed to proceed unchecked in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brownback now has the numbers in both the House
and Senate that he can do pretty much whatever he wants without working in
any sort of bipartisan manner.
HAYES: Local progressives have coined the term Brownbackistan to
describe the state of their state. Brownback himself calls it a red state
BROWNBACK: You see, you don`t change America by changing Washington.
You change America by changing the states.
HAYES: That model includes massive tax cuts, which, according to the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, are costing the state about 8
percent of the revenue it uses to fund schools and other public services, a
hit comparable to a midsize recession.
When state tax revenue fell $92 million short last month, Kansas
Republicans blamed federal tax policies.
Still, Americans for Tax Reform called Kansas the story of the next
decade. The Cato Institute called Brownback`s overhaul one of the most
impressive of any state in recent years and conservatives are already
creating buzz around the idea of a Sam Brownback presidential run in 2016.
BROWNBACK: The red state model is about lower taxes, less government,
family values. It`s about us being America again.
HAYES: Of course, Kansas wouldn`t be a modern red state model without
a restrictive voter ID law, one of the strictest in the nation, drafted by
conservative darling Kris Kobach, a former Bush administration lawyer who
also helped craft Arizona`s infamous "Papers, please" immigration law
before Kobach became secretary of state in Kansas.
KRIS KOBACH, KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE: We have to remember that
every time a non-citizen casts a vote in an election, that`s effectively
canceling out the vote of a U.S. citizen.
HAYES: And that`s just the beginning. Name an ultra-conservative
fight, and you`re likely to find conservative Kansas Republicans at the tip
of the spear, trying to shut down abortion clinics, stripping public
schoolteachers of due process, refusing to expand Medicaid for some 80,000
uninsured Kansans, and voiding local gun laws.
But 2014 brings a reckoning. As Election Day draws near, there are
signs of rebellion, from teachers who want union rights restored.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have angry citizens, angry parents, angry
HAYES: To moderate Republicans who just want their party back.
PRAEGER: There are moderate Republicans out there, I think, that feel
like the party is not their party anymore.
HAYES: Because Kansas is not just a model of unfettered Tea Party
power. It also may provide an answer, the most important question in
American politics at the moment. Just how far to the right can the Tea
Party conservatives push things before the system snaps back into place?
HAYES: When we come back, a look at two of the most famous and
influential Kansans in the country and what they are doing to certain
thriving businesses in their own home state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY HENSLEY (D), KANSAS STATE SENATOR: The Koch brothers are
involved in the oil industry, and they look at wind as being a direct
competitor to them.
PETE FERRELL, KANSAS RANCHER: They`re very powerful people. I think
they wanted to make an example of Kansas and try to defeat wind here and
then defeat it in other states.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Koch brothers have spent millions of dollars to support
their kind of political candidates across the country, but none of them
strike as close to home as the election of 1980 which featured the one
candidacy ever finances by a Koch brother in which a Koch brother himself
was on the ballot.
David Koch`s campaign for the vice presidential nomination on the
libertarian party ticket in 1980 serves as a reminder of just how long the
Koch brothers have been politically advocating their vision for America and
how much more sophisticated they have become at doing it.
But no matter how much they had honed their technique, the Kochs have
actually been dealt a humiliating defeat in, of all places, their home
state of Kansas.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And speaking of
conservative heroes, the Koch brothers bought a table here tonight, but, as
usual, they used a shadowy right-wing organization as a front.
Hello, FOX News.
HAYES (voice-over): Charles and David Koch, who have helped fund
efforts across the country to stymie solar power, to repeat renewable
energy mandates, to foster climate change denialists, even to get members
of Congress to promise to vote against climate change legislation unless it
is linked to tax cuts, those brothers are from Kansas.
Kansas is Koch country. Wichita is the home and headquarters of Koch
Industries, the $100 billion oil and industrial company that provides the
Koch brothers with much of their $80 billion fortune.
The brothers helped finance the 2012 overthrow of Republican moderates
in the Kansas legislature in what one ousted Republican deemed an effort to
use their home state as a laboratory for their ideas, turning it into what
he called an ultra-conservative utopia.
Koch Industries has been one of the biggest contributors to Kansas
Governor Sam Brownback and one of the biggest contributors to Congressman
REP. MIKE POMPEO (R), KANSAS: With respect the climate change, I have
read countless studies, and they disagree.
