State Government

Several Lawrence-area lawmakers disappointed with slow-moving Legislature

As the second half of the Kansas Legislature’s 2019 session began last week, several Lawrence-area lawmakers told the Journal-World they thought the governing body should have made more progress by now on important legislation. “There has not been a great deal accomplished, in my ...

Kansas governor concedes pension proposal unlikely to pass

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly is acknowledging that her proposal to reduce Kansas' annual contributions to its public pension system probably won't pass the Republican-controlled Legislature this year. But Kelly said Friday that the state "absolutely" must revise its schedule of ...

Kansas GOP leader compares tax plan to returning a billfold

TOPEKA — A top Republican in the Kansas House brushed aside criticism Friday that an income tax relief plan nearing final passage risks repeating a tax-cutting experiment that failed a few years ago, suggesting the new proposal is akin to finding and returning "a billfold filled with ...

Kansas Medicaid expansion push hasn’t cracked GOP roadblock

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and other advocates have ramped up a campaign for her proposal to expand Medicaid in Kansas after conservative lawmakers showed they currently hold enough power to block it. Kelly held a news conference Thursday with four business leaders and kicked off a ...

Citizen grand jury disbands in Kobach case without returning indictment

Story updated at 5:39 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, 2019: A citizen-initiated grand jury that was impaneled in January to investigate alleged election-related crimes by former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office has adjourned without bringing an indictment, according to a court ...

Kansas ordered to pay $48M to ex-pizza magnate Gene Bicknell

TOPEKA — A judge has ordered Kansas to pay $48 million to settle a long-running legal fight with former pizza magnate Gene Bicknell. Bicknell once owned the most Pizza Hut franchises in the nation. His legal fight with Kansas centered on whether the Pittsburg native lived in Kansas or in ...

Kansas governor meets unexpected resistance to schools plan

TOPEKA — Kansas' new Democratic governor is meeting unexpected resistance to her plan for boosting public education funding from local school districts that believe her proposal wouldn't supply enough new money. Gov. Laura Kelly touts her proposed increase of roughly $90 million a year as a ...

Study: Medicaid expansion in Kansas would cost $47.4M in first year

TOPEKA — A new study says expanding Medicaid in Kansas would have a net cost of $47.4 million in the first year. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the nonprofit Kansas Health Institute estimated in the study released Tuesday that an additional 130,000 low-income adults and children ...

Jury acquits former Kansas lawmaker in fraud case

WICHITA — Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell was found not guilty Monday on nearly all charges of taking campaign funds for his personal use. A federal jury acquitted O'Donnell on 21 counts of wire fraud, but deadlocked on two counts of wire fraud and three counts of money ...

Lawmakers considering bill to remove transportation spending from tax lid

A joint legislative task force report on transportation has a lot of promising recommendations for the county, the director of Douglas County Public Works says. The report released in January made recommendations to guide development of a new state transportation plan and reflected findings ...

Kansas lawmakers struggle over school aid, Medicaid, taxes

TOPEKA — Kansas lawmakers have hit the halfway point of their annual session and they haven't had a hearing on a Medicaid expansion plan or pushed an education funding bill out of committee in the face of a court mandate to boost spending on public schools. And the GOP-dominated Legislature ...

Kansas DCF considers getting rid of ombudsman position

TOPEKA — The new leaders of the Kansas Department for Children and Families are considering whether to fill the agency's ombudsman position or to find new ways to address foster parents' frustrations. Since 2014, families or others with questions or complaints about the department could ...

Kansas Senate OKs bill for openness on missing foster kids

TOPEKA — Kansas legislators are moving ahead with a bill aimed at making sure they and the governor are notified whenever foster children run away or go missing. The Senate approved the measure Wednesday, 40-0, sending it to the House. The vote came two days after new Democratic Gov. ...

Kansas lawmakers advance bill on ballot signature problems

Topeka — A bill aimed at having Kansas election officials throw out fewer ballots over problems with voters’ signatures has broad bipartisan support. The Kansas Senate approved the measure Wednesday, 40-0, sending it to the House. The bill deals with mail-in ballots cast in advance of ...

Kansas reduces payments to prison health care company

TOPEKA — Kansas is paying the company that provides health care to the state's prisons millions less than due under its contract because the company is not meeting performance standards, such as hiring enough nurses or health workers for the prisons. The state currently has a $68.8 million ...

United GOP in Kansas Senate blocks Kelly’s school funding plan

TOPEKA — Unified Republicans blocked an attempt Tuesday by the Kansas Senate’s top Democrat to speed up work on education funding issues and advance Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan for increasing spending on public schools. The new Democratic governor has urged legislators to pass a ...

Kansas lawmakers consider panel to study changes to criminal justice system

TOPEKA — The Kansas Legislature is considering creation of a panel to study and recommend changes to the state's criminal justice system. The Kansas City Star reports that the group's findings could have major implications as Kansas looks to fix problems caused by prison overcrowding. Kansas ...

Kansas GOP lawmakers include grocery tax cut in income tax bill

Story last updated at 9:11 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. TOPEKA — Republican lawmakers in Kansas have wedded a popular proposal to cut taxes on groceries to a GOP income tax relief bill in hopes of winning over skeptical colleagues and making Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly think harder about ...