- 1 Ways to Resist
- 2 Updates
- 3 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 Healthcare
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Benefits / Tax Cuts
- 11 Housing/Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations and Events
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
Ways to Resist
- Contact your elected officials:
- Get involved with local organizations.
- Find organizations with state and local presences working in your area.
- Check out our Tools of Resistance.
- Look for upcoming state and local events.
There are no recent updates.
To see past updates for Kansas, click here.
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Kansas lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- HB 2123 would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Harmful bills proposed by Kansas lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- SB 206 and HB 2171 would require all school to designate all bathrooms and changing areas for one sex only and define sex as a physical condition determined at birth.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you're registered to vote. Register to vote here. The deadline is 21 days before Election Day. Provide proof of citizenship within 90 days of registering to vote. A photo ID is required every time you vote.
- Kansas US House District 4 Elections will be held April 11, 2017.
2018 Competitive House Districts
- Kansas District 3 is a competitive district with the potential to flip to blue. Representative Kevin Yoder (R) won the 2016 election with 51.3% of the vote. Clinton won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 47.2% of the vote.
- A gubernatorial election will be held in 2018, as the current Republican governor will have reached his term limit.
- Wichita City Council elections will be held on November 7, 2017.
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 97,000 people in Kansas (or 3.3% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 219,000 people (or 7.5% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/25/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) This is because with a full repeal, premiums will not increase the way they would under a partial repeal, since insurance companies will be able to discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions and won't be required to provide essential health benefits. Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities.
- The number of uninsured people in Kansas is predicted to be 294,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 438,000, a 48.8% increase.
- Kansas is among the states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Kansas could pay up to 51% more for the same coverage as men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 19,000 jobs could be lost in Kansas in the event of repeal. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, at least 30% of non-elderly adults in Kansas stand to be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
- Three out of Kansas's four US congressional representatives (Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder, and Roger Marshall—the fourth member didn't vote) voted in January 2017 to start the repeal process for the ACA.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay Strategy, young adults in Kansas could pay $739 more in 2018.
- 47 people have been killed by police in the state of Kansas from 2013 through 2016..
- 19% of the people killed by police were black.
- Wichita Police Department has a homicide rate of 18.31 for all people, and 23.43 for black people..
- In 2013, Kansas had 198,173 immigrants, making up 6.8% of the population.
- There are estimated to be 75,000 undocumented immigrants in Kansas, making up 2.5% of the population.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Kansas does not allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers’ licenses.
- Kansas allows undocumented immigrants to attend public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens.
- In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order (DACA) that defers deportation for children who were brought to the country as children. The action allows them to work lawfully but does not create a pathway to citizenship or give them legal status in the United States. In Kansas, 11,067 individuals have benefited from this executive action.
- 6.7% of K-12 students in Kansas had undocumented parents in 2014.
- Undocumented immigrants in Kansas made up 3.4% of the labor workforce in 2014.
- If all undocumented workers were removed from Kansas, the state would lose $1.8 billion in economic activity.
- Undocumented immigrants paid $58.9 million in state and local taxes in Kansas in 2012.
- Kansas introduced legislation similar to Arizona's SB 1070 (which requires police to check detained/arrested people's immigration status if it is suspected that they might not be in the US legally) in 2011, but it was blocked by the House Judiciary Committee.
- Several Kansas counties have policies limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. This includes Wichita and Topeka.
- In 2014, Kansas resettled 490 refugees.
For the 2016 elections, Kansas required documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote using the state registration form. However, by court order, certain individuals who registered without showing documentary proof must be permitted to vote. A federal appeals court blocked the registration requirement for the national form on September 9, 2016. That action is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit. Separately, a federal court ruled that documentary proof of citizenship could not be required for voters who register at DMV offices under the federal “motor voter” law.
- Kansas incarcerated 16,225 people in 2014. 9,365 were in prison, while 6,860 were in jail.
- 16,446 individuals were on probation, while 4,065 were on parole in 2014.
- Of the prison population, 11.4% were serving life sentences while 0.2% were serving life sentences without possibility of parole.
