Kansas News Service

The Kansas News Service produces essential enterprise reporting, diving deep and connecting the dots regarding the policies, issues and and events that affect the health of Kansans and their communities. The team is based at KCUR and collaborates with KMUW and public media stations across Kansas.

The Kansas News Service is made possible by a group of funding organizations, led by the Kansas Health Foundation. Other funders include United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Sunflower Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Additional support comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Kansas News Service

The Kansas legislative session is not yet two weeks old, but there are already signs of the change that many voters called for in the recent elections.

New legislative leadership and an aggressive group of newcomers are pushing back against many of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposals, which they say won’t fix structural problems with the state budget.

Message From Voters

From the earliest days of the campaign season, it was evident that many voters were frustrated about the “budget mess” in Topeka.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach continues with his prosecution of alleged voter fraud. Peggy Lowe with the Kansas News Service reports that he’s expected to file a ninth case today.

A spokeswoman from Kobach’s office says the new voter fraud case is being filed in Shawnee County in Topeka.

kansasregents.org

Kansas higher education officials say in three years, the state needs thousands more students graduating college. Today, the Board of Regents will take a step towards that goal.

Right now about 40,000 students in Kansas are awarded a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree or some kind of certification each year.

That number, the state says, needs to bump up to 53,000. To meet the need of businesses in the state, 40 percent will need to be four-year degrees, and the rest will need to be two-year degrees or certificates.

Misha Popovikj / flickr Creative Commons

Three of Kansas’ four members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for a budget resolution late last week that paves the way for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Lynn Jenkins joined Kevin Yoder and Roger Marshall in voting for the resolution that will allow the Republican-led Congress to start erasing major parts of the health reform law.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, didn’t vote.

Marshall says Republicans are eager to take Obamacare off the books.

Tobacco Money Plays Key Role In Brownback Budget Plan

Jan 12, 2017
pixabay / flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal would sell the state’s future payments from tobacco companies to plug financial holes for the next two years.

The budget proposal — outlined Wednesday morning — calls for the state to receive $265 million from “securitizing” the tobacco payments in fiscal year 2018, which starts in July, and the same amount in the following year.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback released on Wednesday a wide-ranging plan for fixing the state’s budget shortfall. It would take money from the highway fund, raise some taxes and overhaul the funding system for children’s programs. It would also take longer to pay off a shortfall in the state's pension plan, KPERS.

Jim McLean, of the Kansas News Service, spoke with Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda about the budget plan and how lawmakers are reacting.

Michael Long, flickr Creative Commons

In his State of the State speech Tuesday, Gov. Sam Brownback threw down a gauntlet for state universities: Come up with a $15,000 bachelor's degree. In the education world, almost nobody saw that coming.

But now that the idea for a bargain bachelor's is out there, it's up to the Kansas Board of Regents to try and make it a reality.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback laid out new policy proposals and budget plans during his State of the State address Tuesday. Even though Kansas faces a budget deficit adding up to almost a billion dollars by next year, the governor began his speech by showcasing some of the state's strong points. KPR's Stephen Koranda reports.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

In addition to the budget, income taxes and education, Kansas lawmakers will also debate whether to roll back some gun legislation.

As Sam Zeff with the Kansas News Service reports, a bill to do just that has already been filed.

The pre-filed measure would negate a law from two years ago that allows anyone to carry a concealed gun in the Statehouse. The capitol is secured by metal detectors and highway patrol troopers.

The lone sponsor of the legislation is Democratic Rep. Louis Ruiz from Kansas City, Kansas.

Kansas News Service

As they gavel in Monday for the 2017 session, Kansas legislators are considering delaying juvenile justice reforms enacted last year.

Last year’s bill was intended to steer low-level juvenile offenders into diversion and treatment programs rather than group homes and detention facilities. It had broad bipartisan support, and Gov. Sam Brownback called it the premier legislation of the 2016 session when he signed it in April.

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