Government

Government
4:04 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

KS Attorney General Derek Schmidt Issues Opinion On Wichita Marijuana Initiative

Credit MendezEnrique, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued an opinion challenging the validity of Wichita's proposed marijuana initiative. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson has more…

The 13-page document from Schmidt says the proposed ordinance, which would lower penalties for adults in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, conflicts with state statutes. If a public vote to adopt the change were to take place on Election Day, Schmidt wrote that it would “have no legal force or effect.”

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Government
1:20 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Waiting For Analysis Of GOP Schools Plan

Credit Rupert Ganzer, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas legislators are waiting for a detailed analysis of how a plan from Republican leaders to overhaul education funding would affect individual school districts.

The Kansas Department of Education was expected to release the analysis Friday. The department regularly reviews school finance legislation and analyzes its effects.

The GOP plan was outlined Thursday and would replace the state's existing per-student formula for distributing its aid to 286 school districts.

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Government
2:19 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

UPDATE: State Senator Asks Tough Questions Of Kansas Appeals Court Nominee

Kathryn Gardner speaking during the hearing.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Updated at 4:00pm 

The chair of a Kansas Senate committee had some tough questions for a nominee for the Kansas Court of Appeals. Republican Senator Jeff King asked Kathryn Gardner if they should reject her nomination because they don't know much about her opinions on legal matters.

“We are lacking that paper trail of your own thought, your own opinion, your own personal writing reflecting that,” says King.

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Government
11:21 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Kansas Senate Panel To Have Hearing On Appeals Court Nominee

The Kansas Senate chamber.
Credit Stephen Koranda

The Senate Judiciary committee is having a hearing this week on Governor Sam Brownback's appointment of a new judge to the state Court of Appeals.

The Committee will convene Wednesday for testimony on the nomination of Kathryn Gardner of Topeka to the state's second-highest court.

The committee's agenda says the hearing could continue Thursday and a vote is possible then.

Governor Brownback named Gardner to the appeals court to fill a vacancy he created last year by elevating then-Judge Caleb Stegall to the Kansas Supreme Court.

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Government
10:46 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Deadline Marks The End For Many Bills In The Kansas Legislature

Credit Stephen Koranda

Lawmakers are taking a long weekend after working hard last week to beat a legislative deadline known as "turnaround." As Stephen Koranda reports, when they return on Wednesday, they’ll have fewer issues to consider.

Most bills had to have passed one chamber in the Kansas Legislature by the end of last week or they are dead for the session. That means many bills are done for this year. But, bills from certain legislative committees are exempt, for example budget bills remain alive and well.

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Government
2:36 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

State Senate Approves Bill Moving Local Government Elections In Kansas

The Kansas Senate has advanced a bill that would move local elections from the spring to the fall of odd-numbered years. The bill is a compromise that is aimed at balancing efforts to increase voter turnout against objections from local governments. Stephen Koranda reports.

Republican Senator Mitch Holmes says the goal is to get more people voting by moving the Kansas local elections to the traditional voting season in the fall.

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Government
2:02 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Kansas House Delays Vote On Bill Easing Marijuana Penalties

Credit Lancerenok / Flickr--Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers are delaying action on a bill that would reduce sentences for the first two marijuana possession offenses.

The House chose to return the measure to a panel for further discussion on Thursday, rather than vote on it or discard it.

Most bills had to be passed by their chamber of origin by today or be tabled for the remainder of the session.

The bill would eliminate the possibility that an offender would face prison time until their third marijuana conviction unless they had serious prior convictions.

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Government
3:23 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Kansas Senate Rejects Bill Controlling Mental Health Drugs

Credit Steve Snodgrass, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Senate has rejected a bill to give the state's Medicaid program more control over costly mental health drugs.

The vote yesterday was 25-15 against the bill.

Senators who opposed it said they are concerned about mentally ill participants in the Medicaid program not getting the drugs they need.

The state's $3 billion-a-year Medicaid program provides health coverage for 368,000 needy and disabled state residents.

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Government
12:37 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

New Proposal Would Grant Kobach Prosecutorial Powers Over Election Fraud Cases

Credit US Dept. of Justice [Public domain] / Wikimedia Commons

The Senate has also advanced Secretary of State Kris Kobach's proposal to give his office the power to prosecute election fraud cases.

But debate on the measure exposed a split among Republicans who control the Legislature.

The Senate gave the bill first-round approval on a voice vote.

It's expected to pass in a final vote today and go to the House.

Kobach says county prosecutors are usually too busy to pursue election fraud cases.

But critics say there's not enough election fraud to justify such a move.

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Government
2:05 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

KS House Committee Advances Bill Expanding Liquor Sales

Rep. Scott Schwab speaking after the vote.
Credit Stephen Koranda

A Kansas House committee has approved legislation that would let convenience stores sell full-strength beer. It would also allow grocery stores to sell beer, wine and liquor. Stephen Koranda reports on the proposed changes, which would take effect in 2018.

Republican Representative Scott Schwab says this change will be convenient for Kansas consumers. He says in his family, his wife doesn’t want to go to a liquor store while out shopping.

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