Gov. Brownback

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.

Andy Marso / KCUR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled a two-part plan Friday to bring more doctors to the state and quell health care shortages that he said threaten to kill rural communities.

Brownback, flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a hospital executive and the head of the Kansas Farm Bureau, harkened back to his days growing up in Parker — population 250 — to personalize the push for more rural doctors.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has sometimes butted heads with state lawmakers, but he says he’s willing to work with them on solutions to big issues in the next legislative session. When asked about friction between his office and legislative leaders, Brownback said some of it is likely fueled by frustration.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Groups representing Kansas teachers, state workers, contractors and others are proposing a tax overhaul they say would solve the state’s budget problems. The plan would undo some tax cuts made in recent years by raising the top income tax rate. It would also reinstate income taxes on hundreds of thousands of businesses.

Former Kansas Budget Director Duane Goossen and others revealed the tax plan Wednesday in Topeka. He says the tax cuts have hurt the state’s ability to invest in needed services and the proposal would reverse that.

@GovSamBrownback Twitter

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is giving few hints regarding his plan for fixing the Kansas budget shortfall. The state faces a $350 million deficit in the current fiscal year and an additional budget gap next year.

The governor will unveil his Kansas spending plan in January. Brownback told reporters at an event Tuesday that he isn’t working with lawmakers on crafting the proposal, and he wouldn’t give any specifics about what he’s considering.

KCUR

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.

KMUW/File photo

A task force appointed by Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback says changes are needed to improve the revenue estimates used to build the state budget. But the top Democrat on the Senate’s budget-writing committee says the recommendations may have more to do with politics.

Retired Wichita advertising executive Sam Williams chaired the task force. He told reporters at a Statehouse news conference that the group’s sole aim was to retool a revenue estimating process that has been increasingly inaccurate in recent years.

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.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill designed to help prosecutors address sexting, the sharing of explicit photos, among teenagers.

The bill was among 17 Brownback signed into law Monday and Tuesday. His office announced the signings on Wednesday.

The measure creates new misdemeanor crimes of transmitting photos of a child ages 12 through 17 and possessing nude photos of a child ages 12 through 15 if the picture is sent by the subject of the photo.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas will have tighter welfare rules for cash assistance after Governor Sam Brownback signed some new restrictions into law. The changes will reduce the total amount of time Kansans can take part in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

The limit for Kansas families receiving benefits will go down from 36 months to 24 months. The state can grant another year of benefits under certain hardships. Brownback says the goal is getting people off assistance programs and instead into the workforce.

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