Sam Brownback

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. 

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.

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

Stephen Koranda /

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 /

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.

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.

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 /

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.

Stephen Koranda /

Democratic leaders in the Kansas Legislature have been tight-lipped about Governor Sam Brownback’s tax and budget proposal, until now. Top Democrats voiced their concerns about the plans at a press conference on Friday.

Stephen Koranda /

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss is defending the state’s system for selecting Supreme Court justices.

Governor Sam Brownback last week said the system should be changed to be, as he called it, more “democratic.” His proposals would allow the governor to pick nominees or have voters directly elect justices.

Stephen Koranda /

Kansas Secretary of Transportation Mike King is asking lawmakers not to touch one of KDOT’s funding sources. Lawmakers will be looking for ways to fill a budget gap, and the money could be attractive. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports four-tenths of a percent of the state sales tax goes to KDOT for road projects.

Secretary King says the sales tax funding is a steady source of income, which is important when they’re borrowing money.

Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing to ditch the state’s K-12 funding program reports the Topeka Capital-Journal. 

Brownback is recommending lawmakers abolish the K-12 funding formula and replace it with more than $3 billion in block grants while the Legislature writes a new formula.

Bruce Baker is a school finance professor at Rutgers University.  The former Kansan says it could be a legal maneuver to escape litigation.  Baker says giving something a new name, calling it a different formula, even when it’s not can be presented in court as an argument to dismiss a case. That forces plaintiffs to file a new lawsuit in a lower court because the formula specified no longer exists.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s 50-year water plan is moving forward.  A statewide conservation panel is being selected.  The panel will investigate solutions for Kansas as a whole, while regional teams will look for local answers.

Hays is a success Brownback hopes to duplicate across the state reports the Kansas Health Institute.  The north central community’s wells went dry in 1991.  A comprehensive water-saving plan was developed.  Fewer, more efficient wells were dug.  Incentives for low-flow toilets, shower heads, high efficiency washing machine were provided by the city.  New construction codes changed to include water conservation mandates.  City leaders went into schools education the kids about water conservation.  Now the community of 21,000 people uses about the same amount of water it did in 1970 when the population was about 15,000.

Stephen Koranda /

Governor Sam Brownback highlighted what he calls a “crisis of the family” during his inauguration speech Monday reports Stephen Koranda for Kansas Public Radio.  

The governor was sworn in to office for a second term, he said building stronger families will be one of his main goals. Brownback says stronger families will lead to more economic growth and less poverty in Kansas.

New York Times

During Gov. Sam Brownback’s bid for re-election he assured Kansans he would balance the budget and preserve services by making government more efficient and cutting expenditures.  But, now there could be a rollback of the tax cuts that have been Brownback’s hallmark reports the New York Times.

Stephen Koranda /

Governor Sam Brownback is staying tight-lipped about his plans to fix a hole in the state budget. Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda reports, Brownback says he's looking at all the options.

Following a recent meeting at the Statehouse, Brownback gave few details to the media about what he'll propose. He says all options are on the table, including tax increases or slowing future scheduled decreases.

State government agencies under Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s direction aren’t yet changing their policies on recognizing marriages.

Same sex marriages have the green light in Kansas.  The U.S. Supreme Court is not going to block the marriages while the state’s lawsuit is in appeals court.  Earlier a federal district judge stopped the state from enforcing its ban.. staying in line with an a federal appeals court ruling that struck down bans in Oklahoma and Utah.

Revenue estimates for the state of Kansas are in, and the projections have a lot of red ink reported Stephen Koranda for Kansas Public Radio.  To balance the books for the current fiscal year, which is half over at the end of December, $279 million needs to be cut.  $435 million in reductions needs to be made to balance the upcoming fiscal year.

The keys to winning an election in Kansas when the pivotal issue is abortion are: voting guides in churches, fliers on car windshields in church parking lots, telephone calls, and knocking on doors.

What drove the tide of GOP victories in Kansas and proved many pollsters wrong?  Political Science Professor Chapman Rackaway of Fort Hays State University believes the answer is simple -- Republicans just turned out in greater numbers.  

In an interview with Stephen Koranda of Kansas Public Radio, Rockaway explained that the GOP accomplished that by using sophisticated data models and tools that helped them contact the right people, in the right way, and get them to vote.

Kansans, here's a little help in case you haven't voted yet.

With Election Day upon us, Nate Silver, the polling analyst famed for his accurate forecast of the 2012 election, has his final projections for hotly contested races in our region:

Both candidates for Kansas governor oppose the new EPA rule increasing the number of waterways subject to federal regulations.

Survey results are in, Kansas says the two highest profile races in the election are very close according to a recent press release. Fort Hays State University’s Docking Institute of Public Affairs recently completed Kansas Speaks Survey 2014.

The water plan for the state of Kansas was recently unveiled.  The goal is to ensure a reliable water supply for the future according to a recent article from the Washington Times.