HAYES: And one of the biggest contributors to Senator Jerry Moran,
who recently read out a Koch brother op-ed on the floor of the United
SEN. JERRY MORAN (R), KANSAS: This is an opinion piece from today`s
"Wall Street Journal" written by a Kansan, Charles Koch.
HAYES: The Koch brothers have been fighting renewable energy
everywhere across the country, from Oklahoma to North Carolina to Ohio to
Arizona. The fight has been particularly toxic in Kansas, against the
state`s renewable portfolio standard, which requires utility companies to
get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.
The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity has spent $300,000 on the
campaign against that Kansas law.
NARRATOR: Before Kathleen Sebelius went to Washington to overtake our
health care system, she proposed a mandate that would limit the sources of
HAYES: The director of AFP Kansas just admitted to helping set up a
group that send out postcards to Kansans saying that green energy makes
their electric bills go up. And state activists say AFP and their allies
have tried six times just this year to repeal the renewable energy mandates
in the Kansas legislature.
So why is the fight against green energy so important in Kansas?
Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that if you want to see
some of the best examples of benefits of renewable energy, you need look no
further than the Koch brothers` own backyard?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope that those of who are in Greensburg will
remain in your shelters, a tornado emergency declared by the National
HAYES: The night of May 4, 2007, a massive tornado more than a mile-
and-a-half-wide tore through the tiny Western Kansas town of Greensburg.
Eleven people died. Greensburg is utterly destroyed, 95 percent of it
But when it came time to rebuild, the city decided to embrace the same
force of nature that leveled it.
BOB DIXSON (R), MAYOR OF GREENSBURG, KANSAS: A hundred percent of the
consumption of the city of Greensburg is from alternative energy, the wind.
Not only is it the wind that destroyed our community; it`s the wind now
that`s generating electricity for our community.
HAYES: Not only is the city now powered by wind. Townhouses are
energy-efficient. City hall has solar panels and geothermal heating. And
the school, the hospital, even the local John Deere building are LEED-
The mayor of Greensburg says going green made sense to him as a
DIXSON: As we thought about the process of talking about, quote,
"being green," since we were Greensburg, your first impression in rural
America was, oh, that is something that is political. That`s left-wing.
That`s new age. That`s secular stuff, when, in fact, it`s not. It`s not
an issue of whether it`s Democrat or Republican or up or down or right or
left. It`s about our issue to leave legacy for future generations.
HAYES: And the group behind the greening of Greensburg says the
city`s success stands as a real-world rebuttal to the Koch brothers`
arguments against green energy.
DANIEL WALLACH, GREENSBURG GREENTOWN: I think the reason the
renewable portfolio standard bill was defeated was Greensburg, because
Greensburg has been a model of what can happen when you embrace these new
HAYES: But it`s not just tiny cities like Greensburg that are
embracing renewable energy. It`s happening on ranches across the state.
FERRELL: We`re standing on the highest point in the foothills, great
place for a wind farm. Wind blows here all the time. If you will notice
over there, those trees are actually leaning. They have never had a
windless day in their lives.
HAYES: Pete Ferrell`s family has been on this land raising cattle
since 1888. But over the past couple years, Kansas has seen a severe
drought. Fortunately, Pete Ferrell is raising more than just bison and
cattle on his ranch right now.
FERRELL: Wind is my most drought-resilient crop. The wind blows even
during a drought, even when I can`t have livestock on the ranch.
HAYES: Half of the wind turbines from the nearby Elk River wind farm
are on the Ferrell ranch.
FERRELL: I have heard as high as 60,000 homes being serviced by this
wind farm, basically because of the quality of the wind. It tends to blow
here all the time.
HAYES: Like many ranches in Kansas, Ferrell Ranch has some oil
production which provides the family with some secondary revenue. But it
takes a toll.
FERRELL: This is just one of 100 leaks that has happened on this oil
field since it was put in years ago. Once you bring that oil to the
ground, up out of the ground, it`s going to spill somewhere. And this
grass will never be the same.
The tragedy is that this just keeps occurring over and over and over,
and every oil field in America has this going on right now.
HAYES: Which is part of the reason Ferrell Ranch has embraced the
FERRELL: The grass and the wind are inexhaustible. Again, if treated
properly, we can be doing this centuries from now. So the hallmark of this
-- for this landscape is sustainability. We can keep doing this and not
deplete the biological capital of this place.
