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Archive for Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gov. Sam Brownback’s move on Kansas Human Rights Commission criticized

February 8, 2011

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— Gov. Sam Brownback’s desire to move the Kansas Human Rights Commission to the attorney general’s office is drawing fire from the NAACP and others.

The Kansas Human Rights Commission investigates complaints alleging discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodations and housing, as well as racial profiling in conjunction with traffic stops.

The NAACP said Brownback’s proposal will kill independent investigations of complaints against the state because those complaints would be filed with the attorney general’s office, which represents state agencies.

And in a letter, James Butler, who served as chairman and commissioner to the Kansas Human Rights Commission from 1979 to 2005, said the proposal was a bad idea because it would place the investigation of complaints under a partisan officeholder.

“I was shocked when I read the proposal and I still am because the office of Attorney General is an elected office and, for the first time in the history of the commission, the commission would be under the direction of an elected state office and political influence, subject to whatever bias may exist at any particular time. This move would eliminate 58 years of independent decision making in the area of civil rights in the State of Kansas,” Butler said.

Brownback has said his proposal would save $177,000 by eliminating the Human Rights Commission’s executive director, attorney and administrative specialist. Brownback in his budget proposal states, “By relocating the Commission to the Attorney General, the agency will have access to a wider array of resources and staff.”

Brownback’s office said legislation is being drawn up to move the commission to the attorney general’s office.

Comments

equalaccessprivacy 3 years, 7 months ago

Conflict-of-interest up the wazoo! What kind of tuned-in governor would advocate this sort of thing? People get severely retaliated against for complaining about discrimination in unsophisticated places like Kansas and assigning the "investigation" of such issues to the AG would likely worsen that aspect. You'd think you had a civil problem, and then suddenly the state would start blaming the victim and retaliating by filing vindictive criminal charges. The state of KS is a huge discriminator, and so an independent agency is definitely needed.

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overthemoon 3 years, 7 months ago

Eliminate three positions that cost $177,000,,,does that number reflect only salary or benefits as well? Pretty cheap for three people, including an attorney. And just how long will claims or complaints languish in the AG's office on some desk?

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coderob 3 years, 7 months ago

Brownback's world: Pinch pennies and the dimes will follow.

Real world: Brownback's a bull in a china shop.

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Deb Stavin 3 years, 7 months ago

Coderob, you're right about the china shop but wrong about the animal. That's an elephant! :-)

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kernal 3 years, 7 months ago

Woo, boy! The you know what could hit the fan on this one on so many levels. This is a bad decision for one who wants to continue his politcal rise, IMHO. And, for $177,000? That's a peanut in the big bag of good-byes he's filling up.

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dragonwagon2 3 years, 7 months ago

Protect human rights? Brownback is an idiot with power - that is SO frightening.

I'd say he's more like a warthog - not meaning to disparage warthogs..........

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Fossick 3 years, 7 months ago

This is exactly the correct move, whether it saves any money or not. The 19th Century "commission" system of government needs to be rooted out wherever its vestiges are found.

Mr. Butler is exactly correct about one thing. When he says "for the first time in the history of the commission, the commission would be under the direction of an elected state office and political influence." That's another way of saying that for the first time in its existence, the commission will be accountable to the voters rather than a playground for the NAACP.

The NAACP is angered because another one of their little fiefdoms is in danger, not because the move will result in any more or less discrimination.

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equalaccessprivacy 3 years, 7 months ago

Likely the NAACP is playing a watchdog role here. From what I know of the KS Commission on Human Rights, it's hardly anyone's fiefdom. The state can't be trusted to police itself when it comes to following nondiscrimination laws.

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Fossick 3 years, 7 months ago

The state absolutely cannot be trusted to police itself, which is why we have elections. But a little committee with its own lawyers and investigators that does not answer to those voters is by its very definition a fiefdom.

If the state cannot be trusted to police itself, why do we think that all of these little free-floating vaporous commission should be so trusted? They have all the powers of the state with none of the accountability.

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One_Name 3 years, 7 months ago

You are completely correct. There is a concept of the "ombudsman", paid by tax dollars, independent of elected government. In my humble opinion, that's what the courts are for.

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sr80 3 years, 7 months ago

who has ever heard of the human rights commission before today?? oh yeah i guess only minorities would know,you got to keep the poor white man in his place!!!

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Jan Rolls 3 years, 7 months ago

Mr. or Mrs. racist please check the record. Many poor white men and women for that matter have been helped by the commission.

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sr80 3 years, 7 months ago

wow i'm a racist right off the bat,thanks alot mr or mrs liberal you know all!!!

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justsomewench 3 years, 7 months ago

you might want to do a little research on what the organization does before you open-mouth, insert-foot.

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sr80 3 years, 7 months ago

the racist replies "i heard of the naacp that represents( WHO), but i've never heard of the human rights commission,i guess that makes me a bad person!!

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Keith 3 years, 7 months ago

Well that, and a host of other things.

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Victor Dawson 3 years, 7 months ago

Wow, I hope you were joking! Your comment is pretty offensive on its face. I would recommend that you do some research before responding to something you know nothing about. A fact, poor is poor and white, black, yellow, etc has nothing to do with it. The Human Rights Commission exist to give all of us a voice! Stop making the rest of us look bad because you are not informed to what is going on in this State.

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sr80 3 years, 7 months ago

so i'm not perfect,you will have to forgive me for brain fart!!!sorry once again!1

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towniejj 3 years, 7 months ago

So, the Attorney General's office has enough spare time to take on this work? Interesting.

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Fossick 3 years, 7 months ago

He'll probably get the commission's lawyers and investigators and the bulk of its funding, so it's a wash for his office from a budget standpoint.

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kernal 3 years, 7 months ago

Last I heard, the KS State Attorney General's office hasn't had time for their case load for over a decade. Brownback should know that by now. If he doesn't, he needs to have a chat with his team about "need to know".

Wonder if he's also going to initiate cuts with the KBI, another state agency that's short funded and understaffed.

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sr80 3 years, 7 months ago

i will go to church first thing in the morning and renounce my christian religion to become a liberal catholic,then i can get away with my remarks without criticism!! does that make you happy keith ??

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deec 3 years, 7 months ago

Catholics aren't Christian? That'll be news to my ex.

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sr80 3 years, 7 months ago

Catholics are christians that can't be ridiculed,or they get upset and call you names like racist,bigot,homophobe,etc.....

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Carol Bowen 3 years, 7 months ago

SB is reducing unemployment by a negative 3.

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eyeye 3 years, 7 months ago

This is NOT just about Discrimination; it's also about whether our taxes actually deliver what we need, or just warm-fuzzy window-dressing for ChurchCo et al.

This move is the logical extension of "Jesus plus NOTHING" in order to serve risk-management purposes by reducing the state's legal exposures from reduction of all services.

As "we" move further into privatization of services, including through tax-break subsidization of not-for-profits, and as Subsidy Sam et al strip services down to the bare bones, any professionals, say, such as education or health care professionals (WHO JUST SO HAPPEN TO ALSO HAVE professional difference$$$$$ over the quality of care, with employers earning 6-figure salaries+++), such professionals will find that the matter of what does and does not constitute Discrimination in the state of Kansas has become a mean$$$$$ of political payoff for the Koch brothers et al.

Too bad for those Kansans who need care and for those who care about whether care is real or not.

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simpleton 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure that Schmidt is likely to hire at least three people to handle this new task. And it's not like a shift like this is easily undoable.

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