Laura Kelly

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s budget wish list is long: boosting spending on higher education, public safety and human services. She'd aim to cut some taxes, but look to add new ones for streaming video and music services.

Not surprisingly, the $7.8 billion plan is getting a mixed response from the Republicans who control the Legislature.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The 2020 Kansas Legislature is underway. And while Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly laid out some of her top priorities during the State of the State address on Wednesday, Republican leaders of the House and Senate (and Kelly's fellow Democrats) have some different goals. 

Here are five issues that will be top of mind for the governor and lawmakers as the session heats up.

Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday a plan to form a singular agency — the Kansas Department of Human Services — that would absorb social welfare programs currently handled by three agencies.

The new agency would have a massive statewide presence, employing 6,000 workers, and oversee foster care, mental health services, four state hospitals and the juvenile justice complex. 

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File photo

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly proposed Monday that Kansas give itself more breathing room in its budget by slashing annual payments to its pension system for teachers and government workers, offering a new version of a plan that the Republican-controlled Legislature spiked last year.

TOPEKA, Kansas — A Shawnee County district judge was named Monday to one of the vacancies on the Kansas Supreme Court.

Though the state’s most prominent anti-abortion group opposed Shawnee County District Court Judge Evelyn Wilson, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly Chose Wilson from among the three candidates recommended by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. It’s a choice that could fuel efforts to change how Kansas’ Supreme Court justices get their seats.

A Kansas woman who was sex trafficked as a minor and later convicted of felony sex crimes should not receive a pardon from Gov. Laura Kelly, a panel says.

Updated Nov. 15 with statement from the governor: Attorneys for Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly have asked a federal court to remove her from a class-action lawsuit over the state’s troubled foster care program, arguing that she doesn’t actually oversee the system.

The move comes as parents and advocates say that the system continues to traumatize the thousands of children in its care.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has joined a legal battle to save a federal program that shields young immigrants from deportation.

Kelly's move Friday puts the Democratic governor and Republican Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on opposite sides of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kelly signed onto written legal arguments opposing President Donald Trump's attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Kelly joined Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and the Democratic attorneys general of Michigan and Nevada.

Evan Pflugradt / KMUW/File photo

The president of the company that formerly ran a literacy program for Kansas' public elementary schools alleged Monday that the state canceled the multimillion-dollar grant in "retaliation" for the firm's opposition to major changes state officials were seeking.

TOPEKA — One of the United States’ largest and oldest private prison companies will house up to 600 Kansas inmates in a facility in Eloy, Arizona.

CoreCivic, formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America, owns and operates 129 prisons, immigration detention centers and other facilities in more than 20 states, including the Leavenworth Detention Center. Its revenues total more than $1 billion a year.

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