2019 legislative session

Chris Neal / Kansas News Service

A bill in the Kansas Legislature would let students escape bullying by transferring to a new school, either public or private.

But critics say the bill is little more than an attempt to send state dollars meant for public schools to private alternatives.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas would do away with the current voter registration deadlines under a bill in the Legislature.

Dan Skinner / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Lowering the state sales tax on food is an idea with broad support in Kansas, but it hasn’t happened because lawmakers haven’t figured out how to pay for it. Health advocates and grocery store owners asked lawmakers Monday to find a way to make it happen.

The new chairman of the Kansas Republican Party is focused on winning back the governorship and the 3rd Congressional District. He told party leaders this weekend how he plans to do it.

Johnson County attorney Mike Kuckelman was the only one to present a full slate of leadership candidates for party officials to consider at their state convention Saturday.

The Kansas House has rejected Gov. Laura Kelly's plan to refinance pension debt. But the new governor says that won't tank the state budget or doom her priorities, including Medicaid expansion. Should expansion come to be, it'll be Health Secretary Lee Norman's job to implement it, and he says it'll get good ROI. 


Republicans in the Kansas Legislature handed Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly her first defeat this week.

On Valentine’s Day, no less.

They soundly rejected her plan to extend the timetable for covering the unfunded liability of the state pension system, KPERS.

Kelly hoped to lower the state’s annual payments by extending the timetable for amassing 80 percent of the dollars needed to pay all future retirement benefits.

Gov. Laura Kelly has said she has an easy solution for funding schools: Just renew the finance plan the Kansas Legislature agreed to last year and fold in an adjustment for inflation. But over in the Senate, lawmakers are picking that proposal apart.

After months of wrangling last year, lawmakers approved a $500 million multi-year boost for schools in response to a state Supreme Court ruling in the long-running Gannon case.

After recruiting only three teachers in Kansas last year, nonprofit Teach For America is asking lawmakers for a quarter of a million dollars to continue working for the state.

In 2018, legislators appropriated $520,000 for Teach For America to recruit 12 teachers.

Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate are forging ahead with plans to plow millions into tax relief that would largely benefit big business. Some Democrats and more moderate Republicans suspect it’s also a strategy to deprive the governor of the money to fund her priorities.

Carving out chunks of the state savings account now could send lawmakers scrambling to fund schools and other services with the cash that’s left when they’re knitting up the budget later this spring.

Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly named former Republican Rep. Melissa Rooker on Thursday to help lead one of her signature initiatives.

Kelly chose Rooker to head the Kansas Children’s Cabinet, a 15-member group created in the late 1990s to guide state investments in early childhood programs.

Rooker, a moderate Republican, represented a Johnson County district in the Kansas House for six years before narrowly losing last year to Democrat Rui Xu. While in the Legislature, Rooker played a leadership role on education issues.

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