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Politics

Brownback’s tax proposals panned by anti-tax activist
January 26, 2015
National anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is urging Kansas legislators to reject Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposals to increase the state’s tobacco and alcohol taxes to help close state budget shortfalls.
Kansas geologist says fracking not the cause of earthquakes
05:52 p.m., January 26, 2015 Updated 10:33 p.m.
The recent spate of minor earthquakes in south-central Kansas is more likely caused by the disposal of saltwater, a byproduct of oil drilling, than the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” One quake in November registered 4.9 on the Richter scale, the strongest temblor ever recorded in Kansas. By Peter Hancock
Kansas House committee working on plan to expand Medicaid
12:39 p.m., January 26, 2015 Updated 10:34 p.m.
Hospital officials gave their backing Monday to a Kansas House committee’s effort to expand the state Medicaid program to capture additional dollars under the federal health care overhaul, despite opposition to the plan from Republican leaders.
Kansas legislative panels to tackle gap in current budget
January 26, 2015
Kansas legislative committees are preparing to consider proposals for closing a projected $279 million shortfall in the state’s current budget.
Kansas courts now in center of partisan politics
10:15 p.m., January 25, 2015 Updated 10:18 p.m.
Judges in Kansas are finding themselves increasingly at the center of partisan political fights, an unusual position for the state courts. And that’s likely to continue as Gov. Sam Brownback calls for changing the way state Supreme Court justices are chosen. Some argue that the courts need to become more accountable to the public, but other legal experts say the proposed changes would not help. By Peter Hancock
Kansas governor proposes to backpedal on school funding
January 25, 2015
Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing that Kansas backpedal on a much-ballyhooed increase in spending on public schools, just as he is asking fellow Republicans in the Legislature to slow down aggressive tax-cutting because of big budget shortfalls.
Sin tax increases could hurt wallets, but unlikely to curb vices, Lawrencians say
January 24, 2015
In the town named the most hungover city in America this month by Business Insider, Gov. Sam Brownback’s new tax proposition, which would raise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products to balance the state budget, would have little effect on vices, but a big impact on pocketbooks, some Lawrencians said. To aid against the projected budget shortfalls of more than $710 million in the current budget and in the next fiscal year, Brownback suggested increasing the cigarette and tobacco product tax trifold and the alcohol tax by 50 percent. Under his plan, the state would raise $394 million over a period of two years, the Associated Press reported earlier this month.
Kansas medical marijuana advocates see progress in legalization effort
January 23, 2015
State Sen. David Haley has an expression he often repeats when describing lawmakers’ interest in legalizing medical marijuana in Kansas: “The ice is beginning to thaw.” But don’t get carried away, he added. “It isn’t spring yet.” By Elliot Hughes
Kansas attorney general asks court to clarify school finance ruling
January 23, 2015
Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the three-judge panel handling the school finance lawsuit didn’t explain what facts it relied on in its ruling that said current funding for schools is unconstitutional. He is asking the panel to revise its Dec. 30 opinion, which will delay any review by the Kansas Supreme Court. By Peter Hancock
School funding plan’s effects on property taxes uncertain
03:44 p.m., January 23, 2015 Updated 10:26 p.m.
Kansas legislators from both parties say they’re not sure how Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s school-funding proposals would affect the power that local districts have to raise local property taxes.
Kansas Democrats outline opposition to governor’s budget
09:59 a.m., January 23, 2015 Updated 10:23 p.m.
Democratic leaders in the Kansas House and Senate said Friday that Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax and spending plans for the next two years would hurt public schools and working families. But they offered no alternative of their own, saying only that they want to be “part of the discussion” as the 2015 legislative session progresses.
Jayhawks savor presidential visit
January 22, 2015
Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, spent some quality time with Kansas University’s basketball players and coaches on Thursday morning, prior to delivering a 30-minute speech before a crowd of 7,150 in Anschutz Pavilion.
Column: Obama provides advice
January 22, 2015
Alicia Spack, director of operations for the Kansas University softball team, let the players know via text Tuesday that their locker room would be off limits Thursday because it was going to be used as essentially the green room for the president of the United States, before making his speech at Anschutz Pavilion.
Obama at KU: Some university community members came for the issues, others for the show
07:10 p.m., January 22, 2015 Updated 10:12 p.m.
To be sure, President Barack Obama’s star power was the driving force behind many Kansas University community members who flocked to see him speak Thursday on campus. But plenty of students, administrators and professors were there for the issues, too.
President Obama drops in on Lawrence preschool before speech
January 22, 2015
Before his speech on the Kansas University campus Thursday, President Barack Obama paid a visit to a local Head Start preschool, drawing attention to his proposals to expand access to child care and early childhood education for working-class families. By Peter Hancock

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