Government

Wichita City Council
5:45 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Board To Interview For Vacant City Council Seat

The District IV Advisory Board will conduct interviews for the interim Wichita City Council seat during a special meeting next week.

Two of the candidates are former city council members and one lost to the outgoing incumbent. The District IV seat in southwest Wichita will open on January 1 after council member Michael O'Donnell resigns on December 31. O'Donnell was elected to the Kansas State Senate in November.

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Government
5:10 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Wichita City Council Votes To Move Downtown Apartment Project Forward

Artist renderings of the proposed Exchange Place project.
Foulston Siefkin LLP

The Wichita City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to amend an agreement for a major apartment structure to be built in downtown Wichita. The change allows the Exchange Place Project to move forward.

Changes include a new developer for the Exchange Place project - John McWilliams, President of Talos Holdings out of Park City, Utah, will replace Minnesota developers.

McWilliams has a proven record with financed projects through HUD, US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Government
12:20 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Legislators To Propose KanCare Oversight Panel

Kansas legislators will introduce measures during the 2013 session to create oversight of the state's new KanCare Medicaid system.

House Rep. David Crum and Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook announced their plans Monday during a Statehouse news conference. KanCare is the new federally approved system for Medicaid in Kansas, providing health care services to low-income and disabled residents.

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Government
5:54 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Brownback Seeks To Merge JJA With Corrections

The Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.
Credit Jimmy Emerson / Flickr

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback wants to merge the state's Juvenile Justice Authority with the Department of Corrections. The governor says he’ll propose an executive reorganization order in the coming legislative session to merge the two agencies.

Brownback says a Legislative Post Audit report this summer showed that the social services approach of previous administration failed to provide safety and security. He says the merger will improve safety, and that programs proven to get youth back on the right path will continue.

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Wichita City Council
5:58 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Wichita City Council Moves To Fill O'Donnell's Seat

City Council member Michael O'Donnell will vacate his seat Dec. 31.
Credit Michael O'Donell

The Wichita City Council is working through the process to temporarily fill the District 4 council seat soon to be vacated by Michael O'Donnell.

The council declared a notice of vacancy Tuesday due to O'Donnell's resignation, effective December 31. O'Donnell was elected state senator of District 25 in Wichita last month.

The City of Wichita's director of law, Gary Rebenstorf, outlined the procedure for filling the vacancy.

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Government
11:59 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Democrats Target Kobach's Outside Work With New Bill

Kansas Democrats want to put limits on the Secretary of State.

Democratic leaders say they will introduce two measures in January in an effort to limit Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's power, and his work outside the office on immigration and other issues.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said Tuesday that he would submit a bill to limit the ability of statewide elected officials and their employees to work more than 10 hours a week outside their official duties and still receive compensation.

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Government
12:42 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Wagle Wins KS Senate President, Merrick Speaker

Kansas Republicans elected Susan Wagle Monday as the new president of the state Senate.

A veteran Wichita Republican, she is the first woman to lead either legislative chamber. Wagle defeated Steve Abrams of Arkansas City.

Johnson County Republican Ray Merrick is the new speaker of the Kansas House. Merrick won on a second ballot Monday over fellow Johnson County representative Arlen Siegfried.

When the session begins in January, Republicans will outnumber Democrats 32-8 in the Senate and 92-33 in the House.

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Government
5:57 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Budget Projections May Be Recalculated After Unexpected Tax Revenues

The state Revenue Department says Kansas collected $2.6 million more in taxes than expected in November.

The agency said Friday that the state collected about $441 million in taxes this month, when a fiscal forecast predicted it would take in less than $439 million.

The difference is less than 1 percent, but Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said the numbers contain solid signs that the state's economy is improving. The report was the first since officials issued a new fiscal forecast earlier this month.

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Government
12:34 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Lawmakers Asked For Money To Keep Boys Home Open

Sedgwick County officials say they will close a ranch for troubled boys if the state does not provide more financial help.

County officials told lawmakers Thursday that the county can't afford to keep the Judge James V. Riddel Boys Ranch at Lake Afton open past next year. The home offers rehabilitation programs for boys considered at high or moderate risk of reoffending.

The state pays $126 a day for each boy at the ranch. County officials say the actual cost is $201 per boy.

Government
5:49 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Brownback Believes U.S. Will Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Gov. Brownback at a media event earlier this year.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Governor Brownback has some perspective on the issue of the Fiscal Cliff, having served in both the U.S. House and Senate.

He says going over the cliff could have a significant impact on Kansas. One example would be cuts to defense spending, which could affect military facilities in the state. But right now, he’s optimistic.

"The idea that we'd actually go over the fiscal cliff does not seem to me like one that's likely to happen," says Brownback.

He also says what lawmakers may do is delay at least some of the tax increases and spending cuts.

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