HAYES: Wind energy is a $2 billion industry and employs thousands of
people in Kansas, which is what makes the Koch brothers` stance so baffling
to those who harness it.
FERRELL: There are some very powerful people that have tried to
repeal the renewable portfolio standard. Those individuals are deeply
entrenched in petroleum and petrochemicals and all sorts of things that I
guess they want to protect, because I can only imagine why they have spent
hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to defeat something that is so
incredibly logical, especially here in Kansas, where we have an abundance
HAYES: And that is why, despite a valiant effort involving thousands
of dollars from the Koch-funded AFP, efforts to repeal the renewable energy
standards keep failing in the Kansas legislature.
As a representative leading repeal efforts describes it:
STATE REP. DENNIS HEDKE (R), KANSAS: There are a number of our
Republican members that are Western Kansas-based and right in the middle of
the wind farm development territory. So, you know, they have reasons to
want to protect that.
HAYES: It`s not just Republicans in the House who are willing to go
up against such powerful interests. Even Governor Brownback, a man who has
been supported almost his entire career by the Koch brothers, strongly
supports wind energy.
BROWNBACK: Now is the time to buy Kansas wind, and I hope you will
join me in saying to the rest of the country, now is the time to buy Kansas
HAYES: Now, just because they haven`t succeeded yet doesn`t
necessarily mean the Koch brothers aren`t going to keep tilting at those
HENSLEY: The Koch brothers are involved in the oil industry, and they
look at wind as being a direct competitor to them.
So, yes, I have no doubt they will be engaged in these upcoming House
elections and they will try to elect, you know, more conservative House
members who will then vote to repeal the RPS.
HAYES: But, so far, one of the most conservative legislatures in the
country keeps rejecting efforts to kill renewable energy mandates. And the
Koch brothers-backed governor keeps supporting wind farms, and the efforts
of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and their allies in the Kansas
Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council keep
coming up short.
FERRELL: I think they wanted to make an example of Kansas and try to
defeat wind and then defeat it in other state.
HAYES: Because what is happening in Kansas is, the fossil fuel
industry`s worst nightmare, that once alternative energy gets its foot
firmly in the door, it will be impossible to ever get it out.
HAYES: We have asked both of the Koch brothers and the Kansas branch
of Americans for Prosperity to come on the show tonight and talk about all
this. They declined.
Koch Industries did send us a statement from Philip Ellender,
president and COO of the Koch Company`s public sector. It reads as: "Koch
has consistently opposed all subsidies and mandates across the board,
especially as it relates to energy policy. This is demonstrated in our
longstanding opposition to such misguided and market-destroying policies as
a renewable fuel standard, the wind production tax credit and the ethanol
Government should not mandate the allocation or use of natural
resources and raw materials in the production of goods and expansion of
mandates and subsidies increases the government`s control over the means of
production. History shows the free market driven by consumer choice in the
type of energy they use is a far better way to allocate resources."
We`ll continue our look at how the state of Kansas has now turned into
a laboratory for conservative policy when we come back. Including exactly
what the current governor has done to teachers and how it could backfire on
his 2014 re-election chances.
Plus, the story of a small town which thanks to budget cuts, lost its
very last school.
HAYES: Coming up, an in depth look at just what Governor Sam
Brownback and Republican-led legislature had done in systematically
slashing funding for Kansas public education and what it means for
communities now losing their schools.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARRYL TALBOTT, MARQUETTE ELEMENTARY: We`re kind of the hard of the
community. One of the largest employers in town, and everyone participates
at school but also participates in activities and groups in town. So, it`s
all intermingled and just part of what makes a small town tick.
MARY KAY LINDH, TECHER: It`s hard, just kind of hard to put into
words because it`s just like you`re losing a part of your family, like a
part of your family is being torn away from you. And so it`s an extreme
loss. It really is.
ASHLEY DEBARRE: It will just be a big adjustment for everyone. Going
somewhere else and not -- everything is new.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s coming up on "All in America: On the Road in the
Conservative Heartland." You will not want to miss it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWNBACK: We Kansans love our schools and they are great schools.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Two months after Governor Sam Brownback highlighted his
education record in his State of the State Address, the supreme court of
Kansas ordered the state legislature to spend more on schools, ruling
unanimously that the funding levels they had attained violated the state`s
constitution and that led to one of the more sneaky and successful moves
against teachers unions this year.
