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Kansas Gov. Colyer Mum On Reinstating LGBT Worker Protections

Stephen Koranda
Kansas News Service
Gov. Jeff Colyer hasn't said whether he'd reverse action taken by his predecessor on LGBT issues.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has made a point to say he will not accept harassment and discrimination in his administration. But he won’t say if he’ll reinstate an executive order that would bar discrimination against LGBT state workers.

“What I have said is that we will not tolerate discrimination. If there’s an issue of discrimination, come to me,” Colyer said. “We’ll deal with it. It’s not tolerated by our administration, period.”

Former Gov. Sam Brownback rescinded the executive order that had protected gay, lesbian and transgender workers in 2015. He said protections should be created by lawmakers, not through executive action.

Tom Witt, with the group Equality Kansas, said Colyer's words are not enough.

“If the governor is serious about rooting out discrimination in his administration, he’ll put it in writing," Witt said. “We had it in writing.” 

Some Democrats in the U.S. Senate cited Brownback's reversal of the order as the reason they voted against his confirmation as religious freedom ambassador. That opposition nearly cost Brownback his new diplomatic post. He was confirmed after Vice President Pence cast a tie-breaking vote.

Colyer’s first executive order as governor made sexual harassment training mandatory for all executive branch employees.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

As the Kansas News Service managing editor, I help our statewide team of reporters find the important issues and breaking news that impact people statewide. We refine our daily stories to illustrate the issues and events that affect the health, well-being and economic stability of the people of Kansas. Email me at skoranda@kcur.org.
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