Kansas Legislature

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor/File photo

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday that he's not rethinking his support for a Kansas law that will allow concealed guns on state college campuses starting in July, despite opposition from faculty, students and administrators.

A law enacted by the GOP-controlled Legislature and signed by Brownback in 2013 expanded the rights of gun owners age 21 and older to carry concealed weapons into public buildings. It allowed state universities and community colleges to exempt themselves for four years.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A Senate committee has recommended the confirmation of former Representative Richard Carlson to head the Kansas Department of Transportation.

However, it wasn’t a unanimous vote. Democratic Sen. Anthony Hensley noted that Carlson chaired the House Tax Committee in 2012 when the state slashed income taxes.

In recent years, the state has repeatedly taken money from the highway fund to help balance the budget.

“Mr. Carlson really led the effort in the House to pass a plan that has basically decimated the Department of Transportation and the highway fund," Hensley said.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW/File photo

After winning a seat in the state Senate in the general election, Democrat Lynn Rogers says he will continue to serve on the Board of Education for Wichita Public Schools.

State law allows those elected to state office to continue serving on local school boards. In 2000 former Wichita school board member Jean Schodorf chose to keep her seat on the board when she was elected to the Kansas Senate. Her school board term expired in June 2001.

J. Schafer / KPR/File photo

Kansas voters want change for the 2017 session: They made that clear by replacing a couple dozen conservative Republican legislators with Democrats and more moderate Republicans. The newly elected lawmakers gather today to select their leadership.

The leadership selections will be an early indication of how much the balance of power has really changed in the Statehouse.

For speaker of the House, the race is between a moderate -- Republican Russ Jennings from Lakin in southwest Kansas -- and two conservatives -- Ron Ryckman Jr. of Olathe, and Jene Vickery of Louisburg.

KANSAS LEGISLATURE, COLORING BY KELLY TATE

Next Monday, Dec. 5, all of the lawmakers elected to the Kansas Legislature will meet in Topeka to nominate new leadership for the 2017 session.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers already know they’ll have some big issues on their plate during the next legislative session, which kicks off in January. There’s also uncertainty clouding the issues.

As Stephen Koranda reports, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments in a school funding lawsuit this fall, but justices haven’t yet handed down a decision.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

Kansas privatized its Medicaid program in 2013, and there have been questions ever since--questions about how well KanCare is working. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, a new study may provide some answers.

dcf.ks.org

In July, an audit blasted the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) for not doing enough to ensure the safety of kids in foster care. A legislative panel has received an update on what the agency has been doing to respond to the findings.

DCF communication director Theresa Freed says the department has already put multiple changes in place.

There are additional improvements coming in January, with stricter polices on required monthly visits to check on foster kids. She says there will also be more scrutiny of Kansas foster homes.

kscourts.org

Despite a growing budget deficit, the Kansas court system will ask lawmakers for an extra $20 million to boost pay for court employees across the state.

A study released by the state Supreme Court paints a dismal picture: Pay for district court judges ranks 50th in the country, and some court employees have starting salary below the federal poverty level for a family of four.

In addition, according to the high court study, a third of judicial branch employees work more than one job, hardly a recipe for retaining experienced workers.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A legislative committee says lawmakers and other state officials should more closely monitor the Kansas foster care system. As Stephen Koranda reports, that is one of the recommendations that came out of a joint committee meeting yesterday.

The recommendations come after a state audit earlier this year, which said the Kansas Department for Children and Families wasn’t doing enough to ensure the safety of kids in foster care. One of the recommendations says lawmakers should create a panel that will more closely monitor and review foster care in Kansas.

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