PROTESTERS: Show me what democracy looks like!
This is what democracy looks like!
HAYES (voice-over): By now, the pattern is familiar. Conservative
Republican governor ascends to power and declares war on teachers and other
public employees who have the audacity to belong to a union.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the Wisconsin state capitol, thousands of
students, teachers and union members joined for a fourth straight day of
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ohio lawmakers have passed an anti-union bill
that cuts collective rights for some 350,000 public workers statewide.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Michigan is now a so-called right to work
state because of the bill signed into law late today by the Republican
HAYES: Because they advocate for things like more education spending
and their own collective bargaining rights, you`ll often find teachers
unions at the top of a Republican`s enemies list.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The largest
contributors to the Democratic Party are the teachers unions, the federal
teachers unions. It`s an extraordinary conflict of interest.
HAYES: But here`s the problem for Republicans. While a teachers
union may well be a political enemy, teachers themselves do not make very
good villains. In fact, most people like teachers.
And having your state capitol packs full of angry school teachers is
not the best way to win over the hearts and minds of the voting public.
So, in a post-Wisconsin world, republicans are in search of a more
delicate form of union-busting, and the Grand Old Party in the state of
Kansas came up with a novel approach, which basically was to try to sneak
it through while no one was looking.
HENSLEY: They were brought up as floor amendments literally in the
dead of night.
HAYES: The opportunity for union busting came about in March when
Kansas legislators got bad news from the state supreme court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A battle is being fought in states all across
America and it has now reached the highest court in the state of Kansas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The court said it`s not meeting its obligation
when it comes to funding schools.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republican Governor Sam Brownback led the charge
to trim school funding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state is not
providing enough money to public schools. As a result, it is violating the
HAYES: That created the most powerful and dangerous thing you`ll find
in the policy world -- a must-pass bill before the state legislature.
Thanks to the court ruling, lawmakers now had to craft a bill that would
properly fund Kansas schools.
But instead of doing just that, conservative Republicans began to dig
into an anti-teacher legislative wish list.
MARK DESETTI: They just began to add ideological anti-teacher
amendments to this bill.
HAYES: Including one to strip teachers of due process. Turning them
into what state senate minority leader Anthony Hensley who has been a
teacher himself for more than 30 years, describes as at-will employees.
HENSLEY: Their employer, the principal, the superintendent, won`t
even have to give reasons as to why they were fired or non-renewed, and
they wouldn`t have any ability to have a hearing in order to find out what
those reasons were or to appeal those reasons.
HAYES: That amendment and others were quietly tucked into the must-
pass funding bill over a single weekend early in April.
DESETTI: The due process repeal was never in a bill form, never heard
in committee. It came up as a floor amendment, jammed in there, and then
HAYES: When teachers got word of what was happening, they flooded the
capitol in Topeka to protest, but it was too late. The bill passed in the
early morning hours.
The next few weeks, teachers and their advocated trailed Governor
Brownback from event to event, calling on him to veto the bill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope he raises his hand for public education
and uses it to do a thumbs down.
HAYES: Despite the backlash, Brownback signed the bill into law in
late April, to the outrage of Kansas teachers.
DESETTI: Now we have our members really engaged in this effort,
they`re going around, picketing the governor`s appearances. What they`re
hearing is making them understand they need to be politically involved.
They need to get involved in this election.
HAYES: And teachers intend to keep trailing Governor Brownback all
the way to election day in November, where they hope to teach him that
gutting the teachers union is more popular with corporate donors than it is
with Kansas voters.
HAYES: Up next, we`re taking you to a small town in Kansas called
Marquette, where thanks in part to Republican Governor Sam Brownback`s
education cuts, May 20th was the last day of school there ever.
Stay with us.
HAYES: The lack of funding from the Kansas legislation, combined with
the general population decline in rural communities, is threatening an
entire way of life in small towns like Marquette, Kansas.
May 20 was the last day of school ever in Marquette. The elementary
school, the last school open in town, closed. The school district`s
superintendent tells ALL IN that they no longer had the budget to keep the
school open, thanks in large part to Governor Brownback`s public education
Now the town is trying to come to terms with what that loss means for
the kids and for everyone else that lives there.
