Kansas Legislature

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

For Ashlyn Harcrow, the sound of the train whistle brings up all kinds of thoughts she’d like to avoid. Harcrow, 24, has been living at the Topeka Rescue Mission since July.

The nonprofit homeless shelter has helped her stabilize as she recovers from domestic violence and tries to improve her mental health amid post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

It’s a campaign without ads. There are no TV spots or mailers. The only people voting are the 165 Kansas lawmakers choosing their new leaders.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The election next week seems likely to shift the ideology of the Kansas Legislature. It appears there could be more Democrats and centrist-leaning Republicans. Stephen Koranda reports on how the governor and these new lawmakers might get along.

Gov. Sam Brownback told reporters this week that he would work with the new Kansas legislature, even if it’s ideologically different from now. Brownback points out how he worked with the previous moderate leadership in the Senate several years ago.

Rachel Andrew / flickr Creative Commons

There is widespread, bipartisan support for eliminating or reducing the sales tax on food among candidates for the Kansas Legislature, according to survey results released Monday by an advocacy organization.

However, when the winners of next week’s election show up at the Statehouse in January, they may again decide the state can’t afford to do without the revenue it generates.

Torrey Wiley / flickr Creative Commons

A measure on the ballot this fall will ask voters if Kansas should add rights for hunting and fishing to the state constitution. The amendment is aimed at fending off some types of hunting restrictions found in other states.

Republican state Rep. Ken Corbet runs a hunting lodge and he says the industry has a big economic impact in Kansas. While he doesn’t expect any efforts to limit hunting soon, he wants to make sure the sport is preserved into the future.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

In many districts across Kansas, tight budgets have put teachers and school boards at odds. School boards are hedging their bets about how generous the state funding will be next year. That very much depends on who wins seats in the Legislature.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Legislators in Kansas have some big issues on their plate next year. As Stephen Koranda reports, they’re already planning on a long session.

Kansas lawmakers already know they’ll have to balance the state budget. Add into that the huge issue of writing a new school funding formula.

But that’s not all: The Kansas Supreme Court could issue a ruling that says the state has to increase funding for schools by hundreds of millions of dollars, which would further complicate everything.

Stephen Koranda / KPR, File Photo

We’re almost three months away from the next Kansas Legislative session, and the top Republican in the Senate is already predicting overtime.

There will be a monster agenda facing lawmakers when they return to Topeka in January.

The state is already $60 million in the hole, and that is likely to worsen. So legislators will have to raise taxes, cut budgets or both.

Senate President Susan Wagle is expected to be reelected to the chamber. On KCUR’s podcast Statehouse Blend, she says there’s too much work for the allotted time.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The president of the Kansas Senate says lawmakers should take a bigger role in crafting the budget.

The governor creates a Kansas budget proposal and delivers it to the Legislature at the start of the session. While the final budget bill is often significantly different, the governor gives legislators a starting point to work from.

Senate President Susan Wagle says lawmakers should do more and write their own budget plan from scratch.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

Updated at 4:00 p.m:

Kansas tax collections came in more than $40 million short of estimates in September. That grows the budget deficit for the current fiscal year to around $60 million.

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