2018 legislative session

If districts suing the state get their way, the Kansas Legislature could be back in Topeka within weeks to add another half a billion dollars to school budgets in time for the coming academic year.

The districts hope the Kansas Supreme Court will also tell the state to phase in hundreds of millions beyond that in the years to come.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed into law a measure allowing faith-based adoption and foster care agencies to get state reimbursement for placement services — even if they turn away prospective parents on religious grounds.

Richard Jones spent 17 years in a Kansas prison for a robbery committed by his doppelganger. When he was exonerated and released last June, he had little to his name other than what had been donated by members of the public who had heard his story.

Harvest Public Media/File photo

This winter we reported that Kansas is one of just four states with the strictest cannabis laws in the country.

But the 2018 legislative session that ended earlier this month shook the state’s legal landscape. So what has changed and what hasn’t?

Stephen Koranda

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says the state’s government will be more transparent with the new rules for releasing information he signed into law Thursday.

The Trump administration has nixed Kansas’ idea of a three-year lifetime cap on Medicaid benefits.

Gov. Jeff Colyer had wanted to include the limit in a remake of the state’s privatized Medicaid system, KanCare. He also wants work requirements for non-disabled KanCare beneficiaries.

Late last month, he walked back his stance on pursuing a lifetime cap, while sticking by the work proposal. Both ideas had faced criticism from health care advocates who fear they would reduce poor people’s access to doctors and medication.

Kansas News Service

Attorneys for four public school districts suing Kansas are arguing that a new school funding law is as much as $1.5 billion short of providing adequate funding.

The attorneys filed legal arguments Monday with the Kansas Supreme Court against a new state law that phases in a $548 million increase in spending on public schools over five years.

Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt argued Monday that the GOP-controlled Legislature approved a "massive" funding increase.

Michael B. / flickr Creative Commons

(This story has been updated)

The ink is barely dry on a deal to increase school spending by more than half a billion dollars, but Kansas is already headed for a fresh round of legal arguments.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed legislation fixing a flaw in a new public school funding law as the state Supreme Court prepares to consider whether it increases spending enough.

Colyer's office tweeted photos Monday from a signing ceremony at the Olathe public schools' headquarters. The bill ensures that the state phases in a $534 million increase in spending over five years as intended.

Legislators learned before Colyer signed the new funding law in April that it inadvertently shorted schools $80 million.

In an election year with a state Supreme Court ruling hanging over their heads, Kansas lawmakers wrestled over school spending, taxes and guns.

They fought among themselves and often split ways from legislators they’d chosen as leaders.

In the end, they decided not to throw a tax cut to voters. It would have partly reversed tough political choices they made a year before to salvage state government’s troubled financial ledger.

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