Kansas Legislature

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A Kansas senator who compared Planned Parenthood to Dachau doubled down on his statement and called Planned Parenthood worse than Nazi concentration camps.

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a Republican from Leavenworth, told KCUR in Kansas City on Monday that he saw nothing wrong with the comparison, which he made in a letter to Planned Parenthood after a woman made a donation to the organization in his name.

Asked if he thought Planned Parenthood was akin to a Nazi concentration camp, he replied, “Worse. Much worse, much worse, much worse."

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee Monday advanced a bill making changes to the sweeping juvenile justice reforms put in place last year.

Rep. Russ Jennings, a Republican from Lakin who chairs the committee, said some people thought the reforms had some unintended consequences, leading to a request for a full repeal of last year’s bill.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

State lawmakers need to write a new formula for funding Kansas schools and close budget gaps in the current and coming fiscal years. As Stephen Koranda reports, they’ll be attacking those issues separately.

Senate leaders are going to take a two-pronged strategy, starting with balancing the Kansas budget. Then they’ll focus on a new school funding formula. The Kansas Supreme Court says the current funding is inadequate.

If lawmakers add more money for schools, the Senate’s majority leader, Jim Denning, says that will be built into the school funding bill.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The president of the Kansas Senate says a new school funding formula needs to focus on the quarter of students who are at-risk and not meeting state standards. And simply adding money to a funding formula won’t solve the problem, she says.

Sen. Susan Wagle, a Republican from Wichita, says the federal Head Start program is a good model on how to help at-risk children.

Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers appear poised to pass a Medicaid expansion plan despite objections from Gov. Sam Brownback and uncertainty about the future of federal funding.

Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, doesn’t hesitate when asked if the expansion bill, which passed the House in late February, will clear the Senate later this month.

“I believe the bill passes on the Senate floor,” Wagle says, adding that she believes it will be approved by a wide margin.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas public colleges will have to allow firearms on their campuses starting in July. But they’re still battling with the gun lobby over how people should be allowed to carry their guns.

In preparation for the law mandating concealed carry on campuses, the colleges have proposed some restrictions. For example, people carrying a semi-automatic weapon on campuses would not be allowed to keep a round in the chamber.

Kansas News Service/File photo

The first weeks of the legislative session are a time for lawmakers to put forward their favorite ideas that have little chance of becoming law. In most years, that list would include changes to Medicaid, but things are different with the 2017 Kansas Legislature.

Christopher Sessums / flickr Creative Commons

A top leader in the Kansas Senate says lawmakers may ask school districts to dip into their reserve funds to help solve a looming budget deficit.

Republican Majority Leader Jim Denning, from Overland Park, says he knows taxes will have to be raised to structurally balance the state budget.

The problem, he says, is the 2018 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

He calls that a "bridge year," and says he may want school districts to use 2 percent of their reserve funds to help balance the budget.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Kansas lawmakers return to Topeka Monday after a week-long break. As Stephen Koranda reports, they’ll get back to work with some new information about the challenges they face.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

The Kansas Supreme Court’s school finance decision Thursday doesn’t give lawmakers much time to come up with a new funding formula. As Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service reports, a tight deadline isn’t the only problem they face.

It is not hyperbole to say the challenges that members of the 2017 Kansas Legislature face are among the most daunting in the state's history.

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