Statehouse Live

House tax bill has provision for half-cent sales tax in Douglas County

Peter Hancock

An omnibus tax bill awaiting action in the Kansas House includes a provision that would allow Douglas County to impose an additional half-cent sales tax to finance expansion of the county jail and a crisis intervention center. But it is not yet certain that the House will even debate that ...

Lawmakers planning four-day weekend

Peter Hancock

Kansas lawmakers will go home Thursday afternoon for a four-day Memorial Day weekend, despite making no progress on resolving the state's $400 million-plus budget hole. Thursday marks the 95th day of what was supposed to be a 90-day session. Both chambers plan to pass resolutions to formally adjourn for the ...

Senate panel advances $496 million tax package

Peter Hancock

The Kansas Senate tax committee advanced a bill Tuesday that would raise $496 million in new revenue next year, enough to dig the state out of its financial hole and leave a small but positive cash balance at the end of the year. But the fate of the bill, which ...

Brownback giving few signals as 2015 session goes into overtime

Peter Hancock

On the 92nd day of what was supposed to be a 90-day legislative session, Gov. Sam Brownback is giving few signals, either to the public or to the Legislature, about how he wants to solve the state's $406 million budget hole. Brownback answered questions after a bill-signing ceremony in his ...

George Haley, one of first African Americans in Kansas Senate, dies

Peter Hancock

Former state Sen. George W. Haley, one of the first African Americans elected to the Kansas Senate and the father of current Sen. David Haley, died Wednesday at his home in Silver Spring, Md. He was 89. George Haley was elected to the Senate in 1964 as a Republican from ...

Revenue Dept. finishes opening envelopes containing $129 million

Peter Hancock

The Kansas Department of Revenue said Monday it has finished opening the thousands of envelopes from people who filed their taxes by mail, and it is depositing about $129 million worth of checks from people who owed a balance on their tax return. By comparison, legislative research officials said, the ...

Deal reached on moving elections

Peter Hancock

House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on a bill that would move city and school board elections in Kansas to November of even-numbered years and keep them non-partisan. Rep. Mark Kahrs, R-Wichita, who led negotiations for the House, said most groups that had opposed earlier versions were either "on ...

How tax bills are like ordering pizza

Peter Hancock

Most people have had the experience of being in a large group that suddenly decides to order out for pizza. The negotiating process can be excruciating. Put meat on the pizza and vegetarians in the group won't touch it. Don't include meat and a whole other faction says, "What's the ...

Lawmakers to hear about privatizing KPERS

Peter Hancock

Three committees of the Kansas Legislature will meet Wednesday to discuss the possibility of privatizing the state’s pension system. That idea has been circulating among legislators and Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration at least since last fall when budget director Shawn Sullivan and Secretary of Administration Jim Clark presented it as ...

Kansas Speaker's office announces staff changes

Peter Hancock

Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick announced Thursday that his former chief of staff, Christie Kriegshauser, is returning to that post after a stint as a lobbyist for the Kansas Chamber. Kriegshauser will replace Wade Hapgood, who announced he is taking a new job as vice-president of state government affairs for ...

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