Kansas House | KCUR

Kansas House

Sharon Liese seated in front of a radio microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: A last look at candidates and issues before Tuesday's elections.

Kansas and Missouri primaries are just days away and the political climate on both sides of the state line is heating up. Our political pundits gave a rundown of the major races and issues going into the primaries, including controversial ballot measure Proposition A, and contests affecting Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Portraits of George and Martha Washington as they appeared on a early 20th century postcard.
Boston Public Library

Segment 1: Kansas Supreme Court rules new school funding plan lacks sufficient money but gives legislature another year to eliminate shortfall.

In order to avoid school shutdowns, the Kansas Legislature recently added $522 million to the education budget over the next five years. Still, critics argue this will not be enough and more needs to be added for inflation. Today, we looked at this latest development in the longstanding Gannon case and its implications for the future of public education in the state.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Former four-term state representative and agriculture secretary Josh Svaty wants the state's top job.

Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita suspended his campaign for governor on Wednesday.

Ward will instead focus on being re-elected to the House.

Flickr

Kansas lawmakers approved an updated $16 billion budget Saturday on a 92-24 vote as they worked through part of the weekend.

The bill amends the spending plans lawmakers approved last year, and includes some targeted increases in state government funding.

It partially restores cuts to higher education from 2016, at a cost of $12 million. It also allocates $8 million to provide raises to workers in the judicial branch.

The bill funnels more money into the state’s pension plan, KPERS, to make up for a missed $194 million payment.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas senators will return Monday to find a school finance fix waiting on their desks, hammered out in the House over the weekend.

The bill undoes an $80 million error inserted last-minute into this year’s school funding bill.

“The overwhelming majority of our body wanted to make sure those funds were allowed to be given to the districts,” House Speaker Ron Ryckman said after the measure passed 92 to 27.  “It’s in the Senate’s hands now.”

Statewide criminal registries took off in the 1990s, fueled by crimes against children and a desire to alert people to the presence of sex offenders in their neighborhoods. But some are saying that Kansas’ database has gotten out of hand, that it’s expanded to include too many different types of offenders. So, a debate is beginning about how it might be streamlined.

 

The DLC / Flickr -- CC

We start a new monthly series in which we take a close look at the news and events that are shaping the unique communities around the metro. First up: KC's Northeast neighborhood.

Then: It's been just over a year since President Trump's inauguration. Since then, there's been an expectation that women across the nation would run for office. We talk with women from Kansas and Missouri who are doing just that.

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas House debated a new school finance plan for five hours Wednesday, taking up two dozen amendments and finally voting 81-40 to advance a bill not much different from the one that had come out of committee. The measure is slated to get a final vote Thursday in the House. Then it will be the Senate’s turn.  

Matt Hodapp / 89.3 KCUR

Kansas lawmakers had high hopes last week that a Senate tax bill would pass, and they could get on with approving a budget. But, two Democrats joined with a number of Republicans to vote down the legislation. The Democrats said it wouldn't generate enough revenue. On this week’s podcast, KCUR’s Jim McLean and Sam Zeff talk with Republican Rep. Russ Jennings, who says that vote could prolong the session. 

elizaIO / Flickr - CC

We know we're supposed to reduce, reuse, and recycle our waste, but can local companies that make recycling their business turn a profit? Then, an eyewitness to the attack on Pearl Harbor shares her experience in Hawaii during World War II.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Great ideas may be hard to come by, but a new book has us thinking all that's needed is a change of scenery. We also remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, 75 years after it catapulted the nation into WWII. This week's Statehouse Blend Kansas features freshman Democrat Cindy Holscher.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

It’s a campaign without ads. There are no TV spots or mailers. The only people voting are the 165 Kansas lawmakers choosing their new leaders.

“Leadership races are the most inside of inside baseball,” says University of Kansas political scientist Burdett Loomis.

Loomis says you almost have to be a legislative nerd to have heard of the candidates for Kansas House speaker or Senate president, but they get to make committee assignments and control the chamber.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With Election Day a week away, we check in with local political reporters for analysis of elections in Kansas and Missouri. Then, political commentator E.J. Dionne discusses the presidential campaign and themes from his book Why the Right Went Wrong. We finish with this week's Statehouse Blend Kansasfeaturing state Rep.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, Rep. Russell Jennings (R-Lakin) discusses the 2016 election, guns on college campuses, education funding, and his campaign for speaker of the house.

Guests:

Campaign season's in full swing. But in many districts across Missouri and Kansas this year, there are no vicious ads, no hot controversies — because there's only one candidate. What's it like to run unopposed, and what effect does that have on our communities?

Guests:

Lawmakers and the state Supreme Court face off over school funding, every single seat in the state legislature is up for grabs, and the budget is millions of dollars in the red. It may sound like the plot of a political thriller but the battle for control of the Kansas Statehouse is real, and things are heating up.

Guests:

Rep. Jim Ward is a Wichita Democrat whose party loyalty has rarely been questioned, but even he says his party is likely to pick up only a few House seats in next week's election.

But he said a few Democratic victories coupled with a few more by Republican moderates might be enough to swing the chamber currently controlled by conservative Republicans more toward the middle.

“I think three or four votes would give us a working majority, at least on some of the big stuff,” Ward said.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas politics have been making national headlines over several controversial bills—and not in a good way. First, there was the one that appeared to make discrimination against same-sex couples legal. Then, there was the one trying to make it legal to spank children hard enough to leave marks.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about those bills and how statehouse politics might affect this fall’s gubernatorial race.

Guests:

The full Kansas House could soon consider a bill cutting back local government firearm regulations. That comes after a House committee amended and approved the legislation on Wednesday. It would bar local governments from regulating the open carry of firearms and make other changes.

stgermh / Flickr-CC

When lawmakers go back to work in Kansas and Missouri, they’ll have some hot issues to keep them warm.

On Monday's Up to Date, state lawmakers from both Kansas and Missouri join us to talk about those contentious topics. In Kansas, the buzz centers around school funding and how the state’s Supreme Court could change the budget for education.

Kansas statehouse races got big league attention and money this year as Governor Sam Brownback's agenda begins to unfold.