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Statehouse

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to a bill aimed at fighting racial profiling by law-enforcement officers. But some people believe the bill has a big loophole in it. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

A House committee is pushing for Kansas universities to consider privatizing many of their functions. The House Appropriations Committee passed the amendment today (TUE) as part of a higher education budget bill. It asks the Board of Regents to study outsourcing services like housing and maintenance. State Representative Kasha Kelley, an Arkansas City Republican, supports the measure. She says all state agencies need to look at ways to save money, and that could include privatizing services. The amendment would require the Kansas Board of Regents to report next year on whether privatizing...

Stephen Koranda Monday, February 21st, 2011

Kansas House members are pushing to repeal a law that allows some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Kansas colleges and universities. The law was passed in 2004. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, the House gave first round approval to the repeal effort yesterday (MON).A final vote in the House could come as soon as today (TUE).

Stephen Koranda Monday, February 21st, 2011

The House has moved to repeal a Kansas law that gives in-state tuition to some illegal immigrants. The 69-49 vote is the first step towards repealing the law, which originally passed in 2004. Under the rule, undocumented students who graduated from a Kansas high school can attend college and pay in-state tuition. State Representative Mario Goico (GWEY-co), a Wichita Republican, spoke against repealing the law. He himself emigrated from Cuba as a teenager. Around 400 students take part in the program. Opponents of the current rule argue it gives a benefit to lawbreakers and isn’t fair to...

Stephen Koranda Friday, February 18th, 2011

A legislative bill to halt social promotion for 3rd graders is drawing opposition from education officials. Lawmakers are considering a measure that would hold back third-graders who cannot pass a statewide reading test. Kansas City, Kansas School District lobbyist Bill Reardon says the proposal isn't as effective as it would seem. School districts can already hold back students, but this bill would make it mandatory for kids who can't pass a reading test. Education officials say decisions on promoting third-graders should stay in local hands.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Workers compensation laws are likely headed for a rewrite in Kansas. The House has given first-round approval to a bill increasing certain protections for both employers and employees. The measure was crafted by an unlikely alliance between business and labor groups. But a group of Democrats - including Representative Mike Slattery of Mission - says the bill has been marred by changes that were made in a legislative committee. Slattery says that changes will no longer require companies to pay for translators for workers who don't speak English, but need to see a physician. Slattery also...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The Kansas House has given preliminary approval to a major rewrite of the state's workers compensation laws. The bill's advance is being attributed to an alliance between the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. Republican Representative Charlie Roth of Salina acknowleged that the two groups working together is unusual. Among the changes, the measure increases certain lifetime maximum benefits and gives workers more time to report injuries. For businesses, it works to ensure that a worker's pre-existing injuries are not held against employers. The bill would also limit lengthy workers...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Grocery and convenience store owners are urging lawmakers to expand the sale of liquor in Kansas. A bill in the legislature would allow grocery stores to sell spirits and wine. Currently, they can only sell beer and other drinks with less than 3.2 percent alcohol. The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee has 3 days of hearings on the issue scheduled for this week. KPR’s Stephen Koranda was at the first day of hearings yesterday (TUE)

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Grocery and convenience store owners today (TUE) urged a Senate committee to allow them to sell liquor and wine. Currently, only liquor stores can sell spirits and wine, while grocery stores are limited to beer and other drinks with less than 3.2 percent alcohol. Jim Puff owns the Alma Food Mart. He says rising utility and business costs are hurting small grocery stores and selling more alcohol could help increase sales.Opponents of the change say allowing more alcohol sales in grocery stores would drive locally-owned liquor stores out of business. The Senate Federal and State Affairs...

Stephen Koranda Monday, February 14th, 2011

The Kansas Senate has given first round approval to a bill that cuts state spending in the current fiscal year. The bill would leave the state with a balance of around 3 million dollars when the fiscal year ends in June. That’s less than Governor Sam Brownback’s proposal, which would have left the state with a 35 million dollar ending balance. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more on the differences between the proposals.Final approval of the Senate budget bill could come today (TUE).

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