Government

Government
8:09 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

U.S. District Court Ruling Allows States To Require Proof Of Citizenship On Federal Voting Forms

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren ruled that federal voter registration forms may be be modified to reflect the state forms.
Credit Celeste Lindell, flickr Creative Commons

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren ruled Wednesday afternoon that federal voter registration forms in both Kansas and Arizona will be modified to reflect the state forms.

Judge Melgren answered one key question with today’s decision: that it’s ultimately a state’s right to determine what is on their federal voter registration forms, and not that of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

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Government
10:30 am
Wed March 19, 2014

City Council Approves New Hotel Tax To Promote Tourism

Wichita's City Council voted 7-0 yesterday to approve a new hotel tax to finance efforts to promote tourism and attract large events.

The 2.75 percent tax will apply for guests at hotels with more than 50 rooms.

The levy is expected to generate about 2 1/2- to- 3 million dollars a year.

The Council also approved the establishment of a tourism business improvement district yesterday.

Wichita officials say current promotional funding was growing slowly, and the city is facing strong competition from other cities to attract conventions and tourists.

Government
12:35 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Kansas Statehouse May Offer Online Streaming

Credit Stephen Koranda

Right now, there's only audio streaming from the floor of the House and Senate, so you can tune in to hear things like this.

"Further questions on the amendment? Senator from Wilson, Senator Knox. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I rise in opposition to this amendment."

The bills would add live audio and video streaming from four of the most-active committee rooms. Committees are where much of the real work on bills takes place. Representative Reid Petty, a Republican from Liberal, says many people in his district can't take the time for a nearly six-hour drive to the Statehouse.

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Government
10:21 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Former Wichita Bank Executive Deryl Schuster Appointed Bank Commissioner Of Kansas

Governor Sam Brownback has appointed a former Wichita bank executive to serve as the acting bank commissioner in Kansas.

Deryl Schuster succeeds Judi Stork, who will return to her duties as deputy commissioner.

Schuster served most recently as president and CEO of Midwest Community Bank.

The commissioner works with the state Banking Board to regulate state-chartered banks and trust companies, savings and loan companies, mortgage businesses and other financial institutions.

Government
10:23 am
Wed March 12, 2014

State Rep. Louis Ruiz Drafts Proposal To Expand Anti-Discrimination Laws

A Kansas House Democrat has drafted a new proposal to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kansas City Representative Louis Ruiz presented his proposal Tuesday during a meeting of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee. The panel agreed to sponsor it.

Such proposals have failed to pass several times in recent years.

The group Equality Kansas lists expanding anti-discrimination laws to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and the transgendered people against bias in employment, housing and public accommodations is a key goal.

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Courts
3:44 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

House Committee Votes To Cut Court Reporter Jobs

The budget-writing committee in the Kansas House has voted to cut 18 court reporter positions in the judicial branch and eliminate 13 additional unfilled positions.

Representative Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican, says this would help prompt the judicial branch to find cost savings. He says there's institutional resistance to change.

“Most of them know that this is inevitable and actually best and it’s efficient and probably the thing that needs to happen," DeGraaf says. "But who wants to be the first one to suggest it?”

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Government
10:23 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Senate Committee Will Review Bill Making Local Elections Coincide With State And National Contests

The state Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will review a proposal this week to change the dates of local elections so they fall on the same days as legislative and statewide contests.

The bill on the committee's agenda Wednesday is a modified version of a proposal from the Kansas Republican Party.

The group says the bill will boost voter turnout.

Kansas holds city and school board elections in the spring of odd-numbered years, and turnout is typically low.

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Government
10:27 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Kansas House Approves Bill To Make Affidavits For Search Warrants Public

The Kansas House has approved and sent a bill to the Senate that allows more access to police documents about the reason behind arrests.

The bill also would make affidavits justifying search warrants open to the parties involved.

The bill advanced 113-10 on Thursday, as the House finished work on dozens of bills ahead of the first major legislative deadline of the session.

A tougher fight for the bill is expected in the Senate.

Individuals whose homes are searched would have 30 days to request documentation explaining the reason for the search.

Government
10:12 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Kansas House Rejects State Contract Changes

The Kansas House has rejected a proposal that Democrats say would create more jobs for Kansans.

The amendment would have required companies that get state contracts to mostly employ Kansas workers.

Representative Annie Tietze introduced the plan during debate on a bill.

"We talk about the American dream and we want to grow businesses,  but these peoples need jobs first," she says.

Representative Marvin Kleeb says the measure could lead to other states passing similar rules, and that could hurt Kansas businesses.

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Kansas House
5:51 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Health Care Compact Bill Advances In House

A House committee has advanced a bill aimed at exempting Kansas from the federal health care overhaul.

State Representative Brett Hildabrand, a Shawnee Republican, said that if the bill ends up passing, it could move Kansas towards gaining more control over federal health care programs.

“The broad federal approach tries to apply a cookie-cutter approach to every state. I believe that’s too broad and we need to put it back at the state level,” Hildabrand said.

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