Kansas House Clears Bill Restricting Public Info on Students
March 27, 2014

(AP) – The Kansas House has passed legislation aimed at restricting the identifiable information collected on public school students.

The measure also specifies who may view such information, including parents and certain government agencies.

Wednesday’s 119-4 vote returns the bill to the Senate, which approved it earlier in slightly different form.

Proponents said the bill would help protect students’ identities and limit the disclosure of information collected about them to specific agencies, including local school districts, the Kansas education department and public health agencies.

Legislators have raised concerns that data would be used inappropriately and shared with the federal government or other entities without parental consent.

The bill requires a report on the law’s implementation to be submitted to the governor and legislators in 2015.

Brownback Urges Kansas Lawmakers-Take Senate’s Sales Tax Plan-End the Deadlock
May 24, 2013



Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is encouraging deadlocked legislators to take Senate version of extending the sales take so the session can end.
“The tax proposal passed by the Kansas Senate Thursday night lowers the tax burden on all Kansans. I appreciate the work by the Kansas Legislature this session and will sign this pro-growth tax bill should lawmakers vote to send it to me”, the Governor stated in a news release from his office Thursday evening.
Legislators in Topeka are stuck on how, or if, the state should continue a sales tax extension that is supposed to expire on July 1.
Thursday was supposed to be the final day of the session.
The state sales tax is at 6.3%. Without the extension, it drops to 5.7%.
Brownback supports continuing the sales tax at the current rate to avoid budget deficits.
The Governor and lawmakers reduced Kansas tax rates last year in an effort to start Kansas toward comprehensive tax reform that could end up with the state eliminating its income tax.
Kansas senate leaders offered to reduce the sales tax extension from 6.3% to 6.25%.
It also includes a reduction in the sales tax on food to 4.95%
House leaders have countered by offering an extension at the 6% rate.
House leaders, however, prefer returning the sales tax rate back to 5.7%. Some House members do not want to vote for anything they consider a tax increase. In some minds, that includes current extension.
At one point Thursday, the plan was to have House members vote on their version, while the Senate would vote on their plan.
That deal however, fell apart .

New Lines in Kansas Set off Political Scramble
June 9, 2012

KC Star:

Republicans and Democrats in Kansas began a mad scramble for candidates Friday in the wake of a dramatic redrawing of district boundary lines affecting every member of Congress and the state Legislature.
The new lines — drawn by a panel of three federal judges after lawmakers couldn’t complete the task — resulted in a flood of legislative seats without incumbents. That means a host of fresh faces will be in Topeka next January, and that party leaders are under a severe time crunch to find candidates before Monday’s noon filing deadline for the August primary.
“It’s probably the most disruptive redistricting in Kansas history,” said Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the state’s chief elections officer.
No less than the future course of the Brownback administration, which is seeking to stamp the state with a more conservative imprint, could be affected by the boundary-line shuffle, as well as the prospects for a billion-dollar bio-defense lab planned for Manhattan, Kan.
Under the new maps, the Kansas State University community moves from the 2nd Congressional District to the 1st, which is now represented by a staunch conservative, U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp. He’s known as a budget hawk who wants to curtail federal spending.
The new lines, however, were not expected to jeopardize the four incumbent members of Congress, all Republicans. The judges avoided maps that split Topeka and Lawrence.
The 3rd Congressional District, now represented by GOP freshman Rep. Kevin Yoder, drops a portion of Lawrence in the new map, making the 3rd District even more Republican.
Kobach said he won’t appeal the new maps, which were handed down late Thursday night, catching many off-guard. And he said he had no authority to delay Monday’s filing deadline, or the Aug. 7 primary, to give candidates more time to decide what office they’re running for and to campaign.
State law requires that candidates be residents of their legislative districts when they file, which caused some party officials to joke that a lot of apartments will be rented over this weekend.

Read more here: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/federal-judges-redraw-political-districts-in-kansas/#storylink=cpy

Is Kansas ‘Wrap-Up’ Session Coming Off the Rails?
May 17, 2012

(AP) – An agreement among Kansas legislators on cutting income taxes appears to be unraveling.

Conservative Republicans in the Kansas House grumbled Thursday that the proposal drafted by House and Senate negotiators is not aggressive enough. It reduces individual income tax rates and phases out income taxes for 191,000 businesses.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, President Steve Morris, a moderate Hugoton Republican, said he doesn’t like the plan because he sees it as too aggressive and believes it could lead to future budget problems.

Lawmakers already have approved a plan containing the same elements but making the cuts in one year instead of over six years.

They’re looking to pass an alternative because they fear the aggressive cuts could create a big budget shortfall in the future.

Tax Reform Deal Upsets Some Kansas Senators
May 10, 2012

Topeka Capital Journal:

The Senate sidestepped the vote Wednesday on a state tax reduction compromise labeled by Republicans as a fair piece of legislation and by Democrats as damaging to the working poor.
Before senators reached their full debate stride, maneuvering in the House intervened to throw a haymaker into politically charged dialogue on taxes.
The Senate’s debate was cut short because the House sent to Gov. Sam Brownback a different tax reform bill adopted by the Senate two months ago. It reduces individual income tax rates, drops taxes on businesses and reduces the state sales tax.
However, skeptics of the bill argued the measure could create an $800 million deficit in 2015.
“I am prepared to sign the bill,” Brownback said, “but I encourage Kansas legislators to continue their work on reforming our state’s tax policy and to consider some of the alternatives I proposed in my original pro-growth tax reform to off-set the cost.”
The compromise bill, less aggressive in cutting taxes than the bill now before the governor, would have dropped individual state income tax rates and phase out taxes on non-wage income for more than 190,000 businesses in Kansas
The Working Kansas Alliance also blasted the tax reform deal in a statement Wednesday.
“Under this plan Kansas is projected to be billions of dollars in the hole within three years,” the group said in a statement.