Government

Government
9:31 am
Mon January 27, 2014

State Lawmakers Considering Proposal To Protect Those Who Don't Recognize Same-Sex Unions

Despite several more states legalizing gay marriage recently, Kansas lawmakers are considering a proposal that would protect individuals, groups, and businesses that refuse to recognize same-sex unions or to provide benefits to gay couples, for religious reasons.

State Representative Charles Macheers says the bill will protect religious freedom.

Governor Brownback is receptive to the idea, but says he hasn't yet studied the proposal enough to offer a formal endorsement.

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Government
9:22 am
Mon January 27, 2014

State Senator Looking To Make Paid Surrogacies Illegal

State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook is pushing a measure that would make it illegal to pay women to be surrogate mothers.

The proposal would also void existing surrogacy contracts.

The Public Health and Welfare Committee met yesterday to begin two days of hearings on the her proposal.

The bill is patterned after a law in the District of Columbia. Pilcher-Cook is concerned that Kansas has no laws dealing with surrogacy contracts; she worries that women are being exploited.

Government
9:29 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Kobach Backs Bill To Exclude Lesser Prairie Chicken From Federal Protection

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is backing a bill that would exclude the lesser prairie chicken from federal protection.

Kobach told the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Thursday that the bill would likely lead to a legal battle that pits state rights against federal law.

Government
10:54 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Gov. Brownback Wants To Use Extra $430K To Hire More State Inspectors

Governor Sam Brownback wants to spend an extra $430 thousand dollars to hire more state inspectors. They'll oversee the accuracy of thousands of scales and product scanners.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Weights and Measures licenses private companies and technicians to install and service scales. State inspectors then "spot-check" a fraction of the work.

Brownback says it boosted compliance rates when he initiated the program more than 20 years ago as the state's agriculture secretary.

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Kansas Legislature
4:07 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Bill Would Speed Death Penalty Appeals

Testimony on a bill that would speed up death penalty appeals in Kansas concluded Tuesday at the state Legislature.

A staff member with the attorney general's office told a Senate committee that long filings and delays often extend the process. But Sarah Johnson, a defense attorney who has worked on death penalty cases, said the cases are very complex and a lot of time is needed to prepare.

Johnson said the bill could harm certain defense cases.

Government
10:40 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Want To Watch State Legislative Committee Sessions? You Might Be Able To Soon

Audio and video of Kansas legislative committee sessions would be streamed live over the Internet under a bill introduced in the House.

Republican Representative Stephanie Clayton says her bill will help citizens stay current on matters that affect their lives and ensure legislators are paying attention.

The bill will also require video broadcasts of House and Senate sessions. Audio of the sessions already is streamed on the Internet.

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Government
9:56 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Commission: Voter Citizenship Law Could Prevent Eligible Citizens From Voting

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has found that heightened proof-of-citizenship requirements could hinder eligible citizens from voting in federal elections.

Their ruling late Friday denied requests from Kansas, Arizona and Georgia to modify the federal registration form for their residents.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says the states now will press their constitutional claims before the U.S. District Court in Kansas.

Kobach says the decision is unconstitutional because it prevents the states from securing their voter rolls.

Government
9:30 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Kansas To Increase Payments From Oil And Gas Fund To State Counties

Kansas will increase payments from a trust fund to several counties that had sued over the annual disbursements.

Governor Sam Brownback's administration announced earlier this week that the state will increase payments from the Oil and Gas Depletion Fund to many counties.

Nearly half of the state's 105 counties, and all the counties in southwest Kansas, sued last fall.

They said they should have received twice as much money as the total sent to counties in October from the trust fund.

Kansas Budget
3:23 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Brownback Releases Details Of Budget Plan

Governor Sam Brownback is proposing a reversal of some state university salary cuts and a raise for classified state employees. He's also hoping to rewrite the Department of Corrections budget.

Senator Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, chairs the Senate's budget committee. He says most of the governor's proposed $460 million dollar spending increase is allocated for corrections, but some lawmakers will still have concerns.

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Government
9:43 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Brownback Outlines Past Accomplishments And Plans For 2014 In State Of The State Address

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback delivers his State of the State address, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, in the House of Representatives in Topeka, Kan.
Credit (AP Photo/The Topeka Capital Journal, Chris NeaL)

Governor Sam Brownback took aim at Kansas courts, referenced state history and touted his administration's accomplishments during the annual State of the State address on Wednesday night.

Brownback also unveiled some of his legislative priorities as he spoke before members of the legislature.

The Governor held up what he says are the achievements of his administration over the last three years: building up state financial reserves and balancing the budget during the recession.

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