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KPR Web Operations Thursday, April 21st

The rising cost of gasoline is affecting crime-fighting efforts in Topeka to some extent, according to Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller. Miller says the police department had budgeted for gasoline this fiscal year at the rate of 2 dollars and 95 cents per gallon. Miller says that figure is obviously not sufficient to pay for gas at current prices: Miller has recently released first-quarter crime statistics for this year. They indicate that police response times have slipped, according to a public survey. 85 percent of the sample polled said that officers responded to their calls in a timely...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, April 20th

Departments of transportation all across the nation say they are losing revenue due to the increasing number of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles on the roads. Since those cars use less or no gasoline, their owners aren't paying their fair share of taxes to maintain the roadways. Kansas Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller says one option could be a vehicle miles-travelled tax. GPS technology would track the number of miles travelled by a given vehicle. That same technology could also be used to track where and when a person travels. Miller says the "Big Brother" question has...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, April 20th

The increasing number of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles on the roads means that overall fuel consumption is dropping. It also means that some states are starting to see a reduction in their fuel tax revenues. That's why state departments of transportation are now looking at different ways to pay for road maintenance and highway projects. Kansas Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller says that one of the most-talked-about options could also be a controversial one: That's raising privacy concerns, since the technology could allow the tracking of not only how much a person drives, but...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, April 20th

A group of lawmakers have wrapped up the first round of negotiations on a budget bill for next fiscal year. The conference committee met this week to work on smoothing out differences between House and Senate proposals. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports on the budget talks.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, April 20th

A conference committee has wrapped up the first round of negotiations on a budget bill for next fiscal year. Members of the House and Senate met this week to try to smooth out differences between budget plans passed by the two chambers. Carolyn McGinn, a Sedgwick Republican, is the lead Senate negotiator. She believes the talks so far have gone very well.McGinn says the sticking points between the chambers could boil down to education funding and funding for the Department of Health and Environment. Those areas are cut more in the House proposal than the Senate bill. The full House and...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, April 19th

Kansas lawmakers have started negotiations aimed at finding a compromise between House and Senate budget Proposals. The two plans includes cuts to education and state services, but the House plan cuts deeper. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more on the process.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, April 19th

A group of lawmakers today (TUE) started negotiations to resolve the differences between Kansas House and Senate budget proposals. Both chambers' plans include cuts to education and other services. But the House plan makes deeper cuts, with the goal of leaving the state with a larger ending balance at the end of next fiscal year. House Appropriations Committee Chair Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican, says there could be some tough work ahead.Negotiators will be working with the goal of producing a compromise by next week. That’s when the full House and Senate return to the Statehouse, to...

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, April 19th

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Stephen Koranda Monday, April 18th

Kansans will have to show a photo ID at the polls starting next year. Governor Sam Brownback signed voter ID legislation into law yesterday (MON). KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more on the legislation, which has been controversial since it was introduced.

Stephen Koranda Monday, April 18th

Governor Sam Brownback today (MON) signed into law a bill requiring voters to show ID at the polls. Supporters of the law have said it will help prevent voter fraud. Opponents believe it will suppress voter turnout, by making it difficult to register and vote. Governor Brownback said he believes showing ID at the polls makes sense.The photo ID provision takes effect January 1st, 2012. The law will also require proof of citizenship when registering to vote for the first time in Kansas. That rule takes effect in 2013.

Stephen Koranda Monday, April 18th

When the Kansas Legislature returns to Topeka for its wrap-up session next week, lawmakers will be on the lookout for even more budget cuts. Experts decreased the state's revenue projections by 30 million dollars. That leaves a 10 million-dollar shortfall for this year, and a 20-million dollar gap for next year. Still, Senator Jean Schodorf of Wichita says that she was surprised that the estimates came in as high as they did:The legislative wrap-up session begins in Topeka on April 27th.

Stephen Koranda Monday, April 18th

Further state budget cuts are likely to be on the agenda when the Kansas Legislature returns for its wrap-up session next week. Senator Jean Schodorf of Wichita says that state revenue projections are about 30 million dollars lower than expected, according to the group of experts that makes the estimates:Lawmakers will be returning to Topeka for the wrap-up session on April 27th.

Stephen Koranda Monday, April 18th

When the Kansas Legislature returns for its wrap-up session next week, lawmakers will need to consider even more budget cuts. Senator Jean Schodorf of Wichita says that state revenue projections have come in lower than expected. That means 10 million dollars more in cuts for this year, and 20 million for next year. Despite the bad state of this current revenue picture, Schodorf says she was actually expecting something worse. She thought projections would show the state needed to reduce its expenditures by around 50 million dollars for the next two budget cycles.

Stephen Koranda Monday, April 18th

Kansas is now taking part in a multi-state online system aimed at better tracking medication used to make methamphetamine. Attorney General Derek Schmidt and members of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy announced the new controls today (MON). Pharmacies will now link to an online system to see if buyers have purchased the legal limit of pseudoephedrine (sue-doh-eh-FEHD-rin), a key ingredient in meth. Kansas already limits the sale of the medication, but Schmidt says this will strengthen the law.If the customer has already purchased the maximum amount allowed, the system will tell the pharmacy not...

Stephen Koranda Friday, April 15th

Everyone knows April 15th is tax day…unless it’s not. A government holiday pushed the tax filing deadline back to today (MON). As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the Kansas Department of Revenue is encouraging last-minute filers to do their taxes electronically.

KPR Web Operations Friday, April 15th

The embattled president of the Kansas Bioscience Authority has stepped down amid legislative and legal probes into the state-financed economic development agency. As Kansas Public Radio’s Bryan Thompson reports, Tom Thornton’s resignation comes the day after Congress approved a long-awaited 40-million dollar appropriation for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, in Manhattan.

KPR Web Operations Friday, April 15th

Heavy spring storms hit Kansas overnight, with snow and high winds reported in far western areas of the state. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for much of northwest Kansas this morning (FRI). The Kansas Department of Transportation's 511 information hotline was reporting many road closures because of the weather: I-70 was reopened about noon. Snow accumulations of up to 5 inches were reported in that area, with winds reported up to 50 miles per hour.

KPR Web Operations Friday, April 15th

Something exotic and unique has come to Lawrence: Tuvan throat singing. The Alash (uh-LASH) Ensemble of Tuva will perform a free concert at 7 o'clock tonight (FRI) at the Lawrence Arts Center. Throat singing is one of the oldest forms of music in the world. As KPR's J. Schafer reports, tonight's (FRI) concert promises a musical performance that few Kansans have ever experienced. Again... you can catch the Alash Ensemble of Tuva in a FREE concert, tonight (FRI) at 7 o'clock... at the Lawrence Arts Center.

KPR Web Operations Friday, April 15th

A third member of this year's University of Kansas basketball team is turning pro. Josh Selby joins Marcus and Markieff(mar-KEEf) Morris as early entries to the NBA Draft. As Kansas Public Radio's Greg Echlin reports, Selby's career at KU was short-lived.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, April 14th

In two weeks, lawmakers will be considering a state budget that cuts education and other state spending in an effort to eliminate a budget deficit. The proposals would cut around 230 dollars per student in state funding for education. Joan Wagnon chairs the Kansas Democratic Party. She's concerned over the level of cuts to education.Lawmakers have also been considering tax cuts as a way to bolster the state's economy. Wagnon hopes lawmakers won't focus on reducing taxes. She believes that would hurt state revenues as the economy rebounds, meaning fewer dollars the state can put back into...

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