Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee voted to add Representative Kevin Yoder’s (R-KS) amendment to prevent the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a “threatened” or “endangered” species to the 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations Act.
In March 2014, the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) listed the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened species, citing the bird’s population decline. With approximately half of the Lesser Prairie Chicken population residing in Kansas, the listing had led to the disruption of oil and gas exploration, abandonment of wind energy projects, and increased costs to Kansas farmers and ranchers.
In September 2015, in part after the efforts of Representative Yoder during consideration of last year’s Interior Appropriations Bill, the listing was vacated by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Last month, the Department of Justice announced it had dropped its appeal of the court’s ruling, effectively halting the Administration’s efforts on the issue.
“As I said when the Justice Department announced it was dropping its appeal, I remain skeptical that was the end of the road,” Yoder said. “The Lesser Prairie Chicken’s listing as a threatened species stunted economic growth in Kansas for little to no benefit. It was a misguided effort to save a bird that already saw its population increase over the last few years due to local efforts. My amendment today simply maintains the new status quo, preventing the Administration from reopening its efforts and protecting farmers and ranchers from unwanted government overreach.”
Overland Park, KS – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) will join the Wyandotte County FOP Lodge #40 and Sheriff Don Ash in attending the Dedication and Unveiling of the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office Memorial in Kansas City, Kansas THIS AFTERNOON.
Representative Yoder will deliver remarks at the unveiling of the memorial, which honors all of the fallen deputies of Wyandotte County. The event will be open to the public and media is also invited to attend.
WHO: Representative Kevin Yoder
WHAT: Dedication and Unveiling of the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office Memorial
WHEN: Today, Wednesday, June 1, 2016
WHERE: Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office
710 N. 7th Street
Kansas City, KS
Washington, DC – Representative Kevin Yoder will attend events this Memorial Day weekend focusing on the service and sacrifice of those who have served our country. The events will be open to the media.
WHAT: Heart of America Stand Down
(Provides Services for Homeless and At Risk Veterans)
WHEN: Friday, May 27, 2016 at 10:00 AM
WHERE: National World War I Museum and Memorial
100 W. 26th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
WHAT: Spring Hill Memorial Day Ceremony
WHEN: Monday, May 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM
WHERE: 800 Block of Lawrence Street
Spring Hill, Kansas 66083
Washington, DC – This afternoon, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) sent a letter to United States Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Jeh Johnson and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator Peter Neffenger demanding answers about the increasing long wait times at TSA lines in airports across the country and what the agency is doing to alleviate the issue.
“Airports around our country are troubled by long lines of passengers waiting to go through security screening before boarding their flights,” Representative Yoder said in the letter. “I am calling on you and your department to take swift and decisive action in order to alleviate this problem. The safety of our travelers is of utmost concern, but the TSA must also be able to do its job without becoming another bloated, ineffective government agency.”
The full text of the letter is reproduced below.
The Honorable Secretary Jeh Johnson
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
300 7th St SW
Washington, D.C. 20024
Dear Secretary Johnson,
Airports around our country are troubled by long lines of passengers waiting to go through security screening before boarding their flights. I am calling on you and your department to take swift and decisive action in order to alleviate this problem. The safety of our travelers is of utmost concern, but the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) must also be able to do its job without becoming another bloated, ineffective government agency.
I have heard from numerous constituents about the issues with long waiting lines in airports. To make matters worse, the trend is moving in the wrong direction as fliers routinely deal with longer and longer lines. Most people cannot afford to spend hours of their time waiting in line, and many are missing flights due to inordinate wait times. These problems have a rippling effect on travel industries as business and pleasure travelers are less inclined to fly.
In light of these well-documented problems, I am seeking a plan of action from you and your department to improve this situation. Specifically, I would like the answers to these questions:
What is the TSA’s plan to reduce wait times for travelers going through security screening?
Has the TSA set specific goals or benchmarks to evaluate the effectiveness of the aforementioned plan?
Does the TSA have a timeline within which it plans to achieve these goals?
What security screening operations are Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) involved with outside of airports?
