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Kansas

Voter Identification Laws: The Specter of Fraud Helps the Right Wing Shape the Electorate

Since the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) established the requirement that first time voters present some form of identification before voting in a federal election, voter identification requirements of all sorts have been enacted across the country.  Currently 26 states have laws that are more restrictive than the HAVA mandate, and 21 states require ID from voters every time they vote.  These laws have been passed by arguing they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, even though all evidence suggests that such fraud is extremely rare and poses no threat to the integrity of our voting systems.  Instead, these fraud arguments have merely been a partisan tool, used for decades, to suppress turnout among new groups entering the electorate in large numbers and threatening the power of those currently in charge, whether they be minorities, immigrants or students.

States Criminalizing Immigrant Workers through State "Identity Theft" Legislation

Right-wing interests have been mounting a political assault on university professors they do not like, led by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), which is promoting so-called "Intellectual Diversity" (ID) Legislation in various states across the country. The concept was pioneered by right-wing activist David Horowitz (see this profile site for more on Horowitz).  

Kansas Supreme Court Protects Patient Privacy in Abortion Case

The Kansas State Supreme Court temporarily blocked a grand jury investigating an abortion provider from collecting more than 2,000 patient records, including patients who didn't end up having an abortion.  The provider, Dr. Tiller, and his attorneys objected to the subpoena of patient records as a violation of women's constitutional rights.  The Center for Reproductive Rights also filed a petition on behalf of patients to stop the subpoena's. The Court, at least for now, agreed the subpoenas raised "significant issues" about patients' privacy.  A final decision will be made by February 25th.

Kansas Legislative Roundup

 

Kansas' legislative session was dominated by cutting taxes on business and a few new investments in education around the state

National Guard Readiness: Iraq, Kansas, and Future Disasters

It took two days after the Kansas tornadoes nearly wiped Greensburg, Kansas off the map before a significant number of military vehicles arrived, most streaming in from Wichita about 100 miles away.  As Kansas State Senator Donald Betts Jr., put it:

Ex-Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration

Nearly 650,000 people are released from state and federal prison every year, with larger numbers reentering communities from local jails. Over 50 percent of those released from incarceration are sent back to prison for a parole violation or new crime within 3 years.

Children on the Front-Lines of Health Care Battle

While President Bush and Congress duke it out over funding and reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program, states are moving forward with universal kids coverage. 

Tax Cuts for Seniors That Don't Help Low-Income Seniors

Tax cuts for seniors?  Helping older voters on fixed incomes seems like a good idea to many legislators, but a number of states are passing tax cuts for taxpayers over age 65 regardless of whether the seniors need the help:

What States Can Do for Darfur

Since the Bush administration first recognized the genocide in Darfur, over 250,000 men, women, and children have died. This number does not count the countless women and children that have been raped or attacked as a result of the Sudanese government's campaign to kill and drive out Darfur's ethnic African populations. The violence and genocide is now spilling over into Chad and the Central African Republic. Yet, even with such horrifying statistics, the situation deteriorates day by day.