Statehouse Live

Legislative panel seeking bids for $3 million efficiency study; Milton Wolf claims a moral victory

Peter Hancock

The Kansas Legislative Budget Committee agreed Monday to solicit proposals from outside firms to conduct an examination of the state's operations and make recommendations about how it can be more cost effective. Lawmakers set aside $3 million in the Legislature's own budget this year to pay for such a study. ...

Burroughs letter not seen as apology, Lawrence Democrats say

Peter Hancock

Quite a bit of fuss was made this week over a letter from House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs that some characterized as an apology over the way he handled the 2015 legislative session. But Lawrence-area Democrats said they didn't take it that way, and a spokeswoman for Burroughs said it ...

Kansas GOP sees caucuses as money-maker

Peter Hancock

There are currently 16 declared candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, and Kansas GOP officials are sincerely wishing every last one of them the best of luck in the early primaries and caucuses. That's because the more of them that stay in the race through Kansas' March 5 ...

Brownback names new administration secretary; expands role of budget director

Peter Hancock

Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday named Sarah Shipman as his new secretary of administration, succeeding Jim Clark who retired earlier this month. At the same time, he also expanded Budget Director Shawn Sullivan's role to include "identifying and implementing efficiencies across state government. Effective immediately, Sullivan’s title will be director ...

Nothing compares to a neighborhood cell tower fight

Peter Hancock

Having gotten a decent night's sleep after Tuesday's lengthy City Commission meeting, I now have to admit it's been kind of a treat the last couple of weeks pinch-hitting on the City Hall beat for our colleague (and now new boss) Chad Lawhorn. Admittedly, though, that wasn't exactly what I ...

Local governments worry whether 'Laffer Curve' applies to sales taxes too

Peter Hancock

It was an interesting experience Tuesday night covering the Lawrence City Commission, seeing firsthand how the politics and policies of state and local government intersect. The big news in local government this time of year is putting together their budgets for the upcoming year. And much of what they're confronted ...

Schmidt joins suit against EPA clean water rule

Peter Hancock

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt joined eight other states in filing a federal lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to block the Environmental Protection Agency from extending clean water regulations into small ponds and tributaries. “Congress never intended for the federal government to regulate ditches or farm ponds,” Schmidt said in a ...

Kansas attorney general's blanket response to string of recent losses in court

Peter Hancock

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has been eagerly sought by reporters this week for comments on major court cases in which he came out on the losing end. But those requests generally went unanswered, until late Friday afternoon. “We are reviewing the past two days’ opinions internally and with our ...

Obamacare subsidies upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

Peter Hancock

People in Kansas and other states that do not operate their own health insurance market exchanges can continue to receive federal subsidies to buy policies on the federal exchange, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday. In [a 6-3 decision][1], the court rejected a challenge by plaintiffs who argued that, as ...

All eyes now on Kansas Senate

Peter Hancock

The Kansas Senate is expected to take up a tax bill Friday which, if it passes, could bring the 2015 legislative session to a close on its record-setting 113th day. But the bill falls far short of actually balancing the state budget, analysts say. The House, after working through the ...

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