Civil Rights

The Kansas Board of Barbering ran into problems at a joint House and Senate committee hearing on proposed rules allowing the board to offer a preliminary assessment of whether a person's civil or criminal history could disqualify them for a state license. This shop in Lawrence is operated by Rep. Mike Amyx, a Democrat in the Kansas House. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Bipartisan scorn for barbering board’s style of grading potential licensees

BY: - October 6, 2020

Kansas legislators are skeptical of the state barbering board's plan for weighing civil and criminal records to decide suitability for a barbering license.


Black girls in Kansas face harsher discipline than their white peers — this needs to change

BY: - October 6, 2020

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. Jazmine Rogers is a youth leader with the Kansas juvenile justice group Progeny. Growing up in Kansas, I’ve witnessed the heartbreaking relentlessness of our state’s youth […]

Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Roger Marshall speaks to potential voters about abortion and other issues Saturday at the outset of a Kansas GOP bus tour one month before voters decide outcome of his campaign against Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Barbara Bollier. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Abortion a blunt instrument in Bollier, Marshall battle for open U.S. Senate seat

BY: - October 3, 2020

Abortion politics driving wedge into U.S. Senate showdown in Kansas between Republican Roger Marshall and Democrat Barbara Bollier.

Former Topeka resident Kevin Young, a poet and author, will become director of the director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. (Melanie Dunea/Smithsonian Institution)

Former Topekan to lead Smithsonian’s museum of African American history, culture

BY: - September 30, 2020

The new director of Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is poet and author Kevin Young, a former Topeka resident.

Biden says he’ll support election outcome, but Trump urges supporters to ‘watch very carefully’

BY: - September 30, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden pledged Tuesday night to accept the outcome of the election, while President Donald Trump urged his supporters to “watch very carefully” what happens as voters cast their general-election ballots.  Those comments were in response to a question at the first presidential debate from moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, […]

Clockwise from top left, Sean Gatewood, Tim Carpenter, Barbara Hickert and Rocky Nichols during a recording of the Kansas Reflector podcast on public reporting on COVID-19 clusters by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas long-term care advocates view public COVID-19 report as ‘life-or-death’ guide

BY: - September 28, 2020

Kansas advocates for the elderly and disabled in long-term care facilities praise KDHE reporting on clusters, but would welcome more data.

Kansas public defender not convinced of need for blanket suspension of speedy-trial law

BY: - September 25, 2020

A Kansas defense lawyer is frustrated by suspension of speedy-trial law, while the state's attorney general expects a flood of lawsuits on that point.

Kansas organizations advocating for people with disabilities and elderly individuals are urging Lee Norman, left, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and Gov. Laura Kelly to resume and expand public disclosure of COVID-19 clusters. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Disabled, elderly advocates eager for KDHE reporting of site-specific COVID-19 outbreaks

BY: - September 21, 2020

Advocates of elderly and disabled people in Kansas are urging KDHE to resume facility-specific reporting on spread of COVID-19 infection.

Gov. Laura Kelly directed flags in Kansas be flown at half-staff until sundown Monday in honor U.S. military personnel killed in a suicide bombing attack at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas politicians pay tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

BY: - September 19, 2020

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly ordered U.S. flags in Kansas be flown at half-staff to honor late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Attorney: Driver’s license for undocumented immigrants key to safer roads in Kansas

BY: - September 17, 2020

TOPEKA — An Overland Park attorney is pushing for action that would allow undocumented immigrants in Kansas to obtain a state driver’s license, something she said is necessary for safer roads and safer immigrant populations. To obtain a Kansas driver’s license, immigrants are required to prove they are citizens of the U.S. by providing a […]

Kansas commission members seek refreshed ideas on race and the criminal justice system

BY: - September 8, 2020

TOPEKA — Members of a legislative panel said a refreshed approach to the intersection of criminal justice reform and race is needed after decades of inaction. Melody Brannon, a federal public defender in Kansas, said having the same conversations on police reform with the same ideas won’t move the needle to where marginalized communities need […]

Path to civic engagement for Kansas’ marginalized communities littered with barriers

BY: - September 5, 2020

TOPEKA — Shannon Portillo remembers the glares and sideways glances cast at her father, a darker-skinned, Mexican American man, and her mother, a blond, blue-eyed, white woman, as they entered their polling location together. Despite the looks, her parents took pride in voting, said Portillo, the assistant VP of academic affairs at the University of […]