7:21 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Wade Hapgood Named Merrick's New Chief of Staff

Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick has named Wade Hapgood as his new chief of staff.

Hapgood replaces Christie Kriegshauser, who is leaving to join the Kansas Chamber of Commerce as vice president for political affairs.

Hapgood has been Merrick's legislative director since January. He was previously an aide to Merrick when the Stilwell Republican was House majority leader from 2007 through 2010. Merrick says he'll name a new legislative director soon.

6:32 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Kansas House Committee Approves More NBAF Bonds

On Thursday, The House Appropriations Committee approved an amended version of Governor Brownback's proposal to issue more bonds for a federal lab.

Earlier, they'd delayed a decision on whether to approve an extra $200 million for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility to be built in Manhattan, KS.

Some state lawmakers like Mark Hutton of Wichita, believe the deal between the federal and state government wasn't clearly defined.

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2:45 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Kansas House Considers Allowing Religious Symbols In Public Lands And Schools

Buhler city sign
Credit www.hutchnews.com

The Kansas House is considering a bill that would allow religious symbols on public land.

According to the bill, religious  symbols would be allowed if they are part of the community's history or heritage. This bill was introduced in response to an incident last summer when the community of Buhler was threatened with a lawsuit because its city symbol contained a cross. 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said the city's official design violated the U.S. Constitution by favoring Christianity over other religions. The town replaced it with similar signs on private land.

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5:54 am
Wed January 23, 2013

More Than 1,000 Rally At KS Statehouse Against Abortion

The rally attracted more than 1,000 people to the Statehouse grounds.
Credit Stephen Koranda

More than 1,000 anti-abortion advocates gathered at the Statehouse to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal in the country. The event is one of the largest yearly rallies held on the capitol grounds.

Speakers at the event noted that this year is the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Gov. Sam Brownback urged the crowd to keep fighting for the cause.

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6:39 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Some Lawmakers May Pursue Cuts During Budget Talks

Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed more income tax cuts in Kansas over the coming years. And to help pay for that, he wants to make permanent part of a temporary sales tax increase that is set to expire later this year.

He's also suggested eliminating some tax deductions, like the home mortgage deduction. Though, some lawmakers may try to alter that plan.

There is now a conservative majority in both the House and Senate, and some lawmakers may try to find additional cuts to state spending instead of using the sales tax and tax deductions to help pay for an income tax cut.

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1:02 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Legislators May Consider Changing Corporate Farming Rules

Gov. Sam Brownback's administration may ask state legislators to repeal laws that restrict corporate involvement in farming.  

State Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman told freshmen legislators Tuesday that the state's anti-corporate farming laws need to be repealed. He added later that the state can't expand agriculture as much as it could because of those restrictions. 

Also, Attorney General Derek Schmidt recently told Secretary Rodman that some of the restrictions are likely unconstitutional.

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5:08 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Education Funding Ruling May Prompt Constitutional Change

Lawmakers are sworn in on the first day of the 2013 legislative session.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Education funding took center stage on the first day of the 2013 Kansas legislative session.

Lawmakers returned to Topeka just days after a district court ruled that the state needs to increase school funding. Some lawmakers may try to change the Kansas Constitution in response to the ruling.

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6:04 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Community Leaders Set Priorities For Legislative Session

Lawmakers meet with area leaders to discuss the 2013 legislative session.
Credit Carla Eckels

The South Central Delegation heard from business, government and community leaders Thursday during their annual meeting in Wichita.

More than 30 Kansas lawmakers who are part of the delegation heard presentations on the budget, the need to fund transportation projects, the Equus Beds Aquifer, preserving Wichita's workforce, and the importance of funding education.

During a break, Kansas Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau said education remains a top priority.

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5:57 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Community Leaders To Share Hopes, Concerns For State Legislative Session

The South Central Delegation will hold its annual meeting Thursday at the Wichita State University Metroplex. Wichita leaders will share their agenda with state lawmakers before the 2013 legislative session starts Monday.

Fifty state representatives and senators make up the South Central Delegation and more than half are expected to be in attendance.

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5:47 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Brownback Expects Lawmakers to Take on Taxes

Gov. Brownback speaking to reporters last year.
Credit Stephen Koranda

A large tax overhaul takes effect in Kansas now that the New Year has begun, but it may not remain "as-is" for long.

Governor Sam Brownback believes there's a good chance lawmakers could again look at taxes. And the governor himself may address taxes in his budget plans.

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