Kansas Legislature

Kansas News Service/File

Some Kansas lawmakers hope allowing community-based rehabilitation programs to bill Medicaid for their services will help more people with mental illnesses find work.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Lawmakers in the Kansas House are considering Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to help fill a budget hole by dissolving a state investment fund holding more than $300 million.

The proposal would pay back the money over seven years, but some legislators are skeptical they will make the payments.

Democratic Rep. Tom Burroughs says they delayed a payment to KPERS, the state pension plan, with the promise to pay it back. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

Mothers, college professors, pastors, teachers and students packed a Capitol hearing room Thursday morning to make this plea to lawmakers: Roll back a law that in July will make it legal for almost anyone to carry a concealed gun on Kansas college campuses and in other public buildings.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers seeking to keep university campuses, hospitals and government buildings off limits to firearms are facing a familiar argument from opponents.

Namely, that such restrictions infringe on the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s a Second Amendment issue,” says Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican. “It’s a right to bear arms issue.”

Matthew Hodapp / KCUR

In what could be a blow to the road construction industry in Kansas, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) on Tuesday said it will only spend $44 million on new projects in the next fiscal year.

For the past several years KDOT has let about $400 million just on preservation projects, including roads and bridges.

wichita.edu

New figures from the Kansas Board of Regents spell out just how much each university, community college and technical college would lose if the Legislature chooses to cut its way to a balanced budget this year.

And it's a lot of money.

In total, all 37 institutions would lose out on a combined $52,546,469 dollars if lawmakers enact an across-the-board 6.95 percent cut.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers are working to fill a $350 million budget hole in the current fiscal year that ends in June.

Members of a House committee wanted to know what it would take to erase the deficit using only spending cuts. A legislative report says state agencies would see a 7 percent budget reduction.

Republican Rep. Erin Davis requested the info. She says she’s not advocating for cutting Kansas spending, but she wanted to see what the option would look like.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants lawmakers to give him the authority to create a two-tiered voting system in Kansas. That would mean people who register to vote at the DMV and don’t provide a citizenship document, as required under state law, would only be allowed to vote in federal races.

Kansas voter registration laws still require proof of citizenship, but federal courts have ruled that the state can’t require such proof when people register to vote at the DMV or when they use a federal registration form. Kobach says that bypasses the state’s voter registration rules.

Kansas News Service

The Kansas legislative session is not yet two weeks old, but there are already signs of the change that many voters called for in the recent elections.

New legislative leadership and an aggressive group of newcomers are pushing back against many of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposals, which they say won’t fix structural problems with the state budget.

Message From Voters

From the earliest days of the campaign season, it was evident that many voters were frustrated about the “budget mess” in Topeka.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Lawmakers in a Kansas House committee are considering Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to liquidate state investments to fill a budget hole.

The proposal would basically drain the investment fund of more than $300 million and pay that back over seven years, with interest.

Brownback's budget director, Shawn Sullivan, told the House Appropriations Committee that the choices may be this or budget cuts.

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