2017 legislative session

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

House lawmakers have passed a new spending plan for Kansas schools, on a vote of 84-39. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas House debated a new school finance plan for five hours Wednesday, taking up two dozen amendments and finally voting 81-40 to advance a bill not much different from the one that had come out of committee. The measure is slated to get a final vote in the House Thursday. Then it will be the Senate’s turn.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Members of the Kansas House are debating a new plan to fund the state’s schools. The bill would add $280 million more in school funding over two years. House members rejected a Democratic proposal that would have added $600 million for schools over three years. Supporters said adding more money could help satisfy the state Supreme Court's order to adequately fund education. Critics of the idea said it would require a huge tax increase or spending cuts to other services. Republican Majority Leader Don Hineman opposed the plan.

alamosbasement / flickr Creative Commons

As Kansas lawmakers try to hammer out a new school funding plan, one state senator says she has a way to save money: Stop educating kids from other states.

Most don’t know it, but this year Kansas is paying to educate 624 students from bordering states.

The state Department of Education estimates that costs Kansas taxpayers about $3.5 million a year.

Sen. Molly Baumgardner, a Republican from Louisburg, says Kansans shouldn’t be paying for this.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

Lawmakers will try again to exempt some facilities from the state’s concealed carry law.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would allow public health care facilities to ban concealed guns. State law states most public places must allow concealed firearms by this summer or install security at entrances to keep weapons out.

Some buildings, including universities and public health care facilities, have an exemption from the law that expires this summer. That means they'll either have to allow guns or install more security.

Meg Wingerter / Kansas News Service

Editor’s note: Kansas privatized its foster care system in 1997, after a lawsuit revealed widespread problems. Twenty years later, the number of Kansas children in foster care has shot up — by a third in just the last five years — and lawmakers are debating whether the system once again needs serious changes. The Kansas News Service investigated problems in the system and possible solutions. This is the second story in a series.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Updated Monday at 10:18 p.m.

Lawmakers in the Kansas House rejected a bill Monday that would have rolled back much of the state’s 2012 tax cuts. The vote came on the fifth anniversary of the tax cuts being signed into law.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Lawmakers in the Kansas House have twice rejected efforts to hold a debate on the issue of concealed weapons in public buildings, but the issue could keep popping up.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Republican lawmakers in the Kansas Legislature have agreed on final language to update the information that doctors must provide to women seeking an abortion. The original proposal had specified that the disclosures be printed in 12-point, Times New Roman type. Now the bill includes a mandate for black ink on white paper.

Kathy Ostrowski, with the group Kansans for Life, said it’s important the information be legible.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Heavy rains flooded several Statehouse offices and displaced some of the researchers that work for Kansas lawmakers. Friday morning, maintenance staff and members of the Kansas Legislative Research Department were cleaning up and sorting through water-damaged books and documents.

Raney Gilliland, director of the department, said a 10-inch pipe that carries rainwater from the roof of the Statehouse failed during a storm.

“With the deluge that we had last night, this collar broke and all of the water from the roof ended up in [our] office,” Gilliland said.

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