Archive for the ‘Kansas Politics’ Category

Mixed Results for Kansas Child Support Parent Collections
December 15, 2014

(AP) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says privatization of the state’s child support collection system has been a good move because it made collecting the money more cost-effective.

But while the governor says Kansas collected $5.89 for every $1 spent collecting it in fiscal year 2014, other data indicate the state collected the lowest percentage of child support in the past 14 years.

The Topeka Capital Journal reports the state collected 54 percent of current support that was due, the lowest percentage since the state had a 48 percent collection rate in 2000.

The state also collected less in total dollars for parents in 2014 than in the previous year, while the percentage of payments in arrears that was collected hit a 13-year low.

Brownback: I’m Working on $chool Funds & State Pensions
December 10, 2014

(AP) – Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s working on proposals for changing how Kansas distributes aid to public schools and for bolstering the pension system for teachers and government workers.

But the Republican governor provided no details during an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. He said only that his administration is researching options on school funding and pensions.

Brownback’s comments came a day after he outlined a plan for closing a projected $279 million shortfall in the state’s current budget. His plan received bipartisan criticism because he directed the state to divert nearly $41 million from the public pension system.

He said he did so to avoid cutting aid to public schools and higher education spending.

But he also said the state can’t sustain increases this year in education funding.

Brownback’s 1st Version of Budget Trimming Draws GOP Heat
December 9, 2014

AP) – Two GOP leaders in the Kansas Senate are criticizing Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for eliminating a projected $279 million shortfall in the current state budget.

Brownback’s plan would trim spending and divert funds for public pensions to general government programs. His administration unveiled it Tuesday.
Budget Director Shawn Sullivan outlined the proposal Tuesday in interviews with reporters. The plan avoids cutting aid to public schools and the state’s Medicaid program for the needy.

The governor can make some spending cuts himself but needs the Legislature’s approval for some parts of his plan.

Those parts include diverting nearly $96 million in funds for highway projects to general government programs.

The plan would eliminate a projected $279 million shortfall in the budget for the fiscal year that began in July. The state still would face a $436 million shortfall for the next fiscal year.

Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita said the governor is picking winners and losers by being selective in cutting. She said she prefers to see the burden of closing the budget shortfall spread evenly.

Senate Vice President Jeff King of Independence criticized the plan for diverting $41 million in contributions to the state pension system. King is chairman of the Senate pensions committee.

King said the plan threatens to undo gains made in recent years to improve the pension system’s long-term financial health.

Blunt & Roberts-Former Intell Members-Blast Torture Report
December 9, 2014

Here is former Intelligence Committee member Roy Blunt’s remarks provides by Blunt’s office:

Former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts criticized. It, too.
Back in 2003, it was reported that Democrats asked Roberts to look into the methods of enhanced interrogation that were in use.
He did not.
Here are his remarks Tuesday:
“The release of this flawed and partisan study poses an immediate and direct threat to Americans overseas and those serving our nation in harm’s way. This is a liberal political exercise that serves no purpose and will damage the national security of the United States at a time when the threat of terrorism and terrorists groups, like ISIS, grow more dangerous by the day. The release of this dated study damages our efforts to fight terrorism and will cause those who serve in the Intelligence Community to become risk averse, shaking the faith these brave men and women have in their mission and in our government. I encourage Americans to read the Minority Views for a much more accurate assessment of the facts.”

Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill:

“This is a gut-check moment for our country-a test of whether we can hold to our values as a true and open democracy.

“One thing that separates America from most nations in the world is our ability and willingness to hold our government accountable. That’s what this report represents. And it is something that would never happen in countries such as North Korea, China, or Russia.

“The world knows that the United States engaged in torture. Engaging in such practices damaged our nation and tarnished our values. But failing to hold our government accountable would do permanent damage to those values and diminish even further our standing in the world.”

Former Brownback Counselor Moves to Kansas Supreme Court
December 6, 2014

(AP) – Caleb Stegall is now a justice of the Kansas Supreme Court after serving as a lower-court judge and as a top aide to Gov. Sam Brownback.

The Supreme Court had a special session Friday for Stegall’s swearing in. Brownback and dozens of other people attended the ceremony.

Brownback elevated the 43-year-old Stegall to state’s highest court in August after naming him to the Kansas Court of Appeals last year.

Previously, Stegall served as Brownback’s chief counsel. Before joining the administration in January 2011, Stegall was Jefferson County’s elected prosecutor for two years.

It is the Republican governor’s first appointment to the seven-member Supreme Court.

Stegall replaced former Justice Nancy Moritz. She left to for a seat on the federal appeals court for Kansas and five other western and Plains states.

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