Statehouse Live

Stegall to recuse himself from ouster appeal

Peter Hancock

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall will recuse himself from a case to be heard Monday involving the ouster of a Prairie Village city councilman. The court will hear the appeal Monday in the case of David Scott Morrison, who was [ousted in October 2013][1] after a Johnson County judge ...

Kansas legislative wrap-up session starts off slow

Peter Hancock

Kansas lawmakers returned to Topeka Wednesday to begin wrapping up the 2015 session, but a casual observer might have a hard time noticing, given the lack of any visible action taking place. The Senate met briefly in the morning and approved a handful of honorary resolutions, including one congratulating the ...

Court denies Shawnee Mission's motion to intervene in school finance case

Peter Hancock

A three-judge district court panel in Topeka on Monday denied a request by the Shawnee Mission school district to intervene in the ongoing school finance lawsuit. But it continued to give the district limited permission to intervene in one aspect of the case that is still before the court, the ...

Block grant bill becomes law; all eyes now on court

Peter Hancock

Senate Bill 7, the controversial legislation that repeals the old school finance formula and replaces it for two years with a system of block grants to school districts, officially became law Thursday when it was [published in the Kansas Register][1]. For the time being, at least, school districts will immediately ...

Budget deal may have to wait as lawmakers prepare to go home

Peter Hancock

Kansas lawmakers are preparing to wind up the regular session today and are likely to leave without voting on the budget deal that House and Senate negotiators struck Wednesday. There are several procedural reasons for that, but it boils down to the fact that the two Democrats on the negotiating ...

Higher education at focus of budget negotiations

Peter Hancock

Higher education funding seems to be one of the key sticking points in ongoing budget talks between the Kansas House and Senate, and it's not yet clear whether the two chambers will reach an agreement before adjourning Thursday or Friday for the Legislature's annual spring break. So far, the Senate ...

Strange debate leads to passage of exotic animals bill

Peter Hancock

Unless you were one of the people listening to the Legislature online Thursday night, you probably have no idea how many members of the Kansas Senate have, at some point in their life, been kicked or beaten on various parts of their bodies by barnyard animals, or been viciously scratched ...

Medicaid expansion gains new life in Kansas House

Peter Hancock

House Speaker Ray Merrick reversed course Thursday and finally agreed to allow committee hearings on the subject of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Only days earlier, Merrick reportedly had told Reps. Tom Sloan of Lawrence and Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills, both moderate Republicans, that he would not ...

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 ...

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