Kansas and regional news

Kansas House approves bill to authorize $1B in pension bonds
12:32 p.m., April 1, 2015 Updated 10:28 p.m.
The Kansas House has narrowly approved a bill authorizing $1 billion in bonds to bolster the short-term financial health of the pension system for teachers and government workers.
Economic report points to slow growth in Midwest, Plains
09:52 a.m., April 1, 2015 Updated 09:49 p.m.
Slow economic growth likely lies ahead for nine Midwestern and Plains states, according to a monthly survey report issued Wednesday.
Kansas bill changes where some juvenile offenders are held
08:46 a.m., April 1, 2015 Updated 02:23 p.m.
Kansas legislators have given final approval to a bill allowing the state to hold juvenile offenders who have been charged in criminal cases as adults in juvenile facilities.
Insurance companies say 2014 exchange members older, sicker
08:38 a.m., April 1, 2015 Updated 09:30 a.m.
Two companies that sell health insurance on the Kansas exchange say people who signed up last year tended to be older and sicker than they had anticipated.
Kansas lawmaker’s remarks on ‘racist bigots’ launches House probe
08:34 a.m., April 1, 2015 Updated 08:42 a.m.
A Kansas House panel launched an investigation Wednesday into a Democratic lawmaker who labeled as “racist bigots” supporters of a bill that would end college tuition breaks for students living in the U.S. illegally.
Bill would end property tax exemptions for pipelines
06:02 p.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 10:19 p.m.
A Kansas Senate committee advanced a bill Tuesday that would sunset a 2006 law that gives 10-year property tax exemptions for oil and gas pipelines. That law was spearheaded by former Rep. Carl Holmes, R-Liberal, to benefit the Keystone XL pipeline that runs through Kansas. But some believe the bill to repeal it could become a vehicle for amendments aimed at filling the state’s estimated $600 million budget gap. By Peter Hancock
Kansas City Democrat target of GOP complaint for remarks on immigrant tuition measure
04:56 p.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 10:16 p.m.
Nine Republicans on the House Education Committee have filed a formal complaint against Democratic Rep. Valdenia Winn, of Kansas City, alleging that she accused them of being racist. The comments came during debate on a bill to repeal in-state tuition for Kansas residents who are undocumented immigrants. By Peter Hancock
Kansas Senate panel approves bill to overhaul civil service
03:35 p.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 10:16 p.m.
A Kansas Senate committee has approved a bill that could shrink the state’s civil service system and lessen job protections for government employees.
Modern history scholar one of KU’s new Foundation Distinguished Professors
02:14 p.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 10:11 p.m.
One of KU’s newly announced Foundation Distinguished Professors is an expert in the history of relations between the U.S. military and society, as well as the history of gender and sexuality. Beth Bailey is a professor of history at Temple University, where she also has served as acting director for the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy.
Kansas lawmakers agree on plan to issue $1B in pension bonds
11:57 a.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 10:15 p.m.
Legislative negotiators in Kansas have agreed on a proposal to authorize $1 billion in bonds to bolster the short-term financial health of the state’s pension system for teachers and government workers.
Rolling Stones announce stadium tour, will stop at Arrowhead in Kansas City
March 31, 2015
The Rolling Stones are zipping across North America again. The rock band announced a 15-city stadium tour Tuesday that will stop at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on June 27.
Report: Kansas tax collections $11M less than expected in March
08:44 a.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 10:17 p.m.
Kansas says it collected $11 million less in taxes than anticipated this month.
Kansas Senate panel considers expanding liquor licenses
08:43 a.m., March 31, 2015 Updated 10:15 p.m.
Kansas counties would be allowed to expand liquor licenses under a bill being discussed by a state Senate panel.
KU hires leading sociology professors to establish center for immigration studies
09:00 p.m., March 30, 2015 Updated 10:47 p.m.
Kansas University is hiring two top sociologists as Foundation Distinguished Professors and to lead the creation of a new center focused on migration and immigration studies. Victor Agadjanian and Cecilia Menjívar, both distinguished professors at Arizona State University, will start in KU’s department of sociology this fall, KU announced. By Sara Shepherd
Religious freedom bill stirs controversy in Kansas Statehouse
02:00 p.m., March 30, 2015 Updated 10:43 p.m.
Kansas lawmakers are debating a “religious freedom” bill at the same time Indiana is feeling a backlash of protest against a related bill signed into law there. Supporters of the Kansas bill say it is much narrower and only applies to religious student groups on college campuses that restrict their membership to those who share their beliefs. Critics say it could sanction much broader forms of discrimination. By Peter Hancock
High court to hear Kansas plea to reinstate death sentences
09:01 a.m., March 30, 2015 Updated 10:44 p.m.
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear Kansas’ appeal to reinstate death sentences for two brothers in the fatal shootings of four people and for another man convicted of killing a couple.
Key Kansas lawmakers defend plan to issue pension bonds
08:00 a.m., March 30, 2015 Updated 10:41 p.m.
Kansas is considering $1 billion or more in pension bonds because it has a chance to improve the state retirement system’s financial health, not because officials want to back off short-term funding commitments, the Legislature’s pension committee chairmen said Monday.
Kansas House panel to hear ‘religious freedom’ bill for campus groups
March 29, 2015
Senate Bill 175 would require colleges and universities in Kansas to give recognition and support to student religious organizations that discriminate in their membership, if the discrimination is based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Kansas University says there have been no controversies over such groups in at least the last 15 years. But the American Civil Liberties Union says taxpayer money and student fees should not be used to support discrimination. By Peter Hancock
Vanished towns dot prairie in Kiowa County
March 29, 2015
Traveling down a dirt path sandwiched between a wheat field and pasture, Ed Schoenberger abruptly motions to stop the car. “You’re now in downtown Reeder,” he says as he steps out of the vehicle — facing the cold wind that whips across the wide-open prairie on this early March day. But all around him, there is nothing but farmland and grass. Reeder, once a bustling community where residents dreamed of a railroad, has disappeared.