Archive for the ‘Kansas Politics’ Category

Split Contines Between Judges & Topeka
October 9, 2015

(AP) – Four judges challenging the Legislature’s move to defund the state judiciary’s budget are undeterred by a plea from the Kansas attorney general urging restraint.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Friday he was grateful the judges voluntarily dismissed on Thursday their case in federal court, an urged them not to file a new lawsuit. A court has already blocked the law until the Legislature reconvenes.

But the attorney representing the judges responded his clients don’t trust the Legislature and still plan to sue in state court over state constitutional issues. He urged Schmidt to file a court brief agreeing the law is unconstitutional.

Legislation passed this year nullifies the judicial branch’s budget if a 2014 law stripping the Kansas Supreme Court of its ability to appoint chief judges is struck down.

Shawnee Mission Says Kansas School Financing Plan Hurting Schools
October 9, 2015

. (AP) – The Shawnee Mission School District, which is blocked from joining a school finance lawsuit, has filed a brief in the case calling the state’s funding policy “crippling.”

The Kansas City Star reports ( ) the Kansas Supreme Court last month affirmed a lower court ruling that Shawnee Mission could not intervene in the school finance lawsuit against the state brought by the Kansas City, Kansas, Wichita, Dodge City and Hutchinson districts.

The district was told it could file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, Gannon v. Kansas. The district’s brief released Thursday says underfunding of the state’s school finance system “has led to a crippling loss of teachers,” foreign language program, neighborhood schools and property values.

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in November on whether Kansas schools are equitably funded.

Kansas Starts School Year Short 300 Teachers
October 8, 2015

(AP) – Kansas had more than 300 vacant teaching positions at the beginning of this school year.
Officials from the Kansas Department of Education said the numbers showing there were 317 vacant teaching positions in early September are from the first stage of a study the department is conducting to determine why some districts can’t fill certain positions.
The Wichita Eagle reports ( ) the state Department of Education previously administered a survey for the U.S. Department of Education on teacher demographics. But this year the state started conducting its own deeper survey.
School districts reported their vacant teaching positions as of Sept. 1, and in February will tell the district whether they filled those positions and if not, what factors were responsible.
The Wichita school district had the most vacancies with 64.

Kansas to Issue Same Sex Couples Birth Certificates on Case-by-Case Basis
October 8, 2015

AP) – The state of Kansas will issue birth certificates to two same-sex couples but will continue to study similar requests on a case-by-case basis.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the birth certificates in the two cases will list both members of the same-sex couples as parents of their children.
The two couples were part of pending lawsuits in state and federal court. They argued the state’s refusal to issue the birth certificates violated a recent Supreme Court ruling that states must recognize same-sex marriages.
Department spokeswoman Sara Belfry told The Lawrence Journal-World ( ) the department decided to issue the birth certificates in the two cases after reviewing applicable law and existing court orders.
But she says the state’s general policy has not changed.

Kansas Postpones Overhaul on Disabilities Program
October 7, 2015

(AP) – The state of Kansas says it’s delaying an overhaul in how it provides services to people with disabilities.

The Wichita Eagle ( ) reports the state announced the delay Tuesday, after concerns about changes were voiced by people with disabilities, their families, providers and caretakers. Thousands of people would be affected by the overhaul.

The change announced in August would condense seven Medicaid waivers based on disability type into one universal waiver. State agencies wanted to switch over to the new waiver by July 1, but the delay pushes that back to Jan. 1, 2017.

In a news release, state Department of Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier said officials want to have the workings of waiver integration “firmly in place” before switching.


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