Kansas 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/File photo

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.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

About 60 people showed up for a public forum at Kansas State University yesterday on how best to implement a new state law that will allow concealed carry of handguns on university campuses in Kansas next July.

Kansas lawmakers — at least the majority of incumbents — think college campuses will be safer starting next July. That’s when a law they approved will allow people to carry concealed handguns on Kansas Board of Regents campuses.

Storem / flickr Creative Commons

The Wichita chapter of a nationwide grassroots organization called Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America is planning to speak out against the decision by Kansas legislators that will allow people to carry guns on college campuses in the state.

The group is hoping to change state legislation that is set to go into effect next summer. They plan to attend candidate forums, ask tough questions and encourage people to vote.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A temporary block grant system for education in Kansas is set to expire next year and lawmakers are planning to write a new school funding formula to replace it. How much money a new formula provides per student could be one of the major issues of contention.

Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, says Kansas does well on most education measures, but his group is studying the states that perform even better.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

Going into Tuesday’s primaries, most political watchers believed conservatives would lose a few seats in the Kansas House but hold their own in the state Senate.

But by the end of the night, conservative Republicans across the state took a shellacking.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

When you’re a Republican, and the governor is a Republican, and the governor has a low approval rating, running for office can be tricky. In a state Senate race in Topeka, both Republicans are trying to keep their distance.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas Bioscience Authority will soon go on the auction block. A state panel Wednesday officially merged the KBA into the Kansas Department of Commerce, the first step in selling off the state-funded investment organization.

Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave says the agency will be taking bids to purchase the organization in the coming months. He says they’re hoping for a buyer with a connection to the state of Kansas.

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