Civil Rights

Derek Chauvin trial begins with opening statements focused on cause of death, police training

BY: - March 29, 2021

Attorneys in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin laid out their case Monday before 14 jurors who will decide if Chauvin is guilty of murder or manslaughter in the death of George Floyd on May 25. The opening statements from the prosecution and defense indicate the trial will hinge on the […]

Election reform bills bring fiery debate for their impact on voters

BY: - March 29, 2021

TOPEKA — A Senate committee’s handling of an election bill last week and legislation considered by the House ignited heated debate over the danger of changing laws that make it more difficult to vote in Kansas. The Senate Federal and State Affairs approved a bill Friday amending the timeframe in which an advanced ballot must […]

As immigrant’s health deteriorates in Seward County Jail, his wife pleads for mercy

BY: - March 28, 2021

TOPEKA — Felipe Olvera Argueta was weeks away from being released from the Seward County Jail for a crime he didn’t commit when his wife in February received a distressing phone call from his attorney. The undocumented immigrant from Mexico, suffering from a mental health breakdown, had climbed a wall and destroyed some ceiling tiles. […]

Kansas Attorney General’s Office scoffs at ACLU’s ‘grossly exaggerated’ fee request for voter rights case

BY: - March 27, 2021

TOPEKA — The Kansas Attorney General’s Office says attorneys involved in the American Civil Liberties Union’s five-year legal battle over voter rights in Kansas are asking to be repaid for “grossly excessive” fees. The dispute over a proposed $4 million price tag comes from the state’s defense of an unconstitutional law that required residents to […]

Kansas House bill would remove guns from abusers to protect women and families

BY: - March 26, 2021

TOPEKA — In 2009, Tyesha McNair was shot and killed by her ex-partner after deciding to leave the abusive relationship. McNair had obtained a protective order against the father of her children. As she and her friend packed her belongings, her ex entered the home with a gun and shot and killed her. Now LaTonya […]

U.S. House agriculture panel probes ‘systemic’ USDA discrimination against Black farmers

BY: - March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday heard about how Black farmers have faced decades of racial discrimination in their dealings with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The committee’s chairman, Rep. David Scott, (D-Ga.), said the testimony at the virtual hearing would help the panel craft legislation that aims to increase the number of […]

Don’t Tread on Me license plate draws concerns from Kansas legislators for ‘vile, racist’ connection

BY: - March 25, 2021

TOPEKA — A bill passed Thursday by the Senate allowing Kansas to print “Don’t Tread on Me” license plates came under scrutiny by Democrats for its association with a former slave owner. Under House Bill 2166, several types of distinctive license plates would be authorized to support state educators and veterans, and raise money to fight […]

Biden slams ‘un-American’ GOP drive to curb voting rights in states

BY: - March 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday in his first formal news conference since taking office blasted Republican-controlled state legislatures that are seeking to restrict voting access, labeling those attempts “sick” and “un-American.” Biden specifically referenced proposals like those working their way through Georgia’s state Capitol, where a final vote loomed on a GOP-drafted bill […]

Gov. Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 40 that broadened the Legislature's oversight powers during the COVID-19 pandemic and indicated she would re-issue a dozen executive orders April 1, including guidance on wearing masks. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

House, Senate GOP leaders pledge to derail new Kansas mask order if re-issued by Kelly

BY: - March 25, 2021

Gov. Kelly signs GOP's overhaul of Kansas' emergency management law and House and Senate leaders warn her not to issue a new mask mandate.

Frustrated Republican Rep. Blake Carpenter, center, idles in the Kansas House chamber while Democratic Rep. Vic Miller makes good on a promise to engage in a presentation on a federal voting rights bill. Carpenter and GOP allies shut Miller down with an obscure rule that found Miller guilty of being tedious. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

GOP restraint of House member’s voting-rights speech hinges on meaning of ‘tediously’

BY: - March 24, 2021

Kansas GOP relies on obscure rule on tedious conduct to cut off Democrat's filibuster on resolution denouncing federal election reform bill.

U.S. House passes Dreamers bill over GOP objections, as immigration debate intensifies

BY: - March 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House took up two bills Thursday that would grant legal status to broad groups of immigrants living and working in the United States, including a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of undocumented people brought to the country as children. The measures mark the first step towards what advocates for […]

Kansas Senate passes transgender sports ban after ‘incredibly insulting’ debate

BY: - March 18, 2021

TOPEKA — As tensions boiled over in a heated debate Wednesday night over a proposal to ban transgender girls and women from sports, Sen. Renee Erickson deflected concerns about the mental state of transgender youths. Democrats insisted the scrutiny the bill would place on a vulnerable population of children would lead to more suicide, that […]