Thank you for your commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our nation’s travelers. I hope to see quick and meaningful progress from the TSA to address this problem. I appreciate your attention to these questions, and I look forward to your timely response.
Member of Congress
Cc: Peter Neffenger, Administrator, Transportation Security AdministrationRead More
Washington, DC – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) announced today that Padee Vang, a senior at Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences in Kansas City, Kansas, has won the 2016 Congressional Art Competition for the Third District. Her entry, titled “Sauer Mansion,” uses the medium of pen and ink and showcases the historic landmark in Wyandotte County.
“I would like to congratulate Padee for winning this year’s competition and I look forward to walking past it every time I go to vote on the House floor in the U.S. Capitol,” Representative Yoder said. “Her entry stood out among a number of outstanding submissions this year from some of the most talented young artists across the District.
“It was a privilege to partner with the Prairie Village Arts Council and Gallery at Prairie Village City Hall for this year’s art show. Thank you to Daniel Andersen and Julie Flanagan of the Prairie Village Arts Council for their artistic partnership and Mayor Laura Wassmer and the City Council for their hospitality.”
Additionally, the Third District Art Advisory Board awarded three Honorable Mentions to “Green Eyed Angel” by Shawnee Mission South senior Casey Mispagel, “Serenity” by Bonner Springs homeschool sophomore Grace Aldrich, and “Stricken” by Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences senior Breanna Kay Johnson. Finally, the Peoples’ Choice Award winner, chosen via online voting on Rep. Yoder’s Facebook page, was awarded to “Green Eyed Angel” by Shawnee Mission South senior Casey Mispagel.
The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of the high school students in their districts. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition. Padee’s art “Sauer Mansion” will hang in the U.S. Capitol with the winning art selected from all Congressional Districts across the country from June 2016 through June 2017.
Overland Park, KS – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) welcomes FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Kansas on Wednesday to discuss the success of the Kelsey Smith law in Kansas and push to create a national standard for law enforcement that already exists in twenty-two states.
The Kelsey Smith Act, H.R. 4889, which passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, would help law enforcement and telecommunication officials work together quickly in cases of emergency to locate cell phones of missing persons. In 2015, a car was stolen in Lenexa with a five-month-old child inside. Based on the Kansas state-level version of the Kelsey Smith Act that was signed into law in 2009, Lenexa Police were able to track down the vehicle in 35 minutes because the victim’s cell phone was inside. Lenexa Police will demonstrate how the law worked in this situation and highlight the need for the federal law.
WHO: Representative Kevin Yoder
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai
WHEN: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Media Avail – 2:45 PM
WHERE: Lenexa Police Department
12500 W. 87th St. Parkway
Lenexa, KS 66215
Overland Park, KS – Representative Kevin Yoder will hold a Town Hall Forum in Louisburg, Kansas on Wednesday, May 4th. The event will be open to the public. Media is also invited to attend.
WHO: Representative Kevin Yoder
WHAT: Louisburg Town Hall Forum
WHEN: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
WHERE: Louisburg City Hall - Council Chambers
215 South Broadway Street
Louisburg, KS 66053
Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce and Technology unanimously passed H.R. 4889, the Kelsey Smith Act, legislation to help law enforcement and telecommunication officials work together quickly in cases of emergency to the locate cell phones of missing persons. After the bill was reported favorably out of the Subcommittee, Representative Yoder issued the following statement:
“I’m glad to see the Subcommittee on Commerce and Technology act to quickly pass the Kelsey Smith Act less than a week after holding a hearing on the bill. I want to thank Chairman Walden for his continued efforts to keep the legislative process moving and I look forward to the bill’s consideration in the full Energy and Commerce Committee soon. It’s time to give law enforcement officials more effective tools to try and prevent horrible crimes like what happened to Kelsey from ever happening again.”
Washington, D.C. – This morning, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, digital privacy reform legislation introduced and championed by Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) by a vote of 28-0. The bill, which is the most cosponsored bill in the 114th Congress, updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to improve privacy protections for electronic communications stored or maintained by a third-party service provider. After the bill’s passage, Representative Yoder issued the following statement:
“Today is a great day for not only the Fourth Amendment advocates who have fought long and hard to move the Email Privacy Act, but also for all Americans, who are one step closer to having private and secure digital communications. I want to thank Chairman Goodlatte and the Committee for coming to an agreement that achieves the goals of the most-widely supported legislation in Congress. Mr. Speaker, now’s the time to take up this bill on the House floor and send it to the President’s desk for his signature.”
