Kansas Legislature

Kansas Legislature

A Democratic member of the Kansas House from Wichita plans to resign so that she can spend more time with her grandchildren.

Rep. Carolyn Bridges announced her plans Tuesday. She said she will step down Sunday.

Bridges said she's come to realize that acquiring the knowledge necessary to be an effective legislator takes a number of years. She said she wants to spend her retirement years babysitting her grandchildren and pursuing other opportunities.

Bryan Thompson

Public records advocates are pushing state legislators to bring the Kansas Open Records Act more in line with open record laws in other states.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports changes to the police records portion of the law are supported by Harold and Alberta Leach, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters and the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government.

Bryan Thompson

Kansas lawmakers are considering how to defend the state against cyberattacks or data theft. One possible change would consolidate all the state’s IT security into one agency. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, a state panel held a closed-door meeting on security issues this week.

Rep. Brett Hildabrand says consolidating the services will likely mean a cost savings. He says it could also create a consistent standard for IT security in Kansas agencies.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File Photo

A bill before the Kansas Legislature is aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest on local school boards. But as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, it could make nearly half of current school board members ineligible for their jobs.

To avoid conflicts of interest, the bill would bar anyone from serving on a school board if a family member works for a school district.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas lawmakers are scrutinizing the state’s foster care system. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the review was prompted by reports about children who died in the system.

Democrats in the Kansas Legislature pushed for an investigation of the state’s foster care system last summer following the deaths of two young children. A four-year-old boy was beaten to death in Hiawatha. And a Wichita infant died in a hot car after being forgotten by her foster parents.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

There’s been a shake-up in the Kansas House Education Committee after the Republican speaker made some changes. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, two lawmakers believe they were removed from the committee for political reasons.

A spokesperson for Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick says the changes were made for “the best interest of the caucus and the state.”

Republican Rep. Diana Dierks doesn’t see it quite the same way.

“In other words, I was probably doing my job and wasn’t meeting with what they wanted me to do,” Dierks says.

Some Kansas officials question the value of data collected in annual reports meant to identify state buildings using excessive amounts of energy.

The Department of Administration presented such a report Tuesday to a joint legislative committee that oversees state construction projects. The report said 120 of the 328 buildings surveyed, or nearly 37 percent, had excessive energy use over the past five years.

Stephen Koranda

Lawmakers will be taking a deep dive into Kansas education funding during a series of committee meetings. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the group starts its work later this week.

Kansas lawmakers are continuing to study issues with a state software system. A legislative panel will be hearing details about problems at a meeting later today.

The state has spent more than $14 million on the software system for the Legislature.

At a meeting last month, Senate President Susan Wagle said problems continue when drafting bills and amendments, which caused delays during the last legislative session.

Kansas lawmakers will be studying problems with a state software system. A committee will be meeting next month to start collecting information about the issues. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, Kansas has spent $14 million on the program.

The system is behind the public website for the Kansas Legislature and connects all the various departments and staff in the Statehouse. It’s also used for drafting and distributing bills and amendments.

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