10:29 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Judge Eric Melgren Rejects Claim Against Kris Kobach's Right To Sue Over Voter Citizenship Law

A judge has rejected the claim against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Voting rights organizations had claimed that Kobach has no legal authority to file a lawsuit to force the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to change the federal voter registration form.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren denied their request Thursday.

The court found that Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt had authorized Kobach to handle the litigation.

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12:14 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Judge Melgren Agrees To Limit Evidence In Voter Citizenship Case

A judge has agreed to limit what material the court can consider in a lawsuit filed by Kansas and Arizona. The suit seeks to force federal election officials to change voter registration forms to require proof-of-citizenship from residents in those states.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren sided with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission on Wednesday.

Melgren will limit his review to the existing administrative record, rather than hold an evidentiary hearing in the case.

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10:12 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Committee Could Vote On Bill To Protect Those Who Don't Recognize Same-Sex Unions This Week

A committee in the Kansas Legislature could vote this week on a bill aiming to protect religious freedom.

The bill says businesses, individuals and other groups with strong religious beliefs can't be forced to recognize same-sex marriage or provide employment or other services to same-sex couples.

Michael Schuttloffel is with the Kansas Catholic Conference. He used the example of a photographer asked to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony.

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9:56 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Court Appeals Judge Patrick McAnany To Discuss Ways To Solve Judicial Budget Issues

A Kansas Court of Appeals judge is going before a Senate committee on Monday to discuss ways to solve the judicial branch's ongoing budget issues.

Judge Patrick McAnany is testifying on several bills to improve efficiencies in the court system. The goal is to close a projected $8.25 million dollar shortfall in the judicial budget for next year.

McAnany presided over a special commission in 2011 to find ways to improve judicial branch operations, including changes in staffing and record filing.

9:38 am
Fri January 31, 2014

NRA And KSRA Behind Push For New Gun-Rights Bill

Influential gun-rights groups are pushing bill proposals to strip cities and counties of their power to regulate guns.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee had a hearing yesterday on the bill, which the National Rifle Association and the Kansas State Rifle Association support.

It would keep cities and counties from limiting the open carrying of firearms, and bar them from spending tax dollars to administer firearms buyback programs.

The bill also declares existing ordinances void.

Gun Laws
3:57 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Bill Would Cut Back Open Carry Regulation

A legislative committee is considering a bill that would bar local governments in Kansas from passing any rules that restrict the open carry of firearms. It would also invalidate any local rules currently restricting open carry.

Representative Jim Howell, a Derby Republican, says the goal is to create consistency.

“So what this does, it just simply says we’re not going to let cities create a patchwork of laws, so that people can exercise their Second Amendment rights confidently, understanding the law, with simplicity," Howell says.

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9:51 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Bill Strips Local Governments' Power To Regulate Firearms And Limits Buyback Programs

Kansas legislators are considering new gun-rights proposals.

The bill would strip cities and counties of any power to regulate guns, as well as limit local programs to buy guns back from their owners.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee scheduled a hearing this morning on a sweeping bill containing the new measures.

The bill would keep cities and counties from enacting bans on the open carrying of firearms and prevent them from spending tax dollars to administer firearms buyback programs.

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10:24 am
Wed January 29, 2014

State Lawmakers Consider Banning Minors From Using Tanning Beds

State lawmakers are considering whether to ban tanning parlors from letting minors use their tanning beds.

The House Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday on the bill.

The measure includes a maximum $250 fine for businesses that allow customers younger than 18 to use tanning beds.

Proponents say exposure to harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds increases the chances of developing melanoma later in life.

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9:42 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Some Say House Bill 2453 Protects Religious Freedom; Others Say It OK's LGBT Discrimination

Kansas' Federal and State Affairs Committee is considering a bill on Tuesday that would protect individuals, groups, and businesses that refuse to recognize same-sex unions.

The measure--House Bill 2453--would also protect those who refuse to provide benefits to gay couples for religious reasons.

Kansas added a ban against gay marriage to the state constitution in 2005. Voters approved the bill by a 70 percent margin.

But recently, federal judges struck down similar bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

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9:30 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Kansas Unemployment Rate Drops Below 5 Percent

The Department of Labor's latest report says the Kansas economy continued to improve at the end of 2013; the state's unemployment rate dipped below 5 percent for the first time since 2008.

Labor Secretary Lana Gordon says Kansas gained 10,000 nonfarm jobs in 2013.

Nine of the 11 major industry sectors posted job gains last year, topped by professional and business services.

Declines of 100 jobs were reported in government employment and 800 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector.