Gov. Brownback

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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Media outlets have sued Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and others in his administration seeking public disclosure of agency records related to the appointment of a magistrate judge in Reno County.

The Associated Press, The Hutchinson News and the Kansas Press Association filed the open records lawsuit late Wednesday in Shawnee County District Court. The Kansas Press Association represents more than 230 member newspapers throughout the state.

The governor's spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Gay rights advocates are criticizing Gov. Sam Brownback for speaking at a conference sponsored by an organization that seeks to promote marriage as between a man and a woman.

Brownback, a Republican, participated in a panel Wednesday at the World Congress of Families conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Human Rights Campaign criticized Brownback for speaking at the conference and says WCF is a hate group for its efforts against gay rights.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

The vice-chairman of the Kansas Senate’s budget writing committee says it’s time to fix the state’s ongoing budget problems once and for all.

Speaking on the KCUR podcast Statehouse Blend, Senator Jim Denning said the income tax cuts championed by Governor Sam Brownback aren’t producing the promised economic benefits.

And the Overland Park Republican said many lawmakers are getting tired of addressing budget shortfalls caused by dropping state revenues.

Linn County Sheriff's Department

Gov. Sam Brownback’s brother, Jim Brownback, has been involved in some long-running disputes with neighbors in Linn County, in Eastern Kansas.

Tim Carpenter, a reporter with the Topeka Capital-Journal, says there are questions about whether Jim Brownback has benefited from his connection to the state’s most powerful politician. Carpenter wrote about the allegations in an article published over the weekend.

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