Our Mission is to
End Discrimination Based on
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
|Home Join! Donate Volunteer Calendar About Contact|
Chapters Central Plains Hutchinson Kansas City Lawrence North Central Northwest Riley/Geary Southeast Southwest Topeka WichitaMember Login
Papers Please Voter Citizenship BIll Dead[ Posted Friday May 11 2012, 10:29 am by Thomas Witt ]
[ Last Updated Friday May 11 2012, 10:37 am ]
Greetings KEC members,
In this morning's news, Secretary of State Kris Kobach has admitted defeat in his attempt to force Kansans to show birth certificates in advance of the 2012 elections.
This is a victory for KEC and for LGBT Kansans. Since 2011, we have taken a leading role in a coalition including the League of Women Voters, the ACLU, and others to stop the worst of Kobach's agenda.
In a series of hearings last year, we convinced the Kansas Senate to include an affidavit provision that will allow transgender voters to register and vote. Our amendments to Kobach's bill were adopted and signed into law last year.
In a series of four hearings this year - two of which were on bills authored and introduced by KEC - we made the case to the Senate that rushing implementation of the "proof of citizenship" portion of the new law would be unwise and would disenfranchise Kansas voters. We did this in an environment where extremists were accusing transgender voters of having made a "choice" whose consequence was voluntary disenfranchisement. The Senate did not buy this argument, and yesterday, Senate President Steve Morris effectively killed the bill, SB17, for the year.
Of all the organizations working against last year's bill and this year's rushed implementation, Kansas Equality Coalition is the only one to have a full-time lobbyist in the Capitol. Our allies have relied on KEC's presence, experience, and contacts to successfully modify and halt the most damaging portions of Kobach's agenda. While we certainly didn't achieve this alone, our work has been critical to the success of the pro-voting rights coalition.
Our work in the Capitol this session is not yet done. SB142 remains on the calendar, and could be brought up at any time. I write you this morning from the Senate gallery, where they are preparing to once again enter the acrimonious debate on redistricting. I fear SB142 will be used as political leverage, and will be forced to a vote by right-wing extremists in an attempt to pressure moderate Republicans and Democrats into voting for it in exchange for a compromise on redistricting.
These closing hours of the legislative session are the most dangerous for LGBT Kansans. This is when the radical right does everything they can to push through their agenda. You have my commitment that I will continue to work to final adjournment to stop SB142 in the same we we stopped Kobach's voter bill.
PS: I cannot do this work without your support - both as activists who make calls and send emails, and as contributors who make it possible for me to be in Topeka. Please click here to make a contribution today! http://www.kansasequalitycoalition.org/donate/