Sam Brownback

Stephen Koranda / KPR/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.

Stephen Koranda

Gov. Sam Brownback is considering a budget plan that requires him to make spending cuts. Brownback says he has not yet decided if he’ll veto a provision in the budget affecting the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the budget item says spending cuts should hit those schools harder than other universities.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Kansas has delayed cutting off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood facilities in the state and has postponed any action against the organization until June 7.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri spokeswoman Bonyen Lee-Gilmore said Wednesday that the state sought another extension to prepare for the first hearing in a federal lawsuit challenging the cutoff and that the delays are sign of how the state's decision is "all political."

"Clearly, there's no public health emergency at play," she said.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

The two Planned Parent organizations in Kansas and Missouri wasted little time challenging Kansas’ termination of their Medicaid funding.

Madeleine Deaton / Flickr Creative Commons

It could soon cost slightly more to register vehicles in Kansas. Lawmakers have approved a bill that would increase vehicle registration fees to help fund the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Republican Rep. Virgil Peck opposes the move, because he says they could divert existing registration money instead of adding the new $3.25 fee.

“We have a way to fund it other than this increase. I do not support increasing vehicle registration fees on Kansas vehicle owners by nearly $10 million,” Peck said.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Finding a way to balance the state budget is job one for Kansas lawmakers in the final weeks of the legislative session. But dozens of other bills remain in play, including one aimed at lowering KanCare costs by limiting patient access to expensive drugs.

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