Stephen Koranda

Contributing Reporter

Stephen Koranda reports on the Kansas Legislature, state government and everything else for Kansas Public Radio. He previously worked in Mississippi and Iowa, where he covered stories ranging from hurricanes to state executions. 

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Gov. Sam Brownback has until Sunday to take action on the Kansas budget approved by lawmakers. His decisions could prompt action on the ceremonial last day of the legislative session.

It’s likely Brownback will sign the budget, but he can block specific items with his line item veto power. Lawmakers also have the power to override those decisions with a two-thirds vote.

Democratic Sen. Anthony Hensley says some line item vetoes could draw override attempts. Those would come on the ceremonial last day of the session, which is Monday.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Negotiators from the Kansas House and Senate are meeting Friday to hammer out a budget compromise. There are significant differences in the House and Senate plans when it comes to state employee raises.

The Senate budget gives most state workers a 2 percent raise. The House plan includes fewer raises that are targeted, including pay hikes for the judicial branch.

Republican Rep. Troy Waymaster says some House members are concerned about the cost of the Senate proposal.

Brandon Whipple

Kansas lawmakers Thursday remembered Rep. Patsy Terrell, who died this week in her hotel room in Topeka.

The Democrat from Hutchinson was in her first term in the House. Her desk in the Kansas House chamber was covered in flowers Thursday.

Terrell’s last significant vote in the chamber was to override a veto and approve a major overhaul of the state’s tax system. Democratic Leader Jim Ward remembered speaking with her after the vote.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers have charted a change of course when it comes to tax policy. Both the House and Senate voted Tuesday night to override a veto from Gov. Sam Brownback and roll back many of the 2012 tax cuts. That means the tax increase--which totals $1.2 billion over two years--will become law despite Brownback’s objection.

Office of the Governor

Kansas lawmakers are gearing up for an attempt to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a tax increase. The House and Senate approved the plan overnight Monday and Brownback vetoed it Tuesday.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

A school finance plan that will add nearly $300 million over two years gained approval Monday night in the Kansas Legislature and now moves to Gov. Sam Brownback for consideration.

Lawmakers faced a June 30 deadline to increase school funding after a March ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court that said current funding is inadequate. During debate, some lawmakers raised concerns that the $300 million plan will not satisfy the court and could make a special session likely.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Members of the Kansas House have rejected a bill that combined a new school funding system and a tax increase.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Kansas lawmakers sent Gov. Sam Brownback a bill that would allow public health care facilities to continue banning concealed guns. The bill landed on his desk Monday, but Brownback is saying little about what action he might take.

Under state law, most public places must allow concealed weapons by this summer or install security to keep all guns out.

J. Schafer / KPR/File photo

Updated 4:45 p.m. Monday: House lawmakers rejected the bill in a 91-32 vote

Kansas lawmakers are set to debate a new tax proposal that combines school funding and revenue increases into a single massive bill. They developed the plan while working this weekend, but delayed debate on the legislation until Monday.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers have yet to finish the session, and the overtime will now stretch into Saturday. Both the House and Senate are planning to work this weekend.

Republican House Majority Leader Don Hineman said they’re making progress. He said most of the work is in conference committees or closed-door meetings rather than debates on the House floor.

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