11:04 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Gov. Brownback's Former Chief Of Staff Maybe Involved In FBI Probe

The FBI is examining whether Governor Sam Brownback’s former chief of staff and a lobbying and consulting firm he helped found are trading on their ties to the governor to benefit themselves and others financially.

A person familiar with the inquiry told The Associated Press the FBI has been looking for several months into the activities of Brownback's confidante David Kensinger and his Topeka firm, Parallel Strategies. Kensinger and two former Brownback staffers formed last year.

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10:28 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Gov. Brownback Vetoes Budget; Lawmakers To Resume Session To Work On Revisions

Kansas lawmakers will resume their 2014 legislative session this week after a nearly month-long break. Stephen Koranda reports on what they still have left to do...

Lawmakers don't need to pass a full budget this year, because they passed a two-year budget last session. But they do need to finish at least a spending plan for the Kansas Department of Corrections.

That section of the state budget was vetoed by the governor because of cuts in corrections spending.

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12:39 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Two Senior Citizens Drop Lawsuit Challenging Kansas' Voter Citizenship Law

Two elderly Kansas men have dropped their lawsuit challenging a new state law that requires voters to show photo ID at the polls.

Attorney Jim Lawing said on Thursday Arthur Spry and Charles Hamner asked to have the case dismissed because it would not be heard before this year’s elections.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil in Kansas City has granted their request for a dismissal.

The judge was still considering whether the case should be heard in federal court or state court, as the two men had wanted.

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9:49 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Lawmakers Consider Giving State Workers A Pay Raise, But At A Price

Kansas lawmakers are considering proposals to give state workers a modest pay increase...and end their guaranteed longevity bonuses.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee reviewed budget issues on Tuesday that lawmakers will face when they wrap up their work for the year next week.

The committee took no action.

Governor Sam Brownback has proposed a 1.5 percent pay raise for employees in the civil service. It would be the first across-the-board pay raise since 2009.

The Senate committee and its House counterpart have alternative proposals.

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10:22 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Kansas And Arizona Will Receive More Time In Voter Citizenship Case

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren says Kansas and Arizona will get more time to respond to federal election officials’ request for a stay.

Melgren’s recent ruling requires them to enforce Kansas and Arizona’s new laws requiring voters to prove U.S. citizenship when registering to vote.

In March, Melgren ordered The U.S. Election Assistance Commission to change the national voter registration form to add special instructions for Arizona and Kansas residents about those states’ proof-of-citizenship requirements.

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1:36 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Wichita Public Works Talks Future Of City's Water Security

Credit djmcaleese / flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday afternoon Wichita’s Public Works & Utilities Department gave a presentation on the future of water supply in the area. City Council members were in attendance and ideas concerning both conservation, as well as new sources of water, were discussed.

Wichita’s Public Works Director Alan King presented a power point demonstration about what could be done to sure up the city’s water supply until the year 2060. King’s model included five plans that he said take into consideration both effectiveness and the city’s budget.

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10:15 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Gov. Brownback Signs Bill That Cuts Unemployment Taxes For Employers

Governor Brownback has signed a bill on Tuesday that he says will save Kansas employers about $42 million dollars.

It adjusts employers’ payments to the fund that pays benefits to unemployed workers.

His office says the bill will lower payments for about 44,000 businesses. Employers who’ve paid more into the fund than their workers have received in benefits will see a 15 percent cut in rates.

The bill also provides a discounted rate to non-construction employers who open businesses in Kansas.

10:01 am
Wed April 9, 2014

New Federal Trial Set To Hear Arguments Over Kobach's Voter Citizenship Law

A federal trial has been scheduled in a lawsuit challenging a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

U.S. Magistrate Gerald Rushfelt in Kansas City set a schedule this week for hearing the lawsuit.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is being sued by northeast Kansas residents Arthur Spry and Charles Hamner.

Both live in a retirement home in Overbrook.

The suit says neither man had a driver’s license, computer or access to the birth records needed to secure a photo ID.

5:22 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Kansas Senate: Remove Common Core Standards To Free Up Funding

The Kansas Senate Floor
Credit Stephen Koranda

In the early hours of Friday morning, the Kansas Senate passed a school finance bill.

Its purpose is to address the March ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that public schools in the state are not being funded equitably.

In a 23 - 17 decision, legislators approved what could amount to $80 million in new funding for public schools throughout the state.

In order to fill that purse, the plan looks to increase local taxes and cut costs in certain areas, such as the education of at-risk students and school transportation.

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Renewable Energy
5:14 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

House Rejects Bill to Repeal Renewable Standards

The Kansas House has rejected a bill to repeal the state's renewable energy standards by a vote of 44-77.

The standards require 20 percent of Kansas power generation to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Supporters of the requirement say it has driven economic growth through the wind industry.

Opponents of the standards argue wind energy needs to compete on its own merits without state support.