Jim Ward

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Some Kansas lawmakers are criticizing new state worker regulations proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback. His administration wants to change how state agencies determine who gets laid off first.

The proposal would also give agencies discretion to protect certain employees. But critics say these changes would reduce the value of experience and make layoffs more subjective. Democratic state Rep. Jim Ward calls the changes an attack on state employees.


Kansas lawmakers will take part in a candidate roundtable during DemoFest 2016 on Friday.

Democratic Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau will spearhead the roundtable discussion along with state Reps. Jim Ward and Brandon Whipple, who won their recent primary elections unopposed.

Faust-Goudeau says they will offer helpful tips to candidates who will be on the November ballot. She says one tip for candidates is to meet with voters and hear their concerns.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas taxpayers have been picking up the tab for state officials and legislators to fly in the state-owned executive aircraft to attend out-of-state sports events and take trips with family and friends, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Government officials appear to have no qualms about their own travel in the state's nine-passenger Raytheon King Air 350, despite Kansas' budget crunch that has led the governor to criticize schools for spending too much and lawmakers in the GOP-majority Statehouse to accuse poor people of spending welfare money on cruises.


As Kansas legislators prepared to head back to Topeka for a special session, KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc sat down with two local lawmakers to talk about the subject of the session: school funding.   

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A panel of Kansas lawmakers has voted not to audit a state agency to see if there’s discrimination against same-sex couples. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, an audit would have looked for discrimination when it comes to foster care and adoption.

In a letter to the committee, the head of the Kansas Department for Children and Families said the agency doesn’t discriminate against same-sex couples. That was enough for Republican Sen. Jeff Longbine to suggest they hold off on an audit.

Kansas lawmakers could continue work on a so-called step therapy plan when they return to the Statehouse for the veto session. It would require Medicaid patients to try cheaper, proven drugs before trying more expensive options.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward isn’t sure the plan would actually save the $10 million supporters estimate. He fears it may hurt patient care and would like more protections added to the bill.

Alex Starr, flickr Creative Commons

The back-and-forth discussion about school funding in the state of Kansas has been, without a doubt, confusing. Last week, Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill that lawmakers hope will fix a major problem in education financing. But how could that bill affect students in Wichita? And what does it mean for the future of education funding in Kansas?

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A Kansas legislative committee has concerns about the way the state is handling the placement of foster children, but the committee delayed taking any action until next month.

Rep. Jim Ward wants an audit of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, because he says evidence of wrongdoing can’t be released due to confidentiality laws. The Wichita Democrat says an audit could reveal discrimination by DCF against same-sex couples.

Stephen Koranda

Republican legislators blocked a state audit of Kansas' foster care system even though several acknowledged that they have ongoing concerns about how well it protects abused and neglected children.

GOP members of the committee that oversees the work of state auditors were skeptical that the review would provide useful information.

Kansas Legislature

A Democratic legislator says Kansas lawmakers need to rewrite campaign finance laws to close what he sees as a loophole involving loans by candidates to their own campaigns.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward of Wichita called for a review of campaign finance laws Wednesday. His comments came after the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas said it expected no federal criminal charges to be filed from an investigation of loans by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to his and Gov. Sam Brownback's re-election campaign.