File/Reno County Fire District #6

The uncertainty surrounding Gov. Sam Brownback's departure for an ambassador post and prison disturbances were among the top 10 stories in Kansas in 2017.

Brownback prepares to depart

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Updated on Thursday, Dec. 28 at 4:30 p.m.

Gov. Sam Brownback has more hurdles to clear before potentially leaving Kansas to head the Office of International Religious Freedom at the U.S. State Department.

The governor’s name wasn’t among dozens of nominees approved in the Senate this week, nor was it on a list of nominees to hold over until its next session.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office said that means when the session ends in early January, Brownback’s nomination will go back to the White House, which would need to renominate him.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

At a time when Kansas is facing a serious budget deficit and a court order saying school funding is inadequate, Gov. Sam Brownback may be preparing to leave the state for a job in Italy. A former high-ranking government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells Kansas Public Radio that Brownback will be named the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations agencies for food and agriculture in Rome.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback will lay out his legislative priorities at 5 p.m. in his annual State of the State Address. As Stephen Koranda reports, it’s likely the governor will outline broad goals, but may not offer many specifics.

In recent years, Gov. Brownback has used the speech to focus on a few main themes and accomplishments, like defending his tax cuts.

Tonight, he may provide some new clues about his spending plans. So far, he’s only said his budget proposal will be balanced and will include both revenue measures and budget cuts.


The state of Kansas incurred nearly $300,000 in legal fees in just three months to defend a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood challenging the state’s decision to boot the organization from the Medicaid program.

Invoices obtained by KCUR show that outside law firms representing the state billed it $282,477 in legal fees and $2,725 in expenses between May 29 and Aug. 31.

Dave Ranney, File Photo / Heartland Health Monitor

Gov. Sam Brownback said he's disappointed that the state's backlog in unprocessed Medicaid applications is four times as large as previously thought.

As Kansas and a contractor battle over who bears blame for the error, Brownback called the situation "frustrating" in a short interview with the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The number of unprocessed Medicaid applications had been about 3,500 people before the state acknowledged earlier this month that the actual figure was more than 15,000.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

For the third consecutive year, Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing to use money generated by a federal law that he opposes to help balance the state budget.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is preparing for the first legislative session since winning reelection this fall.

His first term in office included sweeping changes to the state's tax policy and programs like Medicaid. Brownback also recently announced a series of budget cuts needed to eliminate a deficit in the current fiscal year. The state is facing another deficit in the coming year. 

Stephen Koranda recently sat down with Brownback to talk about the budget and the upcoming session. He began by asking the governor about the state's tax policy.

A routine financial meeting last week at the Kansas Statehouse turned into a heated exchange between Republican Governor Sam Brownback and some Democratic lawmakers.

The two sides sparred over the state's financial policies.

As Stephen Koranda reports, the meeting previewed many of the arguments that are likely to be repeated on the campaign trail this fall.

The State Finance Council met for what has become an annual event: The state of Kansas borrows money to help manage cash flow during the year.

Bob Dole hospitalized for a routine procedure; Karl Rove to speak at ranchers convention in Wichita; Gov. Brownback says he thinks the U.S. will avoid the Fiscal Cliff.

Ex-Sen. Dole Hospitalized For Routine Procedure

Senator Bob Dole of Kansas has checked himself into Walter Reed Army Medical Center for what his spokesperson, Marion Watkins, described as a routine procedure.

Watkins says the 89-year-old Dole is "doing very well" and is expected to leave the hospital Wednesday.