Sam Brownback

Michael Coghlan, flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback is having events in four Kansas communities this week to promote corrections programs designed to help offenders return to productive lives after their time behind bars.

The events begin Tuesday morning with a tour and question-and-answer session for reporters at Johnson County's minimum-security residential center for adult offenders in New Century.

The governor plans to travel Wednesday morning to the state's maximum-security prison outside El Dorado to have a news conference about programs designed to prevent inmates from becoming repeat offenders.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Four judges who sued Kansas over the Legislature's move to defund the state judiciary's budget voluntarily withdrew their lawsuit Thursday after the state moved it to federal court, and they instead plan to file new claims in district court.

The latest legal maneuvering comes in response to the state's move earlier this week that landed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Topeka, arguing it contained some federal due process claims.

Stephen Koranda File Photo

Gov. Sam Brownback is taking some budget options off the table for now in the face of sagging revenue numbers.

Stephen Koranda

Gov. Sam Brownback has proclaimed October as “Zombie Preparedness Month.” That not-so-serious name is aimed at getting people to think about a serious topic.

Brownback stood next to 15-year-old Faith Tucking, who was decked out in bloody zombie makeup, as he signed the proclamation Wednesday. The idea behind “Zombie Preparedness Month” in Kansas is an eye-catching way to think about emergencies. The supplies needed to survive a zombie attack will actually benefit you in other emergencies.

Via Christi

The CEO of Kansas’ largest health care system is renewing his call for Medicaid expansion.

Jeff Korsmo runs the Via Christi health system. It operates hospitals in Wichita, Manhattan, Pittsburg and Wamego.

Korsmo says the health care system is initiating cost-cutting measures because its revenues are running behind projections two months into the budget year.

Stephen Koranda File Photo

Gov. Sam Brownback says work on a new formula for funding Kansas' public schools should focus on how local districts spend their money, create incentives to shift dollars into classroom instruction and encourage merit pay for teachers.

The Republican governor said during an Associated Press interview that he'd like the GOP-dominated Legislature to draft a new formula next year. It would determine how the state distributes the bulk of its aid the 286 districts, now more than $4 billion.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback Friday highlighted changes made in recent years to strengthen KPERS, the pension plan for state and local employees. But the governor had little to say when asked if he’d push for further reforms.

Brownback has supported moving the state from a pension to a 401(k)-style plan, where workers are responsible for managing their own retirement investments. When asked if that's still his preference, Brownback would only say that he is reviewing the matter.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

If President Obama closes the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, the suspected terrorists who are housed there might be transferred to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has spoken out against that idea.

Yesterday, he brought that message to Leavenworth and heard from the people who would be most directly affected: local residents. KPR’s Stephen Koranda was at the public meeting and files this report.

    

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s nominee for commerce secretary has backed out of the job, after citing a possible conflict of interest. As Stephen Koranda reports, the withdrawal comes just a day before a hearing on his nomination was set to begin.

Dave Ranney file photo / KHI News

The president of the Kansas Hospital Association is taking issue with recent comments made by Gov. Sam Brownback about Medicaid expansion.

The governor said rather than lobbying for expansion, hospitals should address their financial problems by innovating and getting more efficient. He said reductions in Medicare payments triggered by the Affordable Care Act are the biggest problem for Kansas hospitals.

But hospital association president Tom Bell says the governor is wrong about that.

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