MARY KAY LINDH, TEACHER, MARQUETTE ELEMENTARY: When a town loses its
school, you lose the town. It`s just like you`re losing a part of your
family, like a part of your family is being torn away from you.
HAYES (voice-over): The heart of the community is its school and for
many communities across America, from neighborhoods in Detroit and Chicago,
to small towns in West Virginia and Kansas, that school is not only its
heart, but its life force.
When funding for education gets cut, schools end up on the chopping
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fifty-four public schools in Chicago are slated
to close at the end of this school year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forty-four Detroit schools will close at the end
of the year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Philadelphia is closing 23 schools, Washington, D.
HAYES: And when a school shuts down, it doesn`t just affect the
students. It can devastate the community.
Marquette, Kansas, is a town of around 650 people in the central part
of the state. It has a post office, a library, and an elementary school.
Today, that school shut its doors for the last time.
DARRYL TALBOTT, PRINCIPAL, MARQUETTE ELEMENTARY: We`re kind of the
heart of the community. We`re one of the larger employers in town.
Everyone participates at school, but also participates in activities and
groups in town, so it`s just part of what makes a small town tick.
HAYES: Darryl Talbott has worked in the area school district for 30
years. He`s been the principal of Marquette Elementary for the last seven.
He`s also the school`s phys-ed teacher.
TALBOTT: Everybody, start over. New game.
HAYES: Now that the school is closed, he`s retiring from public
TALBOTT: A lot of our families have been here for four or five
generations. It really hurts that the school they went to and loved and
one of the reasons they have moved back here, their children won`t be able
to experience the same thing.
HAYES: The decision by the Smoky Valley School Board to shutter
Marquette Elementary was made to close a budget gap. Closing the school
will save the district over $400,000 and cut 12 jobs.
The superintendent blames Marquette`s closure on Governor Sam
Brownback and the Republican-led legislature. Together, they cut budgets
for schools so much, the Kansas Supreme Court declared school funding
levels unconstitutional earlier this year.
TALBOTT: Of course, teachers aren`t being paid as well. We`re
cutting programs. I fear for a lot of small town schools in Kansas.
HAYES: But raising children in a small community was what brought
many children back to their hometown of Marquette.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s very heartbreaking, and so many emotions
trying to deal with all of it, because it is so close to your heart to have
your kids go to school at the same school you went to. So it`s very
HAYES: The move is equally heart-wrenching for Marquette students,
who will now be attending different schools in the area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like my life. My school is my second
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you drive just a few miles west of here, you
will see town after town that lost their school and the towns deteriorate.
I mean, that`s the way it is. It`s such a huge heart of the community, the
schools are. And it attracts young kids and young families. And it`s a
tough thing to lose.
HAYES: Drive three hours southwest to the town of Bloom, Kansas, and
you can see firsthand what the closing of a school does to a community.
Bloom was once small yet vibrant.
Its school closed in the 1960s. This is all that is left. What
happens to Marquette after its elementary school closes weighs heavily on
ALLAN LINDFORS, MAYOR OF MARQUETTE, KANSAS: It`s so much a part of us
that it`s even hard to talk about.
TALBOTT: Somebody compared it the other day to having a tornado come
through and take your home away, and you can`t do anything about it.
CYNTHIA HULSE, TEACHER: It takes a little bit of time to recover.
It`s like a child being lost, and so you have to grieve a little bit. I
think we will do whatever we can to try and keep this community going.
HAYES: In this country, we talk about the value of education for our
children, but little by little, through legislation, through budget cuts in
cities and towns across America, that value is being chipped away. And
communities lose not only their center, but everything that comes with it.
LINDFORS: We have had a tremendous blow, but Marquette has always
been a survivor, and we`re going to survive this, not because we want to,
but because we have to.
HAYES: When we come back: If you take a look at a map of states that
have rejected Medicaid expansion, right smack in the middle of them,
there`s Kansas. Conservatives there are so determined to keep Medicaid
expansion out of the state that Governor Brownback just signed a bill
taking the decision on it out of his hands and out of the hands of any
potential successor, and putting it with the Republican-led legislature.
