As engaged community members, it's important—but often difficult—to stay properly informed on the big issues facing our state. Quick news stories, loaded phrases, and incomplete information aren't enough to get the full picture, and can even leave people more confused.
The ACLU of Kansas Hot Topics Series is here to help.
These issues can seem complicated, but they don't have to be overwhelming to understand. Our Legal Team has prepared these explainers to give an easy but thorough explanation on the biggest issues facing Kansas so you can know the background of the issue, what's at stake, and why and how we're fighting for Civil Liberties.
Pretrial detention can have devastating consequences and should be used only when necessary. But in Kansas, this is not the case. Across Kansas, thousands sit in jail pretrial – many because they do not have enough money to afford cash bail.
Religious freedom is a fundamental constitutional right. Religious rationales have also been used to justify discrimination throughout United States history, including today. This begs the question: what are the limits on the freedom of religion when it intersects with other constitutional rights?
Kansas is one of 27 states that maintains the death penalty. In recent years, several states—including Virginia, a leading death penalty state with a legacy of racial terror and lynchings—have abolished the death penalty. Efforts to remove Kansas’s death penalty are not new.
Laws that criminalize poverty are a significant issue in Kansas and across the country. Law enforcement routinely targets houseless and impoverished communities for municipal ordinance violations that criminalize basic acts of human existence – like sleeping or asking for food.