Tag Archives | kansas

Anti-Trans Bathrooms Bills in Kansas

There are two new bills pending in the Kansas legislature.

Both will ban trans students in Kansas public schools from using the bathrooms that align with their gender. Trans girls will be forced to use the boys’ bathroom. Trans boys will be forced into the girls’.

As written, these bills will provide special “accommodations” through allowing trans kids to use “alternative” facilities. The backers of this bill call this “privacy,” but the actual consequences will be to “out” and isolate trans kids who are just trying to do what we all do: Go to the bathroom. Instead, they will be subject to additional isolation, harassment, bullying, and potential injury. These bills will also apply to adult college students, no matter their age, no matter their surgical status.

You can see the bills, House Bill 2737 and Senate Bill 513 and their full history on the Kansas Legislature’s website.

SB 513 has been referred to the Senate Education Committee. Since we are getting close to the end of the regular legislative session, the Senate Education Committee can no longer meet and hold hearings.  Unless the bill is pulled from committee and assigned to a committee exempt from regular deadlines (unlikely), SB513 is dead for the year.

The House version of the bill, HB2737, is still very much alive. It was referred to the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, which is one of a handful of legislative committees that can hold hearings any time the committee chair pleases. That committee is always chaired by a radical-right, anti-LGBT conservative, and this year, that chair is none other than Representative Jan Pauls, the most vocally anti-LGBT legislator in Kansas’ history.

 

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Kansas Bill Would Send Teachers to Prison for Mentioning Sex

The door is opening in Kansas for the wholesale elimination of art, literature, and discussion containing any hint of sexual material. These things will not be banned, they will be discarded through coercion and threats.

Under a Republican bill approved by the Kansas Senate in 2015, and now under consideration by a Kansas House committee, teachers would be stripped of protections currently in place, facing fines or up to six months in prison for using materials that implicitly or explicitly mention sex acts.

A Democratic congressman asked the bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook,

whether a teacher could be prosecuted for showing an image of Michelangelo’s sculpture David, which depicts male genitalia. He quoted sexual puns in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and asked whether teaching the play could be a criminal offense.

Pilcher-Cook said that would have to be decided by individual prosecutors and juries, an ignorant statement expressing how vague and poorly-defined such a law would inevitably be (“What counts as a criminal offense? You’ll find out after you’re arrested”). It reminds one of what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said of “hardcore pornography” in 1964:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…

Proponents of the measure insist children must be protected from “harmful material,” defined as that with “any description, exhibition, presentation or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse.”

 

Continue reading about the bill here…

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Same-sex married couples, Kansas, and taxes

Are you a legally married same-sex couple that lives in the state of Kansas? If you are, you probably have questions about how you can file your income taxes this year. Read on, but remember, this is only general information and should not be considered tax advice. Please consult a tax professional for that.

If you have legally been married, no matter where that marriage was performed, you are legally married for Federal tax purposes. Whether you were married in Iowa, California, Massachusetts, or even in Kansas (yes, it has happened!), the IRS expects married people to file their taxes as married.

Unfortunately, the State of Kansas – specifically the Kansas Department of Revenue – is still refusing to recognize legal marriages legally performed. According to the Department, same-sex couples cannot file Kansas tax returns as married. Under Kansas law, the marital status under which you file your Federal taxes is the marital status under which you file your state taxes. HOWEVER: The Kansas Department of Revenue is requiring same-sex married couples to complete an extra worksheet that re-calculates your income tax as though you were never married in the first place. How sweet.

Equality Kansas has done some research with tax pros and offers these options:

  • Some same-sex couples have filed their Kansas taxes as married, even with the ban in place. Some couples have had their tax returns accepted without question, while others have not.  This is probably a very risky option that could cause problems down the road.
  • If you need your Federal and state refunds immediately, with a minimum of hassle, you’re going to have to “bite the bullet” and file your Federal taxes as married, do the Kansas worksheet, and file your Kansas taxes as single. You might be able to file amended returns once/if marriage equality is recognized nationally.
  • If you are not desperate for a refund, file a Federal request for an extension. Extensions are granted automatically, and automatically reset the due date for your return to October 15. We expect the question of marriage equality to be answered, once and for all, before the end of June.  WARNING: An extension does not put off the due date for your tax payments! To avoid penalties and interest, you must pay any estimated taxes due by April 15, even if you have filed for an extension!

If you want to file your Federal return right now, and put off the State, it can be done, but the process is a bit tricky. The steps must be followed in order. Follow the instructions listed on the Equality Kansas website.

For even more information, check out the FAQs published by the IRS.

 

 

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