Civil Rights

Dennis Depew, deputy attorney general and chief of the civil litigation division, said the state owed $133,000 to a man unlawfully convicted of contempt of court in Reno County but served 631 days in jail for the offense. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas pays $133,000 to former inmate unlawfully subjected to Reno County judge’s wrath

BY: - October 27, 2021

Kansas pays a man $133,000 after Reno County's judge unlawfully convicted him of contempt of court for refusing to risk self-incrimination by testifying at a murder trial.

The Kansas Supreme Court conducted oral argument Tuesday in the appeal of a Johnson County District Court judge's decision in the challenge of a Shawnee Mission School District mask order. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

School mask mandate challenge before Kansas Supreme Court stirs broader legal issues

BY: - October 26, 2021

Kansas Supreme Court moves into web of constitutional issues on appeal of judge's order faulting state law fueling challenges of COVID-19 mandates.


The Klan’s racist legacy taints Seaman schools. Students have set an example for us to follow.

BY: - October 26, 2021

A quick piece of advice to those in the Seaman School District: Supporting a known Ku Klux Klan leader isn’t a good look. And attacking students who want to change their district and school name to something less racist? That’s downright vile. Fred Seaman, who founded Seaman High School and was its principal from 1920 […]

Kansas students stand up to hate, bigotry in push to replace Klan leader’s name

BY: - October 25, 2021

TOPEKA — Kevinh Nguyen thinks of the Seaman public school district as a “gentrified apartment complex.” The son of immigrants from Vietnam and senior at the high school just north of Topeka is among students who want to rename the district, following the revelation that its namesake was a Ku Klux Klan leader in the […]

Expelled Republican election commissioner condemns politics of voting in Kansas

BY: - October 24, 2021

TOPEKA — A former Republican election official is calling out lawmakers from both parties for harmful, partisan framing of election policy issues rather than focusing on joint solutions to improve voting. In more than nine years serving as election commissioner for Sedgwick County, Tabitha Lehman said, she saw several instances of policymakers acknowledging election policies […]


In redistricting, Kansas legislators shouldn’t use prison populations as bargaining chips

BY: - October 23, 2021

The Kansas Reflector welcomes opinion pieces from writers who share our goal of widening the conversation about how public policies affect the day-to-day lives of people throughout our state. Jesse Kielman is the communications and media manager at the ACLU of Kansas. As school resumes and students fill history classrooms across the state, they’ll likely […]

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the Kansas Supreme Court to delay work on his appeal a district court's ruling on abortion until after the statewide August vote on a proposed abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. (May 2021 photo by Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Attorney general seeks abortion appeal delay until after constitutional amendment vote

BY: - October 21, 2021

Attorney General Derek Schmidt asks Supreme Court to put on hold his appeal in abortion case until Kansans voter on constitutional amendment in August.

U.S. Senate Republicans again block debate on voting rights legislation

BY: - October 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republicans blocked the advance of voting rights legislation Wednesday, the second time this year — thwarting again Democrats’ attempts to pass federal protections for voters amid a slew of new state elections laws.  “When we are faced with a coordinated effort across our country to limit the freedom to vote, we […]

Kansas lawmaker wants more input on criminal justice reform before final report

BY: - October 19, 2021

TOPEKA — A state representative hopes to bring in community stakeholders and organizations to provide additional insights for a criminal justice reform panel’s recommendations. Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, told members of the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission she often hears from various organizations that have specific issues they see within the community. The panel of […]

Protesters hold up signs at a protest outside the Texas state capitol on May 29, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Thousands of protesters came out in response to a new bill outlawing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot. (Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

How a Mississippi court case could pave the way for new abortion bans across the U.S.

BY: - October 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — A six-week abortion ban in Texas enacted in September forced those seeking abortion services in the Lone Star State to look across state lines for care. But the timing couldn’t have been worse for Texans living near the state’s eastern border. The law took effect as neighboring Louisiana was reeling from the destruction […]


In 1922, a Kansas mayor was brutalized by the Klan. Today’s rhetoric sounds chillingly familiar.

BY: - October 17, 2021

The stranger came knocking at the door of Theodore Schierlmann’s garage at 10:30 on a Saturday night. There was a man in a car parked just outside, the stranger said, who wanted a word. So Schierlmann, who was waiting for one of his mechanics to finish a job and was used to late-night business, rose […]


Audio Astra: Kansans must continue their advocacy for LGBTQ folks

BY: - October 15, 2021

Audio Astra reviews recent audio reporting on Kansas news, including podcasts and radio stories. Eric Thomas directs the Kansas Scholastic Press Association and teaches visual journalism and photojournalism at the University of Kansas. “51 Years Out!” KPR Presents, Oct. 10, 2021 Pundits often remark that the shift in public opinion about gay rights in America has been […]