Statehouse Live

Brownback names Federalist Society lawyer as new policy chief

Peter Hancock

Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday named Brandon Smith, a lawyer from the conservative [Federalist Society of Law and Public Policy Studies][1], to be his new policy director. Smith has worked for the Federalist Society since 2011, according to a press release from the governor's office. Before that, he was a ...

State Rep. Peck takes on critics in debate over university professor columns

Peter Hancock

State Rep. Virgil Peck testified Wednesday in favor of [House Bill 2234][1], which would prevent university professors from using their official titles in newspaper opinion columns. But he steadfastly denied that he was the one who requested the bill, and he had a few choice words for anyone who says ...

Still no word on school block grant bill

Peter Hancock

A bill that would convert funding for the state's 286 school districts into a system of block grants still has not been introduced in the Senate, and the bill's author is giving no indication about when it might come. Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, who chairs the Senate Ways and Means ...

Brownback tells bankers he's staying the course

Peter Hancock

Despite the state's looming budget crisis, Gov. Sam Brownback gave an upbeat speech to the Kansas Bankers Association, saying the state is poised for economic growth, and vowing to continue on his course to eliminate state income taxes. Speaking for about 20 minutes in a second-floor hallway at the Capitol, ...

Kansas House won't open private emails used for public purpose

Peter Hancock

The Kansas House rejected an amendment Monday that would have opened up the private emails of public officials if those emails are used to conduct public business. Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, offered that amendment to a bill dealing with the Kansas Open Records Act. He said it was a response ...

Education groups reach agreement on collective bargaining changes

Peter Hancock

Four groups representing school boards, administrators, superintendents and teachers reached agreement this week on changes they could all accept to a state law governing collective bargaining rights for teachers. That agreement could make it more difficult for lawmakers to impose even more restrictions, as some conservatives have suggested. The [Professional ...

Gov. Docking opposed Statehouse chapel in 1960

Peter Hancock

Controversy over setting up an interfaith, non-denominational "prayer and meditation" room in the statehouse is apparently nothing new. In response to [an article posted on this site Tuesday][1], Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, stopped by the office with a clipping from one of the Journal-World's "Old Home Town" columns from several ...

Lawmakers want to make Statehouse chapel permanent

Peter Hancock

Several Kansas lawmakers are pushing a bill this year that would make a prayer and meditation room in the Statehouse a permanent fixture. The House Federal and State Affairs Committee held a hearing Tuesday on [H.B. 2075, establishing the "capitol meditation room][1]." The room is located on the second floor ...

State party conventions look ahead to 2016

Peter Hancock

Fresh off of their "clean sweep" victories in the 2014 elections, Kansas Republicans will gather in Topeka this weekend to elect their party leadership and start strategizing for 2016. Democrats, on the other hand, have a lot more work and soul-searching ahead of them before their state convention in March. ...

Brownback defends education funding

Peter Hancock

Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday defended his proposal to do away with the state school finance formula, saying it's one of the reasons the state is facing a large revenue shortfall this year. He also subtly laid part of the blame on the Kansas State Department of Education for giving ...

Upload photo Browse photos