Kansas News Service

KMUW's Kansas News Service reports on health, education and politics across the state. The service is a collaboration between KMUW, KCUR and Kansas Public Radio.

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Three of Kansas’ four members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for a budget resolution late last week that paves the way for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Lynn Jenkins joined Kevin Yoder and Roger Marshall in voting for the resolution that will allow the Republican-led Congress to start erasing major parts of the health reform law.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, didn’t vote.

Marshall says Republicans are eager to take Obamacare off the books.

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Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal would sell the state’s future payments from tobacco companies to plug financial holes for the next two years.

The budget proposal — outlined Wednesday morning — calls for the state to receive $265 million from “securitizing” the tobacco payments in fiscal year 2018, which starts in July, and the same amount in the following year.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback released on Wednesday a wide-ranging plan for fixing the state’s budget shortfall. It would take money from the highway fund, raise some taxes and overhaul the funding system for children’s programs. It would also take longer to pay off a shortfall in the state's pension plan, KPERS.

Jim McLean, of the Kansas News Service, spoke with Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda about the budget plan and how lawmakers are reacting.

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In his State of the State speech Tuesday, Gov. Sam Brownback threw down a gauntlet for state universities: Come up with a $15,000 bachelor's degree. In the education world, almost nobody saw that coming.

But now that the idea for a bargain bachelor's is out there, it's up to the Kansas Board of Regents to try and make it a reality.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback laid out new policy proposals and budget plans during his State of the State address Tuesday. Even though Kansas faces a budget deficit adding up to almost a billion dollars by next year, the governor began his speech by showcasing some of the state's strong points. KPR's Stephen Koranda reports.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

In addition to the budget, income taxes and education, Kansas lawmakers will also debate whether to roll back some gun legislation.

As Sam Zeff with the Kansas News Service reports, a bill to do just that has already been filed.

The pre-filed measure would negate a law from two years ago that allows anyone to carry a concealed gun in the Statehouse. The capitol is secured by metal detectors and highway patrol troopers.

The lone sponsor of the legislation is Democratic Rep. Louis Ruiz from Kansas City, Kansas.

Kansas News Service

As they gavel in Monday for the 2017 session, Kansas legislators are considering delaying juvenile justice reforms enacted last year.

Last year’s bill was intended to steer low-level juvenile offenders into diversion and treatment programs rather than group homes and detention facilities. It had broad bipartisan support, and Gov. Sam Brownback called it the premier legislation of the 2016 session when he signed it in April.

Andy Marso / KCUR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled a two-part plan Friday to bring more doctors to the state and quell health care shortages that he said threaten to kill rural communities.

Brownback, flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a hospital executive and the head of the Kansas Farm Bureau, harkened back to his days growing up in Parker — population 250 — to personalize the push for more rural doctors.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

In tight budget times, Kansas mental health advocates are turning to the lottery for some financial help.

Kyle Kessler, executive director of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, said the association will ask the Legislature to commit an additional $31 million over the next two fiscal years for the centers. That $31 million — pulled from Kansas lottery proceeds — would return funding for the 26 centers across the state to the 2007 fiscal year level.

haysmed.com

Extending its growing reach in Kansas, the University of Kansas Hospital has finalized its agreement to partner with Hays Medical Center in the northwest part of the state.

In September, the two institutions signed a letter of intent to join forces, with HaysMed maintaining its name and separate ownership structure.

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