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KPR opened its first full-time Statehouse Bureau in Topeka in January of 1978. Ever since, KPR's Statehouse Bureau, which is often called the KPR-Network, has provided gavel-to-gavel coverage of the legislature, executive and judicial branches of Kansas government and other stories of statewide interest. KPR is the only broadcast outlet in the state that maintains a full-time, year-round bureau at the Capitol.

Sec of State Unveils Voter ID Bill

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach today (TUE) unveiled a bill that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls and prove their citizenship when registering to vote. Kobach, a Republican, says more than 30 lawmakers have signed on to co-sponsor the legislation.

Opponents of more voting regulations say voter fraud is not a significant problem and adding more rules will make it harder for Kansans to register and vote. Kobach is also pushing for increasing penalties for some voting crimes the giving the secretary of state's office more power to prosecute voter fraud.

KNI Transition Would Be Gradual

The Kansas Neurological Institute serves some 150 profoundly disabled adults. If the Kansas Legislature approves, the facility would be closed gradually. The entire process could take as long as three years, according to Bill Miskell (MISS-kl), who's with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

Miskell says the facility's closure would occur as all the people it serves are transitioned into equal or better care offered by other organizations. If the closure takes place, some private groups may be called upon to step in with services. Miskell says the incoming administration is following the advice of a panel that studied closing one of the state's two facilities for the developmentally disabled. The move to close KNI, which is located in Topeka, is being opposed by members of the Shawnee County legislative delegation.

Democratic Leaders Want Lawmakers to Look at Tax Exemptions

Democratic leaders at the Statehouse are calling on legislators and Governor Sam Brownback to look for new revenue to prevent education funding cuts. The governor’s budget proposal would not replace federal dollars that are helping pay for education in Kansas. That federal money will soon run out, meaning a loss of around 200 million dollars for schools. Senate Minority Leader, Topeka Democrat Anthony Hensley, believes lawmakers should look at the state tax code.

Lawmakers have considered repealing some sales tax exemptions as a way to raise revenue, but haven’t taken the action. Governor Sam Brownback’s office has said the state just doesn’t have the money to replace the federal dollars that will be disappearing.

Gov Proposes Cutting State Funding for Public Broadcasting

Governor Sam Brownback has proposed eliminating all state funding for public broadcasting. The governor's policy director, Landon Fulmer, says the money spent on public radio and television stations is equivalent to about 81 teacher salaries.

State funding for public broadcasters amounted to $1.67 million dollars last year.

Brownback Pushing for Eliminating State Agencies

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback proposed big cuts to state government during his State of the State address last night (WED). He’s proposing cutting 2,000 unfilled state jobs, and eliminating entire state agencies.

Brownback hasn’t said which state agencies he’ll remove. The efforts are part of Brownback’s proposal to eliminate a state budget shortfall projected at more than 500 million dollars. He’s also pushing for tax cuts to help grow business investments in the state and a focus on growing jobs in the aviation and animal health fields.

Brownback Proposes Big Budget Cuts in State of the State

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback laid-out some ambitious goals during his State of the State address last (WED) night. With the state facing a projected budget deficit of more than 500 million dollars, Brownback said he hopes to close that gap by growing the economy and cutting thousands of state government jobs. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more.

Bills on Social Issues Could Move Forward This Session

Lawmakers are kicking off this legislative session with bigger Republican majorities in the Kansas House and Senate, and a Republican in the governor’s office. Some lawmakers believe some bills on social issues like abortion –which have failed in recent years- will get new life this session. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more.

Bill to Restrict Late-Term Abortions Filed in KS House

A bill filed in the Kansas House would remove an exemption from the state’s ban on late-term abortions. Although late-term abortions are restricted, an exemption allows the procedure to take place if having the baby would damage or impair the mental health of the mother. Representative Steve Huebert, a Valley Center Republican, believes that exemption is being overused. Huebert authored the legislation. He says the bill passed the house last year, but wasn’t taken up in the Senate.

Huebert is hoping the bill will get more traction this session, with a Republican governor in office. He believes the bill will be challenged in the courts if it passes.


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