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Statehouse

Stephen Koranda Monday, March 7th

State government in Kansas is undergoing a comprehensive study to see how tax dollars are spent. That’s what Kansas Budget Director Steve Anderson told the House Appropriations Committee today (MON). The goal of the program is to find the exact costs for government services to determine where money can be saved. Anderson gave the example of a boiler inspection performed by the Department of Labor.The program is starting with the Department of Labor and Department of Agriculture. Anderson says they’re hoping to have more state agencies studying their costs by this summer.

Stephen Koranda Friday, March 4th

The full house could debate tax policy changes this week. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, some lawmakers want to significantly revamp the state’s tax system, including repealing part of the state sales tax.

Stephen Koranda Friday, March 4th

Kansas legislative leaders visited Washington DC this week to lobby for funding to build an animal disease lab in Manhattan. President Obama's budget proposal includes 150 million dollars to start construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF (enn-baff). Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, was part of the group. He says Republicans and Democrats are working together to secure the funding.The lab will study animal diseases which could be used in a terrorist attack against the country. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 3rd

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee has recommended rejecting Governor Sam Brownback’s plan to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission. Brownback has signed an executive order to replace the Arts Commission with a private, non-profit group. Governor Brownback says his plan will save the state around 600 thousand dollars during a tough budget crunch. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 3rd

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee today (THUR) recommended rejecting Governor Sam Brownback’s plan to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission. Brownback has signed an executive order to replace the Arts Commission with a private, non-profit group. Senator David Haley, a Kansas City Democrat, says he is not convinced private money will be available to replace the lost state dollars.The committee’s resolution to reject the governor’s plan will now go before the full Senate.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 2nd

The Supreme Court has sided with Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church in a free speech case. The church is known for protesting at military funerals. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, church members argued that their protests were protected under the Firt Amendment.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 2nd

The House Appropriations Committee today (TUE) voted to eliminate state funding for public broadcasting. Anthony Brown, a Eudora Republican, supported the cut, saying the state needs to look at its priorities.The bill will now go before the full House. The state funding is used to help support public television and radio stations in Kansas, including Kansas Public Radio. Much of the funding goes to stations serving rural areas.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 1st

An effort to repeal a law that gives illegal immigrants a tuition break has passed the House, but may face a challenge in the Senate. The bill would repeal a 2004 Kansas law that allows some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at Kansas colleges and universities. Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, a Lindsborg Republican, says it hasn’t been the top issue for many senators.Emler says a projected budget deficit has been his top issue. For more on the debate over the immigrant tuition law, tune in later this hour.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 1st

Some lawmakers want to repeal a law that gives in-state tuition to certain illegal immigrants. The law originally passed in 2004. The House voted last week to repeal it. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more on the debate.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 1st

A group of Kansas electric, oil and gas companies are calling on state lawmakers to vote in favor of a measure criticizing the federal Environmental Protection Agency. A House committee is considering a resolution that targets proposed federal regulation of greenhouse gasses. Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association President Ed Cross says the rules will hurt the Kansas economy.Westar Energy and KCPL are also on board with the effort, as is an electric co-op group. The resolution is calling for a federal cost-benefit analysis of greenhouse gas rules. The measure is non-binding.

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