- The black imprisonment rate (per 100,000 people) was 1,734, compared to 246 for white individuals and 301 for Hispanic individuals.
- 0.8% of the Kansas population was disenfranchised due to felony convictions in 2016, while 4.29% of the black Kansas population was disenfranchised due to felony convictions.
Benefits / Tax Cuts
- Kansas residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 183,000
- Adults and children: 267,000
- Children: 163,000
- In 2015, an average of 121,991 households and 273,974 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in Kansas. In 2011, approximately 10% of the population of Kansas was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit per Kansas household was $247 per household and $112 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 12,150 households, including 5,279 families and 9,247 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Kansas was $429 in 2014. Average benefits in Kansas have fallen in value by 34.4% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 13,605 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.
- In December 2015, there were 2,914 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category who received on average $348.31 per person, for a total of $1,015,000.
- 68,800 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, Kansas had 39 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In Kansas, there were 2,255 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 343 families, 169 veterans, 87 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 362 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Kansas received $177 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Kansas, more than 36,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Kansas households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- Kansas’s infrastructure received a score of C- from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2013.
- This study identified bridges and dams as being in “poor” condition.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 17.7% of Kansas’s bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 62% of Kansas’s roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $319 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
- According to Governor Sam Brownback (R), reservoirs and reducing water use (to extend the life of the Ogallala Aquifer) are major infrastructure goals for Kansas.
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- Kansas has two Planned Parenthood centers.
- In 2015, one center was in a rural, medically underserved, or health provider shortage areas.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 279,000 women of reproductive age.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There were four abortion providers in Kansas in 2015.
- In 2014, 7.5 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Kansas had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There is a 24-hour waiting period required after mandatory counseling.
- Parental consent is required for minors.
- Ultrasound requirements exist.
- Abortion is prohibited after 20 weeks except in cases of life or health endangerment.
- Mandated counseling includes misleading information.
- Medical abortion is limited.
- Private insurance coverage is limited.
- State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
Women and Wages
- In Kansas, 12.7% of women live in poverty. The national average is 13.4%. Single mothers make up 36.5%, while women aged 65 and older make up 9.2%. The national averages are 36.5% and 10.3%, respectively.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.77. The national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.64 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.52 for every dollar made by white men. The national averages are $0.63 and $0.54, respectively.
Domestic Violence in Kansas
- Between 1992 and 2012, Kansas law enforcement increased the arrest rate in domestic violence-related from 31% to 54%.
- In 2013, Kansas law enforcement agencies reported responding to 23,508 domestic violence incidents. Numbers may be higher since all agencies did not submit their records to the state.
- In 2013, there were 30 domestic violence homicides in Kansas, comprising 25% of total Kansas homicides.
- Over half of the domestic violence homicides between 2003 and 2012 were committed with firearms.
Religious freedom law
Religious freedom laws protect the right of people to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. A State Preservation of Religious Freedom Act was enacted in Kansas in 2013 for that purpose, but it has recently been used to say that the rights of individuals or business owners are violated if they are not allowed to deny service to LGBTQ+ people.
Kansas lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, adoption, foster care, insurance, credit, and jury selection.
Kansas has de facto parental recognition but lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in parenting laws, including second-parent adoption, surrogacy, foster care, parental presumption for same-sex couples, and consent to inseminate (meaning that in case of the insemination of one member of a female same-sex couple, the partner not carrying the child is not automatically recognized as a parent).
Hate crime laws
Kansas does include LGBTQ+ people in its hate crime laws as a protected group.
Kansas does not have laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from cyberbullying and does not offer comprehensive laws on LGBTQ+ youth issues, such as transgender inclusion in sports, protection from conversion therapy, laws to address LGBTQ+ homeless youth, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education laws, or LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies.
Health and safety laws
Kansas does not have nondiscrimination laws protecting the health and safety of its LGBTQ+ citizens, including nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges, a ban on insurance exclusions for trans healthcare, trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees, gender marker changes on identification documents, health data collection, or gender-neutral single-occupancy restrooms. Kansas does have laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in ensuring their health and safety, such as sodomy laws and laws that criminalize HIV/AIDS.
