2020 legislative session

Kansas is slipping to the back of the pack on some critical economic measures. In this episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, host Jim McLean talks with Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland about what the agency is doing to try to reverse those trends.

McLean also hears from Kansas News Service reporters about a proposal to ban the sale of vaping flavors, and he asks why Republicans resist Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s proposal to create an independent office on energy policy.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas legislative session began with what seemed like a done deal for expanding Medicaid. Gov. Laura Kelly and a top Republican senator had forged a compromise to offer health coverage for up to 130,000 low-income Kansans.

About a month later, the deal has ground to a halt — and even the state budget could be held up — because of abortion politics. 

TOPEKA, Kansas — A proposal to ban all fruity and sweet vaping flavors in Kansas has upset both pro-vaping and anti-tobacco groups.

Hundreds of popular flavors would disappear. Menthol would remain. The flavor restrictions wouldn’t apply to traditional tobacco products, such as cigarettes.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Kansas’ top election official says the state needs another year to prepare before it can give voters a choice of polling places on Election Day, even though it has been nearly 10 months since the Legislature enacted a law aimed at making voting more convenient and boosting turnout.

 

TOPEKA, Kansas — A flurry of proposals in the Kansas Statehouse this session take aim at rising medical costs, including one that may be the state’s first attempt to rein in “surprise bills.”

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Call it a ban on plastic bag bans.

A new bill introduced this week in the Kansas House Commerce Committee would pre-emptively prevent state municipalities from enacting their own bans or taxes on plastic items, including shopping bags.

The push comes days after the Wichita City Council appointed a Single-Use Plastic Bag Task Force to look into the issue and possibly craft an ordinance regulating plastic bags in the city.

The Kansas House of Representatives has stopped — at least temporarily — an all-out push by anti-abortion groups for a constitutional amendment that they say is needed to maintain the state’s ability to regulate the procedure.

Supporters fell four votes short Friday of putting an amendment on the August primary ballot to overturn a recent Kansas Supreme Court decision that declared abortion a "fundamental" right under the state's Bill of Rights.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas House narrowly rejected a constitutional amendment Friday that would have said there’s no right to abortion in the state constitution.

After the defeat, Republican leaders promised this “was just the beginning.”

“Don’t be surprised when it comes up again because it will come up again this session,” House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins said after the vote.

The final count was 80-43, just short of the 84 votes needed to put the issue on a statewide ballot vote where Kansans could reject it or add it to the state constitution.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The new Medicaid expansion bill, the product of a compromise between Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and some Republican leaders, would change how state prisons and county jails fund health care for prisoners.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Republican lawmakers in Kansas pushed a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution through the state Senate on Wednesday even as abortion rights advocates argued that it would lead to a ban on most abortions like a measure being pursued in Tennessee.

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