Kansas and regional news

Kansas Legislature approves regulatory compromise with Uber
12:51 p.m., May 19, 2015 Updated 10:30 p.m.
The Kansas Senate has approved a compromise on regulations that ride-hailing company Uber says will allow it to stay in the state.
Tax plans coming together, but business owners’ taxes still a hot issue
10:50 a.m., May 19, 2015 Updated 10:40 p.m.
A budget-balancing plan to raise Kansas’ sales tax and repeal an income tax break championed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback cleared a state Senate committee Tuesday, but GOP legislators are split and influential business groups oppose it.
Kansas attorney general appoints new civil litigation chief
May 19, 2015
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has picked a former state Bar Association president to lead the division in Schmidt’s office that handles civil lawsuits.
Report: Widespread rains boost Kansas wheat crops
May 18, 2015
The latest government snapshot of Kansas crops shows an improving winter wheat crop amid widespread rains.
New proposal to narrow Kansas business tax break emerges
May 18, 2015
A new proposal for narrowing a tax break for business owners and farmers has emerged in the Kansas House. The House Taxation Committee introduced the measure Monday and scheduled a Tuesday hearing on it.
Bill threatens to defund Kansas judicial branch
05:17 p.m., May 18, 2015 Updated 10:26 p.m.
House and Senate negotiators agreed Monday on language of a bill that would cut off funds to the judicial branch if the Kansas Supreme Court strikes down a law governing how chief judges of district courts are selected. A lawsuit challenging the new selection process is pending in Shawnee County District Court. By Peter Hancock
Senate considers bill to abolish Kansas Bioscience Authority
03:32 p.m., May 18, 2015 Updated 10:27 p.m.
The Kansas Senate is considering a bill that would abolish the Kansas Bioscience Authority, an agency designed to attract new investments in health care, pharmaceuticals, animal health and other related industries to Kansas. By Peter Hancock
Kansas governor signs bill overhauling unemployment program
01:17 p.m., May 18, 2015 Updated 10:25 p.m.
Kansas is setting a new cap on benefits for unemployed workers and overhauling the collection of taxes from businesses to finance the aid.
Kansas governor says using private email, cell is simpler
11:56 a.m., May 18, 2015 Updated 10:27 p.m.
Under scrutiny for using private email and cellphones for official communications, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Monday that he has engaged in the practice since he was a U.S. senator.
Report: Kansas employment growth lags nation
10:22 a.m., May 18, 2015 Updated 10:19 p.m.
A new report says employment growth in Kansas has been lagging behind the rest of the nation.
Kansas governor says lawmakers working well on tax plan
09:39 a.m., May 18, 2015 Updated 08:52 a.m.
Gov. Sam Brownback said Monday that Kansas legislators are taking a “workman-like” approach to sifting through proposals for raising taxes to close a state budget shortfall, praising them after their annual session went into overtime with no plan having passed either chamber.
Kansas lawmakers work with reduced staff for rest of session
May 18, 2015
Kansas legislators will be working with a reduced staff of secretaries and assistants now that their annual session is in overtime.
Group pushing Kansas State Fair to ban or limit smoking
07:56 a.m., May 18, 2015 Updated 10:19 p.m.
A Reno County youth organization is pushing for the Kansas State Fair to ban smoking throughout the fair grounds.
Some Kansas environmental groups disappointed with clean energy compromise
May 17, 2015
A bill that changes the state’s renewable energy standards for electric utilities into voluntary goals is now on its way to Gov. Sam Brownback. But some environmental groups are still disappointed in the compromise worked out between the wind industry and conservative free-market political groups that opposed the old requirements. By Peter Hancock
Kansas legislators struggle to draft tax plan for budget fix
May 17, 2015
Kansas legislators reached what had been set as the last working day of their annual session without passing a plan to raise taxes and close the budget shortfall.
Lawrence delegation and the tax debate: on the outside looking in
02:10 p.m., May 15, 2015 Updated 10:18 p.m.
In a chamber controlled by conservative Republicans, the three Democrats and one moderate Republican from Lawrence have had little input in the ongoing debate over how to solve the state’s budget woes. But that could change as conservatives continue to have trouble mustering enough votes from their own ranks for a plan to balance the budget. By Peter Hancock
Kansas House rejects plan to raise sales tax to fix budget
11:14 a.m., May 15, 2015 Updated 10:17 p.m.
A plan to raise Kansas’ sales tax to erase a budget deficit failed Friday in the state House, and members of its Republican majority said they’ll be looking at alternatives that include backtracking on one of GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s biggest economic policies.
Black Hills Energy: Plant maintenance may cause gas odor in north Lawrence
May 15, 2015
A routine maintenance procedure may cause a noticeable odor of natural gas over parts of north Lawrence on Friday, according to Black Hills Energy.
Rural district’s sacrifice illustrates depth of Kansas schools’ budget woes
May 14, 2015
Mike Sanders, superintendent of the Skyline school district in Pratt County, resigned his $81,000 a year job this week, saying that would prevent the district from having to cut more staff. Sanders said rising costs and the lack of state funding are forcing the district of 421 students to make difficult choices. By Peter Hancock