Government

Government
11:34 am
Mon January 26, 2015

KS Children's Group Protests Plan To Divert Funds

Credit Stephen Koranda

The group Kansas Action for Children is protesting Governor Brownback's proposal to use money from a children's fund to help cover a budget shortfall.

The money comes from the 1990s tobacco settlement payments and is used for programs including Early Head Start.

Stephen Koranda reports on the proposal to help close a gap in the current fiscal year's budget.

Brownback Budget Director Shawn Sullivan says this doesn't include any cuts to current children’s programs.

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Government
11:22 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Kansas May Take Over OSHA Enforcement

The idea of having the state take over enforcement of workplace safety rules is getting some support in the Kansas House, despite hesitation in the state Senate.

Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee pulled back from the idea after they were told it couldn't be used to reduce the number of regulations.

The idea may still be alive in the House though, largely because the state's business community strongly supports it.

Government
5:00 am
Mon January 26, 2015

A Conversation With Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer in his office at City Hall
Credit Sean Sandefur

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer will give his eighth and final state of the city address on Tuesday night. Brewer is term-limited and will be replaced after municipal elections this spring. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur sat down with Brewer to discuss last year's state of the city address and what's happened since.

In last year’s state of the city address you mentioned infrastructure. With the failed sales tax in November, what can the city do?

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Government
4:59 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Kobach: Kansas Supreme Court System Produces 'Mediocre Results'

Credit wikipedia.org

Secretary of State Kris Kobach says Kansas Supreme Court decisions in school funding and death penalty cases show the justices are not as competent as federal judges.

Kobach was among the witnesses testifying on Thursday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in favor of changing how state Supreme Court justices are chosen.

Kobach says the state's current system has produced what he called "mediocre results." He believes federal judges are better qualified for their jobs.

Defenders of the current system say it's worked well for decades.

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Government
11:30 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Tune in Now: President Obama Speaks at University of Kansas

Tune in to 89.1 to hear KPR's coverage of President Obama's speech at KU.

Government
3:22 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Hutchinson Voters To Decide On Sales Tax Increase

Credit Barton Sports / Flickr

Residents of Hutchinson will decide whether to spend roughly $29 million to renovate the city’s sports arena. The project would be financed through a proposed sales tax referendum which is on the ballot for the April 7 elections. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…

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Government
1:41 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Brownback KPERS Plan Increases Long-Term Costs

Credit Stephen Koranda

Governor Sam Brownback’s plan to fill a budget hole includes reducing payments to the state’s retirement plan in the short term.

A deficit in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System is currently projected to be eliminated in 2033.

Brownback’s proposal would extend that by 10 years. Alan Conroy, the head of KPERS, says it’s similar to extending the mortgage on a home.

“You can lower your payments now, but if you add 10 years of payments you’re going to pay more for those 10 years.” says Conroy.

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Government
3:10 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Help Available for Winter Utility Bills

Credit Simon Li, flickr Creative Commons

Despite our mild weather lately, winter is far from over. Now’s the time to apply for a program that offers help when it comes to paying heating bills this year. KMUW’s Deborah Shaar reports.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families is now accepting applications for its Low Income Energy Assistance Program or (LIEAP).

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Government
1:05 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Despite Bipartisan Support, State Lawmakers Express Concern Over Police Body Cameras Funding

Credit Taser International

Legislation requiring Kansas law enforcement officers to be equipped with body cameras has gained bipartisan support in the new session, but lawmakers are concerned about the cost.

A bill backed by Democratic Representative Gail Finney of Wichita likely will be considered in the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee. The committee chairman supports the cameras but thinks the measure might be an unfunded mandate.

Democratic Senator David Haley of Kansas City is pushing a similar proposal.

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Government
12:44 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers to Begin Work on Brownback's Budget Plan

Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers are just beginning the job of reviewing and modifying Governor Sam Brownback’s tax and budget plan.

The governor’s proposal slows scheduled income tax cuts and reduces spending to help fill a budget shortfall.

Republican state Senator Ty Masterson chairs that chamber’s budget committee. He says after revenue collections came up short of predictions, it’s prudent to adjust the tax cuts.

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