Government

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.

Government
1:50 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Brownback Administration Releases Kansas Budget Plan

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s administration has released a plan to fix a budget deficit in the current fiscal year. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, cuts to highway funding and the state’s public retirement system will be key to balancing the Kansas budget.

Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says the administration started by trying to find ways to reduce spending while minimizing the effect the cost-cutting would have on services.

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Government
4:41 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Wichita City Council Approves Water And Sewer Rate Increases For 2015

Credit City of Wichita

The Wichita City Council have approved water and sewer rate increases for 2015. As KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports, the decision will hit industrial users the hardest.

In a 4-2 vote, rate increases proposed by Wichita Public Works and Utilities were finalized.

Residential users can expect a combined 4 to 6 percent increase, depending on use, which translates to about $2—$5 a month.

The largest industrial users, such as Spirit Aerosystems, can expect increases of about 6.3 percent, or just over $3,000 a month.

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Government
1:58 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Kansas Joins 17-State Coalition Lawsuit Against Obama's Immigration Policy

Kansas is part of a 17-state coalition suing over President Barack Obama's recently announced executive actions on immigration.

The states argue in the lawsuit that the move "tramples" key portions of the U.S. Constitution.

Many Republicans are criticizing President Obama's move, which was designed to spare as many as 5 million people living illegally in the United States from deportation.

But Texas Governor-elect Greg Abbott took it a step further. He filed a formal legal challenge in federal court in the Southern District of Texas.

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