The ACLU of Kansas has the following priorities for the 2019 Kansas legislative session. To get involved, click here.
INCREASE CITIZEN PARTICIPATION
Kansas ranks 40th in the nation for percentage of eligible voters that register, largely due to onerous voter registration laws that especially harm seniors, veterans, minorities, and students. Allow more people to vote by:
- Enacting Election Day Registration: This would allow eligible citizens who meet statutory identification requirements to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day, during the early voting period up to Election Day itself.
- Expanding and standardizing early voting across counties: Early voting is different in every Kansas county, varying from zero to twenty days. All counties should have a minimum of one week of early voting, with at least one weekend and times outside of normal working hours.
- Repealing Kansas’ voter suppression law: Tens of thousands of eligible voters were prevented from registering because of this policy. It has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge and must be fully repealed.
SMART JUSTICE REFORM
Kansans deserve a criminal justice system that creates safe communities. Our broken system has fostered high costs and racial disparity. Though only 17% of the Kansas population, more than 50% of those in prison are people of color. Decrease incarceration in overpopulated prisons by:
- Standardizing diversion and increasing its use: Non-violent offenders and defendants with mental illness or addiction need treatment rather than prison to avoid recidivism and make contributions to Kansas’ economic and social well-being.
- De-felonizing non-violent drug crimes: Non-violent drug offenses are the number one reason Kansans are sent to prison despite evidence that incarceration does not reduce drug abuse, or drug crimes. Kansas should reduce the penalty from felony to misdemeanor, and offer diversion and treatment for addiction when appropriate.
- Requiring conviction before seizing private property by law: Civil asset forfeiture is a common practice to seize private poverty if police suspect a citizen has committed a crime. Even if a case goes to trial and the citizen is found not guilty, they may never receive their property. Property should be restored automatically after an acquittal.
SAFE AND WELCOMING KANSAS FOR IMMIGRANTS
- Oppose bills that repeal in-state tuition.
- Oppose forcing local law enforcement to use local resources for front-line immigration enforcement.
WOMEN’S HEALTH AND REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM
- Oppose any bill that infringes on a woman’s constitutional right to make decisions about her own healthcare.
- Allow women to receive healthcare advice and prescriptions through telemedicine.
EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW
- Include equal access to housing, jobs, and public accommodation for gay and transgender Kansans in the state non-discrimination law.
- Oppose bills that would infringe on 14th Amendment rights and that deny equal access to LGBTQ Kansans.