Archive for the ‘Kansas Politics’ Category

Kansas Revenue Estimates Off in July
July 31, 2015

(AP) – Kansas collected about $3.7 million less in taxes than it expected in July, largely because of lower-than-anticipated revenues from its newly increased sales tax.

The state Department of Revenue reported Friday that the state collected $417.6 million in taxes, when officials projected $421.3 million. The shortfall is 0.9 percent.

The report came a day after Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director announced $63 million in adjustments to the state’s $15.4 billion budget to lessen the chances of a deficit. Lawmakers last month increased sales and cigarette taxes as well.

Sales tax collections were $189.1 million for the month, or $3.9 million less than expected. The shortfall was 2 percent.

But the state’s personal income tax collections were $3 million more than expected, at $153 million. The surplus was 2 percent.

House Democratic Leader Tom Burroughs of KCK said, ““Given that this is the first month of the fiscal year, I am concerned state revenue is already down.”

Brownback Administration Announcing $50 Million Mote Budget Cuts Thursday
July 30, 2015

AP) – Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director is preparing to outline $50 million in adjustments aimed at keeping Kansas from having a deficit.
Budget director Shawn Sullivan’s news conference was Thursday afternoon at the Statehouse.
The governor’s office said beforehand that Sullivan would discuss recommendations for reducing costs and shifting funds within state government to cover general expenses. It was not more specific.
Brownback was not attending the news conference because he was meeting with Wichita business owners.
GOP legislators counted on Brownback’s administration making adjustments under a plan to balance the state’s $15.4 billion budget. The plan approved also increased sales and cigarette taxes this month.
The state’s budget problems arose after lawmakers cut income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy.

Kansas Civil Rights Commission Looking at Voting
July 30, 2015

(AP) – The Kansas division of a federal civil rights commission will investigate whether voter identification laws have affected turnout around the state.
The Kansas Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission voted Tuesday to hold hearings to determine if turnout in some communities has been suppressed, KCUR-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1SMwZAi ). The committee also agreed to ask Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who strongly advocated for the laws, to testify at its hearings, which are expected to take place early next year.
“My office would be happy to appear before the Kansas advisory committee and point out the success of the Kansas photo ID law,” Kobach told The Associated Press late Wednesday afternoon.
Committee chairwoman Elizabeth Kronk said there is concern that the law “disproportionately impacts certain age groups and certain racial categorizations.”
“It is fair to say the committee has acknowledged this is an area of controversy,” said Kronk, who is also a law professor at the University of Kansas.
The state committee can recommend that the full U.S. Civil Rights Commission in Washington take up the case.
The General Accounting Office released a report in October 2014 comparing election turnout in Kansas and Tennessee, states that tightened voter ID requirements between the 2008 and 2012 elections, to voting in four states that didn’t change identification requirements. Reductions in voter turnout were about 2 percent greater in Kansas and from 2 percent to 3 percent steeper in Tennessee than they were in the other states examined, the report showed

Kansas Lawmakers Reject Foster Care Investigation
July 29, 2015

(AP) – Republican legislators have blocked a state audit of the Kansas foster care system even though several of them acknowledged they have concerns about how it operates.
A legislative committee that directs the work of state auditors voted 5-4 Wednesday against initiating a review of the foster care system sought by two Democrats. The no votes came from Republicans who noted that other reviews of the system already are planned.
Democratic Reps. Ed Trimmer of Winfield and Jim Ward of Wichita wanted auditors to examine whether the Department for Children and Families is adequately protecting foster children and whether its contractors can provide adequate services.
But the department has started its own review of foster care policies and legislative leaders have appointed a special committee to review foster care issues.

Will Planned Parenthood’s Video Trouble Push Spread of Kansas Tough Abortion Laws?
July 23, 2015

AP) – Abortion opponents are using questions about Planned Parenthood’s handling of fetal tissue to bolster arguments that other states should follow Kansas in approving a ban on a common second trimester procedure.
But abortion rights supporters Thursday decried what they saw as another episode in an ongoing campaign to limit access to abortion services.
Anti-abortion activists have released two videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they provide organs from aborted fetuses for research.
Abortion opponents said prohibiting a common second-trimester procedure that they describe as dismembering a fetus would restrict potential trafficking in fetal tissue.
Kansas enacted the nation’s first such ban earlier this year, but a state district court judge last month temporarily blocked it from taking effect. It embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee.

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