Local, state briefs


K-State provost commits to fighting world hunger

K-State is joining with more than 50 universities in a commitment to fight world hunger and ensure food security. Provost April Mason is scheduled to meet today with other university leaders at the United Nations in New York City to sign the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security

“PUSH really reflects what Kansas State University already is doing in addressing hunger and malnutrition on various levels,” Mason wrote in a K-State press release. “Adding our signature to this document is a public statement that says the university and its leadership are committed to doing what we can to prevent and address hunger not only around our communities and in the U.S., but across the world.”

The university already has a number of outreach programs including various food pantries and the annual Cats for Cans food drive.

ACLU files motion to compel Kansas to recognize same-sex marriage

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion on Monday to make state officials recognize same-sex marriages, according to The Wichita Eagle. Although court clerks can now issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Kansas does not recognize the marriages in cases of filing joint taxes or changing a last name to a spouse’s.

State employees are also not allowed to add their same-sex spouses to the state’s health plan. Darci Bohnenblust, systems specialist for K-State, was not allowed to add her wife as a dependent due to Kansas law not recognizing the marriage, according to The Wichita Eagle. State officials mentioned in the motion include Lisa Kaspar, director of the Division of Vehicles, Mike Michael, the director of the state employee health plan and Nick Jordan, revenue secretary.

Discrimination bill may reappear in Kansas

Religious conservatives may make another attempt at passing a “religious freedom” bill when the Kansas legislature starts up next year, according to The Kansas City Star. The bill would allow public and private employees to refuse service to same-sex couples.

The bill passed in the Kansas House, but died in the Senate after receiving a poor response from the public. Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita voted for the original bill, but said he regretted it after learning more about it.

“The one thing we learned, I guess after the fact, was the problems with the bill that a police officer or a firefighter could arrive on a scene and just decline to help, which would be absolutely horrible,” Hawkins said to The Wichita Eagle.