Hensley: Hire Kansans first, buy American – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Hensley: Hire Kansans first, buy American

By State Sen. Anthony Hensley

Gov. Sam Brownback’s “march to zero” has been just that – a march to zero new jobs. In fact, in 2016, Kansas lost 9,600 private sector jobs.

Kansas workers are paying more in taxes and their wages lag behind the rest of the nation. We have to do better. That’s why last week, members of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses rolled out more than a dozen bills that benefit the working men and women of Kansas.

While there’s not much I would agree with that President Trump has said, I do agree with the two rules he outlined in his inaugural address. He said, “We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.”

Democrats have always believed that it is important that we hire American workers and that we buy American-made products. That is why, once again, we are introducing the Hire Kansans First Act and the Buy American Act.

The Hire Kansans First Act requires any contractor or subcontractor working on a state contract worth $100,000 or more annually to hire Kansas workers to comprise at least 70 percent of their contracted employees.

The Kansas Buy American Act requires each contract for the construction, repair, improvement, or maintenance of a public building made by a state agency to use materials manufactured in the United States.

Other proposals being introduced include stopping unscrupulous hiring practices, addressing workplace bullying, restoring teacher due process rights and public employees’ civil service rights, and improving worker’s compensation, among others. For a complete list of bills, visit www.kssenatedems.org/hensley/536/.

All of these bills aim to empower working Kansans and build the workforce with no cost to the state.

We now will wait to see if Republicans in the Kansas Legislature will follow the two rules outlined by President Trump, and give more support to these measures that help working Kansans.

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