State Government

Gov. Kelly promises more openness in Kansas foster care system

Story last updated at 5:28 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly pledged Monday to give legislators and the general public more information about children who run away or go missing from the state's foster care system, starting with a daily count. The new Democratic ...

Kansas lawmakers consider bill addressing ballot signature problems

TOPEKA — Kansas lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require election officials to notify voters before their ballots are thrown out because of problems with signatures. The proposal comes after last year's GOP primary for governor between Kris Kobach and then-Gov. Jim Colyer was ...

Former Kansas lawmaker faces federal fraud trial

WICHITA — A former Kansas legislator accused of fraudulently taking $10,500 from campaign funds for his personal use goes to trial Monday in federal court in Wichita. Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell has pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of wire fraud and three counts of money ...

State can only afford to treat most dire cases of hepatitis C in inmates

Topeka — Nearly 600 Kansas inmates have tested positive for hepatitis C, but corrections officials are focusing on treating only the most advanced cases because they don’t have the money to treat them all. Interim Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz told the Wichita Eagle that the ...

Partisan sniping follows passage of Kansas pensions measure

TOPEKA — A public pensions funding bill has passed the Kansas Legislature unanimously but touched off partisan sniping. The measure sent Friday to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly requires the state to make an immediate $115 million payment to its pension system for teachers and government ...

Kansas House committee votes to keep death penalty in place

TOPEKA — A Kansas House committee has narrowly voted to keep the state's death penalty law in place. The Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee voted 7-6 on Friday to reject a bill to repeal the state's 1994 capital punishment law. A bipartisan group of 33 lawmakers sponsored the ...

Kansas lawmaker apologizes after LGBTQ daughter decries bill as shameful

TOPEKA — A conservative Kansas legislator has apologized and said he has asked that he be removed as a sponsor of a bill calling same-sex marriages a "parody" after his LGBTQ daughter posted a letter to him on Facebook that ended with "Shame on you." Republican state Rep. Ron Highland of ...

Kansas lawmakers hear from opponents, supporters of wind farms

TOPEKA — Opponents of legislation that would place restrictions on wind farm developments say such a law would hurt an industry that has invested billions of dollars in Kansas and override the rights of property owners who are paid to place wind turbines on their farms. The proposed bill ...

Kansas House rejects same-day voter registration bill

Topeka — A Republican-controlled legislative committee has rejected a Democratic proposal to allow Kansas residents to register to vote on the same day they cast their ballots. The House Elections Committee’s vote Thursday was 7-5 against the measure. The state’s current registration ...

Rural Kansas lawmakers push Farm Bureau health coverage plan

TOPEKA — Rural state lawmakers are pushing a plan to allow the Kansas Farm Bureau to offer health insurance coverage to members without having to comply with federal Affordable Care Act mandates in hopes that the influential agriculture group can offer a lower-cost product. But the proposal ...

GOP resistance makes rocky start for Kansas’ new Democratic governor

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's election created a national buzz about a possible shift to the left in Kansas politics, but many Republicans remain unimpressed and feel little pressure to take up her big initiatives. The GOP-dominated Legislature has yet to have committee hearings on ...

Kelly names Topeka attorney as acting revenue secretary

Topeka (ap) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has named a Topeka attorney who has specialized in tax cases as her new acting secretary of revenue. Kelly announced Tuesday that Mark Burghart would lead the Department of Revenue. He replaces interim Secretary Mark Beshears, who took over the agency ...

Kansas lawmakers hear testimony on lowering sales tax on groceries

TOPEKA — Advocates for low-income families joined small-town grocers and others encouraging Kansas lawmakers to reduce the state's sales tax on groceries, while lobbyists for some organizations warned doing so might lead to efforts to reduce other types of taxes. A hearing Monday before the ...

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 ...