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Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Supreme Court is heading into a year in which it could play a significant role in state government by making major rulings on school funding and abortion, and seeking higher pay for court employees. The court also could make decisions in the kinds of capital punishment cases that put four justices at risk of losing their seats in the 2016 election.

Here's a look at big cases and major issues facing the state's highest court in 2017.

School Funding

kansasregents.org

Kansas universities are reviewing their earthquake insurance policies after an increasing number of tremors have been felt in the state.

  

The Kansas Board of Regents university system already has $1 billion in property insurance. The coverage includes $100 million in earthquake protection.

The Regents Council of Presidents discussed the possibility of adding more earthquake coverage at their December meeting. University Chief Financial Officers are still considering the issue.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor/File photo

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday that he's not rethinking his support for a Kansas law that will allow concealed guns on state college campuses starting in July, despite opposition from faculty, students and administrators.

A law enacted by the GOP-controlled Legislature and signed by Brownback in 2013 expanded the rights of gun owners age 21 and older to carry concealed weapons into public buildings. It allowed state universities and community colleges to exempt themselves for four years.

Kansas GOP, Andy Marso

The six Kansas electors cast their votes in Topeka on Monday. Secretary of State Kris Kobach presided over the quick meeting, which lasted less than 20 minutes.

“So the final vote of the electors of Kansas is six votes for Mr. Trump for president, and six votes for Mr. Pence for vice president," Kobach said.

The tally brought a mix of cheers and boos. Some shouted “shame” from the unusually full state Senate gallery. Kobach said when he was an elector in 2008 the gallery was empty.

Kansas Bioscience Authority

State officials have agreed to sell the investments of the Kansas Bioscience Authority for about $14 million.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Gov. Sam Brownback and leaders on the State Finance Council on Friday agreed to authorize sale of the portfolio to Origami Capital Partners for $14 million to $14.5 million.

The state has invested $232 million in the Bioscience Authority since it was formed in 2004 to accelerate growth in the bioscience sector.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach asked a federal court Thursday to order the state to release to him a list of about 21,000 people who have temporary driver's licenses in an apparent effort to bolster his claims that noncitizens are voting.

The move comes in a civil lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging a Kansas law requiring documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote.

SEDGWICK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Two of the three men accused of plotting to bomb a Garden City apartment complex where many Somali immigrants live will also face firearms charges. The indictment was filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Wichita.

The previous indictment charged Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday approved policies for how the state's six public universities will implement a state law allowing people to carry concealed guns into campus buildings starting July 1.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Board of Regents will discuss the final draft of policies that spell out how the state's six public universities will implement a state law allowing concealed handguns on campus beginning next year.

The regents are expected to approve the policies Wednesday.

dcf.ks.org

From AP:

Kansas welfare officials plan to have agency staffers perform all annual foster home inspections by midway through next year.

The Department for Children and Families officials updated lawmakers Wednesday on the agency's efforts to respond to a highly critical audit and other reform efforts. Among other things, it plans to have staffers instead of contractors conduct the annual inspections of foster homes, due to potential conflicts of interest, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

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