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Stephen Koranda Thursday, January 27th

U-S Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor decscribed a career and life filled with humor and passion when she spoke at Kansas State University. KPR's Kaye McIntyre was in Manhattan yesterday (THURS) and files this report:

Stephen Koranda Thursday, January 27th

A bill in the Kansas Legislature would target employers who hire illegal immigrants as a way to combat illegal immigration in Kansas. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, the bill would require employers to verify workers are legal and are legally able to work in the country.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, January 27th

A bill introduced by Democrats in the Kansas Legislature would focus on employers as a way to reduce illegal immigration. The legislation would require workers hired for any public works project to have their residency verified. Employers would use the federal E-Verify system to check if workers are legal and eligible to work in the country. Supporters of the bill are hoping to reduce the number of illegal immigrants coming to Kansas by making it more difficult for them to get hired. Representative Valdenia (val-DEEN-yuh) Winn, a Kansas City Democrat, is pushing for the measure. The bill...

KPR Web Operations Thursday, January 27th

Kansas officially celebrates its 150th birthday this weekend. The state has less than one percent of the nation's population, and yet... in terms of its contributions to society, Kansas is quite possibly the most productive piece of land in the world. In the first of a two-part series, KPR's J. Schafer takes a look at Kansas from A to Z. KPR news intern Mark Arehart, a KU senior from Omaha, provided production assistance for this report.

KPR Web Operations Thursday, January 27th

Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran have introduced a resolution in Congress asking the rest of the nation to take note of Kansas -- and its 150 years of statehood. More from KPR's J. Schafer. (Optional TAG for KPR) Speaking of the state's 150th anniversary, KPR's J. Schafer will take a look at Kansas contributions to society -- from A to Z -- coming up at ______ (6:40am / 8:40am), here on KPR.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, January 26th

Kansas lawmakers are looking at legislation that would toughen penalties for drunk-driving convictions. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the legislation yesterday (. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, the bill would increase penalties for refusing a breath test and for repeat offenders.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, January 26th

The Senate Judiciary Committee today (WED) heard from supporters of a bill that would toughen penalties for drunk driving. The bill would increase punishment for refusing a breath test and for repeat offenders. Some critics have argued the harsher penalties could clog local jails with DUI offenders. Frank Harris, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, disagrees. He says the state has diversion options, instead of jail time, for first time offenders.Harris says drunk-driving deaths nationwide have been falling, but in the last 5 years the rate has been increasing in Kansas.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, January 25th

A committee in the Kansas House has approved legislation that would cut state employee pay by seven-point-five percent. The House Appropriations Committee added the pay cut to a spending freeze bill introduced by Governor Sam Brownback. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, the pay cut would last until the end of the fiscal year in June.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, January 25th

Kansas lawmakers are now considering a budget-cutting bill as part of efforts to put the state's finances on firmer ground. The specific reductions range from just 20 dollars in one legislative fund...to one-point-three million dollars that had been set aside for planned state employee pay adjustments. Republican House Appropriations Committee Chair Marc Rhoades of Newton:The bill, which has been proposed by Governor Sam Brownback, calls for more than 35 million dollars in cuts to current spending.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, January 25th

A budget-cutting bill received its first airing in the Kansas Legislature yesterday (TUE). Governor Sam Brownback's proposed "freeze" bill is being heard by Senate and House committees this week. It actually goes beyond locking in current spending and cuts some programs. That idea is not sitting well with Democratic Representative Bill Feuerborn (FIRE-born) of Garnett. He says cuts in state special education funding could jeopardize federal money that the state receives.Brownback administration officials say the currently-proposed spending cuts are important for keeping the state's bank...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, January 25th

This summer, the University of Kansas will host 35 teachers from across the nation for a seminar on civil rights and politics. Shawn Leigh Alexander, director of the Langston Hughes Center at KU, said that holding the seminar in Kansas made it easy to come up with a topic.The seminar is titled "Presidential Politics, Civil Rights and the Road to Brown." Applications for the seminar will be accepted until February 1. More information is available online at gilderlehrman.com or by calling the Langston Hughes Center at the University of Kansas (785-864-5044).

