Sam Brownback

Stephen Koranda file photo

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is already looking ahead to next year’s legislative session, just days before lawmakers are set to meet for a special session.

The governor told Topeka radio station WIBW this week that he wants to put an end to what he says is a decades-long battle over school funding.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Update via AP Wednesday, 10:06 a.m.: Gov. Sam Brownback is preparing to set the date for a special session of the Kansas Legislature on school funding.

The Republican governor plans to sign a proclamation Wednesday afternoon formally calling the GOP-dominated Legislature into special session.

He wants lawmakers to respond to a state Supreme Court order last month declaring that public schools won't be able to open after June 30 if legislators don't rewrite school finance laws.

The court rejected some changes made earlier this year in how Kansas distributes more than $4 billion a year in aid to its 286 local school districts.

The justices said education funding remains unfair to poor districts. Many Republicans have strongly criticized the ruling, and some have wanted to defy the court.

Lawmakers adjourned their annual session June 1.

Original story:

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he will call state lawmakers back to Topeka for a special session to work on school funding issues. In a statement, Brownback said he made the decision after consulting with legislative leaders.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Updated Tuesday, 11:09 a.m.: Gov. Sam Brownback announced on his website that he is calling for a special session "to keep Kansas schools open, despite the Court’s threat to close them."

Kansas Democratic lawmakers are pushing their fellow legislators to call a special session to work on school funding. Generally, only the governor calls a special session, but state law says a petition from two-thirds of lawmakers can force the governor to make that call.


The 2016 election could be a tough one for some Kansas lawmakers hoping to return to the Statehouse.

Polls, editorials and reader comments on news websites indicate that voters are paying attention to what’s happening in Topeka, and many don’t like what they’re seeing.

PHIL CAUTHON, KHI NEWS SERVICE

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback this week signed bills that prevent privatizing troubled state mental hospitals unless lawmakers approve. There have been staff shortages and other issues at the Larned and Osawatomie state hospitals.

Tim Keck, interim secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, has said in the past he wants to at least consider the option of privatizing state hospitals. This week, Brownback was asked by a reporter if privatizing the facilities is a long-term solution for the problems.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Budget problems are forcing Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to make cuts in the state Medicaid program that he once said he wouldn’t make.

In 2012, Brownback was pushing lawmakers to approve his plan to privatize Medicaid. In his State of the State speech that year he said creating KanCare would save money--and do it in a more responsible way than other states.

“Now many states are either kicking people off of Medicaid or paying doctors and other providers less," he said. "Neither of these choices providers better outcomes.”

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is criticizing the Obama administration's directive on the treatment of transgender students at public schools as "an unprecedented example of executive over-reach."

The U.S. departments of justice and education said last week transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity because federal law prohibits discrimination against those students. The administration says schools that refuse to comply could face federal lawsuits and lose federal aid.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Gov. Sam Brownback is cutting most state agencies 4 percent to balance the Kansas budget for next year.

Lawmakers approved an unbalanced budget that required the governor to make almost $100 million in spending reductions to comply with the state Constitution. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says the governor exempted some agencies and K-12 schools.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas will have tighter welfare rules for cash assistance after Governor Sam Brownback signed some new restrictions into law. The changes will reduce the total amount of time Kansans can take part in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

The limit for Kansas families receiving benefits will go down from 36 months to 24 months. The state can grant another year of benefits under certain hardships. Brownback says the goal is getting people off assistance programs and instead into the workforce.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Gov. Sam Brownback has until later this week to take action on a budget passed by Kansas lawmakers. It’s likely he’ll sign it into law, but as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, there will be some budget cutting associated with the new spending plan.

Kansas lawmakers approved a budget that isn’t balanced, with the assumption that the governor will make millions of dollars in spending cuts. The state Constitution says there must be enough revenue to cover expenses. Brownback says he can make budget cuts before signing the bill into law to comply with that.

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