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As Session Wraps Up, Lawmakers Consider Weighty Issues

Kansas legislators have been working on some weighty issues this legislative session.

Legislation that includes tax reform and changes to abortion law are under consideration. A bill signed into law by Gov. Brownback changes how appeals court judges are selected.

Lawmakers are expected to pass legislation through this week, then begin a wrap-up session May 8.

Wichita State University Political Science Professor Ken Ciboski offers analysis on some of the complex and controversial issues. To hear that analysis click the play button on the audio player at the top of this story.

Here’s more information on pending bills in the Kansas statehouse:

House Bill 2253 blocks tax breaks for clinics that provide abortions, bars educators affiliated with agencies that provide abortions from teaching sex education in public schools, and requires doctors to inform women about a debunked link between abortion and breast cancer.

The Senate passed the bill Wednesday with a few changes. The House has already passed a version of the bill and they are expected to accept the changes and submit the measure to Gov. Brownback. 

House Bill 2140 would target elementary schools with reading scores below the statewide average. The "Read To Succeed Act" would hold back elementary schoolers from districts with below average reading levels. 

The bill passed the Senate after it was amended to pertain to first-graders rather than third-graders. The House rejected that amendment. The bill is now back in the Senate.

House Bill 2019 gives the governor of Kansas the authority to select Kansas Court of Appeals judges with Senate confirmation.

Previously, appellate judges were selected on merit by a committee of lawyers and non-lawyer citizens. The most qualified candidates were sent to the governor for final selection. 

The law was signed into law by Gov. Brownback on March 27.