KASB, USA-Kansas Advocacy in Action conference gets under way

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Secretary of State Scott Schwab on Wednesday addressed the annual Advocacy in Action Conference, conducted by KASB and USA-Kansas.

In his remarks, Schmidt focused on initiatives to address youth suicide and vaping.

In 2018, the Tower Mental Health Foundation and Schmidt formed a task force to survey efforts under way in Kansas to reduce the incidence of youth suicide and provide recommendations on further steps that could be taken. Schmidt noted the number of young people in Kansas who have killed themselves has increased from eight in 2005 to 32 in 2017.

On vaping, Schmidt said his office this week will unveil legislation to prohibit use of e-cigarettes and vapes in indoor workplaces and public places by adding it to the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act

Schwab’s remarks focused on election security, the upcoming Census and the “Students Serve” initiative to recruit high school students as poll workers.

Schwab, the state’s chief election official, said the Kansas election infrastructure is secure. He said voting machines are self-contained and safe from hacking because they are not online.

But Schwab added that unfriendly foreign governments are using social media to sow doubt, chaos and false narratives in our democracy. He urged attendees to be vigilant against false information spread on social media.

Schwab also urged attendees to make sure everyone is counted in their communities during the upcoming Census. An undercount will deprive communities from getting their fair share of federal dollars, he said.

Schwab praised the Students Serve effort and KASB for working on it too. KASB, KNEA, USA-Kansas and the Kansas State High School Activities Association are program partners.

Schwab said working at the polls is an opportunity for students to be directly involved in the democratic process.

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