Kansas lawmakers have shifted hundreds of millions of dollars out of the State Highway Fund to help balance the budget in recent years. While this will likely cause some road maintenance projects to be delayed, other upgrades are still moving forward.
One of those projects affects homeowners in northeast Kansas who are convinced the transportation department is now cutting corners because of the state's tight budget. Stephen Koranda traveled to Alta Vista to learn more.
Governor Sam Brownback has presented lawmakers with an amended budget plan following the release of sharply lowered estimates for Kansas tax collections. The proposal would save around $100 million over the next two years, which only puts a dent in a budget shortfall of around $400 million. Stephen Koranda reports.
The proposal uses cost savings from the Medicaid program and from cheaper than expected debt payments. It also increases a fee paid by Kansas health care providers. Shawn Sullivan is Governor Brownback’s budget director.
The Kansas State Board of Education has delayed a vote on a plan to let some school districts hire unlicensed teachers.
The proposal would have affected a group of six Kansas districts, known as the Coalition of Innovative School Districts. As Stephen Koranda reports, the board had been set to vote on the plan Thursday.
The delay came after deans of education schools at Kansas universities raised concerns, as did teachers. Nicole Meier is a Kindergarten teacher from Topeka and a Teacher of the Year finalist.
A lawmaker in the Kansas House warns that a campus religious freedom bill could attract national attention like the type that has been aimed at Indiana recently. The Kansas bill would bar colleges from taking action against religious student groups that want to exclude people from their organization.
Republican Representative Stephanie Clayton urged her colleagues to vote against the bill in a House committee.
“If we pass this, we might face national backlash. It could have an adverse effect on the Kansas economy,” says Clayton.
An investigative committee had a brief meeting on Wednesday to begin looking into a complaint filed by Kansas House Republicans against a Democratic colleague. The complaint accuses Representative Valdenia Winn of using inflammatory language during a committee hearing. Stephen Koranda was at the meeting and has this report.
The complaint says Winn, from Kansas City, Kansas, stepped over the line when she said “racist bigots” were supporting a bill that would remove a college tuition break for some students in the country illegally.