Statehouse Live

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 ...

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 ...

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