Kansas government

Commissioners support new building codes policy, say Kobach did not get special treatment; others not so sure
May 23, 2015
Two Douglas County commissioners say they have been asking County Administrator Craig Weinaug for some time to adopt a building codes policy that was more instructional and service-oriented and less punitive, and they are set to discuss that relatively new approach at a meeting June 3. By Karen Dillon
Kansas universities lack firm plan for concealed guns on campus, making some anxious
Board of Regents, KU say discussions underway; fearful faculty and students talking, too
May 23, 2015
The calendar is creeping toward the date when, under Kansas law, people will be able to carry concealed guns into buildings on college campuses, even without a concealed carry permit. It’s become increasingly clear that adding security measures to block guns from all entries into all buildings is not financially or logistically feasible. Kansas University’s Lawrence campus alone has 237 buildings, and statewide there are 864, according to the Board of Regents’ most recent facilities inventory. What’s still very unclear is how KU and other schools will implement the change when it becomes effective July 1, 2017. And, at least at KU, that has some faculty and students worried. By Sara Shepherd
Steep drop in oil, gas valuations upending county budgets
04:33 p.m., May 22, 2015 Updated 10:44 p.m.
People and businesses in Kansas’ energy-producing counties may be paying more in property taxes or face cuts in local government services in the wake of the cheaper gasoline prices.
Brownback signs bill regulating ride-hailing companies
May 22, 2015
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a compromise on regulations that ride-hailing company Uber says will allow it to stay in the state.
Court rules Highway Patrol must pay KU Hospital for prisoner’s medical bills
11:07 a.m., May 22, 2015 Updated 10:37 p.m.
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Highway Patrol is responsible for paying the medical bills of an indigent man who’d been arrested for drunk driving after crashing his car into a tree. By Peter Hancock
Kansas lawmakers mull new tax on exchange health policies
08:47 a.m., May 22, 2015 Updated 10:37 p.m.
A Kansas Senate committee has reviewed a proposal to impose a new fee on insurance policies sold through an online marketplace set up under the federal health care overhaul.
Kansas House balks at setting up alternative to foster care
May 22, 2015
Kansas House members are uneasy about a proposal to allow parents to temporarily give up custody of their children to others as an alternative to putting the youngsters into foster homes overseen by the state.
Budget negotiators drop tuition freeze, narrow revenue gap
May 21, 2015
House and Senate budget negotiators agreed Thursday to drop a proposal in their spending plan that would have prohibited state colleges and universities from raising tuition. They also made other adjustments in the proposed budget that narrow the projected revenue shortfall for next year to about $380 million. By Peter Hancock
Kansas House approves variety of election changes
04:31 p.m., May 21, 2015 Updated 10:24 p.m.
The Kansas House approved a measure Thursday that would move local elections to the fall in odd-numbered years in a bid to boost turnout. The bill would also permanently cancel the state’s presidential primary elections and the Senate passed a tweak to the state’s abortion laws before lawmakers adjourned for a four-day weekend.
Kansas Senate calls off tax debate
04:12 p.m., May 21, 2015 Updated 10:25 p.m.
Senate GOP leaders postponed the debate until next week to give members more time to draft proposed amendments. Both the House and Senate are now expected to debate tax bills next week, after they return from an extended four-day Memorial Day weekend. By Peter Hancock
Regents report: Almost half of all Kansas college students taking ‘distance’ classes
01:03 p.m., May 21, 2015 Updated 10:25 p.m.
More than 45 percent of students enrolled at Kansas institutions of higher learning are taking at least one class from a distance, according to a new Board of Regents report. On Thursday, Regents vice president of academic affairs Gary Alexander presented the board with this year’s annual report for the Regents Distance Education Plan. It showed that distance education is widespread at Kansas schools and growing. By Sara Shepherd
Kansas House approves bill upping Secretary of State Kobach’s power; Douglas County lawmakers vote no
11:27 a.m., May 21, 2015 Updated 08:43 a.m.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Thursday that his office would “begin immediately” to prepare election fraud prosecutions if Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill giving him the power to prosecute.
Report: Lobbyist continues to influence Brownback
10:34 a.m., May 21, 2015 Updated 10:19 p.m.
A lobbyist who was once Gov. Sam Brownback’s chief of staff continues to have influence with the governor and his administration, according to emails obtained by The Wichita Eagle.
KU Art and Design Building named for former Chancellor Chalmers
07:53 p.m., May 20, 2015 Updated 10:45 p.m.
The Kansas University Art and Design Building — dedicated in 1978, and generically called since — now has a name. And, all former KU chancellors now have buildings named in their honor. The Art and Design Building, 1467 Jayhawk Blvd., will be named for former KU Chancellor E. Laurence “Larry” Chalmers, who led KU from 1969 to 1972. By Sara Shepherd
Kansas House advances bill giving Kobach power to prosecute election crimes
02:20 p.m., May 20, 2015 Updated 10:48 p.m.
The bill, which has already passed the Senate, would give the secretary of state independent authority to prosecute election crimes. It also increases the penalties for those crimes and lowers the standard of proof for a conviction. By Peter Hancock

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