Government

Government
12:54 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Job Applicants' Online Privacy Would Be Preserved With Proposed State Bill

Two state lawmakers from Wichita are seeking support for a measure that would limit employers' access to job applicants' social media accounts. 

Rep. Gail Finney and Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau both back measures to keep employers from requiring applicants to provide their usernames and passwords for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.  

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Government
7:00 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Mayor Brewer: Wichita's Infrastructure Needs Costly Repairs

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer delivers his 2013 State of the City address to a crowd at City Hall Tuesday evening.
Credit Milt Radford / KMUW

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer delivered his annual State of the City address Tuesday to a crowd at City Hall.

Brewer said the majority of the city's water and sewer systems will need to be repaired or replaced in the next 30 years and the work will cost more than $2 billion.

He also said nearly half of Wichita's streets are below national standards and almost a third of its bridges need repair or maintenance.

Brewer said economic development is vital to increasing city revenue.

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2013 Legislative Session
6:37 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Bill Would Limit Collective Bargaining For Teachers

A bill in the House would limit the bargaining rights of teachers in Kansas.

A committee heard from supporters and opponents of the bill Tuesday. Supporters of the measure want administrators to have more flexibility to hire, fire and assign teachers.

The bill would take out some bargaining rights teachers currently have and would limit what can be negotiated by unions. For example, teacher evaluation processes could no longer be part of contract negotiations.

Some lawmakers say we need to look at new ways of recruiting, hiring and evaluating teachers.

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2013 Legislative Session
5:51 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Lawmakers Hear School Efficiency Suggestions

The head of a school efficiency task force Monday presented school efficiency recommendations to lawmakers in Topeka. The House and Senate education committees are meeting jointly this week to review education issues.

Gov. Sam Brownback formed the task force to look for ways to spend education funding more efficiently.

The task force endorsed cutting back teachers' bargaining rights and reviewing tenure, so administrators have more flexibility in hiring and firing. They also recommended merging school district administrations and redrawing some district boundaries.

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2013 Legislative Session
5:55 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Bill That Limits Unions' Fundraising Options Advances To Full House

A House committee has passed a bill that would stop public unions from making automatic paycheck deductions used for political advocacy.

Currently, union members can agree to deductions from their paychecks that are used for political purposes. The bill would affect teachers and other public workers, and brought up heated debate in the House Commerce Committee.

Opponents of the bill say it takes away an option for public employees to make political contributions.

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Government
1:25 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Should KS Drop Antique Guns From State Definition of 'Firearms?'

Not everyone's happy with a proposal to drop antique guns from the definition of firearms, as part of a bill to change Kansas' firearms regulations. Assistant attorney general C.W. Klebe discussed the proposed changes Wednesday before a Senate committee.

The changes include new regulations that clarify local governments can't bar concealed-carry license holders from bringing guns into their jurisdictions. It's not clear if this regulation change will apply to out-of-state visitors while they are in Kansas. 

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2013 Legislative Session
6:03 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Proposal Would Change Judicial Selection Process

A proposal to give Kansas governors and lawmakers more power over appointments to the state's appellate courts cleared a legislative committee Wednesday.

The measure would amend the Kansas Constitution to allow governors to appoint whomever they choose to the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, subject to Senate confirmation. It would scrap the statewide, attorney-led commission that now screens applications.

Currently, the commission nominates three finalists for the governor, who then makes the appointment without legislative review.

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Government
5:46 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Spring Elections Could Soon Be In The Fall

Credit Ho John Lee / Flickr

A proposal in the Legislature would move the spring local government elections to the fall, so they would coincide with state and national elections. The goal is increasing turnout in local elections, which is sometimes quite low. Secretary of State Kris Kobach discussed the plan with lawmakers Wednesday.

Kobach supports moving the spring elections if lawmakers take additional actions. The problem is that the district maps for the spring elections for local offices do not line up with the state office districts from the fall elections.

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Government
1:48 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Governor Proclaims Wednesday "Armed Forces Appreciation Day" in KS

Gov.  Sam Brownback has proclaimed Wednesday "Armed Forces Appreciation Day" in Kansas.

The governor says it's "a chance to show our deep gratitude for their service and sacrifice--and the sacrifice made by their families. Today we pledge our support for them in peace, in crisis, and in war." 

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Government
1:01 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

KS Governor and AG Propose Human Trafficking Bill

Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt have proposed a bill that would strengthen the state's human trafficking statues, with an emphasis on protecting children from sexual exploitation. 

The bill they'll submit to the state legislature establishes a Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Fund to support trafficking survivors. Mandatory fines on people convicted of human trafficking and related sex crimes will pay for the fund. The bill also provides for special procedures for children who have been subjected to human trafficking.

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