April 4, 2013

April 4, 2013
Tell Kansas Legislators to Vote No on
Quarantine of HIV/AIDS Patients

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Thursday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Something disturbing is happening in Kansas. Their state legislators are trying to pass a law where people living with HIV and AIDS could be quarantined! Can you believe this is happening in 2013!!! For a second I thought I was back in the early 80s.

House Bill 2183, which updates public health statutes inKansas, allows for the quarantine of Kansans with all infectious diseases - including HIV - even though the disease is not spread through casual contact.

· Despite an attempt by Senator Marci Francisco (D, Lawrence) to amend and restore an exclusion for people livingwith HIV/AIDS, the bill, which could foster or permit harassment and discrimination, passed in the Kansas Senate last week.

· 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!

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 patents 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.”

Now is the time to stand up! If we do not protect those living with HIV and AIDS in Kansas, this will spread against every state!

So join Dab the AIDS Bear and me, please email and call Governor Sam Brownback at 877-579-6757 or constituent@governor.wpo.state.ks.us!

Hope you have a beary safe and great Thursday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab