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Abigail Wilson

KS Supreme Court Rules State Has Not Funded Education Equitably

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state's new block grant funding law does not meet the requirement for funding schools equitably. In the nearly unanimous ruling, Kansas Supreme Court justices say that the state Legislature should get another opportunity to create a constitutional funding system. If there is no acceptable remedy in place by June 30, "the schools in Kansas will be unable to operate."
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Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate approved proposals aimed at preventing the state from shorting its contributions to public pensions or having private companies run its two mental hospitals, part of a larger plan it also advanced Thursday night to balance the next state budget.

Senators added the pension and hospital measures as amendments to a bill that would eliminate a projected deficit of nearly $200 million in the state's $16.1 billion spending blueprint for the fiscal year beginning July 1. They approved the entire bill, 24-15.

Hugo Phan

The Kansas Senate has rejected two proposals that would have affected concealed carry on Kansas college and university campuses.

The first proposal would have allowed universities to ban concealed guns through 2021. Under current law, concealed guns will be allowed in university and college buildings starting in 2017.

Republican Sen. Jeff Longbine said campus surveys show staff and students aren’t ready for it.

But Republican Sen. Forest Knox said this is about trusting law-abiding gun owners.

55Laney69, flickr Creative Commons

  

A Senate bill that would strengthen limits on the number of foster children in a home raised concerns from some who say it could lead to splitting sibling groups.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

The Sedgwick County Elections Office has received instructions from the Kansas Secretary of State’s office to adhere to a new voting rule put in place last week.

The decision was made by the new executive director of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.

According to the Secretary of State's office, the decision means Kansas residents can no longer register to vote using a federal form without providing proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.

In most other states, no such documentation is needed to register; voters need only sign a sworn statement.

File photo

The Kansas Supreme Court says the state is not funding public schools fairly and has given the Legislature until the end of June to fix the problem. 

Republican Sen. Jeff Melcher criticized Thursday's ruling.

“It’s not unexpected. It’s essentially a temper tantrum by the courts to push their political will on the Legislature. It’s one of those things where ‘give us the money or the kid gets it,’” Melcher says.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward of Wichita says lawmakers should immediately start working to address the problem.

Matt Allworth, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Senate has approved a bill designed to cut Kansas' costs in providing prescription drugs for poor and disabled residents.

The chamber's vote Wednesday was 23-16, sending the measure to the House.

The bill would allow the state's Medicaid program to use so-called step therapies for prescriptions that require patients to try less expensive drugs before obtaining more expensive ones.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas House has approved a bill that would erase a shortfall in the next state budget, and the Senate is preparing to debate its own budget-balancing plan.

The House vote on its bill Thursday was 68-56. It came after Democratic Rep. Jim Ward of Wichita sought unsuccessfully to delay action because of a Kansas Supreme Court ruling on education funding.

Abigail Wilson

    

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state's new block grant funding law does not meet the requirement for funding schools equitably.

In the nearly unanimous ruling, Kansas Supreme Court justices say that the state Legislature should get another opportunity to create a constitutional funding system. If there is no acceptable remedy in place by June 30, "the schools in Kansas will be unable to operate."

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The University of Kansas is embarking on a major construction project on the Lawrence campus. The Central District plan includes educational facilities, housing and a new student union. KU says it’s a needed update, but lawmakers are raising concerns about the project and have taken steps that could punish KU.

In the heart of the KU campus in Lawrence, excavators are digging through piles of concrete and twisted metal. This rubble used to be old student apartment housing, but a new science facility is planned for this spot.

Stephen Koranda

A rule in the Kansas House was used today to block a proposal to expand Medicaid.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward offered the budget amendment to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law. He says it would provide more than 150,000 Kansans with health care coverage.

“Over 50 percent of these are working Kansans who go to work every day but work in jobs that don’t pay enough to buy insurance or don’t provide employer-based insurance,” Ward says.

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Randi Baird

Marginalia: Geraldine Brooks

Although she has written three books of nonfiction, Geraldine Brooks is best known as an author of historical fiction. But her brand of historical fiction has a way of enriching stories that are already familiar to readers, taking us along as she traces the spread of the bubonic plague to a small English village, or discovers the history of a 15th century Haggadah through the eyes of a book conservator, or as she follows the absent father in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women to the battlefields of the Civil War. (She won a Pulitzer for that one.)
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Noteworthy

Stephen Koranda file photo

Senate Budget Allows Kansas To Delay KPERS Payments

A Kansas Senate committee has voted to let Gov. Sam Brownback delay making payments into the state pension plan.
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