One week after the Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary, Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded the race on Tuesday night to Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
The race was too close to call last Tuesday night. Officials counted more than 313,000 ballots, and found that Kobach had a slim lead of 345 votes. During the recount last week, Colyer called on Kobach to recuse himself; he did, but then sent Colyer a letter accusing him of undermining "the public's confidence in the election process."
Colyer is a plastic surgeon and served as liutenant governor for seven years, becoming governor after Sam Brownback resigned to head the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom. In November's general election, Kobach will face off against Democrat Laura Kelly. Catherine Garcia
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) issued an executive order on Tuesday that removed discrimination protections for LGBT state employees.
Brownback said that the 2007 executive order by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) — which said state workers could not be discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity — was not approved by the legislature but rather "through unilateral action." In a statement, he said his executive order, which replaced Sebelius', "ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional 'protected classes' as the previous order did."
Critics say that now state employees can be fired, denied a job, and harassed for being gay or transgender, the Los Angeles Times reports. Doug Bonney, legal director for the ACLU of Kansas, said this was an unusual move, since most states are giving LGBT residents protections and not taking them away. "This executive order was the only thing in Kansas protecting those people," Bonney told the Times. "I'm sorry to say that this opens it up to discrimination and there's no good reason for that." Catherine Garcia