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44-1004. Powers and duties of commission. The commission shall have the following functions, powers and duties:

(1) To establish and maintain its principal office in the city of Topeka, and such other offices elsewhere within the state as it may deem necessary.

(2) To meet and function at any place within the state.

(3) To adopt, promulgate, amend and rescind suitable rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this act, and the policies and practices of the commission in connection therewith.

(4) To receive, initiate, investigate and pass upon complaints alleging discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing because of race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry and complaints alleging discrimination in housing because of familial status.

(5) To subpoena witnesses, compel their appearance and require the production for examination of records, documents and other evidence or possible sources of evidence and to examine, record and copy such materials and take and record the testimony or statements of such persons. The commission may issue subpoenas to compel access to or the production of such materials, or the appearance of such persons, and may issue interrogatories to a respondent to the same extent and subject to the same limitations as would apply if the subpoena or interrogatories were issued or served in aid of a civil action in the district court. The commission shall have access at all reasonable times to premises and may compel such access by application to a court of competent jurisdiction provided that the commission first complies with the provisions of article 15 of the Kansas bill of rights and the fourth amendment to the United States constitution relating to unreasonable searches and seizures. The commission may administer oaths and take depositions to the same extent and subject to the same limitations as would apply if the deposition was taken in aid of a civil action in the district court. In case of the refusal of any person to comply with any subpoena, interrogatory or search warrant issued hereunder, or to testify to any matter regarding which such person may be lawfully questioned, the district court of any county may, upon application of the commission, order such person to comply with such subpoena or interrogatory and to testify. Failure to obey the court's order may be punished by the court as contempt. No person shall be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter or thing concerning which such person testifies or produces evidence, except that such person so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying. The immunity herein provided shall extend only to natural persons.

(6) To act in concert with other parties in interest in order to eliminate and prevent discrimination and segregation, prohibited by this act, by including any term in a conciliation agreement as could be included in a final order under this act.

(7) To apply to the district court of the county where the respondent resides or transacts business for enforcement of any conciliation agreement by seeking specific performance of such agreement.

(8) To issue such final orders after a public hearing as may remedy any existing situation found to violate this act and prevent its recurrence.

(9) To endeavor to eliminate prejudice among the various ethnic groups and people with disabilities in this state and to further good will among such groups. The commission in cooperation with the state department of education shall prepare a comprehensive educational program designed for the students of the public schools of this state and for all other residents thereof, calculated to emphasize the origin of prejudice against such groups, its harmful effects and its incompatibility with American principles of equality and fair play.

(10) To create such advisory agencies and conciliation councils, local, regional or statewide, as in its judgment will aid in effectuating the purposes of this act; to study the problem of discrimination in all or specific fields or instances of discrimination because of race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry; to foster, through community effort or otherwise, good will, cooperation and conciliation among the groups and elements of the population of this state; and to make recommendations to the commission for the development of policies and procedures, and for programs of formal and informal education, which the commission may recommend to the appropriate state agency. Such advisory agencies and conciliation councils shall be composed of representative citizens serving without pay. The commission may itself make the studies and perform the acts authorized by this paragraph. It may, by voluntary conferences with parties in interest, endeavor by conciliation and persuasion to eliminate discrimination in all the stated fields and to foster good will and cooperation among all elements of the population of the state.

(11) To accept contributions from any person to assist in the effectuation of this section and to seek and enlist the cooperation of private, charitable, religious, labor, civic and benevolent organizations for the purposes of this section.

(12) To issue such publications and such results of investigation and research as in its judgment will tend to promote good will and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry.

(13) To render each year to the governor and to the state legislature a full written report of all of its activities and of its recommendations.

(14) To adopt an official seal.

(15) To receive and accept federal funds to effectuate the purposes of the act and to enter into agreements with any federal agency for such purpose.

History: L. 1953, ch. 249, § 4; L. 1961, ch. 248, § 4; L. 1963, ch. 279, § 3; L. 1965, ch. 323, § 4; L. 1967, ch. 285, § 1; L. 1970, ch. 192, § 2; L. 1972, ch. 194, § 4; L. 1974, ch. 209, § 3; L. 1975, ch. 264, § 3; L. 1991, ch. 147, § 3; July 1.

Cross References to Related Sections:

Commission duties regarding racial profiling, see 22-4610, 22-4611.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

"Statutory Changes of Interest to Lawyers," Robert F. Bennett, 36 J.B.A.K. 169, 215 (1967).

Potential substantive rulemaking powers in paragraph (3) compared with those of several states, H. Scott Beims, 8 W.L.J. 225, 231, 236, 237 (1969).

Subsections (4) and (5) cited in comment concerning investigatory subpoenas, 14 W.L.J. 340 (1975).

Survey of administrative law, Robert Scherer, 15 W.L.J. 311, 312 (1976).

