Kansas House advances budget
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas House gave first-round approval on Tuesday to a proposed $14 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, fending off a series of amendments aimed at public broadcasting funding.
The roll call vote of 71-51 advances the bill to final House action set for Wednesday, which is the same day that the Senate is scheduled to debate its version of the budget.
Under the House two-year budget proposal, the state ...
Block of union paycheck deductions passes
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Senate approved legislation Thursday prohibiting public employee unions from deducting money from members’ paychecks to help finance political activities over objections that the bill targets traditional Democratic supporters.
The vote was 24-16 and sends the bill back to the House to consider changes made by the Republican-led Senate. The House approved the measure earlier in the legislative session, but senators remo...
Kansas House approves gun rights measures
TOPEKA (AP) — A proposal to let school districts and state colleges designate employees who can carry concealed weapons, and another to expand the number of public buildings where concealed weapons are permitted, passed the Kansas House with broad support Thursday.
Another measure declaring that the federal government cannot regulate firearms manufactured, sold and kept in Kansas also was approved, though lawmakers readily acknowledged such a ...
Kansas Senate passes revised tax bill
TOPEKA (AP) — Legislation cutting Kansas’ personal income tax rates cleared the state Senate on Thursday, but Republicans in both chambers remained split over GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to offset such reductions by canceling a promised decrease in the sales tax.
The Senate’s 25-14 vote sends the tax bill to the House, which is working on its own measure. Brownback hopes to follow up on massive income tax cuts enacted last year by cuttin...
House OKs gun measures
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas House on Wednesday advanced three gun measures, including one that could allow people to carry concealed weapons into some government buildings and another that is meant to bar federal authorities from confiscating firearms made in the state.
One bill would require local governments to either take additional steps to make public buildings secure or allow people to carry concealed weapons inside. Much of Wednesday’s deb...
Kansas Senate passes tax bill
TOPEKA (AP) — The Republican-dominated Kansas Senate rewrote tax legislation before giving it first-round approval Wednesday night, keeping GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposals for cutting income tax rates further but scrapping part of his plan for revenue-raising offsets to stabilize the budget.
Senators advanced the measure on a voice vote after nearly five hours of debate. A second, final vote is set for Thursday, when approval would send the...
Argentine cardinal becomes pope
VATICAN CITY (AP) — From “the end of the earth,” the Catholic Church found a surprising new leader Wednesday, a pioneer pope from Argentina who took the name Francis, a pastor rather than a manager to resurrect a church and faith in crisis. He is the first pontiff from the New World and the first non-European since the Middle Ages.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires who has spent nearly his entire career in Argentin...
Panel OKs rival tax plan
TOPEKA (AP) — A Kansas House committee has approved a plan from its Republican chairman to cut sales and income taxes.
The proposal approved Tuesday by the Taxation Committee rejects key elements of GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for following up on individual income tax cuts enacted last year.
The proposal from Chairman and St. Marys Republican Richard Carlson allows the state sales tax to fall to 5.7 percent in July, as scheduled by state law...
Panel considers bill to eliminate state college savings plan
TOPEKA (AP) — A program that helps some poor Kansans save for college could be eliminated under a bill currently being considered by a House committee.
The program allows up to 1,200 state residents each year to receive up to a $600 yearly state match for contributions to the Kansas’ 529 college savings plan. The program is open only to households at 200 percent or below the federal poverty level, or with incomes roughly below $47,100 a year f...
Company protests Air Force contract
WICHITA (AP) — Airplane maker Beechcraft said Friday it will formally protest an Air Force decision to award a competitor a contract worth more than $427 million, claiming the decision puts an estimated 1,400 jobs in Kansas and other states in jeopardy.
The announcement is the latest development in a bitter, high-stakes competition that has taken nearly three years with legal challenges from both sides. The contract could be worth as much as $...
Strip club legislation dies
TOPEKA (AP) — Legislation banning alcohol, total nudity and semi-nude lap dances inside Kansas clubs was rejected Friday by a state House committee, a setback for advocates who’d hoped a new crop of conservative lawmakers would enact tough statewide regulations on sexually oriented businesses.
The Federal and State Affairs Committee first narrowed the proposed “Community Defense Act,” limiting it to preventing new sexually oriented businesses ...
Legislators debate innovative schools bill
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas lawmakers on Thursday continued debating legislation aimed at creating 10 innovative school districts that would be exempt from many state rules and regulations in exchange for improving student achievement.
The House gave first-round approval to its bill Thursday after debate over exempting the 10 districts from many laws governing teacher contract negotiations and due process. Senators approved a similar version on a 3...
Panel passes abortion measure
TOPEKA (AP) — Sweeping legislation cleared a Kansas House committee Thursday that would bar public schools from having any relationship with abortion providers or their informational materials and would block even indirect subsidies for abortions.
The bill approved by the Federal and State Affairs Committee doesn’t contain changes as dramatic as a new Arkansas law that nearly bans abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy, but abortion rights ...
Council wants support for problem gamblers
TOPEKA (AP) — The head of the National Council on Problem Gambling on Thursday urged Kansas to increase its support for programs that help residents with gambling addictions, saying the state has an ethical and financial responsibility to do more.
Keith Whyte said that not all of the money from a state fund established in 2007 is making it to addiction programs. He said only 10 percent of the funds earmarked for addiction programs were being ...
Nation’s wealth regains its peak
WASHINGTON (AP) — It took 5 1/2 years.
Surging stock prices and steady home-price increases have finally allowed Americans to regain the $16 trillion in wealth they lost to the Great Recession. The gains are helping support the economy and could lead to further spending and growth.
The recovered wealth — most of it from higher stock prices — has been flowing mainly to richer Americans. By contrast, middle class wealth is mostly in the form of ...
House panel passes concealed-carry bill
TOPEKA (AP) — Public schools and state colleges in Kansas could designate workers to carry concealed guns even if such weapons are banned inside their buildings for others under a bill that a legislative committee approved Tuesday.
The Kansas measure approved by the House Federal and State Affairs Committee also would require the state, cities, counties and townships to allow concealed guns in their buildings unless they have electronic equipm...
State to take over SEK nature center
GALENA (AP) — Supporters of the Southeast Kansas Nature Center in Galena say the state’s decision to take over operation of the center will help ensure its survival and draw tourists to the area.
The Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism said Tuesday that it will begin operating the nature center after agreements are signed with the center’s board and the Galena City Council officially approves them. The state is already advertising for a director ...
Teachers object to changing law
TOPEKA (AP) — The largest teachers’ union in Kansas is warning of a “war” on educators as the Republican-dominated Legislature considers a proposal that would narrow contract negotiations between teachers and public school districts.
The proposal, which is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday, would reduce the number of issues that teachers’ groups could negotiate with local school boards. For example, teachers would still be able to negotiate su...
Court orders mediation in school suit
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas’ highest court ordered meditation Friday in an education funding lawsuit and stayed a lower court’s ruling directing legislators to increase spending on public schools.
Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the state Supreme Court last month to order mediation and to put on hold a ruling by a three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court that required the state to boost annual spending on school ...
‘Celebrate Freedom Week’ bill passes
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas House backed a bill Friday that would require schools to devote a week in mid-September each year to focus on teaching students about the country’s founding.
The “Celebrate Freedom Week” measure, one of several pending bills sponsored by conservative Republicans that would affect school curriculums, passed on a 95-25 vote. It would require the State Board of Education to develop rules and regulations for public schoo...