Sam Brownback

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he won’t resign until the U.S. Senate confirms his nomination for a ambassador’s post in the State Department.

Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Wikimedia Commons

Next year’s Kansas gubernatorial election is already shaping up to be a fascinating and unusual contest, reports The Garden City Telegram.

News recently broke that former Wichita Rep. Mark Hutton will announce his candidacy, and that brings the total number of gubernatorial candidates to 11.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Back in 2012 when voters swept a wave of Tea-Party Republicans into power, Oklahoma lawmakers looked admiringly to their neighbor to the north. Gov. Sam Brownback and his fellow Kansans had begun drastically cutting taxes in expectation that the move would result in a windfall of state revenue.

Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday HPPR looked at the balance of power among Republicans and Democrats in state legislatures across the High Plains. Today we thought we’d have a look at the tally when it comes to governorships and national officeholders in our listening region.

Reports that Gov. Sam Brownback may soon be leaving the state to take a United Nations post have lawmakers and others at the Statehouse talking about how things might change with Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer in charge.

At a time when Kansas is facing a serious budget deficit and a court order saying school funding is inadequate, Gov. Sam Brownback may be leaving the state for a job in Italy. A former high-ranking government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells Kansas Public Radio that Brownback will be named the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations agencies for food and agriculture in Rome.

As expected, the Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday morning ruled that the state’s school funding formula is inadequate under the Kansas Constitution.

In a unanimous 83-page decision, the court gave the Legislature until June 30 to address the state’s public education financing system.

The decision comes after the court ruled earlier that the school funding formula had failed to meet the equity prong of the Kansas Constitution.

Citing weak economic trends and structural budget pressures, S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on Kansas’ AA-minus credit rating from stable to negative Wednesday.

As Reuters reports, the credit rating agency faulted the state for its continuous use of one-time revenue measures to shore up operational spending. For the upcoming biennial budget, nonrecurring measures include a plan to sell bonds backed by Kansas' share of a nationwide settlement with U.S. tobacco companies, liquidation of a capital reserve, and pension underfunding, S&P said.

Feds reject Kansas' request to extend KanCare

Jan 23, 2017
KanCare.ks.gov

Federal officials have rejected Kansas’ request to extend KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, saying it has failed to meet federal standards and risked the health and safety of enrollees.

As reported by The Wichita Eagle, federal investigators reviewed the state’s Medicaid plan in October and found that Kansas is “substantively out of compliance with Federal statutes and regulations, as well as its Medicaid State Plan,” according to a letter sent to the state Jan. 13 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Wikimedia Commons

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to increase taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, among other things, to fill the state’s $378 million budget shortfall.

As The Kansas City Star reports, Shawn Sullivan, Brownback’s budget director, presented the governor’s tax and budget proposals to lawmakers yesterday.

Wikimedia Commons

In his State of the State address last night, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback talked about the state budget, Medicaid, the need for additional medical and dental care, and school funding, among other things.

Brownback said Budget Director shawn Sullivan would be presenting a "structurally balanced budget" today that Brownback described as balanced, in that it reconciles spending with available revenue and supports the core functions of state government.

Brownback also called for lawmakers to address the imbalance between state revenues and expenditures.

Kansas ranked fifth for most outbound movers in 2016

Jan 5, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Kansas moved up a spot from last year in a ranking of the states most moved out of in 2016.

KCUR

 Gov. Sam Brownback cut Medicaid reimbursements by 4 percent earlier this year, as part of budget cuts aimed at covering the revenue shortfall in Kansas, and legislators see restoration of that cut as a top priority going into the next session.

The Wichita Eagle

Talk continues to swirl around the possibility that Kansas Governor Sam Brownback could be given a position in Donald Trump’s cabinet—most likely as Secretary of Agriculture. Now the question many in the Sunflower State are asking is, would it be easier for Kansas to fix its budget problems if Brownback moves up?

As The Kansas City Star reports, some lawmakers and analysts in the state think the answer is yes—though those yesses are qualified by certain conditions.

ncronline.org

Whatever state you live in, you might be wondering if your governor is gearing up for a run at the White House—or maybe it hasn’t occurred to you to ponder the possibility. In any case, The Texas Tribune has devised a handy flow chart to help you determine your governor’s political aspirations. I plugged the names of some High Plains governors into the chart, and here’s what I came up with.