We will introduce you to the woman trying to get Medicaid expanded in
Kansas. She`s the state insurance commissioner and a lifelong Republican.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDY PRAEGER (R), KANSAS COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE: For me, it`s not
about the political party. For me, it`s about doing what`s best for the
people of Kansas. Listen to what the candidates have to say, and are they
really representing your interest as a voter? Are they really looking out
for what`s in your best interest as a citizen of our state?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That story is next on "ALL IN America: On the Road in the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a spirited crowd waited for word of the court`s
most important ruling in decades, the decision came a few minutes after
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today`s decision was a
victory for people all over this country, whose lives will be more secure
because of this law and the Supreme Court`s decision to uphold it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In late June 2012, the Supreme Court issued an historic ruling
that upheld Obamacare, to the delight of its supporters and the
disappointment of its critics.
But there was another ruling that day that did something both
destructive and vastly underappreciated at the time. That ruling made it
possible for states to refuse to comply with one of Obamacare`s most
You see, under the original Affordable Care Act, states were required
to expand Medicaid eligibility for low-income residents, or risk losing
their existing federal payments in toto.
But in June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled by a 7-2 margin that such a
penalty was unconstitutional, which meant that Medicaid expansion became
Now, the Affordable Care Act had been crafted with the presumption
that all of the states would have to raise their Medicaid eligibility to a
nationally acceptable level. So, it created tax credits to help low-income
people buy health insurance, but it`s only really affordable for people
earning more than 100 percent of the federal poverty level.
The law presumed that those who earn less than that would be
automatically covered by the states. But since the Supreme Court made
Medicaid expansion optional, 19 states have decided not to expand Medicaid,
leaving nearly five million low-income people in this country in the
tragically absurd situation of being too poor for Obamacare, and not poor
enough for Medicaid.
Tens of thousands of them live in Kansas.
GOV. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: You see, you don`t change America by
changing Washington. You change America by changing the states.
HAYES (voice-over): The Medicaid expansion has largely been talked
about as a red state/blue state issue. But the real divide and the real
Obamacare Medicaid battleground is inside the Republican Party.
If you look only at red states, you might be surprised by which states
decided to take billions of federal dollars to give poor people health
insurance and who decided simply out of spite to give the president the
For example, Jan Brewer, Arizona`s Tea Party governor, of presidential
finger-wagging fame, the very person who triumphantly signed into law the
infamous papers please anti-immigration law, Jan Brewer is expanding
But head on over to Kansas, the land of rock-ribbed Eisenhower
Republicans and Bob Dole pragmatists, and not only is Republican Governor
Sam Brownback not interested in expanding Medicaid; he signed into law a
bill designed to prevent any future governor from expanding Medicaid
without going through the legislature first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s illogical, it`s unreasonable, and it`s
immoral, what they`re doing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are so many examples and so many stories
that we hear, and I -- I just can`t believe that really the citizens of
Kansas can ignore this. It`s -- it`s frightening.
HAYES: So is there anyone listening to the Kansans fighting the good
Meet Sandy Praeger, the state`s Republican insurance commissioner.
PRAEGER: The goal is not just to have a piece of paper that says you
have insurance; the goal is to have people get health care, and not sick
care, which is what I call it when you end up in an emergency room. You`re
in a crisis.
HAYES: Commissioner Praeger fought hard for the Medicaid expansion in
Kansas, and ultimately lost.
PRAEGER: I kept hoping that the governor would eventually seeing the
rationale behind getting those federal dollars. Those are tax dollars that
are going to Washington, that are going to other states that are expanding
HAYES: In Kansas, the expansion could have been especially powerful,
because the state is already so stingy with Medicaid. Right now, if you`re
an adult without children, you cannot qualify for Medicaid. If you`re an
adult with children, you can`t qualify unless you make under $8,000 a year
for a family of four.
That means thousands of Kansans make too much to qualify for Medicaid,
but too little to qualify for insurance tax credits under Obamacare,
leaving state health care navigators to deliver the heartbreaking news.
DAVE SANFORD, CEO, GRACEMED: I know many times, people just looked at
them and cried, because they thought the ACA was going to provide coverage
for anyone, when, in fact, without that Medicaid expansion, it doesn`t.
HAYES: GraceMed Clinic in Wichita provides sliding scale health care
to the uninsured, so they have been getting an up-close look at many of
those Kansas who are falling in the Medicaid gap.
