Hensley Filing Ethics Complaint to Brownback’s Campaign Finances
January 25, 2016

(AP) – A top lawmaker says he plans to file a complaint with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission seeking an investigation into Gov. Sam Brownback’s use of campaign donations to pay more than $167,000 in legal fees last year. The payments came as a federal grand jury was investigating loans his running mate, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, made to their 2014 re-election effort.
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said Monday he also plans to ask the ethics panel for an advisory opinion on the legality of a candidate using campaign funds as collateral.
Eileen Hawley, spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said in an email Monday speaking on behalf of Colyer that the campaign complied with all laws and regulations and that the investigation into the loans did not result in charges.

Kansas Dems Call for Full School Funding Bill This Year
January 14, 2016

The Kansas Senate’s top Democrat says lawmakers should pass a new education funding law this year.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said Thursday that legislators should work with school superintendents on a new formula for distributing more than $4 billion in state aid to the state’s 286 school districts.

Republicans who control the Legislature last year junked the state’s old, per-pupil formula in favor of “block grants” for districts. They meant the new law to be temporary and set it to expire in July 2017.

Democrats had a Statehouse news conference to discuss their vision for this year’s legislative session, stressing their support for public schools and retaining teachers without offering specifics.

Republicans are divided over whether lawmakers should try to pass a new school funding law this year.

Kansas Tax amnesty Program Pulls Up Short
January 8, 2016

(AP) – A tax amnesty program designed to help balance the Kansas budget has generated only about three-quarters of what lawmakers expected.

The Topeka Capital-Journal (bit.ly/1ZQXaez) reports that the program brought in about $23 million, which fell about $7 million short of the $30 million that was anticipated.

The Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback passed the amnesty program this past spring as part of a massive revenue package to raise $400 million to balance the state budget. The program ran from Sept. 1 through Oct. 15.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, provided the $23 million figure to The Capital-Journal. It matched what House Tax Committee chairman Marvin Kleeb said he understood the program had generated.

Kleeb, an Overland Park Republican, says the program was successful, despite falling short of the estimate.

Democrats in Kansas Join Retirees for COLA Rally
February 19, 2014

(AP) – Democratic lawmakers in Kansas have joined dozens of retired teachers and government employees in calling for a cost-of-living increase in their pensions.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that about 200 retirees rallied Tuesday at the Statehouse. Many wore green stickers bearing the word “COLA,” for cost-of-living adjustment.

Retirees haven’t seen such an increase in 17 years because of long-term funding issues facing the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.

The projected gap between the pension system’s anticipated revenues and its commitments to retirees is $10.3 billion through 2033. However, the state has enacted changes in recent years that are projected to close the gap.

Speakers at the rally included Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka and House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence.

Turnpike/KDOT Merger Advancing in Topeka
March 28, 2013

toll booth at nightThe Kansas Senate has passed a bill merging the state’s Turnpike Authority (KTA) with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).
The bill, however, has its skeptics according to the Topeka Capital Journal.
Wichita Senator Les Donovan merging the two agencies doesn’t make sense for lawmakers who believe in smaller government.
“”It’s a sad day for me to see this organization going down the road to what I see as a less-than-glorious future,” Donovan said according to the newspaper.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback proposed the merger in his State of the state speech at the start of the 2013 session. He said combining some operations of the KTA and KDOT could save the state $30 million dollars.
The senate’s Democratic leader, Anthony Hensley of Topeka has doubts about the Governor’s cost savings claims.
“None of these savings have been documented in any way,” Hensley said.
“The Legislature would be wise to leave this well run, autonomous agency alone,” Hensley said of the Turnpike Authority.
The final vote on the measure was 26-14.