The Kansas Legislature adjourned for the rest of 2016 without taking any action on the anti-trans "bathroom bills," SB 513 and HB 2737.
Senate Bill 513 died in committee a month ago, but identical House Bill 2737 was still a threat to transgender Kansans statewide. It could have been passed as an emergency measure but after the Legislature adjourned without taking action on the legislation, we can say the current threat is over.
Personally, I want to echo Equality Kansas' call to remember the legislators who perpetrated this farce against free and independent trans* and gender non-conforming Kansans as you go to vote this November.
I grew up in Kansas. The only thing these legislators will respond to is losing: losing the power that insulates them from the people, losing the power to force their personal beliefs on the rest of the state through Legislative will, and losing the protection of their hate mob compatriots who'd love nothing more than to see us pushed back into the closet and out of the light.
Let's meet the introducers of these terrible examples of transphobic legislation:
In the House, HB 2737 was introduced by Representative Jan Pauls (R-Hutchinson)
Representative Pauls chairs the Federal and State Affairs committee, the Rules and Journal committee, and is vice-chair for Corrections and Juvenile Justice.
Her legislative record is a gem: most notably, Representative Pauls notoriously broke with Kansas Democrats over their LGBT positions -- like marriage and transgender equality.
In 2016, besides introducing HB 2737, she sponsored a resolution "reaffirming" the rights already afforded to the State of Kansas by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution -- in case you forgot, that amendment states:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
A real legislative landmark, you know? Taking back rights already afforded to the People/State of Kansas so it appears the legislature is actually doing something.
Representative Pauls also sponsored HCR 5018, which proposes a Constitutional amendment to declare that life begins at conception.
Oh yeah -- she also evidently feels really strongly that refugees fleeing murder and terrorism at home might be a risk to Kansas: she sponsored HCR 5024, which urged President Obama to treat victims of horrible situations like terrorists.
In the Senate, SB 513 was introduced by Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee).
Senator Pilcher-Cook is one of the only Kansas Legislators who spoke publicly in favor of Kansas' bathroom bills:
"Parents have reached out afraid for their children's safety and they do not want attention for fear of being called a bigot, this legislation ensures accommodations, while still protecting everyone's rights."
It wasn't about water fountains in the 60s, and it isn't about bathrooms today, Senator.
Senator Pilcher-Cook also seems relatively uninterested in protecting people from elevated risks, statewide, too, (unless you happen to be a fetus):
In 2016, she sponsored:
- SB 45 - Authorizing the carrying of concealed handguns without a license,
- SB 95 - Creating the Kansas unborn child protection from dismemberment abortion act,
- SB 443 - Names the Cage elevator in the Kansas State Capitol Building the official cage elevator of the State of Kansas and requires the cage elevator to be maintained in operating condition.
We have to hold these elected officials responsible for their words and actions. Representative Jan Pauls and Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook are just two examples how the current Kansan legislature does not care for all Kansans, despite their protestations to the contrary.