Orlin Wagner / AP photo

In an attempt to understand how well Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s grand experiment of slashing taxes to stimulate economic growth has affected unemployment, The Pittsburgh Gazette recently compared the state’s stats with those of Nebraska.

Last year Governor Sam Brownback ordered an investigation to see if Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri were involved in selling fetal tissue. Brownback said he'd block Medicaid funding because of this reason. A recent report from the Board of Healing Arts seems to vindicate the organization.

kansascity.com

LAWRENCE – A new funding method for public schools is expected to dominate the debate in the Kansas Legislature this year, and Gov. Sam Brownback will outline his budget and policy priorities during his State of the State address.

High Plains Public Radio’s coverage begins this afternoon, January 12, at 5:30 central time.

This is the first week of the 2016 Kansas legislative session.

The speech will last approximately 30 minutes and will be followed by the Democratic Party response. 

kansascity.com

Last week Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill threatening to defund the entire state judiciary if it rules against a law he favors reports Slate.

The Huffington Post says Brownback has spent much of his tenure attempting to curb the Kansas Supreme Court and consolidate power in the executive branch. 

Brownback Supports Newest Kansas Tax Proposal

Jun 8, 2015

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is so in favor of the new tax plan, he was lobbying lawmakers by phone from the hospital where his first grandchild was born Sunday. Brownback says the budget has been thoroughly discussed and it's past time to get it done and move forward. The tax plan increasing sales and cigarette taxes, and rolling back some of the 2012 tax breaks for businesses was already passed by the Senate.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback will veto the reduction of any business income tax cuts says the Kansas secretary of revenue.

Uber Halts Kansas Service Because of Veto Override

May 6, 2015

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback vetoes bill requiring new insurance mandates and background checks for drivers of the ride service Uber.

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

Health care advocates are calling for Kansas lawmakers to increase tobacco taxes to help fill a budget hole of more than $400 million. Dr. Roy Jensen, with the University of Kansas Cancer Center, says the governor’s proposed tax increase on tobacco could cause thousands of Kansans to quit or never start smoking. He says that could save the state a billion dollars in health care costs in the coming decades and possibly prevent up to 15,000 deaths. 

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

The wind power industry, free-market business groups, the governor and lawmakers have unveiled a compromise to overhaul the Kansas renewable energy standard. It would remove the mandate that 20 percent of power generation come from renewable sources and replace it with a voluntary goal.

Some advocacy groups get something they’ve wanted, eliminating the mandate for renewable energy. Mike O’Neal is president and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

Governor Sam Brownback recently signed a “welfare reform” bill that his administration is calling the most comprehensive in the nation. Brownback signed the measure despite a wave criticism from those who say it punishes the poor.

Rep. Don Hill, a Republican from Emporia, introduced a bill last year that would have raised the state’s cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack.

The bill died in the House Taxation Committee, where the chairman, Rep. Richard Carlson, a Republican from St. Marys, did not deem it worthy of a hearing.

KHI News Service

News that Gov. Sam Brownback has softened his position on Medicaid expansion wasn’t exactly racing through the Statehouse on Thursday.

But it certainly had some legislators buzzing.

In remarks Wednesday to conservative lawmakers in Missouri, Brownback said if the Kansas Legislature presented him with a budget-neutral expansion bill, he would likely sign it, according to a report in the Missouri Times.

kansaspublicradio.org

Hundreds of LGBT activists held a rally outside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka Saturday. They were protesting Governor Sam Brownback for withdrawing protections for state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The group Equality Kansas led the rally, where several state lawmakers and activists spoke. Micah Kubic (Mike-uh Cubic) of the Kansas branch of the ACLU told the crowd that Brownback’s actions have set the entire state back.

thepoliticalinsider.com

Kansas Rep. Tom Sloan is trying to piece together a Medicaid expansion proposal he hopes Gov. Sam Brownback and GOP conservatives might consider according to the Kansas Health Institute

The moderate Republican from Lawrence is borrowing elements from other conservative governors that have received or are seeking federal approval for more private-sector approaches.

The state’s budget shortfalls won’t make things any easier.  The bill has to find a way to cover the state’s share of expansions costs for several years. 

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

A group that advocates for Kansas children is protesting Governor Sam Brownback’s proposal to use money from a children’s fund to help cover a budget shortfall. The money comes from the 1990s tobacco settlement payments and is used for programs including Early Head Start. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports on the proposal to help close a gap in the current fiscal year's budget.

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