Government

Government
1:55 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Incoming Kansas House Democratic Leader Talks 2015 Session

Incoming House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs
Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas is facing a budget deficit next fiscal year.

Lawmakers will start working soon on a way to balance the state budget.

Governor Sam Brownback has already proposed spending cuts for the current fiscal year. It involves diverting from the state highway fund and the public pension plan, known as KPERS.

When the 2015 session begins, Kansas City Democrat Tom Burroughs will become the House Minority Leader.

Burroughs replaces outgoing minority leader Paul Davis, who stepped down to run for governor.

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Government
1:24 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Banker And Small-Business Owner Appointed To Saline County Commission

Governor Sam Brownback has named a banker and small-business owner to two newly created seats on the Saline County Commission.

On Thursday, the governor announced the appointments of Luci Larson and David Smith to the commission.

Both are from Salina and take office Jan. 12.

Saline County voters in November approved expanding the commission from three to five members. Under Kansas law, the current commissioners were required to draw new districts within a month, and the governor was required to fill the seats. The new commissioners will stand for election in 2016.

Government
11:39 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Brownback Prepares For 2015 Kansas Legislative Session

Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is preparing for the first legislative session since winning reelection this fall.

His first term in office included sweeping changes to the state's tax policy and programs like Medicaid. Brownback also recently announced a series of budget cuts needed to eliminate a deficit in the current fiscal year. The state is facing another deficit in the coming year. 

Stephen Koranda recently sat down with Brownback to talk about the budget and the upcoming session. He began by asking the governor about the state's tax policy.

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Government
11:25 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Douglas County Clerk: 'Moving Local KS Elections Could Increase Complexity'

Voters casting ballots in Douglas County.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers may pursue legislation to move municipal elections to the fall. Right now, voting for positions like local school boards are held in the spring and are non-partisan. As Stephen Koranda reports, supporters of the change hope moving the local elections would increase turnout.

Local election officials say moving the voting in Kansas would increase complexity and add cost.

But moving the spring elections to the fall would affect more than just the vote in November.

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Government
11:19 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Salina Journal Threatens The State Of Kansas With Litigation

The publisher and editor of the Salina Journal, M. Olaf Frandsen, says Kansas can avoid litigation...if the governor's office follows the state's open records laws and releases the name of candidates seeking one of two new seats on the Saline County Commission.

The Salina Journal has requested the names of 13 applicants for one of the two seats twice. Voters added the seats in the November 4th election and expanded the county commission from three to five members.

Both requests - one verbal and the other in writing - were denied.

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Government
1:19 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Despite Litigation, Kansas Begins Issuing Gender-Neutral Marriage Forms

Kansas has begun issuing gender-neutral marriage forms, though there's still ongoing litigation over the state's ban on same-sex marriages.

Copies of the new forms were included in a motion that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment filed Wednesday and amended Thursday, seeking to have former Secretary Robert Moser dismissed from the litigation.

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Government
12:48 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Report: Brownback's Budget Plan Is Only A Short-Term Solution

The state legislature's non-partisan research staff released its projections for the state budget on Thrusday.

The projections found that Governor Sam Brownback's plan for eliminating the $279 million dollar hole in the state budget is pushing most of the problem into the state's next fiscal year.

Governor Brownback's plan relies heavily on diverting revenues from other funds to help finance general government programs.

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Government
12:13 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Kansas Budget Plan Draws Concern Over KPERS Cuts

Several Senate lawmakers have criticized Governor Sam Brownback's plan to use state pension dollars to help fill a budget hole.

Senate Vice President Jeff King and state Treasurer Ron Estes think the proposal hurts the public pension plan, known as KPERS, not long after an attempt to fix it.

Stephen Koranda reports...

Lawmakers passed a bill in 2012 that increased payments into KPERS to help erase a long-term deficit.

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Government
5:30 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Follow-Up Meeting Held In Wichita Over Police And Community Relations

Ida Allen, whose brother was shot and killed by a Wichita police officer in July, addresses city officials at a forum on Wednesday night. From left, Interim Police Chief Nelson Mosley, Mayor Carl Brewer and City Manager Bob Layton. Also onstage were Pastor Junius Dotson of Saint Mark United Methodist Church and Pastor Kevass Harding of Dellrose United Methodist Church
Credit Sean Sandefur

 

The City of Wichita held a second meeting on police and community relations on Wednesday night. The meeting was held at the Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center. 

The turnout was smaller and the tone less agitated than the first meeting held back in August.

City officials described Wednesday night as a progress report. 

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Government
1:59 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Gov. Brownback's Budget Plan Draws Ire From State Senate Leaders

Governor Brownback's plan drew immediate, bipartisan criticism from state Senate leaders.

In his successful re-election campaign, Brownback pointed repeatedly to the pension fixes - which promised full funding of its obligations in 2033 - as a major accomplishment.

"It reneges on the commitment that was made,"Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley says.

Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita said the governor is picking winners and losers by being selective in cutting.

Wagle says she prefers to see the burden of closing the budget shortfall spread evenly.

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