10:24 am
Wed January 29, 2014

State Lawmakers Consider Banning Minors From Using Tanning Beds

State lawmakers are considering whether to ban tanning parlors from letting minors use their tanning beds.

The House Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday on the bill.

The measure includes a maximum $250 fine for businesses that allow customers younger than 18 to use tanning beds.

Proponents say exposure to harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds increases the chances of developing melanoma later in life.

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9:42 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Some Say House Bill 2453 Protects Religious Freedom; Others Say It OK's LGBT Discrimination

Kansas' Federal and State Affairs Committee is considering a bill on Tuesday that would protect individuals, groups, and businesses that refuse to recognize same-sex unions.

The measure--House Bill 2453--would also protect those who refuse to provide benefits to gay couples for religious reasons.

Kansas added a ban against gay marriage to the state constitution in 2005. Voters approved the bill by a 70 percent margin.

But recently, federal judges struck down similar bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

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9:30 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Kansas Unemployment Rate Drops Below 5 Percent

The Department of Labor's latest report says the Kansas economy continued to improve at the end of 2013; the state's unemployment rate dipped below 5 percent for the first time since 2008.

Labor Secretary Lana Gordon says Kansas gained 10,000 nonfarm jobs in 2013.

Nine of the 11 major industry sectors posted job gains last year, topped by professional and business services.

Declines of 100 jobs were reported in government employment and 800 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector.

9:37 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Landowners To Receive Legal Protection For Preserving Lesser Prairie Chicken Habitat

The federal government is offering legal protections for landowners who help protect the lesser prairie chicken.

The protections should ease land-owner and energy industry concerns that they would not be able to operate in the bird's habitat if the prairie grouse is listed as a threatened species.

Those who take steps to preserve habitat will receive a letter guaranteeing they will not be fined or prosecuted if lesser prairie chickens are found dead on their property.

The decision would affect the plains of Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Oklahoma.

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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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.

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.

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.

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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