Government

Unions
3:12 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Committee Continues Hearings On Union Paycheck Bill

A Kansas Senate committee continued hearings Wednesday on a controversial bill affecting union paycheck deductions.

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2013 Legislative Session
6:00 am
Wed February 6, 2013

KS Senate Committee Delays Work On Gov's Tax Plan

Les Donovan (R-Wichita), chair of Senate Tax Committee, speaking to reporters after the delay.
Credit Stephen Koranda

A Senate Committee has delayed work on Gov. Sam Brownback's tax proposal. A printing mix-up meant the scheduled debate was left off the official Senate calendar for Tuesday, and the committee's chairman says he didn't want to work on the tax plan without letting the public know about it.

The committee was scheduled to debate the bill and offer amendments, also called "working" the bill.

Senate Tax Committee chairman Les Donovan says they’ll benefit from the extra time to prepare.

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Taxes
3:28 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Senate Committee Delays Work On Tax Plan

A Kansas Senate committee has delayed debate on Governor Sam Brownback's tax proposal. A mistake at the Statehouse printing office meant the scheduled debate was left off the official Senate calendar for Tuesday.

Senator Les Donovan, a Republican from Wichita, said he didn't want to work on the tax plan without letting the public know about it. Donovan added, though, that senators could use some more time to prepare for the debate.

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2013 Legislative Session
6:00 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Senate Committee Preparing For Talks On School Funding Amendment

A constitutional amendment would give Legislators the power to set school funding levels.
Credit Michael B. / Flickr

Lawmakers are considering a change to the Kansas Constitution in response to lawsuits over school funding.

About eight years ago, a lawsuit ended with an agreement to increase spending on students. But lawmakers cut back when the economy slowed, which rekindled the legal battle. 

Now, some Legislators are proposing a constitutional amendment that would give them the power to determine what is a suitable level of funding.

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2013 Legislative Session
5:56 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Dems Question Constitutional Amendment Costs

Some lawmakers are questioning the number of constitutional amendments proposed this year. At least a half dozen amendments have been filed.

They range from proposals to change the way judges are selected to putting term limits on lawmakers. The costs for publishing and public votes on the amendments could run into millions of dollars. 

The top Democrat in the Kansas House, Paul Davis from Lawrence, says lawmakers should only consider amending the Constitution in rare circumstances when there's a great public need.

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2013 Legislative Session
6:12 am
Fri February 1, 2013

KS House Passes Automatic Union Contribution Bill

The Kansas House chambers at the Statehouse.
Credit Stephen Koranda

The Kansas House has passed a bill on a 68-56 vote that restricts one type of political fundraising used by public employee unions. The bill would ban public sector unions from making automatic withdrawals from employee paychecks for political purposes.

Under current law, public employees can voluntarily donate to their union’s political advocacy fund out of their paycheck. Supporters of the bill say it keeps workers from being pressured into making the contributions.

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2013 Legislative Session
5:35 am
Fri February 1, 2013

School Board Group Supports Brownback Tax Plan

Some conservative groups are opposing Gov. Sam Brownback's new tax plan because it includes revenue-raising measures along with additional income tax cuts.

But the Kansas Association of School Boards is supporting the plan because it's aimed at filling a $500 million budget gap caused by last year's tax cuts.

The group's position surprised Senate Tax Committee Chairman Les Donovan, when he called on KASB lobbyist Mark Tallman to testify at a recent hearing.

Donovan said he had Tallman down as a proponent, but he wasn't sure if that was correct.

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Government
5:59 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Community Survey Will Gauge Priorities, Your Willingness To Pay For Them

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer speaking to the media Wednesday at City Hall.
Credit Briana O'Higgins

The City of Wichita and Sedgwick County Wednesday unveiled a new plan to help establish the communities priorities for public investments

Kansas state law requires communities have a plan for public spending on infrastructure and facilities to guide elected officials. The plan is called "Community Investments Plan... A Framework For The Future" and will begin with a survey created by Wichita State University. The survey will be mailed this week to a random sample of 25,000 registered voters in Sedgwick County.

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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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