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.

Kansas News Service

Renewed attention to the financial struggles of several Kansas hospitals is giving supporters of Medicaid expansion a potentially powerful argument as they work to build a veto-proof majority for a new bill.

The law signed on Thursday by President Trump allowing states to cut off family planning funding to Planned Parenthood won’t have an immediate effect on the organization’s affiliates in Missouri and Kansas.

That’s because Kansas barred Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X family planning funds several years ago – a move later upheld by a federal appeals court.

Stephen Koranda

Paul Davis, a former legislator and Democratic candidate for Kansas governor, said Thursday he is considering a run for the 2nd District congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins.

Davis narrowly lost to incumbent Republican Sam Brownback in the 2014 race for governor. Davis is from Lawrence and served as the Democratic leader in the Kansas House of Representatives.

In an interview Thursday, Davis said he has concerns about some of President Donald Trump’s proposed policies.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A Kansas law will allow guns on university campuses and in public hospitals later this year. Efforts to amend the policy have faltered in the Legislature, but the issue is likely to come up again after lawmakers return to the Statehouse in May.

The law says most public places in Kansas must allow concealed weapons, unless there is security in place to make sure no one carries a gun. An exemption for universities and hospitals expires this summer.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Atchison, Kansas, population 11,000, has some of the same challenges facing other small towns around the country: They've had a hard time keeping businesses, retaining jobs and attracting young people.

But one thing that feels different here is their economic struggles feel linked to the town's rich history as a 19th century gateway to the west.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN KANSAS CITY

The federal Chemical Safety Board says October’s toxic chemical release at MGP Ingredients in Atchison, Kansas, was preventable.

The board released preliminary findings critical of safety procedures at MGP Ingredients after a toxic chemical release at the Atchison-based distiller.

The accident on Oct. 21, 2016, enveloped Atchison in a dense cloud of chlorine gas and sent three MGP workers and more than 100 local residents to hospitals with respiratory issues.

Frank Morris / Kansas News Service

On Tuesday, voters in south-central Kansas will be the first in the nation to decide a congressional race in the age of Trump. The special election in the Kansas 4th District will replace Mike Pompeo, who now leads the CIA.

It’s a district that would, under normal circumstances, be considered a lock for the Republican candidate. But of course, these are not normal times, and resources are flooding into the district from left and right.

Kansas News Service

Kansas legislators hit adjournment Friday with some big tasks left for their wrap-up session that starts May 1.

At the top of the list is a tax and budget plan, which largely will be influenced by the amount of school funding that legislators decide to add in light of the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling last month. In the health policy arena, Medicaid expansion supporters are regrouping after the governor’s veto — and holding out hope for another shot this session.

Kansas News Service

Advocates of expanding Medicaid eligibility are planning a second attempt to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of an expansion bill when lawmakers return in May to wrap up the 2017 session.

The first attempt failed in the Kansas House last week, when supporters came up three votes short of the 84 needed to override.

Kansas Health Institute/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have wrapped up the first part of the legislative session and will return to the Statehouse in May.

Legislators did manage to send a bill balancing the budget for the fiscal year that ends in June to the governor, but they haven’t finalized tax and budget plans for 2018 and 2019.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle said she isn’t frustrated by the slow progress.

“It’s expected. Coming to a compromise, an agreement on a tax package is probably the most difficult thing any state legislature would have to do," she said.

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