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Statehouse

Stephen Koranda Friday, April 1st

Lawmakers have wrapped up the main legislative session, but there are still some of the most important issues to finalize. Legislators will return to Topeka later this month to pass a final version of the budget. But as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, they first have to craft the final budget plan.

Stephen Koranda Friday, April 1st

State tax collections came in below estimates in March, and that could hurt efforts to balance the state budget. The Department of Revenue says tax collections were 19 million dollars below estimates. The House and Senate have crafted budget plans aimed at leaving the state with a surplus at the end of next fiscal year, but tax collection shortfalls could erase that projected ending balance. Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, says lawmakers do still have the option of altering the budget plans.Morris says it wasn’t all bad news. March 2011 tax collections were up by $18...

Stephen Koranda Friday, April 1st

The Kansas House members have approved their version of the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1st. It took lawmakers 14 hours to wrap up debate on the budget, which spends around 6 billion dollars in state revenue. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, some House members had their minds set on cutting spending.

Stephen Koranda Friday, April 1st

The Kansas House has approved its version of the budget for 2012. After a marathon session yesterday (THUR), the House voted 69-52 to approve the package, which includes about 6 billion dollars in state spending. The proposal would leave the state with around 80 million dollars at the end of the fiscal year. House Speaker Mike O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, was happy with the outcome.Paul Davis of Lawrence is the top Democrat in the House. He wasn’t satisfied with millions of dollars in cuts to social services and school funding.Complicating matters is yesterday's (THUR) revenue report for...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 31st

The Kansas House has voted to include legislative staff in a proposed state employee pay cut. A House committee had originally voted to exempt lawmakers’ staff from the cut. During debate on a budget bill, some lawmakers called the exemption unfair. Representative TerriLois ("terry lois") Gregory is a Baldwin City Republican.The pay cut would affect employees making more than 40 thousand dollars per year. Employees making more than 100 thousand dollars per year would see their pay reduced by 7.5 percent. Lower paid employees would see a smaller cut. House members could finalize their version...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 30th

The Kansas House has advanced a bill that would put new regulations on abortion clinics. Similar bills have passed in previous years, but were vetoed by past governors. KPR's Stephen Koranda has more on how the debate played out on the House floor.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 29th

Kansas senators have approved their proposal for the state budget. It took nearly four hours of debate yesterday (TUE) for the upper chamber to agree on a funding plan for the fiscal year starting July 1st. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, senators made some deep cuts to bring the budget into balance.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 29th

The Kansas Senate has approved their version of a state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1st. Yesterday’s (TUE) 36 to 3 vote sends the bill to the House, which will debate its own version of the 2012 budget later in the week. The Senate measure would reduce aid to schools by around 230 dollars per student. Carolyn McGinn, a Republican from Sedgwick, chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee. She said senators did what they had to do to balance the state budget.Senators voted to cut the pay of lawmakers and other state officials to help eliminate a 500 million dollar deficit. For...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 29th

A state senator is trying to revive a bill that would repeal a Kansas law allowing some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports.The full Senate is scheduled to debate the motion tomorrow (WED).

Stephen Koranda Monday, March 28th

Lawmakers are considering two very different proposals to tackle a funding problem in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS (kay-pers). The system faces a projected 7.7 billion dollar deficit over the coming 30 years. The House bill would shift new workers to a 401(k)-style investment plan. The Senate version would keep employees in a traditional pension, but study if a 401(k) plan is a good idea. Governor Sam Brownback charged the Senate with looking into the issue, but he hasn’t said which proposal he favors.Both versions would have the state and employees putting more...

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