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.

Kansas Senate Votes to Shorten Death Row Appeals Time
February 12, 2014

(AP) – Kansas senators have advanced a bill shortening the time limits for inmates sentenced to death to complete their appeals to the state Supreme Court.

The measure received first-round approval Wednesday on a voice vote. A second vote that would send the bill to the House is set for Thursday.

Senate Vice President Jeff King says the bill is necessary to expedite justice and get the required automatic appeals through the Kansas Supreme Court.

The bill creates a 3½-year time limit for the appeals to be heard and decided by the court. The measure would not affect any subsequent appeals, including those made to the U.S. Supreme Court.