Government

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

A new hotel is coming to downtown Wichita. As KMUW’s Nadya Faulx reports, the project has some controversial backing from the city.

The Hilton Garden Inn will be built at Douglas Avenue and Topeka, where the current building, Commerce Plaza, has remained vacant for years.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A bipartisan group of four former Kansas governors are campaigning on for the state’s Supreme Court justices--five of whom are are facing retention elections this fall.

The governors are on a two-day tour organized by Kansans for Fair Courts, a group campaigning on behalf of the targeted justices; judges' political activity is severely restricted. The four appeared at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce before moving on to Topeka for a similar event; they're headed to Wichita next.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Computer hackers recently targeted voter data in Arizona and Illinois, but Kansas election officials say they're confident state data is secure. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office is responsible for the security of voter registration records.

“We have a layer of security that protects our voter rolls that those states did not have. I’m not going to state specifically what it is, but it is a significant one,” Kobach says.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File Photo

Kansas tax collections missed the state’s estimate by $10 million in August.

The newest revenue numbers show individual income tax collections in Kansas beat the estimate, but that was outweighed by other types of taxes that didn’t perform.

Retail sales tax collections were down, and corporate income taxes were off by a huge margin.

The state expected $10 million in corporate tax collections, but only $300,000 came in.

Over the last year, monthly Kansas tax collections have topped estimates twice and come up short ten times.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Only 73 of an estimated 17,000 voters affected by recent court rulings cast ballots in the Kansas primary election. Those Kansans registered to vote at the DMV but didn’t provide a citizenship document required under state law.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach and other state officials certified the election results on Thursday. Kobach believes the turnout was so low because many of those affected voters may have already moved.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo

A temporary block grant system for education in Kansas is set to expire next year and lawmakers are planning to write a new school funding formula to replace it. How much money a new formula provides per student could be one of the major issues of contention.

Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, says Kansas does well on most education measures, but his group is studying the states that perform even better.

Downtown Mulvane Facebook

Sedgwick County Commissioners have called for a state of emergency after a flash flood caused severe damage in the town of Mulvane last week.

The declaration makes Mulvane eligible for state and federal disaster assistance funding. This is the first time since the Oaklawn Tornado in 2012 that the county has had to declare a state of local disaster emergency.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is asking a federal appeals court on Tuesday to prevent thousands of Kansans from potentially casting ballots in the fall election.

As Stephen Koranda reports, this is the latest in a long series of litigation over Kansas voter registration requirements.

Dave Ranney, File Photo / Heartland Health Monitor

Governor Sam Brownback’s administration is pursing changes to some state employment policies. That includes modifying how Kansas agencies handle layoffs.

The proposals would change how Kansas agencies determine who gets laid off first and give agencies discretion to protect certain employees.

Rebecca Proctor, with the Kansas Organization of State Employees, says the changes would reduce the value of experience and years of service and make the process more subjective.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

In the face of growing criticism from health care providers, Gov. Sam Brownback says he wants to restore Medicaid cuts made in July to help balance the state budget. But the governor says he wants to raise a tax imposed on hospitals to do it.

Brownback says when lawmakers return to Topeka in January he will ask them to raise the hospital tax to generate the money needed to restore $56 million in cuts to KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

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