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

Updated Tuesday at 10:41 a.m.

Buoyed by the failure of Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Kansas Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to a Medicaid expansion bill in a 25-14 vote.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Senate is likely to debate a budget proposal this week, and House lawmakers could also make progress on their spending plan. But there’s one hitch: Both budgets are unbalanced.

Wikipedia

The Kansas House has given first-round approval to a bill that opens the door to growing industrial hemp.

Republican Rep. Willie Dove says people have confused hemp with marijuana. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana, and hemp does not have enough THC to get a person high.

Dove says industrial hemp could give farmers a new, profitable crop to grow.

“But yet they’ve been held back just because of ignorance of what the product really is,” Dove says.

J. Schafer, Kansas Public Radio

A Kansas House committee has voted to reverse some of the funding cuts made to colleges and universities last year.

The proposal would divert money next fiscal year to help restore part of the cuts to the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. Under a budget provision last year, KU and K-State took a bigger hit than other schools.

Republican Rep. Troy Waymaster proposed restoring the funding.

“It really hurt KU and K-State. We needed to balance that out and just make it fairer to all the regents schools across the board,” Waymaster says.

Kansas News Service

Unless the Legislature makes a change, community mental health centers across Kansas will have to allow patients and staff to bring their guns starting in July.

A 2013 state law requires most publicly owned buildings to allow concealed weapons or to install metal detectors and post armed guards. The law included a four-year exemption for community mental health centers, universities, publicly owned medical facilities, nursing homes and low-income health clinics that ends July 1.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers are now a step away from what could be a showdown with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback on the political football issue of Medicaid expansion.

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday advanced an expansion bill to the full Senate for a vote supporters say will take place Monday.

“Hallelujah,” said Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, immediately after the committee approved the bill on a voice vote with little debate.

J. Schafer / KPR/File photo

A proposed school funding bill in Kansas would add $75 million to the public education system, but many educators say that’s far less than they expected and may not be enough to satisfy the state Supreme Court.

Susie Fagan / Kansas News Service

Updated Thursday 11:06 a.m.

A dispute about the cost and potential benefits of expanding Medicaid eligibility heated up ahead of a Kansas Senate committee vote on a bill. The committee voted Thursday morning to send the expansion bill to the full Senate, which is expected to hold a vote Monday.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service/File photo

Opponents of expanding Medicaid in Kansas are challenging supporters’ claims about how much it would cost.

Susan Moiser runs the state agency that oversees KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. She’s challenging claims made by the Kansas Hospital Association and others that expansion would generate more than enough in revenue and cost savings to pay for itself.

Moiser says the estimates are based on flawed assumptions about the economic benefits of expansion and the extent to which federal funding could supplant state dollars.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers have waited for half the session to get a look at what will probably be the basis for a new school funding formula.

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