Sam Brownback

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.

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

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 / kansaspublicradio.org

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 / kansaspublicradio.org

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 / kansaspublicradio.org

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 / kpr.org

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.

mspbwatch.org

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.

nathansnews.com

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. 

commons.wikimedia.org

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.  

ivn.us

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.

FiveThirtyEight.com

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.

kansascity.com

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.

kwo.org

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.

workingkansans.com

Kansas has a budget problem.  It’s collecting less tax money than it planned.  This spring, the state intended to take in $651 million from personal income tax, but only received $369 million. The decrease was due to a large and rather unusual income tax cut passed by lawmakers in 2012 according to The New York Times.

wikipedia.org

Kansas was one of 18 states that sided with Hobby Lobby in the court battle over opting out of the inclusion of contraceptives in their insurance coverage.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby saying certain employers can opt out of including contraceptives in their insurance because of religious beliefs.  The reaction in Kansas followed predictable ideological lines reported Bryan Thompson for Kansas Public Radio.

kgs.ku.edu

Water rights holders in Western Kansas counties recently rejected a plan to conserve the Ogallala Aquifer.  Groundwater Management District No. 1 board members asked its voting membership to approve a measure to that would cut irrigation use by 20 percent reported Amy Bickel for Kansas Agland.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The state of Kansas is loaning itself $675 million to be able to pay its bills.  That’s nothing new.  That’s how it’s been done for the last 16 years according to the Kansas Health Institute.

khi.org

Duane Goossen is a former state budget director, and he says the state won’t have enough revenue to implement the budget legislators recently passed according to a recent article from the Topeka Capital-Journal.

paralleluniverse38n.blogspot.com

More than half of Kansas counties were placed on the updated Drought Declaration by Gov. Sam Brownback this week.  105 counties are either in an emergency, warning or watch status according to the Hays Daily News.

kansas.com

Today is the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision ordering an end to segregation in public schools.  Governor Sam Brownback remembered Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruling by speaking at the former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka yesterday reported Kansas Public Radio

wikipedia.org

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill this week that tells the U.S. government it has no authority to regulate prairie chickens within the state of Kansas.  The bill also threatens lawsuits against federal conservation efforts in an escalating dispute over reversing the population decline of the lesser prairie chicken according to a recent article from the Topeka Capital-Journal.

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