Government

Government
12:42 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Face Legislative Deadline This Week

Credit Stephen Koranda

It will be a busy week for Kansas lawmakers as they try to beat a legislative deadline on Wednesday. As Stephen Koranda reports, they’ll be working mostly on the floor of the House and Senate this week passing bills.

This is one of several significant deadlines Kansas lawmakers face during the session. A bill has to have passed both chambers, in some form, to survive the deadline. Most bills that haven’t passed both chambers are lost for the session.

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Government
1:40 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Kansas House Committee Votes To Ease Concealed Carry Rules

Credit WickedVT, flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas House committee has advanced a bill that would allow people over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm in Kansas without a permit. State law currently requires training and a background check before residents can carry a concealed gun.

Republican Representative Travis Couture-Lovelady says Kansans shouldn’t have to ask for permission from the government to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

“And I think the citizens of Kansas have proved that they are able to safely carry concealed without problems,” says Couture-Lovelady.

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Government
1:33 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Kansas House Panel Passes Budget Requiring Tax Increases

Credit Stephen Koranda

A Kansas panel has endorsed a $6.4 billion-dollar budget that will not balance without tax increases.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the plan on Tuesday.

The budget would fall about $133 million dollars short if the Legislature does not increase taxes on alcohol and cigarettes as Governor Sam Brownback has recommended.

Representative Virgil Peck said that he would not support a budget that increases spending without having secured the revenues to pay for it.

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Government
1:28 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Move To Restrict Collective Bargaining

State Senator Julia Lynn
Credit http://kslegislature.org

The Senate Commerce Committee is considering a proposal to restrict collective bargaining between public employees and state and local government agencies.

Chairwoman Julia Lynn says the Committee will debate the measure during its meeting today. Lynn believes the Republican-dominated panel supports the bill.

The measure would limit contract talks between government agencies and unions to minimum pay for workers.

Employers could determine other issues themselves, including how workers are evaluated.

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Government
4:31 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Wichita City Council Moves Forward With Animal Control Advisory Board

Credit Terrah, flickr Creative Commons

The Wichita City Council is moving forward with an Animal Control Advisory Board, which would report to the police department and city council members.

The proposed advisory board would consist of nine members, including a representative from the city, a licensed veterinarian, and residents.

Wichita Police Captain Doug Nolte says aggressive dogs are a big problem, and that the city’s animal control system could use help in addressing those concerns.

Number of reported bites investigated by Wichita Animal Control:

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Government
1:25 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Kansas Records Law Doesn’t Cover Officials’ Private Emails

Credit Maria Elena, flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers have shown little interest in allowing public scrutiny of officials' private emails about government business, despite recent scrutiny of Hillary Rodham Clinton's communications and a case involving the governor's office.

The Kansas Open Records Act doesn't specifically cover emails or other communications with private accounts or devices, even if they involve government business.

Democratic legislators introduced proposals in both chambers of the Legislature to allow scrutiny of such communications.

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Government
4:13 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Wichita Independent Neighborhoods Hosts Mayoral Forum Tonight

Jeff Longwell and Sam Williams
Credit facebook.com

Wichita Independent Neighborhoods (WIN), an advocacy organization for neighbors and neighborhoods in the city, will host a mayoral forum on Monday night in downtown Wichita. KMUW’s Carla Eckels reports…

WIN Representative Janet Wilson says the forum will feature both candidates running for Wichita mayor, Jeff Longwell and Sam Williams.

According to Wilson, WIN's forum will concentrate on the mayoral candidates so that people can be informed before they got to the polls.

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Government
12:52 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

KS Senate Could Vote on Block Grants Bill Monday

Credit Stephen Koranda

A bill that would replace the school funding formula in Kansas with block grants has been speeding through the legislative process. It could stay on the fast track this week and could be on the governor’s desk in mere days.

The bill passed the House on a tight vote just over a week after it was introduced. Republican Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce says the Senate could move to simply agree to the House bill as soon as Monday. That would skip sending the bill through the normal committee process in the Senate, but Bruce says a motion to concur isn’t out of the ordinary.

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Government
12:38 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Bills Easing Restrictions On Marijuana Stalls In KS Legislature

Credit Rusty Blazenhoff / Flickr

Bills easing the state's restrictions on marijuana are moving deeper into the Kansas Legislature, but they're now facing an uncertain future.

The Kansas House decided to delay action on two marijuana bills in late February.

One would decrease penalties for an offender's first two possession convictions.

The other allows some seizure patients to receive treatments from marijuana-based medicines.

Representative John Rubin of Shawnee sponsored the bill on marijuana sentencing.

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Government
1:34 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

House Committee Reviewing Bill Stiffening Scrap Metal Theft Penalties

Credit Tom Woodward, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas House Judiciary Committee is reviewing a bill to significantly increase penalties for scrap metal theft.

The committee had a hearing yesterday on a bill to make damaging a building or other structure to steal scrap a felony punishable by up to 19 months in jail for a first offense.

Farm and law enforcement groups say scrap thieves often do thousands of dollars in damage when removing precious metals.

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