Kansas House panel to hear ‘religious freedom’ bill for campus groups
March 29, 2015
Senate Bill 175 would require colleges and universities in Kansas to give recognition and support to student religious organizations that discriminate in their membership, if the discrimination is based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Kansas University says there have been no controversies over such groups in at least the last 15 years. But the American Civil Liberties Union says taxpayer money and student fees should not be used to support discrimination. By Peter Hancock
Colleges getting out of health insurance business
March 29, 2015
The federal health care overhaul is leading some colleges and universities to get out of the health insurance business.
Ex-Brownback aide lobbying against tobacco tax increase
March 29, 2015
Gov. Sam Brownback’s former chief of staff is lobbying against a proposed tax increase on tobacco, one of the governor’s primary proposals to balance the state’s budget.
Candidates differ on rental licensing program; discuss views on city management, commission changes
March 28, 2015
When the current City Commission passed a new rental registration and licensing program last year, it was one of the more sweeping program changes made by the commission in recent memory. Now the question is whether the program will be swept out with a new commission.
Kansas appeals court clarifies use of ‘stand your ground’ defense
March 28, 2015
The Kansas Court of Appeals said trial courts must follow strict rules before allowing a defendant to claim immunity from prosecution under the state’s so-called “stand your ground” law. That 2010 law says individuals cannot be arrested, detained or prosecuted for using deadly force if they acted in self defense, unless officers can show probable cause that a crime was committed. By Peter Hancock
Lawmaker defends use of state plane to fly back for vote
March 28, 2015
Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, was flown back to Topeka on the state’s private plane to vote on a controversial school funding bill, but arrived too late to cast that vote. He said he was attending official events in his home districts and that the flights were related to his official duties. By Peter Hancock
Rasmussen responds to concerns about out-of-town donations
March 27, 2015
Lawrence City Commission candidate Stan Rasmussen is seeking to assure voters that he’s not allowing several thousand dollars of campaign donations from outside of Lawrence and from a politically active conservative activist to influence his campaign. By Chad Lawhorn
New Kansas bill would allow counties to vote on liquor sales
March 27, 2015
A Kansas bill introduced Wednesday would allow a county’s voters to decide if their grocery stores can sell liquor, wine and spirits; and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer.
House OKs bipartisan Medicare doctor bill; fate up to Senate
March 26, 2015
In uncommon bipartisan harmony, the House approved a $214 billion bill on Thursday permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts, moving Congress closer to resolving a problem that has plagued it for years.
Cuts in financial aid for public institution students may be deeper than expected
03:31 p.m., March 26, 2015 Updated 10:50 p.m.
Students attending independent private colleges and universities may get as much as 84 percent of the need-based grants funded by the state under a budget bill passed by the Kansas Senate this week. But the wording in the legislation is not clear. By Peter Hancock
Plaintiffs seek to block new Kansas school funding plan
01:31 p.m., March 26, 2015 Updated 10:52 p.m.
Plaintiffs in an ongoing school finance case asked a three-judge panel in Topeka on Thursday to block implementation of a new school funding plan that Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law Wednesday. By Peter Hancock
Kansas moving closer to issuing $1B or more in pension bonds
07:44 a.m., March 26, 2015 Updated 10:51 p.m.
Kansas is moving closer to issuing $1 billion or more in bonds to bolster its pension system for teachers and government workers.
Kansas Senate passes budget that includes cuts to KU and student financial aid
08:10 p.m., March 25, 2015 Updated 10:10 p.m.
The Senate budget bill includes a $9.4 million cut in funding for the Lawrence campus of Kansas University. It also changes the way state-funded student financial aid is allocated that will result in public institutions losing $5.3 million in funding, or about 3,521 fewer students receiving aid. Senate Republican leaders say the bill is only a starting point for negotiations with the House. By Peter Hancock
Public transit hub topic of debate at City Commission forum
07:50 p.m., March 25, 2015 Updated 10:11 p.m.
The six candidates for the Lawrence City Commission are divided on how to reorganize the city’s public transit system. By Chad Lawhorn
Kansas Senate rejects bill on teacher contracts
03:41 p.m., March 25, 2015 Updated 07:47 a.m.
The Kansas Senate rejected a bill that would make it easier for teachers to be fired, marking a rare defeat for a conservative bill in the GOP-dominated chamber as legislators churned through a loaded agenda Wednesday.