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, January 25th

This summer, 35 teachers from across the nation will be selected for a seminar on civil rights and politics at the University of Kansas. Shawn Leigh Alexander, director of the Langston Hughes Center at KU, hopes that the teachers can return to their students with a new understanding of the civil rights movement.The seminar is titled "Presidential Politics, Civil Rights and the Road to Brown." Applications for the seminar will be accepted until February 1. More information is available online at gilderlehrman.com or by calling the Langston Hughes Center at the University of Kansas (785-...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, January 25th

Thirty five teachers from all across the nation will be selected to participate in a seminar this summer at the University of Kansas. Shawn Leigh Alexander, director of the Langston Hughes Center at KU, says the seminar is part of a prestigious national program.The topic of the KU seminar is "Presidential Politics, Civil Rights and the Road to Brown," and focuses on the early struggle for civil rights and equality. Applications for the seminar will be accepted until February 1. More information is available online at gilderlehrman.com or by calling the Langston Hughes Center at the...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, January 25th

A committee in the Kansas House has approved a proposal that would cut state employee pay by seven-and-a-half percent. The House Appropriations Committee today (TUE) approved a spending freeze bill introduced by Governor Sam Brownback. The committee added a provision that would cut the pay of all state and university employees by 7.5 percent for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in June. Representative Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican, introduced the amendment.The pay cut would also affect legislators, judges and other state officers. It’s estimated the cut would save the state 8...

Stephen Koranda Monday, January 24th

Governor Sam Brownback is continuing his pledge to revamp state government. Yesterday (MON) he signed an executive order to move the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns from the Department of Commerce into the Governor’s office. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more.

Stephen Koranda Friday, January 21st

An energy efficiency contest has 16 Kansas cities competing to see who can save the most energy. The Take Charge Challenge is broken into 4 regions, with a total of 16 cities competing. Each community gets a 25 thousand dollar grant to start the program. The money is used to buy energy-saving light bulbs and get the word out about easy ways to increase energy efficiency. The Take Charge Challenge is in its second year. Dorothy Barnett is with the Climate and Energy Project. She says all the competing cities will likely show benefits from the contest.In each region, the top city will receive...

Stephen Koranda Friday, January 21st

Governor Sam Brownback has begun his plans to restructure state government and eliminate state agencies. Brownback has signed an executive order to abolish the Kansas Parole Board and move those duties to the Department of Corrections. This is just the first of his plans to eliminate 8 state agencies. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, some lawmakers could push back against the proposals.

Stephen Koranda Friday, January 21st

Governor Sam Brownback has signed an executive order that would abolish the Kansas Parole Board. The duties of paroling inmates would now fall under the Department of Corrections. Newly appointed Secretary of Corrections Ray Roberts says he believes the department can handle the new duties.Brownback says abolishing the Parole Board could save the state around 500 thousand dollars per year. Fewer than 600 of the state’s 8 thousand inmates are eligible for parole. Most inmates were sentenced under newer laws that require set prison terms. The order is slated to take effect July 1st. Either...

Stephen Koranda Friday, January 21st

Governor Sam Brownback today (FRI) appointed his secretary of corrections. Brownback has selected El Dorado Correctional Facility Warden Ray Roberts. The prison system in Kansas is currently over capacity and was tarnished in 2009 by allegations of sexual misconduct by guards at a Topeka women’s prison. Brownback says he’s ordered Roberts to take steps to prevent future misconduct.The appointment will need to be confirmed by the Kansas Senate.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, January 20th

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has proposed taking money from the state highway fund to help cover a more than 500 million dollar budget deficit. The highway fund pays for road maintenance and upgrades. The state is also just starting a 10 year, 8 billion dollar transportation project, known as T-Works (tee works). As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, the Governor says taking 200 million dollars from the highway fund won’t hurt the T-Works project.

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