Government

dcf.ks.org

From AP: Kansas welfare officials plan to have agency staffers perform all annual foster home inspections by midway through next year. The Department for Children and Families officials updated lawmakers Wednesday on the agency's efforts to respond to a highly critical audit and other reform efforts. Among other things, it plans to have staffers instead of contractors conduct the annual inspections of foster homes, due to potential conflicts of interest, The Topeka Capital...

City of Wichita

The City of Wichita has revealed more details about two development projects totaling $65 million. The 7-acre Delano Catalyst Site is located on the west bank of the Arkansas River near the future Advanced Learning Library. A citizen-led committee has selected a proposal from the Kansas City-based EPC Real Estate Group to build a $40 million, mixed-use property there . In College Hill, Wichita-based Uptown Landing has been selected as the finalist to develop property near Hillside and Douglas...

Meriwether Lewis Elementary / flickr Creative Commons

Changes to the $22 billion federal program that distributes free meals at schools won’t be coming any time soon. A bipartisan U.S. Senate bill would have delayed requirements to reduce sodium in school meals, expanded summer meal programs and grown the Women Infants and Children (WIC) food program. A House committee passed a sharply different bill and negotiators couldn’t hammer out differences. That leaves the child nutrition programs operating under the policies set in 20-10. Jim Weill,...

Joscarfas / flickr Creative Commons

Wichita residents and businesses can expect to see a slight increase in their water and sewer rates next year. The Wichita City Council approved a water rate increase of 4 percent, and a sewer rate increase of 5 percent for a combined 4.4 percent increase. It’s less than the rate increase approved last year . Under the new rates, a household that uses 7500 gallons of water a month could expect their bill to jump from $61.12 to $63.90. The hike will generate an additional $6.3 million for the...

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...

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

Former Republican congressman Todd Tiahrt is among several people who have expressed interest in replacing U.S. congressional Rep. Mike Pompeo, who has been appointed as the next CIA director in the Trump administration, pending Senate approval.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Gov. Sam Brownback has named Kansas' top revenue official to an economic advisory post and replaced him with a retired executive of a Wichita marketing and advertising agency. Brownback announced on Monday that former state lawmaker Nick Jordan has been appointed to lead the governor's Economic Advisory Council with the Kansas Department of Commerce. Jordan has been the state's revenue secretary since Brownback took office in 2011. Succeeding Jordan will be Sam Williams, a former Wichita...

Becky McCray, flickr Creative Commons

New safety measures designed with Wichita’s Old Town district in mind could impact bars across the city. The Wichita City Council is considering an ordinance that would require bars and clubs to make enhancements to their safety plans or risk temporarily losing their entertainment establishment license. Among the changes is a requirement that bars would have to stop playing music half an hour before closing time, to discourage stragglers. The ordinance is part of a series of public safety...

Stephen Koranda

There will be a political shift in the Kansas legislature with the new leaders lawmakers selected Monday. Conservatives will hold on to the very top jobs for 2017, but more moderate Republicans also picked up key positions. There is turnover among some of the Democratic leadership posts too. All the change reflects gains made by moderate Republicans in the August primaries, and gains by Democrats in November, especially in the House. The move to the center on the Senate side is more subtle,...

J. Schafer / KPR/File photo

Kansas voters want change for the 2017 session: They made that clear by replacing a couple dozen conservative Republican legislators with Democrats and more moderate Republicans. The newly elected lawmakers gather today to select their leadership. The leadership selections will be an early indication of how much the balance of power has really changed in the Statehouse. For speaker of the House, the race is between a moderate -- Republican Russ Jennings from Lakin in southwest Kansas -- and...

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