Government

Government
2:42 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Kansas Supreme Court To Decide Legality Of Wichita's Marijuana Ordinance

Credit Katheirne Hitt, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Supreme Court says it will decide the legality of a voter-approved ordinance in Wichita lessening criminal penalties for marijuana possession.

The court ruled Wednesday that it will retain jurisdiction under its authority to hear issues of sufficient public concern.

It kept in place a stay of district court proceedings.

It also noted that Wichita has already agreed that enactment of the ordinance should be put on hold until the courts rule.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt contends the ordinance is void because it conflicts with state law.

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Government
2:29 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Kansas House Committee Advances Sales Tax Increase

Credit Stephen Koranda

There’s a new tax plan headed for debate in the Kansas House. A legislative committee has advanced a proposal that would focus on sales taxes to fill a budget hole of more than $400 million. Statehouse Reporter Stephen Koranda has more.

The bill relies mostly on increasing the Kansas sales tax rate from 6.15 percent to 6.85 percent. It also reduces or eliminates most tax deductions. Republican Representative Kasha Kelley, one of the plan’s authors, would prefer more spending cuts but says sales tax is another option.

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Government
4:49 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Sedgwick Co. Commission Punts Funding Decision To September

Credit Sedgwick County

The Sedgwick County Commission voted on Wendesday morning to delay any changes to the funding agreements with a number of area institutions. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…

Business owners, non-profit leaders and parents came out in droves on Wednesday to testify in support of county-backed institutions, namely Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Many of them were concerned that funding levels would take a dip when county officials draft a budget in the coming months. Susie Santo of Visit Wichita warned of the impact decreased funding would have to tourism.

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Government
3:47 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

KS Lawmaker: Time Is Running Out To Compromise With Uber

Credit Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Senator Jeff Longbine says time is running out for ride-hailing company Uber to come to a compromise with the Legislature over regulations.

Republican Sen. Longbine from Emporia said Monday that he and representatives from the insurance and banking sectors continue to negotiate with Uber after it announced May 5 it was leaving the state.

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Government
3:26 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Kansas Legislators Agree To Move Local Elections To Fall In Odd-Numbered Years

Credit Carla Eckels

State lawmakers have agreed to move local elections to the fall in odd-numbered years.

Representatives from the Senate and House came to a compromise on Monday, after each chamber passed different versions of the same elections reform bill earlier in the session.

Republican Representative Mark Kahrs of Wichita says the move would boost turnout to between 30 percent and 40 percent - more than double the turnout in most recent local elections.

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Government
3:07 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Kansas House Committee Votes To Roll Back Business Income Tax Cut

Credit Stephen Koranda

A Kansas House committee has voted to undo part of the tax cuts that Governor Sam Brownback pushed.

The committee voted to reinstate some business income taxes, which were completely eliminated by the 2012 tax cut.

The bill would raise nearly $134 million during the next fiscal year.

The state would impose a 2.7 percent tax on most of the business owners' and farmers' profits, but income from rents and royalties would be taxed at 4.6 percent - mirroring the two income tax rates on wages.

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Government
11:37 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Must Finish This Week To Avoid Overtime

Kansas legislators must wrap up their business for the year within a week to avoid having their annual 90-day session go into overtime.

Lawmakers are returning to the Statehouse today without yet having drafted a plan for raising taxes to close a budget shortfall and with a full plate of other issues.

It's 85th day of their annual session. Legislative leaders schedule 90-day sessions each year, though the state constitution doesn't limit the length in odd-numbered years.

The 90th day of the session would be Saturday.

Government
11:34 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Kansas' Broad Marijuana Bill Attracts Bulk Of GOP Votes

Credit Lancerenok / Flickr--Creative Commons

Supporters of a broad bill that would ease marijuana laws that's making its way through the Kansas Legislature claim the bill is a narrow enough set of reforms that conservative Republicans can vote for it.

Supporters also say it demonstrates a shift in a long-running discussion.

The Republican-dominated House passed the bill by a wide margin Thursday.

It would decrease penalties for marijuana possession, launch a study of industrial hemp and legalize the limited production and sale of hemp oil for seizure treatments.

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Government
11:30 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Kansas House Panel To Debate Proposals For Raising Taxes

Credit Stephen Koranda

A Kansas House committee is preparing to debate proposals for raising taxes to erase the budget shortfall.

The Taxation Committee plans to discuss various revenue-raising proposals today. Legislative researchers say lawmakers must eliminate a $422 million deficit in the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Budget problems arose after the Legislature aggressively cut personal income taxes at Gov. Sam Brownback's urging in 2012 and 2013 in an effort to stimulate the economy.

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Government
11:19 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Urban/Rural Divide Mucking Up The Works In Kansas Senate Tax Committee

Credit Stephen Koranda

A divide between rural and urban lawmakers appears to be holding up work in the Senate’s tax committee. The panel has had two meetings where there was little agreement on tax plans. As Stephen Koranda reports, lawmakers are looking for ways to fill a budget gap of more than $400 million.

Senator Jeff Melcher is a Republican from Leawood in Johnson County. He says the Johnson County lawmakers on the tax committee will not support any major tax plans until another issue is settled.

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