Gov. Brownback

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.

Gov.  Sam Brownback is making a major push to improve the state’s mental health system. The governor's plan creates a behavioral health sub-cabinet within state government, targets substance abuse for its role in exacerbating mental illness, and increases financial investment in current treatment programs, among other things. 

Governor Brownback has signed legislation phasing out the fees paid by Kansas lenders to counties to register home mortgages. The Kansas Legislature's website said Brownback signed the measure Wednesday. 

Bankers and real estate agents have argued that home buyers are getting what amounts to a tax break. But county officials fear they'll be forced to boost local property taxes to offset what is expected to be $53 million in lost revenue over the next five years. The new law will phase out the mortgage registration fee by the year 2019.

A tentative deal on a final Kansas budget does not include $2 million dollars to help fund a new bioscience research and development center at the University of Kansas.

Governor Sam Brownback has urged legislators to include funding for the proposed Kansas Institute of Translational Chemical Biology, but he didn’t include the proposal in his budget amendment.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Gene Suellentrop of Wichita says budget negotiators felt the proposal needed further study.

Bryan Thompson

Kansas politicians have always been able to score points at the coffee shop by taking jabs at the federal government. But in today's divided America, politicians in red states like Kansas are finding that sometimes the best way to connect with voters is to advocate outright defiance of federal authority.

For more on this issue, visit our public television partners at KCPT.

The FBI is examining whether Governor Sam Brownback’s former chief of staff and a lobbying and consulting firm he helped found are trading on their ties to the governor to benefit themselves and others financially.

A person familiar with the inquiry told The Associated Press the FBI has been looking for several months into the activities of Brownback's confidante David Kensinger and his Topeka firm, Parallel Strategies. Kensinger and two former Brownback staffers formed last year.

Governor Sam Brownback will be visiting universities in Kansas on Monday.

Eileen Hawley, a Brownback spokesperson, says he’ll be meeting with university officials and talking about the importance of higher education in the state.

"The universities help drive the economy," Hawley says. "They provide a highly skilled work force and they create the next generations of teachers, doctors and business people so its really important for us to invest and have a good vision for higher education in Kansas. " 

Governor Sam Brownback has signed 5 new bills into law this week.

House Bill 2210 - Prohibits residents from changing their party affiliation in an election year, from the date of the deadline for candidates to file for office in June through the certification of the results of the August Primary Election.

Governor Sam Brownback has appointed a former Wichita bank executive to serve as the acting bank commissioner in Kansas.

Deryl Schuster succeeds Judi Stork, who will return to her duties as deputy commissioner.

Schuster served most recently as president and CEO of Midwest Community Bank.

The commissioner works with the state Banking Board to regulate state-chartered banks and trust companies, savings and loan companies, mortgage businesses and other financial institutions.

Governor Sam Brownback is visiting Kansas elementary schools on Tuesday to build more support for his proposal to fund all-day Kindergarten across Kansas.

Governor Brownback has asked legislators to increase state support by $16 million dollars a year over five years, until the program is fully funded.

The governor is scheduled to visit a classroom in Silver Lake today; he visited a school in Topeka on Monday.