Gov. Brownback


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.

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.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Governor Brownback’s office pitched three budget-balancing options to Kansas lawmakers this week, but it doesn’t look like legislative leaders are planning to rubber stamp any of the proposals. 

The chair of the Senate’s budget-writing committee, Republican Ty Masterson, says he doesn’t believe any of the three will be approved by lawmakers.

“These are just three options the governor produced. We’re going to look at them, evaluate them. I’m sure none of the three will come out exactly as he’s intended them. Could be a combination of the three,” Masterson says.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law legislation that overhauls the juvenile justice system in Kansas. The changes will allow more low-risk juvenile offenders to stay out of detention centers and instead take part in community-based rehabilitation programs.

Brownback says this promotes the rehabilitation of youth instead of focusing on incarceration.

“Senate Bill 367 offers practical, sensible reform. This bill is about being smart on crime. It’s about making sure our communities are safe while juveniles are held accountable for their actions,” Brownback said.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas ethics commission has announced no action on a complaint filed by a top Democrat against Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's re-election campaign.

The commission emerged from a 20-minute closed session Wednesday without saying anything about the complaint filed last month by Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley.

The Topeka Democrat accused Brownback's 2014 re-election campaign of violating state law by using its funds to pay five law firms more than $167,000 last year.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Construction of a new energy center near the Kansas Statehouse has been delayed after lawmakers raised concerns about the plan. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the facility will provide heating and cooling to the Capitol and other state office buildings.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration reached a $20 million agreement to finance the project, but it was structured so it did not need approval from Kansas lawmakers. That rubbed some lawmakers the wrong way.

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.