Overland Park, KS – Yesterday, Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) sent a letter to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson demanding answers about the failures of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to detain and deport Pablo Serrano-Vitorino, who allegedly killed four people in Kansas City, Kansas and one person in Montgomery County, Missouri in March. Serrano-Vitorino was previously deported but had subsequently re-entered the United States and had multiple encounters with law enforcement before his arrest.
“This man slipped through ICE's fingers and they admittedly stopped searching for him,” Representative Yoder said. “He was convicted of multiple felonies, but was somehow not a priority. Now five people are dead. We’re not going to stop this inquiry until we can get some answers and pinpoint how we can stop this from happening again.”
“After the conference call that Rep. Yoder and I had last month with ICE officials, we were left with lingering questions as to just how Pablo Serrano-Vitorino re-entered America and avoided deportation despite ICE’s knowledge of his presence in the United States,” Representative Luetkemeyer said. “ICE’s failures in this case were completely unacceptable and the American people deserve answers as to how this happened and deserve to know what ICE is going to change the way it does business to make sure this never happens again.”
The full text of the letter is below.
The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Department of Homeland Security
Washington D.C. 20528
We write to express our deep concerns with the failure of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and keep violent criminal illegal aliens off America’s streets. The failure appears to not only be a symptom of bureaucratic ineptitude but also a systematic disregard for the safety of American citizens instituted through enforcement policies that you put in place.
As you may know, on March 7, 2016 Pablo Serrano-Vitorino allegedly killed four individuals in Kansas City, Kansas. Serrano-Vitorino then fled to Montgomery County, Missouri where he allegedly killed another individual. He was eventually captured by local authorities in the early hours of March 9, 2016 after a lengthy manhunt. Serrano-Vitorino is in this country illegally and had previously been deported from the United States but subsequently re-entered the country at some point. His previous deportation occurred after he was convicted and incarcerated for a violent felony in California. The most disturbing aspect is that he had multiple encounters with law enforcement since he re-entered the country and yet ICE failed to deport him again.
It has been reported that ICE was notified at least twice that Serrano-Vitorino had been arrested by local law enforcement in the last 18 months, and yet was allowed to be released. On one recent occasion, after notification from local law enforcement, ICE sent a detainer request for Serrano-Vitorino to the wrong office, allowing him to once again be released. In each of these occasions ICE failed to effectively communicate with local law enforcement in order to ensure this dangerous criminal was removed from the United States. This is not the first time that a violent criminal illegal alien has evaded ICE’s grasp. The release of illegal aliens due to bureaucratic incompetence cannot be tolerated and we urge you to make substantive reforms to the process to ensure that dangerous individuals are removed from our communities.
In addition, In November 2014 you released a memorandum titled “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants.” This memorandum outlines ICE’s Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) which established certain priorities for the deportation of illegal immigrants. While PEP is set up to prioritize certain dangerous individuals for deportation it is evident that this program has created an environment where individuals can fall through the cracks.
In order to better understand the circumstances that led to this tragic situation, we request responses to the following inquiries.
We look forward to your prompt and thorough response to these requests. Information regarding this information is vital for Congress to exercise its oversight responsivity for these programs and policies. If you have any questions please contact Lucas West at (202) 225-2956.
Blaine Luetkemeyer Kevin Yoder
Member of Congress Member of Congress
cc: The Honorable Sarah Saldana, Director, Immigration and Customs EnforcementRead More
215 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Kevin is a 5th generation Kansan who grew up on a grain and livestock farm in rural Kansas near a town called Yoder. It was on the farm where Kevin learned the true value of hard work and where he saw first-hand the ingenuity and prairie spirit that makes Kansas such a special place.
Great to have you for the visit Gracie, and congrats on your amazing achievement! https://t.co/H93NOoRCqS