State Government

Kansas GOP picks Kansas City-area attorney as new chairman

Topeka (AP) — Republican activists in Kansas have named a Kansas City-area attorney as the party’s new state chairman. Michael Kuckelman of Overland Park faced no opposition and was elected to a two-year term by the GOP State Committee in a meeting Saturday. Kuckelman replaces Kelly ...

Governor says Kansas was ‘hoodwinked’ on new state prison

TOPEKA — Kansas was "hoodwinked" into hiring a private company to build a new prison based on a promise that the new lockup would require significantly less staff and the savings could be used to pay for the project, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday. Kelly's comment during an ...

Kansas House rejects Gov. Laura Kelly’s pension refinancing plan

TOPEKA — The Kansas House has rejected a measure that would extend out the time it would take to fully fund the state's obligations to current and future retirees. The Wichita Eagle reports that the House voted down the pension refinancing measure 36-87 on Thursday. Gov. Laura Kelly put ...

Under new governor, Kansas redoing child welfare grants

TOPEKA — Kansas has terminated grants to two nonprofit agencies for services for troubled families and plans to renegotiate the grant terms to four agencies for services for foster children, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday. The moves made by Kelly's interim leader at the ...

Kansas’ abortion uncertainty fuels response to New York law

Story updated at 4:20 p.m. Thursday TOPEKA — Kansas abortion opponents are as eager as ever to impose new restrictions, but aren't sure of their options because the state's legal climate is uncertain. So in the meantime, they're putting their energy into condemning New York's new law ...

Documents raise questions about Kansas child welfare grants

TOPEKA — Kansas awarded $38 million in grants to a troubled Florida agency to provide child welfare services even though the agency earned low scores in an internal review and didn't apply for $17 million of the work, according to newly released documents. Eckerd Connects was selected last ...

Amid security concerns, Kansas says it stopped using national voter database it runs

TOPEKA — A much-criticized national database that checks if voters are registered in multiple states wasn't used last year in Kansas, the state that administers it, the official overseeing the state's elections told lawmakers. Kansas Elections Director Bryan Caskey said his office under ...

Kansas prisons chief declares staffing crisis at facility that was site of riots

Story updated at 4:03 p.m. Tuesday TOPEKA — Kansas declared an emergency Tuesday at its most crowded maximum-security state prison over what Gov. Laura Kelly called "serious staffing shortages" inside a lockup that's had multiple inmate disturbances over the past two years. But Kelly ...

Kansas AG proposes law change after judge calls child ‘aggressor’ in sexual abuse

TOPEKA — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt wants to change state law to prevent judges from easing sentences for adult sex offenders because a child victim is purportedly an "aggressor" in the crime. The legislation proposed Monday was sparked by the decision of Leavenworth County Judge ...

Kansas Supreme Court to hear arguments at special session in Lawrence

The Kansas Supreme Court has announced it will make its first visit to Lawrence in the court’s 158-year history. At a special evening session set for April 1, justices will hear oral arguments in two yet-to-be-announced cases, according to a Monday news release from the state. The session is ...

Road crew staffing spotlighted in Kansas budget debate

TOPEKA — Kansas has trouble keeping road equipment operators from leaving for other, better-paying jobs — so much so that supervisors worry about being able to cobble together crews to clear snow after blizzards and to fill potholes quickly. For Department of Transportation leaders, the ...

Kansas Democrats attack GOP tax plan as corporate giveaway

Topeka — Kansas Democrats are attacking a Republican tax relief bill approved Thursday by the state Senate as a give-away to large corporations and managed to peel away a couple of GOP votes Thursday by highlighting how it benefits big businesses. The bill is designed to prevent Kansas ...

Clash over tax relief in Kansas quickly coming to a head

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s election victory suggested that Kansas repudiated past GOP fiscal policies, yet voters also encouraged top Republicans to pursue income tax relief by giving conservatives more power in the Legislature. The contradiction is driving a political clash ...

Kansas Senate approves $115M payment to state pension system

TOPEKA — The Kansas Senate has approved a bill that would make a $115 million payment to the state pension system for teachers and government workers. The vote Tuesday was 40-0 even though Democrats in the GOP-dominated Senate argued that lawmakers should review the entire budget first. The ...

January health code inspections: 3 found out of compliance in Douglas County

Two drinking establishments and a school in Douglas County failed state health code inspections in January. Each month, I take a look at inspection results and list every place either listed out of compliance or with 10 or more code violations. Full reports are available online at ...

Kansas spent at least $414,000 repairing prisons after riots

TOPEKA — Kansas spent at least $414,000 repairing damage and replacing equipment after inmate riots at three prisons in 2017 and 2018, corrections officials reported, surprising some state lawmakers Tuesday with the amount of expenses. The figures represented the first attempt by the state ...

KBI investigating reports of Catholic clergy sex abuse

TOPEKA — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it is investigating reports of sexual abuse by clergy in the state's four Catholic dioceses. In a news release issued Tuesday, the KBI encouraged all victims of clergy abuse to contact the agency by calling 1-800-KS-CRIME (1-800-572-7463), or ...