FIND YOUR STATE SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE
Call your state senator or representative today to tell them this is the last chance to vote “NO” on the quarantine of HIV/AIDS patients!
TOPEKA, KS (March 26, 2013)–A group of community advocacy and AIDS groups are urging Kansans to call or email their state legislators to tell them to vote ‘NO’ on a pending bill in Topeka that would allow for the quarantine of HIV/AIDs patients despite the fact that the disease is NOT spread through casual contact.
Granting the power to quarantine people living with HIV to local officials is a recipe for abuse and discrimination.”
Kansas House Bill 2183 passed in the Kansas Senate last week. The bill’s intent is a broad effort to bring all infectious diseases under one statute, making it easier for first responders to get a test after a potential exposure, rather than an attempt to quarantine people with HIV; however, efforts to clarify the language in the bill via an amendment last week were rejected.
The bill passed despite Senator Marci Francisco’s (D, Lawrence) effort to restore an amendment providing an exclusion for people living with HIV/AIDS. Francisco argued the disease is not spread through casual contact and that the bill could foster or permit harassment and discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS.
Since the Bill’s passage in the Kansas State Senate last week, grassroots advocacy group Kansas Equality Coalition (KEC) has learned that several members of the House of Representatives have said that, had they been aware the amendment excluding HIV/AIDS patients from quarantine had been removed from the legislation, they would have voted against the Bill. Senators and Representatives have a final chance to stop the quarantine of HIV/AIDS patients this week, but unless they hear overwhelmingly from their constituency that the quarantine of people living with HIV/AIDS will not be tolerated, they will not feel empowered to vote against the Bill.
“We urge all concerned Kansans to call their legislators and tell them to vote ‘NO’ to potential quarantine of HIV/AIDs patients and support an amendment for an exclusion for people with HIV/AIDS,” said Tom Witt, KEC Executive Director, which fights against discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans-genders (LGBT) in hiring, housing, harassment and bullying in Kansas and currently has chapters in KC Metro, Hutchinson, Northwest Kansas, Lawrence/Douglas County, Riley/Geary Counties, North Central Kansas, Southeast Kansas, Southwest Kansas, Topeka, Central Plains, and Wichita/Sedgwick County. “Granting the power to quarantine people living with HIV to local officials is a recipe for abuse and discrimination. KEC is incredibly disappointed that the Kansas Legislature has removed protections for people with HIV that have been in place for over a quarter century.”