Now is the time for activists to get organized to push for changes they want to see made in  laws when their state legislative bodies convene for the 2024 session in January, says State Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Kansas Senator.  

“People tend to think the Legislature is in session a lot longer than it actually is,” she said. “The fact is we (Kansas) have only 90 days to get legislation introduced, get a hearing and a committee vote and get it to the floor. I want people to be aware that they need to make their voices heard early in the process.” 

Missouri’s General assembly convenes on January 3 with the session ending in mid May.  

Faust-Goudeau said it is important for citizens who want to see laws enacted or changed stay on top of the legislative process and be ready to send emails and make phone calls to House and Senate leaders to advocate for a hearing and to be ready go to Topeka and Jefferson City in person to testify or to lobby for legislation they support.

She said now is the time to talk to your state elected officials about changes in laws you want to see or legislation you believe needs to be introduced.

Kansas Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau says during the 2024 legislative session, she plans to work hard on two issues of major concern to the Black Community: racial inequity in fees, fines and bail bonds and badly needed changes in the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

Black people, especially young, Black men are more likely to go to jail or remain in jail pending trial on minor offenses because they lack the resources to post bail or to pay fines.

And the Stand Your Ground law has been used to protect law enforcement officers from prosecution who have used deadly force against people already in custody, claiming they feared for their lives.

That excuse was used in the case that resulted in the death of 17-year-old Cedric Lofton who was suffering from a mental health crisis. 

Faust-Goudeau said she is working with House members to get the bills introduced in both chambers.

P.J. Griekspoor is a semi-retired veteran journalist with 55 years experience in writing and editing in Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wichita.  She spent 18 years at the Wichita Eagle...