Kansas Legislature

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas Bioscience Authority will soon go on the auction block. A state panel Wednesday officially merged the KBA into the Kansas Department of Commerce, the first step in selling off the state-funded investment organization.

Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave says the agency will be taking bids to purchase the organization in the coming months. He says they’re hoping for a buyer with a connection to the state of Kansas.

Stephen Koranda

A property tax lid is going into effect in Kansas next year,  and some communities are taking action to prepare for the revenue restrictions.



Kansas legislators created the tax lid with a law that says property tax collections can’t outpace the consumer price index.

If property tax collections grow faster than the index, then either tax rates would have to go down to return that money to taxpayers or a public vote would have to be held to take in money above the cap.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Supreme Court has set arguments for September in an ongoing lawsuit over school funding. At issue is whether the state is spending enough on schools.

Republican leaders in the Legislature call the timing of the arguments political, because they’ll take place not long before the fall election. House Speaker Ray Merrick says it’s an effort to direct attention away from retention elections for the justices.

“The timing of the scheduled arguments yet again demonstrates the court’s desperate political motivations,” Merrick says.

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.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

To say that many educators in Kansas are fed up with state lawmakers would be an understatement. The state Legislature has been putting a tighter and tighter squeeze on public schools in recent years, and this election season, educators are trying to send legislators packing.

Christopher Sessums / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers avoided a legal fight shutting down schools at the beginning of this month. Legislators adjusted the budget to comply with a Supreme Court ruling. But as statehouse reporter Stephen Koranda reports, there’s more legal wrangling ahead in a lawsuit over school funding.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A batch of new laws passed by Kansas lawmakers during the last legislative session go into effect tomorrow, July 1.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Much of the credit for keeping Kansas schools open is going to Fairway Republican Rep. Melissa Rooker and other moderates who put forward a plan that didn’t reduce school aid.

Stephen Koranda

Updated June 27, 2016: Gov. Sam Brownback signed Substitute for House Bill 2001, which aims to satisfy a mandate from the Kansas Supreme Court to correct inequities in school funding. The bill increases state funding for poor districts by $38 million for the 2016-17 school year by diverting funds from other parts of the budget as well as redistributes funds from wealthier districts. Brownback says that signing the bill ensures that Kansas schools will remain open.

“I appreciate the hard work of legislators which began prior to the start of the session in a series of meetings," Brownback said in a press release. "The effort to bring together legislators, educators and attorneys resulted in a bill supported by all parties and a stipulation by plaintiff’s attorney that House Bill 2001 satisfies the equity portion of this litigation."

Brownback also congratulated House Speaker Ray Merrick and Senate President Susan Wagle for "an efficient and focused special session."

Chris, flickr Creative Commons

A new plan to fund public schools got a big boost today when some districts that stand to lose money said they would support the proposal.

Several wealthy districts in Johnson County will lose overall funding, which will go to assist poorer school districts. Todd White, superintendent of Blue Valley Schools, says they’re willing to compromise and accept the bill in order to keep schools from closing.