AP reports that Kansas governor Sam Brownback on May 21 signed into law H Sub SB 79. The legislation prohibits Kansas courts or tribunals from applying foreign law if that law would not grant the parties affected the same fundamental rights as they would have under the U.S. and Kansas constitutions, including equal protection, due process, free exercise of religion, freedom of speech or press, and any right of privacy or marriage. Supporters of the bill have pressed it as a measure designed to prevent Sharia law from being used by Kansas courts, leading the Council on American Islamic Relations to suggest that the statute may be challenged. (See prior related posting.) The new legislation defines foreign law as:
any law, legal code or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies or other formal or informal tribunals.The legislation is based on a model act promoted by the American Public Policy Alliance.