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Stephen Koranda Wednesday, February 23rd

Was Dwight D Eisenhower one of the four most important presidents of the 20th century? That was the argument made last night (WED) at the University of Kansas Dole Institute of Politics. KPR's Kaye McIntyre files this report:

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, February 23rd

The Kansas House has given first-round approval to bills that would place more restrictions on abortion in the state. The heated debate lasted nearly two hours yesterday (WED). KPR’s Stephen Koranda was there and has this report.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, February 23rd

The Kansas House today (WED) gave first-round approval to sweeping abortion legislation. One bill would require parental consent for a girl under 18 to get an abortion. Current law only requires parents be notified. In many cases, the bill would require the consent of both parents. Representative Geraldine Flaharty, a Wichita Democrat, opposed that provision. She says getting the consent of both parents might be impossible in an abusive household.The legislation would also require doctors to give a specific medical reason for a late-term abortion. House members also passed legislation that...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, February 23rd

The Kansas House has given first round approval to two, anti-abortion bills. One measure would require parental CONSENT for someone under the age of 18 to get an abortion. Current law only requires parental notification. The legislation would also require doctors to give a specific medical reason for providing a late-term abortion. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, is one of the bill’s sponsors.That legislation includes provisions passed in recent years, but vetoed by Democratic governors. House members also advanced legislation that would ban all abortions after the 22nd week of...

KPR Web Operations Wednesday, February 23rd

State-supported funding for the arts is under attack in several states, including Texas, Michigan and... here in Kansas. Republican Governor Sam Brownback has already signed an executive order to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission and replace that state agency with a private, non-profit arts foundation. Lawmakers could intervene -- and members of the Kansas Senate may just do that. Public radio's Kurt Anderson, of "Studio 360" -- a program produced by WNYC radio -- recently interviewed one state Senator who's hoping to save the Arts Commission. Republican Roger Reitz, of Manhattan, says...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, February 23rd

Currently, union members in Kansas can voluntarily have part of their paychecks deducted and automatically donated to political action committees. Today (WED), the Kansas House advanced a bill that would end that practice. Opponents of the bill say this change is a form of retribution against unions that is being carried out by Republicans and business leaders. Judith Loganbill, a Wichita Democrat, opposed the legislation on the House floor.Supporters say the bill protects union members who disagree with the political stances taken by their unions. Those supporters also argue that union...

Bryan Thompson Wednesday, February 23rd

The health reform debate goes well beyond the individual mandate and new insurance regulations. It extends to one of the biggest programs operated by state governments – Medicaid. As Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, like many states headed by new Republican governors, Kansas is looking for ways to sharply reduce its Medicaid spending.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 22nd

A House committee is pushing for Kansas universities to consider privatizing many of their functions. The House Appropriations Committee passed the amendment yesterday (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...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 22nd

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

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

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

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...

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 21st

Another big budget reduction has been scheduled for the Kansas Department of Corrections...an agency that's already been targeted for budget cuts in recent years. Department spokesperson Jan Lunsford says that jobs are likely to be lost in this round of cutting. One of three deputy secretary positions that is currently vacant will not be filled. Lunsford says the exact number of reductions has yet to be determined, as officials weigh how the cuts could affect public safety. Lunsford says that contrary to cuts in previous years, no operating correctional facilities are currently slated to be...

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 21st

A behind-the-scenes effort to retain the Kansas Arts Commission is being led by a Republican lawmaker at the Statehouse. State Senator Roger Reitz of Manhattan says Governor Sam Brownback's decision to privatize the Arts Commission is bad for the state...and he says there is enough support to override the move. Brownback is moving to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission as part of a series of budget cuts. He says creating a privately-run foundation will mean that the arts will continue to have financial support in the state, and that allowing donors to contribute could mean more money for...

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 21st

Emergency responders in Kansas are asking state lawmakers to make changes to their pension plans. Under current law, police and firefighters reach their maximum retirement benefits after 32 years on the job. Kansas City, Kan., firefighter Bob Wing says the cap encourages healthy workers to retire earlier than they otherwise might. The cap has been in place for decades. Similar caps exist for Kansas judges, but there is no limit for most other public workers.

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 21st

Legendary author William S Burroughs, a longtime resident of Lawrence, is the subject of a documentary that will be shown tonight (TUE) on the PBS program "Independent Lens." Filmmaker Yony Leyser (YO-nee LYE-zur) says that there is quite a bit of never-before-seen archival footage of Burroughs in the film: "William S Burroughs: A Man Within" will premiere on the PBS series "Independent Lens" tonight (TUE). For more information, visit the companion website at pbs.org/independentlens/burroughs.

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 21st

William S Burroughs, former Lawrence resident and one of the iconic authors of the so-called "Beat Generation," is the subject of a new documentary that will air tonight (TUE) on the PBS series "Independent Lens." Yony Leyser (YO-nee LYE-zur) is the filmmaker. He says Burroughs's work is still compelling and countercultural, even decades after it was originally written. "William S Burroughs: A Man Within" features interviews with musicians Patti Smith and Iggy Pop, filmmakers Gus Van Sant and John Waters, and many of Burroughs's friends and acquaintances from Lawrence. It will be shown...

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 21st

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Stephen Koranda Friday, February 18th

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.

KPR Web Operations Friday, February 18th

Will members of the U-S Congress be able to resolve their budget differences in time to prevent a shutdown of the government by the March 4 deadline? Opinions vary, but Kansas Senator Pat Roberts doesn't think a shutdown will happen. There's been talk of a continuing resolution to fund the government at current levels, if the House and Senate cannot come to an agreement on funding for the rest of the year. But tough talk is coming from both sides of the aisle. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said last week that he would not consider a short-term continuing resolution if the two bodies can...

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