A Kansas House committee is crafting that chamber's version of the state budget, and cutting is on the mind of some lawmakers. The committee is looking at a series of spending cuts requested by Governor Sam Brownback last summer.
A proposed change to Kansas alcohol laws would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine and liquor. Currently, wine and spirits are only available at dedicated liquor stores.
A Kansas House committee heard from supporters and opponents of the bill Thursday. The committee room was packed with people interested in the bill.
Jon McCormick, with the Kansas Food Dealers Association told legislators that current laws cause some Kansans to drive across the state line to buy alcohol. He says the current system creates inconvenience for Kansans and raises liquor costs.
A Kansas House committee has approved a bill that is aimed at removing any state subsidies for abortion, even tax credits or exemptions.
Much of the debate focused on part of the bill that prohibits employees of an abortion provider from teaching sex education in schools. But it was written so broadly that a parent who works for an abortion provider wouldn't be allowed to volunteer in the classroom for any purpose.
Allan Rothlisberg, a Republican from Grandview Plaza, was in favor of the measure.
A Kansas legislative committee has advanced a bill that would expand the number of public buildings in which concealed weapons are allowed. The measure also eliminates the possibility of being criminally charged if a person accidentally brings a legally carried concealed weapon into a building where concealed carry is forbidden.
Representative Larry Campbell, a Republican from Olathe, proposed the change.
A Kansas House committee has heard from supporters and opponents of a bill that would limit the bargaining rights of teachers.
The legislation would cut back on the items school districts are required to negotiate with unions from more than two dozen to five. Supporters of the change say it will allow administrators to allocate resources and respond to demands on the education system.
Ken Willard is a member of the Kansas Board of Education and he headed a school efficiency task force created by Governor Sam Brownback.
The union representing teachers in Kansas says its members were prevented from offering their opinion on a bill that affects unions. The bill would scale back some of the mandatory bargaining rights of teachers.
Currently, the negotiations process between the union and a school district includes lots of items, like how teachers are evaluated and the process for firing a teacher. The bill would limit what is required to be negotiated to just a handful of items
The Kansas House has given first-round approval to a bill that would change how appeals court judges are selected in the state. The bill would allow the governor to appoint appellate court judges, who would then be confirmed by the state Senate.
Critics of the current system say it isn't democratic enough, because a nine-person nominating commission selects candidates. Five of the nine are attorneys. Representative Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, says the change would be a step in the right direction.
A bill that would require drug testing for some welfare and unemployment benefit recipients passed the Kansas Senate Thursday. It would require drug tests for some people enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, if they are suspected of drug use.
Senator Jeff King, an Independence Republican, says the goal of the bill is to help Kansans who have drug problems.
Democratic Senator Anthony Hensley tried to add a provision that would also administer drug tests to business owners who receive economic development funds from the state.
Kansas lawmakers are considering a resolution that would underscore the Legislature's opposition to a proposed expansion of Medicaid programs. House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, says he doesn't support making the state's health care program bigger.
A controversial bill in the Kansas Legislature would bar local governments or public entities from spending tax dollars on lobbying. That would affect the abilities of cities, counties and universities to support or oppose legislation. The bill would make it a crime to spend public money on lobbying.
Supporters and opponents packed a Senate committee room yesterday to sound off on the bill.
It's about a month into the 2013 legislative session, but the top Democrat in the House is questioning if lawmakers will be able to wrap up in 80 days as planned. Representative Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, says legislators will soon need to decide if they'll support the governor's tax proposal or perhaps create their own proposal.
“I’m hopeful and supportive of trying to finish in 80 days, but the prospects of doing that, I think, are getting bleaker,” says Davis.
A Senate Committee has delayed work on Governor Sam Brownback's tax proposal. A printing mix-up meant the scheduled debate was left off the official Senate calendar, but the committee's chairman says he didn't want to work on the tax plan without letting the public know about it.
The committee was scheduled to debate the bill and offer amendments. In Statehouse lingo, that’s called “working” the bill. Wichita Republican Les Donovan chairs the Senate Tax Committee. He says they’ll benefit from the extra time to prepare.
Kansas lawmakers are considering a change to the state Constitution in response to lawsuits over school funding.
About eight years ago, a lawsuit ended with an agreement to increase spending on students, but lawmakers cut back when the economy slowed, rekindling the legal battle. Legislators could soon start work on a constitutional amendment, so only they will be able to determine what is a suitable level of funding.