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.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas House and Senate negotiators continue to struggle as they work on a tax plan to help balance the state budget. Thursday, talks stalled on a bill that would fully reverse the tax cuts pushed by Gov. Sam Brownback.

Peter Taylor / flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered an investigation into whether federal prosecutors have been using recordings of attorney-client meetings at Leavenworth prison illicitly.

In a blistering 48-page order, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson wrote that there are “grave concerns about government intrusion into attorney-client communications.”

Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas legislative leaders working on a plan to end the 2017 session have what amounts to a chicken-and-egg dilemma.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Business officials lined up Wednesday against a plan to impose sales taxes on certain services. Lawmakers in the Kansas Senate are considering the tax changes to help balance the budget and lower the sales tax on food. Under the bill, which already passed the House, services like towing, some pet care and debt collection would be subject to sales tax.

File Photo / KCUR

Gov. Sam Brownback’s approval rating among Kansans continues to flounder and ranks lower than that of President Donald Trump, according to the spring Kansas Speaks survey released Tuesday.

The survey, published twice a year by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University, found that Brownback has an approval rating of 21 percent, while 56 percent said they are “very dissatisfied” with him. The very dissatisfied number is down from the 62 percent the governor received a year ago.

Kansas News Service/File photo

  

A former Kansas legislator who also served as the state agriculture secretary and as a senior official in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is running for governor.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A divided K-12 Budget Committee passed out a school funding plan for Kansas schools that essentially nobody likes.

Meg Wingerter / Kansas News Service

Editor’s note: Kansas privatized its foster care system in 1997 after a lawsuit revealed widespread problems. Twenty years later, the number of Kansas children in foster care has shot up — by a third in just the last five years — and lawmakers are debating whether the system once again needs serious changes. The Kansas News Service investigated problems in the system and possible solutions. This is the first story in a series.

Steven Lee / Creative Commons, flickr

Private investigators and some other services that Kansas lawmakers consider “non-essential” may soon be subject to the state sales tax.

The House on Monday passed a bill 78-42 that would impose the state’s 6.5 percent sales tax on a relatively short list of currently exempt services.

In addition to private investigation and security services, the list includes plumbing and pool cleaning, towing, non-residential janitorial services, debt collection and pet care excluding veterinary services.

Doug Kerr, flickr Creative Commons

Lobbyists for Kansas highway contractors are urging state lawmakers to increase the gas tax, but it’s proving to be a tough sell.

Forced to deal with massive budget problems in recent years, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and lawmakers have diverted billions of dollars from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

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