Civil Rights

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 […]

Rep. Patrick Penn, R-Wichita, urged House colleagues to support House Bill 2089 to compel the state Board of Education to lay the foundation to offer gun-safety curriculum for K-12 students endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

House advances bill offering NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun-safety program starting with kindergartners

BY: - March 17, 2021

Kansas House backs bill requiring state Board of Education to set foundation for delivery of NRA's gun safety course in elementary schools.

Kansas lawmaker says Senate’s obsession with genitals warrants crime for outing LGBTQ kids

BY: - March 17, 2021

TOPEKA — Rep. Brandon Woodard introduced legislation Wednesday that would make it a crime to disclose a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Lenexa Democrat, one of three openly LGBTQ state lawmakers, said the bill was a direct response to a Senate plan to ban transgender girls and women from high school and college […]

Kansas ‘ballot harvesting’ bill raises concerns of voter suppression among voting rights advocates

BY: - March 16, 2021

TOPEKA — Voting rights advocates characterized a bill heard Tuesday limiting the number of advance ballots one can deliver on behalf of another person as an attempt to justify voter suppression in Kansas. Senate Bill 292 would seek to address the practice of “ballot harvesting” by limiting any person assisting in delivery to five total […]