Government

Government
5:00 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Kansas Agencies Push Lawmakers To Protect Sexual Assault Victims

Credit Shutterstock

The Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center is among 29 agencies across Kansas pushing for lawmakers to close a loophole that restricts protection for victims across the state. KMUW’s Carla Eckels reports…

A bill introduced by Representative Gail Finney of Wichita would add protection orders for sexual assault victims into the existing Protection from Abuse Act and the Protection from Stalking Act.

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Government
4:41 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

KS House Passes Budget Fix For Current Year

The Kansas House chamber.
Credit Stephen Koranda

The Kansas House has passed a bill that will eliminate most of a $300 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year. The legislation mostly relies on diverting funds from other parts of state government, including money from the state highway fund, to close the budget gap.

Several Republicans said they were voting “yes” but with reservations. They also called for revamping tax cuts passed in recent years. Representative Barbara Bollier is from Mission Hills.

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Government
1:16 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

KS Senate Committee Hears Testimony On K-12 School Funding Change

Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Julie Ford.
Credit Stephen Koranda

A Kansas Senate committee is looking at rewriting part of the public school funding formula. The Legislature passed a bill increasing one type of school aid last year, but when it was all said and done, the cost had risen beyond their initial estimates. As Stephen Koranda reports, the bill would change how it's calculated and reduce that type of education spending by $40 million dollars.

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Government
12:42 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

KS House Committee Preserves Some Funding For Kids' Programs

A committee in the Kansas House has advanced a plan to balance the current fiscal year’s budget. 

The bill transfers money from sources like the state highway fund, and makes other changes, to help fill a budget hole. 

But as Stephen Koranda reports, lawmakers decided not to take as much as originally planned from a fund for kids’ programs.

The original plan took all $14 million out of the Kansas Endowment for Youth to help close the state’s budget gap. But lawmakers amended that to leave $2.5 million in the fund.

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Government
12:33 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

State House Rejects Proposal To Expand Kansas Open Records Act

Credit Stephen Koranda

    

On Monday, the state House rejected a proposal to expand the Kansas Open Records Act so that it would cover private emails about government business.

The House voted 86-30 against the proposal from Wichita Representative Jim Ward.

The measure was inspired by a disclosure that state Budget Director Shawn Sullivan used a private email account to give two well-connected lobbyists a preview of Governor Brownback's proposals weeks before they were formally unveiled to lawmakers.

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Government
12:24 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Kansas House To Debate Bill Aimed At Eliminating Budget Shortfall

Credit Bugsy, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas House members will debate a bill Tuesday that aims to eliminate a projected shortfall of more than $330 million dollars in the state's current budget.

The bill would mostly divert highway funds and shift other funds around to patch holes in the funding for general government programs.

The shortfall is in the state's main bank account.

The state's budget problems arose after lawmakers aggressively cut personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013, at Gov. Sam Brownback's urging, to stimulate the economy.

The current budget runs through June.

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Government
12:08 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Governor's Plan Leaves End Of Kansas Income Taxes Uncertain

Credit Stephen Koranda

Gov. Sam Brownback and his top aides can't predict when Kansas will meet his stated goal of eliminating income taxes, now that he has slowed the implementation of promised reductions to stave off predicted budget cuts.

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Government
4:47 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Police Officers Throughout Kansas May Be Required To Wear Body Cameras

Credit Taser International

The Senate Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee heard testimony Thursday on a bill suggesting state lawmakers require police officers to wear body cameras. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson has more…

Proponents of Senate bill 18 asked the committee to advance the bill requiring all levels of law enforcement to wear body cameras while on duty and continually record their activities and interactions.

Representative Gail Finney of Wichita sits on the committee.

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Government
8:51 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer's Final State of the City Address

Mayor Carl Brewer receives an ovation after the conclusion of his final State of the City address
Credit Sean Sandefur

 

Legacy

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer gave his final State of the City address on Tuesday night. He reached his term limit after eight years at the helm. He thanked his many colleagues, and credited public and private partnerships for helping Wichita through tough economic times. 

Brewer said he’s most proud of the revitalization of downtown Wichita. 

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Government
1:50 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Bill Aimed At Making Cross-Border Police Work Easier In KC

Shawnee Police Chief Larry Larimore.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill giving law enforcement officers in the Kansas City area more legal protections when they cross the state line.

As Stephen Koranda reports, the legislation would create an agreement between Kansas and Missouri law enforcement agencies.

Proponents say if there were, for example, an emergency in Missouri, this would make it easier for Kansas officers to help.

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