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Many people have asked about the questionnaires we use to evaluate candidates. While we have never published raw questionnaire data, we’re happy to share the questions mailed to candidates. Generally, questions are written to elicit “yes” answers, and candidates are given space in which to comment on each one. Here are the two we sent for this year’s municipal and school district elections, along with the cover letter sent to all candidates.
Equality Kansas 2017 Municipality Candidate Questionnaire
Kansas currently has a non-discrimination statute called the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination. It protects people from discrimination based on religion, sex, age, race, ethnicity, and national origin in employment, housing, and public accommodations. It does not include protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Under Kansas constitutional home rule, municipalities are free to extend those protections, which some have done.
Equality Kansas 2017 Local School Boards Candidate Questionnaire
Kansas currently has a non-discrimination statute called the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination. It protects people from discrimination based on religion, sex, age, race, ethnicity, and national origin in employment, housing, and public accommodations. It does not include protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Many school districts across the state have added these protections for faculty and staff to their board policies.
In recent years, school districts across Kansas have been responding to the growing awareness of the needs of transgender children. This has led to controversy over whether transgender children should use the bathroom for the gender with which they identify.
In 2007, the Legislature passed a statute requiring public schools districts in Kansas to adopt policies and develop implementation plans to combat bullying. The statute currently lacks enumerations of protected classes, or any transparency or enforcement provisions. As a result, many school districts across Kansas are not in compliance with the statute. In school districts that have taken steps to follow the law, the quality of compliance varies widely. In general, those districts whose bullying prevention materials are readily available to parents have the qualitatively most comprehensive plans, where those whose materials are difficult to access place little to no emphasis on following the law.
There have been ongoing attempts, locally and in the Kansas Legislature, to limit access to comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education in public schools. We believe these policies would put all children, and especially LGBT youth, at risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
The Kansas legislature in the recent past has considered legislation that would effectively criminalize the teaching of controversial material in Kansas public schools.
Equality Kansas 2017 Candidate Cover Letter
Dear (candidate name):
Equality Kansas is the leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) political and advocacy organization in the state. Our statewide membership is as diverse as the general population, and is actively engaged in formulating and defending pro‑equality, non‑discriminatory public policy at the state and local level.
In addition to our public policy activities, our political action committee, the Kansas Equality PAC, endorses and supports candidates who make a commitment to speak out and vote in favor LGBT equality, and who will defend against the ongoing attempts to legislate LGBT Kansans into second-class status.
Please find the enclosed Equality Kansas 2017 Local Elections Questionnaire. Each question may be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” response. There is also room for additional comments, which we welcome and encourage. Many areas of public policy are complex, and nuanced answers from you will help us get to know you as a candidate and officeholder.
If you are an incumbent officeholder, we will likely know some of your views from your voting record and public statements. We encourage you to spend a few minutes on our questionnaire regardless. There may be issues with which you are unfamiliar, or on which you’d like to offer an opinion. We value your input, and would like to hear from you.
If you have any questions, please contact our office at 316-683-1706, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cristel Heffron, Chair
Kansas Equality Political Action Committee