- HIV criminalization laws are those that make it illegal for an HIV-positive person to “knowingly expose” another person to HIV—in some states, this means that it is illegal not to disclose HIV-positive status to a sex partner, but many laws criminalize behaviors that are unlikely to lead to transmission. Because the laws focus on disclosure, not actual transmission, they serve no real purpose. All states have other, non-HIV-specific laws that can be used to prosecute transmission of HIV, so these laws just needlessly single out and stigmatize HIV-positive people and reinforce the image of them as “dangerous.” It also allows the saliva or blood of an HIV-positive person to be classified in court as a “deadly weapon.” HIV criminalization laws also disproportionately target people of color, mainly African Americans, and gay men.
- Kansas is ranked 27th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $6,072 per student.
- As of 2013, Kansas ranked 41st in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $47,464 per year.
- 88% of students in Kansas attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 46% higher income.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 0.5% of total public school enrollment.
- Kansas's overall graduation rate is 86%, which is above the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates are as follows:
- White: 88%
- Latino: 79%
- Black: 77%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 90%
- American Indian: 76%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 77%
- Limited English Proficient: 75%
- Students with Disabilities: 77%
Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- Kansas's minimum wage is $7.25, which is the same as the federal minimum wage  but lower than Kansas’s living wage of $9.71.
- Kansas has no state law for paid sick leave.
- Kansas has no state law for paid family leave.
- Kansas has Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can prohibit unions, that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers, from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. They are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- Kansas is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- Kansas also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Kansas does allow for implied contract exemptions.. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Kansas does not support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted the covenant in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- More than 57% of Kansas’s electricity generation comes from fossil fuels. In 2014, wind power accounted for 21%.
- Kansas has 12 sites on the National Priorities List.
- In 2014, Black and Asian or Pacific Islander populations had the highest air pollution exposure indices—60 (Black) and 56 (Asian or Pacific Islander)—compared to an overall index of 45 and a White index of 43./
- In 2012, Native American adults in Kansas were most likely to have asthma (17.5%), compared to 8.6% overall and 8.5% of the White population.
- The relevant environmental agency in Kansas is the Department of Health and Environment.
- Kansas is served by EPA Region 7 (Midwest).
In January 2017, EPA selected Kansas State University to receive approximately $2 million in funding over the course of five years to provide technical support to tribes addressing environmentally contaminated land. The university will help tribes with technical support around cleaning up these lands, known as brownfields.
In January 2017, EPA awarded Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funds to three Kansas school districts to replace or retrofit five older diesel school buses. Unified School District 253 in Emporia got $40,000 for two buses. Unified School District 290 in Ottawa got $40,000 for two buses. Unified School District 374 in Sublette got $20,000 for one bus. 
In August 2016, Kansas State University (K-State) was chosen as one of six research organizations to receive an Air Research Grant to develop and use low-cost air pollution sensor technology, while helping communities learn about their local air quality. K-State will create a partnership with local organizations in South Chicago to evaluate the effects of community-led research on the community’s understanding of air pollution. Researchers will develop sustainable, local strategies to monitor, analyze, and share measurement results about air pollutants.  The university’s grant was for $750,000 
- 12.8% of Kansas's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- Kansas has the 8th-highest employment rate among disabled adults in the US: 42.8%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Kansas have a 72.9% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1811]
- Approximately 15.3% of eligible voters in Kansas have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.71%.
- Of adults with disabilities in Kansas, 26.1% live in poverty, as opposed to 11.1% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 40.1%, as opposed to 19.9% for non-disabled children.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130)
- In Kansas, 4.2% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
Organizations and Events
Find state/local chapters of national organizations here.
Environmental justice groups
- Bridging the Gap
- The Environmental Center
- Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education
- Kansas Water Environment Association
Disability Rights Organizations
- Disability Rights Center of Kansas, Kansas's P&A (Protection and Advocacy) organization
- Kansas Commission on Aging, Kansas's ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center)
- MFP Kansas (Money Follows the Person) (helps fund transition from institutions back into the community)
See also Upcoming Events and Opportunities.
- Swing Left events for Kansas's 3rd district (helping elect progressives to the House)