Government

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Lawmakers have the tall order of creating a new school funding system for Kansas public schools: The temporary block grants that have been funding schools are set to expire this year. Stephen Koranda reports on how legislators might begin the process.

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Secretary of Agriculture remains the only position in the Trump cabinet without a nominee. As Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld reports, that worries some Midwest farmers.

The Agriculture Department employs nearly one-hundred thousand people and deals with everything from food stamps to farm loans to food safety. It administers programs in rural areas, which largely supported President-elect Donald Trump.

Stephen Koranda

Members of the Kansas House have rejected a proposal that would have required all bills to include the name of the lawmaker who introduced it. Currently, bills are sometimes submitted without a sponsor's name attached. Democratic Representative Jim Ward said knowing the author of each bill would increase transparency.

“We have had bills that were introduced in secret, that we did not know where they came from,” Ward says.

Republican Blaine Finch argued against the proposal.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers will consider a Medicaid expansion bill despite the anticipated repeal of Obamacare by Congress.

Rep. Susan Concannon introduced the bill Thursday on behalf of the Kansas Hospital Association.

The Beloit Republican and vice-chair of the House health committee says the election of more moderate Republicans and Democrats has increased support for expanding KanCare – the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal would delay payments into the state pension plan, KPERS. It would also take an additional 10 years to pay off a deficit in the retirement system.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers are moving fast on revisions to the process for filling a Congressional vacancy, anticipating there will be a vacancy very soon. Hearings to confirm Congressman Mike Pompeo as CIA director started on Thursday.

The Kansas House has approved a bill to extend by a month the timeline for a special election to be held after being called by the governor. That would put the state in compliance with federal rules allowing members of the military to vote by absentee ballot.

Republican Rep. Keith Esau says the revisions are sorely needed.

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Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal would sell the state’s future payments from tobacco companies to plug financial holes for the next two years.

The budget proposal — outlined Wednesday morning — calls for the state to receive $265 million from “securitizing” the tobacco payments in fiscal year 2018, which starts in July, and the same amount in the following year.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback released on Wednesday a wide-ranging plan for fixing the state’s budget shortfall. It would take money from the highway fund, raise some taxes and overhaul the funding system for children’s programs. It would also take longer to pay off a shortfall in the state's pension plan, KPERS.

Jim McLean, of the Kansas News Service, spoke with Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda about the budget plan and how lawmakers are reacting.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, a physician from Great Bend, Kansas, was selected Wednesday to serve on the House Agriculture Committee. Marshall defeated incumbent Tim Huelskamp in the August primary last year.

Marshall’s win in the “Big First” district was largely due to his support from the agriculture industry. The 1st Congressional District covers 63 counties in northern and western Kansas.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Sedgwick County commissioners elected their 2017 leaders at a meeting Wednesday morning.

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