Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Kansas Block Grant School Plan Headed to Court
March 27, 2015

(AP) – The plaintiffs in a school funding lawsuit have filed a motion to block the governor’s new school funding plan.

The motion was filed Thursday and calls on the court to bar the state from enacting the law overhauling the way the state distributes aid to schools. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed the plan into law Wednesday. His office referred questions to the attorney general’s office.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general says the administration will defend the rewritten school finance law in the courts.

The three-judge panel has ruled that it may move to preserve status quo and will hear arguments for blocking the law May 7.

The law scraps the state’s school funding formula and gives each district a fixed amount of money for the next two years.

Kansas May Issue Bonds to Cover Pensions
March 27, 2015

(AP) – Kansas is moving closer to issuing $1 billion or more in bonds to bolster its pension system for teachers and government workers.

The House and Senate have approved rival plans, even though many lawmakers view issuing bonds as financially risky.

Gov. Sam Brownback advocates the borrowing as part of a larger plan to reduce annual pension costs and help balance the state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

House and Senate negotiators expect to work on a compromise next week.

Thanks to laws enacted in recent years, the state pension system is on track to close a projected $9.8 billion gap between revenues and the benefit costs from now until 2033.

But those laws require increasing state contributions, and Brownback argues that the payments will strain the budget.

Kansas House Votes to Drop Concealed Carry Permit Requirement
March 25, 2015

AP) – The Kansas House has approved a bill that would allow gun owners to carry concealed firearms without a permit.
The vote Wednesday was 85-39. The bill passed by a healthy margin even though some members have misgivings that the state would no longer require training to carry concealed.
The Senate passed the measure last month, but the House made a technical change in committee that senators have to review.
The measure is expected to go eventually to GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. The National Rifle Association says Kansas would become the fifth state to allow concealed carry without a permit everywhere within its borders.
The House also voted 100-24 to pass a bill prohibiting cities and counties from imposing special fees and taxes on guns or gun sales.

Teacher Bargaining Bill Defeated in Topeka
March 25, 2015

AP) – A bill that would have forced a re-negotiation of all teacher salaries at the end of their current term was defeated in the Senate.
The Senate voted 13-27 to reject the bill Wednesday. It would have also eliminated the current teacher pay scale by narrowing salary talks between school boards and teachers unions to minimum salary.
Republican Sen. Jeff Melcher from Leawood inserted the changes into the bill and said they would help school reward good teachers and fire underperformers.
But, opponents said the bill would undercut the competitiveness of teachers’ positions by reducing job security and base salary.
Across the rotunda, the House passed a bill that would allow state agencies to deny civil service benefits and protections to new hires and employees changing positions.

Kansas Lawmakers Approve Another Abortion Restriction
March 25, 2015

(AP) – Kansas legislators have approved a proposed ban on a common second-trimester procedure described by abortion opponents as dismembering a fetus.
Activists on both sides said Kansas is the first in the nation to have legislators pass such a ban, which was model legislation written by the National Right of Life Committee.
The House voted 98-26 to outlaw the dilation and evacuation procedure. The procedure is used in about 8 percent of all abortions in Kansas.
The Senate approved the measure last month, so it goes to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. He has promised to sign it.
Abortion foes call the procedure gruesome. Abortion rights supporters say it’s often the safest way for a woman terminating a pregnancy.

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