State Government

Governor’s aide: Civics bill violates Kansas Constitution

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A spokesperson for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly says a Republican proposal to require graduating Kansas high school students to have passed a civics test violates the state constitution. Kelly spokesperson Reeves Oyster stopped short Friday of saying Kelly would veto a ...

Kansas sports betting push stalls; odds of passage uncertain

TOPEKA — An effort to legalize sports betting in Kansas has stalled, and it's not clear that state lawmakers can agree on how many places should offer wagering while also navigating other gambling issues clouding the debate. Some sports betting supporters believe they still have time before ...

GOP legislators disagree over Kansas unemployment upgrades

TOPEKA — Republican legislators don't yet agree on how much time to give the Kansas Department of Labor to upgrade aged technology for an unemployment system that for months has been plagued by problems and the frequent target of scammers. The House and the Senate have approved legislation ...

Kansas lawmakers topple governor’s newly issued mask order

Updated at 3:30 p.m. Thursday TOPEKA — Top Kansas legislators on Thursday revoked an order aimed at encouraging counties to keep mask mandates amid the coronavirus pandemic, just hours after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly issued it. Kelly's order required people to wear masks indoors at ...

Kansas Senate OKs bill mandating civics test for students

Updated at 3:56 p.m. Thursday TOPEKA — The Kansas Senate has passed a Republican-backed bill that would require graduating high school students to have passed a civics test with questions such as, "What is one way Americans can serve their country?" The GOP-controlled Senate on Wednesday ...

Republicans in Kansas Senate come out against mask policy

TOPEKA — Republicans in the Kansas Senate made a point Wednesday of publicly opposing Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's plan for encouraging counties to retain COVID-19 mask mandates. The Senate voted 29-11 along party lines for a resolution urging legislative leaders to revoke any order issued ...

GOP lawmakers advance proposal to tighten Kansas voting laws

TOPEKA — Republican lawmakers in Kansas are joining GOP colleagues nationwide in trying to tighten voting laws, advancing a measure Wednesday that would make it harder for churches, civic groups, neighbors and candidates to collect and return absentee ballots for voters. The state Senate ...

Kansas GOP says pandemic justifies special tracing rules for protecting privacy

TOPEKA — Republican lawmakers argue that a pandemic justifies special rules in Kansas for protecting the privacy of people exposed to COVID-19 and on Wednesday advanced a proposal to preserve those rules over public health groups' objections. The Senate approved, 26-14, a bill that would ...

Kansas legislative leader retains his pay, influence despite felony charges

TOPEKA — One of the Kansas Legislature’s most powerful lawmakers is eligible to be paid nearly $500 every two weeks he remains in leadership while he fights charges of driving under the influence and trying to elude law enforcement. The Kansas City Star reports that the payments can ...

GOP legislators formally voice their opposition to Kansas governor’s mask policy

Story updated at 9:05 p.m. Tuesday: TOPEKA — Republicans in the GOP-controlled Kansas House formally registered their opposition Tuesday to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's plan for encouraging counties to keep mask mandates in place as a potentially more infectious strain of coronavirus ...

Troubled Kansas foster care provider agrees to repay $9.4M in unspent grant funds

TOPEKA — A troubled Kansas foster care management provider has reached an agreement with the state to repay $9.4 million in unspent grant funds. The deal that the Kansas Department for Children and Families announced it had reached Tuesday with St. Francis Ministries comes on the heels of ...

GOP passes smaller plan for cutting Kansas income taxes

Story updated at 8:01 p.m. Tuesday: TOPEKA — Most Republicans on Tuesday downsized their ambitions for cutting Kansas income taxes and pushed a narrower proposal through the GOP-controlled Legislature in hopes of overcoming Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s resistance to reducing ...

Tourism division to become part of Kansas Department of Commerce

TOPEKA — It's official: The state tourism division in Kansas will become part of the Department of Commerce starting July 1. Gov. Laura Kelly's proposal announced last year recently passed a 60-day period without action by the Legislature, meaning the order can be implemented. Kelly said ...

GOP conservatives help medical marijuana advance in Kansas

TOPEKA — Kansas medical marijuana supporters have found support from some conservative Republican legislators, allowing a proposal to advance Monday after weeks of deliberations. Some Republicans say they have been motivated by conservative neighbors Missouri and Oklahoma legalizing medical ...

Kansas mulls paying businesses hit by COVID-19 restrictions

Updated at 7:17 p.m. Monday TOPEKA — Kansas legislators are working on a plan for setting aside potentially several hundred million dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funds to pay businesses harmed by state and local restrictions imposed last year to check the virus' spread. The state ...

Criminal charges filed against Kansas Senate majority leader

This story was updated at 9 p.m. Friday. TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — One of the Kansas Legislature's most powerful lawmakers was charged Friday with driving under the influence and a felony offense for trying to elude law enforcement while speeding the wrong way on highways in Topeka. Senate ...

COVID vaccine to be available to all Kansans 16 and older starting Monday

Updated at 4 p.m. Friday TOPEKA – Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday that starting on Monday, Kansas will make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all Kansans 16 years older, as the state enters the final Phase 5 of the Vaccine Prioritization plan. “With the anticipated increase in supply ...

Kansas Highway Patrol has no report it can make public on Senate leader’s arrest

TOPEKA — The Kansas Highway Patrol does not have a document it can make public on last week's arrest of a legislative leader on suspicion of driving under the influence and attempting to flee law enforcement, a patrol official said Thursday. The patrol's Capitol Police division arrested ...