Kansas Chamber of Commerce

Nadya Faulx

Kansas business groups have mobilized to snuff out a budding movement among a few cities to ban single-use plastic bags and straws, frustrating environmentalists who can't get the Republican-controlled Legislature to tackle climate issues.

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.

Steve Becker
Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

Moderate Republican Rep. Steve Becker of Buhler lost his primary in August, but he hasn’t conceded his Kansas House seat to his conservative challenger just yet. He’s mounting a write-in campaign.

Two years ago, when Becker was elected to his third term, a slew of moderate Republicans won seats in the Kansas House. Democrats made equally substantial gains. The Legislature shifted significantly toward the center. 

Kansas Chamber / Facebook

More than 150 Kansas business owners will attend the Kansas Chamber's 2017 Congressional Summit this Friday in Wichita.

The summit will provide area business leaders with more information about policy and regulatory issues at the federal level.

Susie Fagan / KHI News Service

Former Democratic Gov. John Carlin and former Republican House Speaker Mike O’Neal have starkly different views on the condition of Kansas government. That divergence was plain as the two met in Topeka Thursday for a discussion about the size of government recorded for KCUR’s Statehouse Blend podcast

O’Neal and Carlin agree on one thing -- that they don’t know exactly what the “right size” of state government is.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A former Kansas House Speaker told state lawmakers to fight back against a court ruling over school funding. The state Supreme Court says lawmakers must reduce funding disparities among school districts or schools could close.

Former Republican Rep. Mike O’Neal didn’t tell Kansas legislators directly to defy the court, he said they should respond. But he said they could point to state law passed years ago saying the court can’t close schools.

Gov. Sam Brownback is urging wind-energy advocates and critics of a renewable-energy requirement for Kansas utilities to work on a compromise for the policy's future.

The governor made remarks Wednesday in an impromptu meeting with Statehouse reporters suggesting that he supported phasing out the renewable energy rule.

But hours later, spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said the governor was referring to federal tax credits for wind production, not the state's mandate for utilities.

Joseph Novak / Flickr / Creative Commons

Whew! That ol’ Kansas wind! It’s been blowing like crazy lately with gusts up to 35 miles per hour and higher.

It’s been blowing so hard that it completely blew the cover off a couple of Koch subsidiaries.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity were left shivering and coverless by those recent gusts. The Kansas Chamber and Americans for Prosperity are known for their own windy proclamations about jobs and how much they, oh, so sincerely just want what’s best for the Kansas economy.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce says that in the 2014 legislative session, it will push to protect recently-enacted tax cuts.

The organization released a survey Tuesday of businesses in the state, showing that 57 percent of businesses say the taxes they pay are too high.

Former Kansas House Speaker Mike O'Neal is the president and CEO of the Kansas Chamber. He says some businesses may not have felt the impact of recent tax cuts yet.

Results from the 10th annual Kansas Chamber CEO Poll were released Wednesday. The Chamber uses the results to assist in developing its agenda.

Project Director Pat McFerron says the survey showed strong support for continued state tax reform.

"Twenty-nine percent of Kansas business owners say that taxes are their top concern," says McFerron.

"It's the same percentage that we had last year and again, for 10 years it's been a top concern and this is asked at the start of the survey without us mentioning anything else."

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