Kansas government

Bill would end property tax exemptions for pipelines
March 31, 2015
A Kansas Senate committee advanced a bill Tuesday that would sunset a 2006 law that gives 10-year property tax exemptions for oil and gas pipelines. That law was spearheaded by former Rep. Carl Holmes, R-Liberal, to benefit the Keystone XL pipeline that runs through Kansas. But some believe the bill to repeal it could become a vehicle for amendments aimed at filling the state’s estimated $600 million budget gap. By Peter Hancock
Kansas City Democrat target of GOP complaint for remarks on immigrant tuition measure
March 31, 2015
Nine Republicans on the House Education Committee have filed a formal complaint against Democratic Rep. Valdenia Winn, of Kansas City, alleging that she accused them of being racist. The comments came during debate on a bill to repeal in-state tuition for Kansas residents who are undocumented immigrants. By Peter Hancock
Kansas Senate panel approves bill to overhaul civil service
March 31, 2015
A Kansas Senate committee has approved a bill that could shrink the state’s civil service system and lessen job protections for government employees.
Kansas lawmakers agree on plan to issue $1B in pension bonds
11:57 a.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 03:01 p.m.
Legislative negotiators in Kansas have agreed on a proposal to authorize $1 billion in bonds to bolster the short-term financial health of the state’s pension system for teachers and government workers.
Report: Kansas tax collections $11M less than expected in March
08:44 a.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 03:49 p.m.
Kansas says it collected $11 million less in taxes than anticipated this month.
Kansas Senate panel considers expanding liquor licenses
08:43 a.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 03:30 p.m.
Kansas counties would be allowed to expand liquor licenses under a bill being discussed by a state Senate panel.
City Commission candidates debate health, wellness issues
09:17 p.m., March 30, 2015 Updated 10:47 p.m.
A Lawrence City Commission candidate forum on health and wellness issues Monday produced a variety of ideas, including a candidate who said he thinks the community could benefit from a lower drinking age. By Chad Lawhorn
Former U.S. Rep. Jim Slattery offers insight into relationship between U.S., Iran
07:53 p.m., March 30, 2015 Updated 10:43 p.m.
Former U.S. Representative Jim Slattery, D-Kansas, spoke Monday afternoon at Kansas University’s Dole Institute of Politics, 2350 Petefish Dr., on the United States’ relations with Iran, the countrys’ histories and current nuclear negotiations.
Religious freedom bill stirs controversy in Kansas Statehouse
02:00 p.m., March 30, 2015 Updated 10:43 p.m.
Kansas lawmakers are debating a “religious freedom” bill at the same time Indiana is feeling a backlash of protest against a related bill signed into law there. Supporters of the Kansas bill say it is much narrower and only applies to religious student groups on college campuses that restrict their membership to those who share their beliefs. Critics say it could sanction much broader forms of discrimination. By Peter Hancock
High court to hear Kansas plea to reinstate death sentences
09:01 a.m., March 30, 2015 Updated 10:44 p.m.
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear Kansas’ appeal to reinstate death sentences for two brothers in the fatal shootings of four people and for another man convicted of killing a couple.
Key Kansas lawmakers defend plan to issue pension bonds
08:00 a.m., March 30, 2015 Updated 10:41 p.m.
Kansas is considering $1 billion or more in pension bonds because it has a chance to improve the state retirement system’s financial health, not because officials want to back off short-term funding commitments, the Legislature’s pension committee chairmen said Monday.
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.
Kansas officials hope budget puzzle pieces drop into place
March 29, 2015
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback hopes the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature wraps up several key budget issues this week, though he’s not pushing lawmakers to finish a spending blueprint for state government that also erases a projected shortfall of nearly $600 million.