Brownback Signs Bill Dropping Welfare Benefits for Needy Families to 24 Months
May 16, 2016

(AP) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill Monday that he said is aimed at freeing more people from poverty, but opponents argue the new welfare restrictions leave families without a safety net during financial difficulties.

Under the new law Kansans will be limited to 24 months on cash assistance over their lifetime. The previous limit was 36 months.

Able-bodied recipients of food assistance also will be required to participate in an employment or training program and not quit a job that offers at least 30 hours of work per week.

The Brownback administration estimates that about 9 percent of the approximately 4,900 households receiving cash assistance will reach the new lifetime limit within the next year.

Lamers ‘Uber Rides’ Brownback
May 5, 2015

(AP) – The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature has overridden GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a bill imposing new regulations on ride-hailing companies like Uber.
The Senate’s vote Tuesday was 34-5 while the House voted 96-25, comfortably surpassing the two-thirds majority needed.
The measure would require drivers for ride-hailing companies to undergo state background checks. They’d also need additional auto insurance coverage beyond the $1 million Uber offers when drivers are logged into its network or transporting passengers.
Uber connects drivers to riders through a mobile app. It was operating in Wichita and the Kansas City area and expanded after Brownback’s veto.
“Over-regulation of businesses discourages investment and harms the open and free marketplace. Uber, and other innovative businesses, should be encouraged to operate, grow and create jobs here in Kansas,” the Governor said.
The company put a popup on its app for Kansas users after the Senate vote saying, “KANSAS JUST SHUT DOWN UBER” and, “Effective immediately, Uber can no longer operate in KS.”

More Details on Briwnback’s School Plan, Others Worry Sin Taxes May Drive Biz to Missouri
January 16, 2015

The head of the National Education Association for the Kansas City, Kansas school district thinks Governor Sam Brownback’s plan for the state’s schools will short change students.
Brownback’s administration fleshed out the details of its education budget Friday.
Brownback’s school budget calls for spending to remain steady for the balance of this school year; next school year and the one after that, 2016-17.
School critics say that’s not enough money and point to recent court rulings to back them up.
In his Thursday night ‘State of the state’ speech, the conservative Republican called for a ‘time out in the school finance wars,”.
Brownback is also asking legislators to start overhauling the state’s complex formula for allocating money to every school district in the state.
The Governor wants the current formula to end this summer. He says school district could get state money through block grants while the formula is being redesigned.
Hodison says that is not practical.
“Well, if there is no formula how to you determine how much each school district gets?”
Another element of the Brownback budget plan is under fire from Kansas in the liquor business and the state’s convenience stores.
The administration is calling for a dramatic raise in the state’s cigarette tax.
The Governor is proposing to raise the 79-cent-per-pack tax to $2.29, almost triple the current tax.
The head of the state’s Petroleum and Convenience Store marketers Association, Tom Palace, said a rate that high would make competing with other states on cigarettes very difficult.
Kansas’ neighbor to the east, Missouri, has the 17-cent per pack cigarette tax, the lowest in the nation.
“All we’d be doing is waving at the taillights as they leave the state,” Palace said.
The co-owner of Rimann’s Liquors in Prairie Village, Ks said much the same thing.
“It would hurt–severally hurt our business. because,, again, Missouri has twice the population and they have significantly lower taxes on fuel, tobacco and of course, alcohol,” she said.
Brownback’s budgeteers hope the increases in the cigarette, tobacco and alcohol taxes, combined with delaying some tax cuts that were expected to take effect this year, will raise more than $300. The state is facing a budget shortfall of $700 million..

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.

Brownback Takes. A couple of Questions on Same Sex Marriage at Olathe Campaign Stop
October 7, 2014

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he continues to support the state’s state constitutional ban against same sex marriage. But the incumbent Governor dodged a few more questions about the same sex marriage issue at a campaign stop in Olathe.
After answering three questions, his Communications Director, John Milburn, escorted the Governor off, saying there was another appointment.
Monday, the US Supreme Court refused to take two cases defending a ban on same sex marriages. Kansas is involved because the cases came Oklahoma and Utah, two states that are also in the 10th judicial Circuit, along with Kansas. Lower federal courts in the 10th judicial Circuit have ruled similar same sex bans unconstitutional.
Kansas attorney general Derek Schmidt admits the Supreme Court’s announcement puts Kansas in ”a difficult positon”. He says he’ll defend the state’s ban when it is challenged in court.
Brownback followed Schmidt to the microphone. He noted the state’s 2005 election added the same sex ban to the state constitution. It collected 70% of the vote.
“That’s as strong a vote that what can take place,” said the Governor. He also added he expects the matter is now headed to court.
After two more questions, Brownback walked away from the speaker’s stand and the microphones. He briefly repeated his answer about the strength of the 70% vote and then his campaign aide escorted him from the area where reporters were gathered.
Brownback was in Olathe to receive the endorsement of Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning and Johnson County district attorney Steve Howe.
The Governor also toured the Johnson County criminal laboratory facilities