Private employer's denial of disability benefits for pregnancy leave, 16 W.L.J. 745, 754 (1977).

Filing complaints with HUD under federal Fair Housing Act, 26 K.L.R. 255, 267 (1978).

"Kansas Discrimination Law—Practice and Procedure," David L. Ryan, 49 J.K.B.A. 35, 40, 44, 45 (1980).

"Title VII at 40: A Look Back," Elinor P. Schroeder, 73 J.K.B.A. No. 10, 18 (2004).

Governmental Ethics Commission Opinions:

State agency may solicit contributions from organizations to establish programs specifically authorized by statute. 94-5.


1. Cited; substitution of hearing commissioners after presentation of evidence did not invalidate decision. Clairborne v. Coffeyville Memorial Hospital, 212 K. 315, 317, 510 P.2d 1200.

2. Subsection (3) cited; regulation may not contravene controlling statutory enactment; K. A. R. 21-22-17 construed in harmony with 44-1010. Kansas Commission on Civil Rights v. City of Topeka Street Department, 212 K. 398, 400, 511 P.2d 253.

3. City ordinance creating human relations commission invaded area preempted from local action in fair employment matters (dissenting opinion). Hutchinson Human Relations Comm. v. Midland Credit Management, Inc., 213 K. 308, 324, 325, 517 P.2d 158.

4. Section does not limit use of subpoena power to preliminary investigations; not limited by 44-1005. Yellow Freight System, Inc. v. Kansas Commission on Civil Rights, 214 K. 120, 122, 123, 124, 126, 519 P.2d 1092.

5. Applied; judgment and injunction by district court against commission set aside; administrative remedies not exhausted. Jarvis v. Kansas Commission on Civil Rights, 215 K. 902, 903, 528 P.2d 1232.

6. Applied in determining amended notice of investigation sufficient; specificity in charges not required until adjudicatory stage. Atchison, T.&S.F. Rly. Co. v. Commission on Civil Rights, 215 K. 911, 917, 529 P.2d 666; original opinion adhered to, 217 K. 15, 535 P.2d 917.

7. Subpoena for arrest and conviction records of employee for investigation purposes not constitutionally impermissible as violative of right of privacy. Atchison, T.&S.F. Rly. Co. v. Lopez, 216 K. 108, 109, 113, 114, 123, 125, 531 P.2d 455.

8. Action under subsection (5); enforcement of subpoena requiring disclosure of retail credit information not constitutionally impermissible as violating right of privacy. Kansas Commission on Civil Rights v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 216 K. 306, 308, 532 P.2d 1263.

9. Paragraph (5) construed and applied; executive director may sign subpoenas; service; right to hearing; modification of subpoena duces tecum authorized. Kansas Commission on Civil Rights v. Carlton, 216 K. 735, 736, 737, 738, 740, 743, 533 P.2d 1335.

10. Referred to in case construing provisions of 44-1011 concerning trial de novo on appeal (dissenting opinion). Stephens v. Unified School District, 218 K. 220, 240, 546 P.2d 197.

11. Functions of police department in making arrests not covered by act; subpoena of arrest records quashed. Kansas Commission on Civil Rights v. Howard, 218 K. 248, 249, 251, 259, 544 P.2d 791.

12. Long delay in giving notice of complaint; denial of enforcement of subpoena by court; no abuse of discretion. KCCR v. Sedgwick County Mental Health Clinic, 220 K. 653, 654, 556 P.2d 180.

13. Applied; no right to appeal "no probable cause" determination of investigating commissioner under 44-1011. Bush v. City of Wichita, 223 K. 651, 655, 576 P.2d 1071.

14. Judgment affirmed in sex discrimination case, subpoena power of commission cannot be unreasonable or oppressive. Cessna Aircraft Co. v. Kansas Comm'n on Civil Rights, 229 K. 15, 23, 25, 27, 34, 622 P.2d 124.

15. Showing of relevancy must be made if trial court is to have basis to determine if subpoena is unreasonable or oppressive. Kansas Comm'n on Civil Rights v. Chance Mfg. Co., 6 K.A.2d 61, 63, 627 P.2d 332.

16. Commission has no authority to award compensatory or punitive damages. Woods v. Midwest Conveyor Co., 231 K. 763, 770, 771, 648 P.2d 234 (1982).

17. Cited; lack of jurisdiction by KCCR to investigate complaints of discrimination in public schools examined. Kansas Comm'n on Civil Rights v. U.S.D. No. 501, 243 K. 137, 138, 755 P.2d 539 (1988).

18. Regulation reaching beyond legislative authority violates the statute; authority to declare public policy vested in legislature not administrative agency. Kansas Human Rights Comm'n v. Topeka Golf Ass'n, 18 K.A.2d 581, 582, 856 P.2d 515 (1993).

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