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Stephen Koranda file photo

The Kansas Senate is unsure whether it will debate a budget proposal on the 104th day of the legislative session.

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce said Thursday the chamber's leadership is still weighing the two proposals before it.

Bruce had said earlier the Senate would consider a proposal to impose a 5.9 percent across-the-board cut to all government spending except debt payments. He now says the final language of the proposal was still being drafted.

U.S. Department of Justice (Public Domain)/Wikimedia Commons

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Douglas County commissioners are keeping a building code that requires a mandatory penalty for constructing a home without a permit amid claims of favoritism toward Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The commission on Wednesday heard from a boisterous crowd who questioned why Kobach wasn't fined after be started constructing a residence inside a building previously classified for agricultural use only.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate has approved a bill creating an amnesty program for delinquent taxpayers and decreasing the state's sales tax on food.

The measure approved Wednesday on a 25-13 vote also attempts to limit local property taxes.

The bill does little to close the projected $406 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1. But the Senate's action sets up negotiations with the House over other tax proposals.

Republican legislators in Kansas agree on two ideas for raising taxes to balance the state's budget, even as their sharp divisions over other tax issues still hindered them from passing a broader tax plan Tuesday.

Multiple tax plans from GOP lawmakers and one outlined last week by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback include a proposal to eliminate most state income tax deductions. Their plans also would create a short-term amnesty program this fall to get delinquent taxpayers to pay up.

Kendi Paet, flickr Creative Commons

To no one's surprise, some Kansas areas reported near record amounts of rain for the month of May.

Kansas State University climatologist Mary Knapp says the Garden City Experiment Station recorded 6.38 inches last month, the fourth wettest May on record. A year ago, the station recorded just 0.63 inch in May.

J. Stephen Conn, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas legislators have approved a $131 million budget for the state court system for the fiscal year beginning July 1 to avoid the possibility that judicial offices would close otherwise.

The House approved the proposed budget Monday on an 88-26 vote. The Senate approved it 25-14 on Sunday. The measure goes next to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

The budget would increase total spending on the courts by nearly $2.5 million, or about 1.9 percent. But the Kansas Supreme Court requested a budget of $149 million, so some lawmakers said the approved amount is inadequate.

Kansas would make it easier for candidates to spread their messages through social media and would require lobbyists to publicly disclose whether tax dollars are financing their activities under a measure that received final legislative approval Sunday.

A 66-48 vote in the House for the elections and lobbying bill sends it to Gov. Sam Brownback for his possible signature after the Senate approved the measure Saturday.

Flazingo Photos, flickr Creative Commons

A report from the Congressional Joint Economic Committee shows that private-sector job growth in Kansas has lagged behind other states in the region.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kansas came in fourth in its five-state region when measuring private-sector job growth since the 2007 start of recession.

When compared to the beginning of the recession, Kansas private-sector jobs had grown 1.6 percent.

Ahead of only Missouri, Kansas lagged behind Colorado, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

Stephen Koranda

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Aggressive messages from top aides to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and the prospect of furloughs for state workers still couldn't push a new plan from GOP leaders for raising taxes to close a budget shortfall through the state Senate early Monday morning.

Kyle Crawford, flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill that would give in-state tuition to all veterans, active duty members of the U.S. military and their families.

Brownback signed the bill Friday and said it would help recognize the importance of their service.

The measure also would allow employers to show a preference toward qualified veterans when hiring and would protect the jobs of military members that are temporarily called to active duty.

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