KBLD Bobby Love

With redistricting, legalization of medical marijuana, and criminal justice reform  — just to name a few – on the agenda for Kansas’ 2022 legislative session, Black leaders across the state have a lot to take on at their annual Black Legislative Day at the Kansas Capitol on Wed., Feb. 9. Advance registration for the event is open on myvoicetix.com. 

The annual event extends an open invitation to anyone interested in issues that affect African Americans in Kansas to the capital for an opportunity to grow their understanding of the issues and to advocate for or against legislation that may have a positive or negative impact on the state’s Black community. 

“This is an event for experienced advocates as well as for citizens hoping to grow their knowledge and understanding of the legislative process and the issues,” said Bonita Gooch, president of the Kansas Black Leadership Council, one of the event’s primary sponsors. 

This is the fourth year for the day-long event that has annually attracted more than 100 African Americans from across the state to the capital.  Again this year, the event will include a series of panel presentations and discussions on hot legislative topics of the year, with a specific focus on the potential impact the legislation might have on the state’s Black community. 

Topics to be considered this year are:  redistricting, medical marijuana legalization, criminal justice reform for adults and juveniles, the upcoming abortion constitutional amendment vote, and critical race theory. 

Members of the Kansas Black Legislative Council, an organization open to the eight Black state elected officials, will have an opportunity to bring conference participants up to date on specific legislation they’re working on.  Conference participants will have an opportunity to see the legislative process in action when they attend and are recognized during the opening sessions for both the Kansas Senate and the Kansas House. 

An important part of the day’s activities includes visiting with key members of House and Senate committees with first level review of bills of major importance to the Black community.   In the state’s legislative process, bills can’t make it to the floor for a vote until they’re passed out of the committee they’re assigned to for review.  So, committee members are major gatekeepers in the legislative process. 

Stacey Knoell, executive director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission – another Black Legislative Day sponsor – is looking for individuals to participate in this formal advocacy portion of the day.  Individuals who sign up for advocacy will work as part of a group assigned to meet with at least one or more key committee members. 

You can sign up to be an advocate when you register or you can contact Knoell directly at Stacey.knoell@ks.gov or (785) 220-8003.  Registration for the KBLD is free, but individuals who pay the $15 registration also receive lunch and an invition to the end of the event wrap-up reception with elected officials.   Registration is online @myvoicetix.com.

Kansas Black Legislative Day is a collaborative project of the Kansas State Branches of the NAACP, Kansas Black Legislative Caucus, the Kansas African American Affairs Commission and the Kansas Black Leadership Council.  The event is sponsored in part by Kerry Gooch, lobbyist with Gooch Strategies. 

The deadline to register is Monday, February 7, 2022. Click here for event details.

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