State Government

Kansas lawmakers want to keep allowing cocktails to go, even after the pandemic

TOPEKA — The state that made saloon smasher Carrie Nation famous is moving to allow people to get beer and cocktails to go after the coronavirus pandemic. Kansas lawmakers approved a bill last week to allow to-go beer and alcoholic drinks from clubs, bars and restaurants until 11 p.m., as ...

Plan ties Kansas schools tax to a proposed tax break for closed businesses

Topeka — A measure approved by Kansas lawmakers ties the renewal of a tax that’s crucial to funding public schools to a proposed tax break for businesses that are forced to shut down during future emergencies or pandemics. The bill approved early Saturday is a response from the ...

Budget bill keeps Kansas governor involved in virus aid decisions

Topeka — The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature backed off its effort to remove Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly from final decisions on how federal coronavirus relief funds are spent. Budget legislation approved Friday includes a provision that gives top lawmakers more say but still ...

Kansas legislators pass plan that could give $500M in COVID relief to businesses

Topeka — Republicans pushed a plan through the Kansas Legislature early Saturday that could provide roughly $500 million to small businesses to offset losses tied to state and local restrictions meant to check COVID-19’s spread last year. The measure would require the state, cities and ...

Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, February 2014.

Vaccine passports, other virus issues split Kansas lawmakers

TOPEKA — Republican lawmakers in Kansas were split Friday over proposals to ban COVID-19 vaccine passports, limit efforts to track down close contacts of people with the coronavirus and compensate businesses that closed or faced restrictions early in the pandemic. House and Senate ...

Gov. Kelly orders flags to half-staff for 5,000 COVID-19 victims

TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday directed that flags be lowered to half-staff across the state to recognize that more than 5,000 Kansans have now lost their lives to COVID-19. The order extends until sundown on Sunday. As of midday Friday, the coronavirus had been blamed on 5,016 ...

Medical marijuana just took a giant step toward legalization in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas took its first major step toward legalizing medical marijuana Thursday when the conservative Republicans who dominate the state House passed a bill that tracks a national trend and bucks federal law. Kansas-style legalization would regulate everything from patient ...

Kansas GOP leaders, governor closing in on a deal for school funding

Story updated at 10:13 p.m. Thursday: TOPEKA — Conservative Republicans set aside their most ambitious proposal for helping Kansas parents move their children into private schools so that lawmakers could forge a bipartisan compromise Thursday night on education funding and policy. Three ...

Resolution on constitutional convention fails in Kansas Senate

Story updated at 7:40 p.m. Wednesday: TOPEKA — Conservative Republicans who see the federal government as out of control split Wednesday and halted the push in Kansas for a convention of states to propose changes to the U.S. Constitution. The state Senate spent nearly three hours during the ...

2 GOP lawmakers considering bids for Kansas attorney general

TOPEKA — Two Republican legislators are considering running for Kansas attorney general in 2022. House Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch, of Ottawa, said Tuesday that he is looking at the race and will make a decision after lawmakers finish this month with their business for the year. Senate ...

GOP lawmakers push COVID-19 relief for Kansas businesses

Story updated at 7:42 p.m. Tuesday: TOPEKA — Republican lawmakers advanced a plan Tuesday to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to Kansas businesses hurt by coronavirus pandemic restrictions, and they're poised to give GOP leaders the final say over how the federal COVID-19 relief funds ...

Kansas Republicans restore tax cuts after both chambers spike governor’s veto

TOPEKA — Republicans in the Legislature delivered a knockout punch Monday in the first round of their promised “veto override-a-rama” by securing enough votes to reinstate a tax reform bundle that includes breaks for multinational corporations. Senate Bill 50 also raises the standard ...

Senate, House override Gov. Kelly’s veto of two election reform bills

Updated at 5:16 p.m. Monday TOPEKA — Senate and House Republicans flexed political muscle Monday to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of two election bills touted by advocates as essential to fair and transparent elections and by critics as a voter-suppression tactic. After securing ...

Kansas House member, substitute teacher arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery after incident at school

TOPEKA — A Kansas House member was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery in what authorities said Friday was an incident involving a student while he was substitute teaching at a public school in his hometown. Republican Rep. Mark Samsel was booked Thursday into the local county jail ...

Battle brews over who has the final say on Kansas’ virus aid spending

Topeka — A big political battle is brewing over whether top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature will have the final say over how the state spends more than $4.8 billion it expects to receive from the latest federal COVID-19 relief package. The move comes as elected officials voted ...