Education Factoring in Upcoming Kansas House Races
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — In the wake of the 2014 Kansas legislative session, educational interests are developing their plans for political activities leading up to the November elections. All 125 Kansas House seats are on the ballot, as well as the governor's race and other statewide offices. Changes made to teacher tenure and funding of public schools have the Kansas National Education Association, the state's largest union, mobilizing. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that teachers are most angry about a portion of the bill that removed the state law granting tenure to teachers who have been working in districts for at least three years. Governor Sam Brownback and legislative Republicans have said the issue is left to local school boards to negotiate, but gives more flexibility in hiring practices.
Kansas GOP Steps into Dispute in US Senate Race
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Republican Party has stepped into a dispute over whether U.S. Senator Pat Roberts is eligible to run for re-election and suggested to a state board that it probably doesn't have the authority to settle the issue. Three-term incumbent Roberts faces a claim that he's not truly a Kansas resident and should be barred from the state's August 5th Republican primary ballot. State GOP General Counsel Clay Barker sent the party's legal analysis Saturday to State Objections Board members. The three-member board plans to review the issue Monday. GOP primary challenger Milton Wolf contends that Roberts truly lives in Virginia. Roberts says the claim is without merit. The state GOP's analysis noted that the U.S. Constitution says each house of Congress judges the qualifications of its members.
U.S. Senate Race in KS Digs into Challenger's Past
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senator Pat Roberts' re-election campaign is questioning the professional ethics of his tea party foe in the state's Republican primary. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Roberts spokesman Leroy Towns attacked challenger Milton Wolf over Physician's Own. The now-defunct company registered in Texas sold herb, vitamin and mineral supplements. Records available online from the Texas secretary of state's office show it formed in 2000 with Wolf as president. Its website included a slogan saying, "Real Doctors. Real Credibility" and an "ask Doctor Wolf" link. Towns noted that Wolf wasn't licensed to practice medicine in Kansas until 2004. Also, Towns said Wolf specialized in radiology, not nutrition. Wolf spokesman Ben Hartman declined to talk about the company but accused the Roberts campaign of trying to smear Wolf.
Westar Seeks 25-Cent Per Month Average Increase
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Westar Energy is seeking a rate increase that's expected to cost most residential customers an average of about 25 cents more a month. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the utility has filed documents with the Kansas Corporation Commission requesting a rate increase of less than 1 cent per kilowatt hour. The company says the increase is intended to cover higher-than-expected energy costs. The KCC regulates electric utilities and decides whether to allow rate changes, though cost adjustments like the one Westar has filed for are usually quickly approved. Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig says the increase will mean about 25 cents a month more for two-thirds of the company's residential customers.