State Government

State: Rhododendrons bought at Kansas Walmarts should be destroyed

TOPEKA — The state is asking anyone who bought a rhododendron plant at Walmart stores in Kansas since April to destroy them. The Kansas Department of Agriculture reported Friday that confirmed cases of the Sudden Oak Death disease have been found in rhododendrons sold at 60 Walmarts in ...

Top GOP lawmakers hold up nearly $10M for Kansas prisons

TOPEKA — Top Republican legislators on Wednesday blocked nearly $10 million that Kansas corrections officials argue they need to deal with prison overcrowding and said lawmakers might reject Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's choice to be the prison system's next leader. The actions by Republican ...

Kansas GOP leaders say new food assistance policy breaks state law

TOPEKA — Top Republican legislators on Tuesday accused Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration of breaking Kansas law with a new policy that makes it easier for adults who are not working to keep receiving food assistance. Kansas House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins demanded in a letter ...

Kansas collected $77M more in taxes in May than anticipated

TOPEKA — Kansas reports it collected $77 million more in taxes than expected in May. The state Department of Revenue said Monday that Kansas collected $563 million in taxes last month when it anticipated $486 million. The surplus was 15.9%. Tax collections for the budget year that began in ...

Kansas commission reduces insurance rates for some state employees

Story updated at 5:21 p.m. Monday TOPEKA — A Kansas commission voted Monday to give state employees a break on health insurance rates after they endured years of significant increases. The Kansas Employees Health Care Commission voted unanimously to either reduce state employees' rates 6% ...

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

Three organizations in Douglas County failed state health code inspections in May. 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 agriculture.ks.gov. There, you can ...

Newspaper: Ex-Kansas commerce chief linked to data transfer

TOPEKA — A former state commerce secretary whose conduct is being reviewed by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation participated in transferring state data to a private company with ties to him while in office, according to a newspaper report. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that it used ...

Kansas’ next prison chief rebuked by judge in Idaho lawsuit

Wichita — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s choice to be the next head of the state prison system was criticized by an Idaho judge earlier this year for giving “disingenuous” testimony as a top corrections official there in a lawsuit over access to execution records. Kelly’s office has said ...

Brownback to be honored with Gandhi award for work as religious freedom envoy

WASHINGTON — Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will be honored for his work as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. The Kansas City Star reports that the Hindu American Foundation plans to give Brownback its Mahatma Gandhi Award for Advancing Pluralism. The ...

Governor views 30-plus miles of Kansas tornado damage

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly took a flight tour Thursday over the path of an EF-4 tornado that left nearly 32 miles of destruction in Douglas and Leavenworth counties. Kelly described feeling “incredibly overwhelmed” seeing the devastation in full from the air. “It just keeps going on and ...

Kansas Senate confirms Kelly nominee to Court of Appeals

TOPEKA — The Kansas Senate has confirmed Gov. Laura Kelly's nomination of a Kansas City-area attorney to the state's second-highest court. The vote Wednesday was 37-1 for Sarah Warner of Lenexa to be Court of Appeals judge. The Democratic governor submitted Warner's name to the ...

Kansas lawmakers settle fiscal issues amid Medicaid protest

Story updated at 6:39 p.m. Wednesday TOPEKA — Republican legislators on Wednesday reversed actions by Kansas' Democratic governor to reshape the state budget to her liking, but they couldn't save a GOP tax relief plan and had their work briefly delayed by a loud protest in favor of expanding ...

Former KDOT Secretary Deb Miller to lead KU’s Public Management Center

A former state leader will join the University of Kansas to serve as director of its Public Management Center. The university announced on Tuesday that Deb Miller, who served as the secretary for the Kansas Department of Transportation from 2003 to 2011, will lead the program. Ruth DeWitt, a ...

Gov. Kelly will visit Eudora to sign bill authorizing new library district

Gov. Laura Kelly will visit the Eudora Public Library on Thursday to sign legislation important to the library’s future. Carol Wohlford, director of the Eudora Public Library, said the legislation authorizes the Eudora City Commission and Eudora Township Board of Trustees to pass a joint ...

Kansas lawmakers’ last day in session will test Kelly’s clout

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly this week faces a key test of her power to shape the state budget and keep moderate Republicans on her side as the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature prepares to consider overriding her vetoes of spending and tax relief measures. Lawmakers are set to convene ...

Kansas Department of Revenue seeking to refill eliminated jobs

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Revenue is trying to refill dozens of jobs that were eliminated last year when the state awarded two no-bid contracts to outsource its information technology work. The department is working to rebuild its workforce after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's ...

State to compensate Floyd Bledsoe $1M for wrongful conviction

TOPEKA — Kansas has agreed to pay $1.03 million to a man who spent nearly 16 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of the 1999 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl. Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced in a news release Thursday Kansas resolved the second lawsuit ...

Governor picks Idaho man as new Kansas corrections secretary

TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has selected an Idaho prison official as her new secretary of corrections. The governor said in a news release Thursday that she had picked Jefferey Zmuda, the deputy director of the Idaho Department of Correction. He starts July 1. Kelly says this is a ...

Kansas paid $899,000 in effort to defund Planned Parenthood

Story updated at 11:07 a.m. Wednesday KANSAS CITY, MO. — Kansas paid out-of-state law firms at least $899,000 in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, according to records obtained by KCUR radio. The records show that the state paid three East Coast law firms to ...