SANFORD: These are hardworking folks that are just trying to make
ends meet in the world, and, unfortunately, paying for health care many
times is the last priority to them.
HAYES: So what exactly is the argument for walking away from the
Medicaid expansion anyway? Well, there isn`t one.
PRAEGER: You know, I think it`s mostly political. I think it`s
mostly about who the next president`s going to be. I think it`s about not
giving this president a political win, because I can`t find any other
logical reason that you would not want people in our country to have access
to health care services.
HAYES: If you want to understand the rift in the Republican Party,
this is it in its most essential form. The dividing line in the GOP over
the Medicaid expansion is a line that divides Republicans who can govern
and those who can`t.
HAYES: Up next: a look at how the NRA is looking at Kansas as a model
for pro-gun legislation.
Stay with us.
HAYES: Coming up on "ALL IN America: On the Road in the Conservative
Heartland": The NRA is calling Kansas a model state, thanks to a new law
that stops local government from regulating guns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET MILLER, WICHITA CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Can you carry, openly
carry weapons into municipal buildings now, public buildings? Can you take
them into the rec center? Can you take them into the library?
JIM HOWELL (R), KANSAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: This issue does not
belong at city level. If we want to have a law that gets into issues --
gets involved in the Second Amendment, this needs to be a statewide,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We are going to bring you that report next.
HAYES: Welcome back to "ALL IN America: On the Road in the
Kansas is being called a model state for an effort across the country,
an effort by the NRA to preempt local laws, turning U.S. streets in 2014
into the Wild West.
MILLER: I think people look at the world through one of two lenses.
Either the world is safer with more guns in it or the world is safer with
fewer guns in it.
HAYES (voice-over): If you`re running a city or a county in Kansas,
the state`s Republican supermajority just invalidated all your gun
regulations. It`s all thanks to the hottest new trend in conservative
HOWELL: The basic part of the bill is what we call universal
HAYES (voice-over): In state after state, conservatives have gained
control of governor`s mansions and state legislatures, but they still got
those pesky little blue-dot cities in their state with higher
concentrations of liberals, places that might want to pass paid sick leave
or raise minimum wage or, even worse, stop folks from strolling down the
street with guns strapped to their chest.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Now, wait a minute. You must have a real good
reason to ask a man to do a fool thing like that.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We don`t allow anybody to wear guns in Dodge
City. Hadn`t you noticed?
HAYES: Kansas municipalities have a rich history of regulating guns.
Back in the days of the Wild West, the key to keeping the peace was keeping
the guns out of the town. None other than legendary Sheriff Wyatt Earp
himself banned firearms in frontier town of Dodge City when he was marshal
KEVIN COSTNER, ACTOR: Got some new laws since you boys were here.
Tell them, Morgan.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All visitors will check their guns immediately
HAYES: In fact, visitors to the Kansas town in the 1870s would have
been greeted by a sign that read, "The carrying of fire arms strictly
prohibited" when they entered the town. But Wyatt Earp didn`t have Kansas
Governor Sam Brownback or the NRA to contend with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Openly carrying a gun almost anywhere at any time,
that`s part of a new bill signed into law in Kansas today.
HAYES: That law, signed by the governor in April, voids all existing
local gun rules in the state. Regulations in places in Kansas like
Leawood, Prairie Village, and Kansas City that had previously banned open
carry on their streets. Those cities and towns were stripped of their
authority to regulate guns.
Republican state Representative Jim Howell, who sponsored the
preemption bill, says it`s all about clarifying gun laws across the state.
HOWELL: It`s so confusing for so many people. I call it the cobweb
HAYES: Howell`s bill was backed by Patricia Stoneking, the president
of the Kansas State Rifle Committee, and John Commerford, an NRA lobbyist.
HOWELL: The Constitution gives us the right to free speech. Would we
want the city to regulate our free speech? I don`t think so. What about
the right to worship? Do we want them to regulate the right to worship? I
don`t think so.
HAYES: The bill passed both the House and Senate easily earlier this
year, with broad bipartisan support. The NRA said the bill made Kansas a
Janet Miller, a city council member in one of those cities who has
seen their authorities stripped away begs to differ.
MILLER: I don`t care how often you go to the run range and practice.
I don`t want guns around me and where I am.
