Government

Government
4:00 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Back To Work Wednesday

Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers are close to the end of their annual spring break and plan to reconvene this week at the Statehouse to wrap up their business for the year. KMUW’s Deborah Shaar reports.

The State House and Senate are scheduled to be back in session Wednesday.

Lawmakers must balance the next state budget, and their research staff says they must close a $422 million shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1. But they have a full plate of other issues as well.

Wednesday would be the 73rd day of their annual session, out of the scheduled 90.

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Government
12:39 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Brownback Releases Updated Kansas Budget Plan

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Governor Sam Brownback has presented lawmakers with an amended budget plan following the release of sharply lowered estimates for Kansas tax collections. The proposal would save around $100 million over the next two years, which only puts a dent in a budget shortfall of around $400 million. Stephen Koranda reports.

The proposal uses cost savings from the Medicaid program and from cheaper than expected debt payments. It also increases a fee paid by Kansas health care providers. Shawn Sullivan is Governor Brownback’s budget director.

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Government
3:20 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

State Panel To Update Kansas Tax Collection Estimate

Credit Stephen Koranda

A group of state officials and economists will meet on Monday to put together a new estimate of Kansas tax collections.

As Stephen Koranda reports, the information is critical for lawmakers as they build the state budget.

Kansas legislators decided to wait to do the final work on the budget until after their spring break.

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Government
3:15 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Some New Kansas Welfare Rules Need Federal Approval

Governor Brownback signs the welfare bill into law.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law a sweeping bill tightening Kansas welfare rules, but the new requirements must comply with nation-wide guidelines.

Sandra Kimmons with the Kansas Department for Children and Families, says many of the provisions in the law were already on the books.

Some new rules, like a $25 limit on ATM cash withdrawals, may catch the eye of federal officials.

However, Kimmons says that requirement doesn't seem to violate federal rules.

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Government
2:18 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Brownback Signs Bill Tightening Welfare Rules

Credit Twitter / Sam Brownback

Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a controversial welfare bill on Thursday. It would cut the lifetime limit on cash assistance from 48 months to 36 months.

As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, it also says welfare recipients can’t spend the money at places like movie theaters and swimming pools.

Opponents say the bill stigmatizes low-income Kansans and might limit access to needed benefits. It’s also attracted some national attention. Here’s Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

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Government
5:39 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell Sworn Into Office

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, with wife Susie beside him, is sworn in at Tuesday's Wichita City Council Meeting
Credit City of Wichita

The City of Wichita officially has a new mayor. Jeff Longwell was sworn in at Tuesday’s Wichita City Council meeting after soundly defeating advertising executive Sam Williams in the April 7 elections. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…

It was an emotional day at City Hall, where Carl Brewer, reaching his term limit, stepped down after eight years as Wichita’s mayor.

“Thank you, everyone, for allowing me to serve you,” Brewer said to applause.

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Government
1:59 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Kansas Agency Criticized For Mockery Response

Credit wikipedia.org

  

    

The state Department for Children and Families is catching heat for social media comments that critics say were too partisan.

On its Facebook page Friday, the Kansas DCF accused the left of "mocking the State of Kansas" and said it has "stood in the way of progress."

The post defended restrictions approved by the Legislature in April on how welfare recipients can spend their money.

The Facebook post:

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Government
5:00 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Voter-Approved Marijuana Initiative Fraught With Unknowns

Credit TMartin_33 / Flickr

 

Voters in Wichita have approved a referendum aimed at lessening the penalty for first-time possession of small amounts of marijuana. State law enforces a $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail. The new city ordinance would only impose a $50 fine and no jail time. But it’s not clear whether the city is able to move forward with the change. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports…

On a bright, clear afternoon—just days before the general election—a handful of state officials gathered in front of the Sedgwick County Courthouse in downtown Wichita.

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Government
2:07 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Kansas Legislators Moving Toward Changing Local Elections

Credit League of Women Voters of California LWVC, Flickr Creative Commons

Republican legislators in Kansas are moving to shift city and local school board elections to the fall of even-numbered years.

House and Senate negotiators have drafted a plan to get rid of the traditional scheduling of local elections in the spring of odd-numbered years.

Local elections would be on the same schedule as contests for county, state and congressional offices. Under the bill, city and school board races would be listed first on the ballot.

Supporters say the bill will increase turnout.

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Government
4:36 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Gov. Brownback Signs Nation's First Ban On Abortion Procedure

On Tuesday, Governor Brownback signed into law a ban on a certain type of abortion. Wichita has drawn attention from all sides of the abortion debate since Dr. George Tiller, who performed late-term abortions, was murdered in 2009. KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc reports...

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has signed legislation making Kansas the first state to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus.

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