Jim Ward

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

August tax collections in Kansas topped estimates by more than $8 million.

The state Department of Revenue reported $460 million in tax collections last month, ahead of its official projection of $452 million.

The AP reports that since Kansas' current budget year began on July 1, that state has collected a total of $914 million in taxes, about $16 million more than projected.

Kansas Revenue Secretary Sam Williams said it's too early to tell whether economic growth is boosting revenues.

PHIL CAUTHON / KHI News Service/File photo

A Democratic candidate for Kansas governor says the Brownback administration is bent on privatizing a key mental health facility.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has unveiled a proposal to build a new mental hospital at Osawatomie, which a Tennessee company would run.

But Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward says the agency should be exploring in-house options.

"This administration has a terrible history of privatization. Whether it be child support collection, DCF, KanCare,” Ward says.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Kansas Democratic House Leader Jim Ward is finally jumping into the race for governor.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Kansas lawmakers in both parties are calling for higher pay for the state’s corrections officers after several recent incidents at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.

alamosbasement / flickr Creative Commons

Now that the veto session is over, Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward says he believes lawmakers will head back to Topeka for a special session to discuss a constitutionally acceptable school funding formula.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

As he officially took over his new job on Monday, Kansas Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman said lawmakers should work together to craft solutions and carry on the state’s tradition of small government.

Stephen Koranda, http://kslegislature.org/, Sean Sandefur

The Kansas Democratic Party is hearing from those who may be interested in running for the 4th District Congressional seat if Republican incumbent Mike Pompeo is confirmed to become the next CIA director.

Kansas News Service/File photo

Medicaid expansion advocates in Kansas say they’ll move forward with legislation despite national election results that signal a repeal of Obamacare.

But they are a lot less optimistic about their chances than they were before last week.

“There is still significant support in Kansas for expanding KanCare both in the public and among legislators,” said David Jordan, director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, a nonprofit advocacy group formed to push for the expansion of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

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.

DemoFest

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.

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