HAYES: But it`s not just Kansas that preempting local governments
from doing things they don`t like in the name of clarification, and it`s
not just guns; 10 red states, including Kansas, have laws on the books
banning cities from passing paid sick leave bills.
In April, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill barring
localities from raising the minimum wage, because for Republicans across
the country, local control is best, except when it`s not.
HAYES: Up next: a look at health care for women in Kansas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIE BURKHART, SOUTH WIND WOMEN`S CENTER: If we don`t have our
rights as women in this country, you know, if all people, frankly, are not
afforded their rights, then nothing else really seemed to make sense for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The woman who reopened Dr. Tiller`s clinic in Wichita four
years after he was murdered by anti-abortion extremists, she shares her
HAYES: Tucked away in the conservative heartland under the control of
a Republican supermajority, Kansas has become something of a laboratory of
But long before the big conservative takeover of the past few years,
Kansas was famous as a flash point in the abortion wars of the 1990s. It
became a magnet for the modern extremist anti-abortion movement, and that
has not changed.
BILL O`REILLY, HOST, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR": In the state of Kansas
there is a doctor, George Tiller, who will execute babies for $5,000. Dr.
George Tiller, known as Tiller the baby killer, Tiller the baby killer, as
some call him. As we reported, Tiller aborts thousands of babies pretty
much for any reason. It doesn`t get worse than that. This is the absolute
shame of America.
HAYES (voice-over): The last person to run this clinic was
assassinated. He was murdered by an anti-abortion activist.
Dr. George Tiller was elevated to national prominence as the face of
late-term abortion in America, not just by extremists who had targeted him
for years, but also by mainstream abortion opponents.
O`REILLY: This man will terminate fetuses at any time for $5,000.
HAYES: Dr. Tiller was one of only a handful of doctors in the whole
country who offered late-term abortion care. He ran a clinic in Wichita,
Kansas, until he was shot to death five years ago.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": Now we turn to the
shooting death of a doctor in Wichita, Kansas, named George Tiller. He had
long been a target of anti-abortion demonstrators. He had been shot
before. His clinic had been bombed and blockaded.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After weathering years of attacks at his Wichita
home and abortion clinic, Dr. George Tiller was killed in his church.
HAYES: His Wichita clinic closed. That left the majority of the
state of Kansas without abortion services.
BURKHART: If we don`t have our rights as women in this country, you
know, if all people, frankly, are not afforded their rights, then nothing
else really seemed to make sense for me.
HAYES: Julie Burkhart worked for Dr. Tiller. In the five years since
his death, she bought the building that once housed his clinic and reopened
it. South Wind Women`s Center is the first abortion clinic to operate in
Wichita since Dr. Tiller`s murder.
BURKHART: After his death, you know, on a really personal level, I
just felt really lost. And I think a lot of people felt very lost. I just
came the conclusion that I feel like this is a fight and this is a worthy
HAYES: Burkhart has to contend with an openly hostile governor and
state legislature, intent on making as difficult as possible for women to
get an abortion in the state.
BROWNBACK: This is a pro-life state. We`re not going back.
HAYES: Governor Sam Brownback has personally led an anti-abortion
march on the state capitol. He has compared clinic blockades to the
abolition movement that helped end slavery. Outside Burkhart`s clinic,
there are activists stationed at the gates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom, dad, run away from that place of death.
HAYES: Others have shown up outside her house, distributed fliers
with her name, photo and home address. For Dr. Tiller, there were
consequences to everyone knowing his face.
JAKE REDCORN, KANSAS COALITION FOR LIFE: People knew that the clinic
was -- when George Tiller was here, they knew the clinic was Tiller`s
clinic. Julie Burkhart is maybe a face they don`t know.
HAYES: Julie Burkhart is the new face of this clinic. And last
month, the South Wind Women`s Center celebrated its one-year anniversary.
BURKHART: I try to stay very focused on what we`re doing here,
carrying out our vision and mission for this organization, and really try
to stay focused and put my energy into that place.
HAYES: This is what it takes to provide a constitutionally protected
medical service in Wichita, Kansas, in 2014; 41 years after Roe, this is
what victory in women`s choice looks like.
HAYES: That does it for this special edition of "ALL IN America: On
the Road in the Conservative Heartland."
There`s lots more about our reporting, even more stories from Kansas
on our Web site at ALLIN.MSNBC.com.
I`m Chris Hayes. Good night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2014 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>