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Statehouse

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.

Brownback Touts Job Growth During First Months in Office

Governor Sam Brownback touted job growth in Kansas as he looked back on his first six months in office. At a news conference today (WED), Brownback said more than 3000 new jobs have been created this year. He also pointed to his administration's efforts to streamline and reduce state government. Brownback says the state is headed in the right direction.



Kansas Democratic Party Chair Joan Wagnon criticized Brownback's assessment and called it "misleading." She says the large economic projects announced in recent months were initiated under the previous governor.

Senate Committee to Hold Hearing on Farm Bill in Wichita

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing in Kansas next month to take testimony on the 2012 farm bill. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is the ranking Republican on the committee. He says they're looking for input on what should be included in the legislation.



The farm bill traditionally includes funding for nutrition programs and subsidies for farmers and crop insurance. The total cost for the 2008 farm bill was around 300 billion dollars. The hearing will be held August 25th in Wichita.

KS Not Only State Pursuing Abortion Restrictions

Laws to restrict abortion in Kansas have been a high-profile issue this year. But Kansas isn’t the only state where there are efforts to tighten abortion regulations. NARAL (ney-rawl) is an abortion rights group that lobbies nationwide. Spokesperson Ted Miller says there’s been an uptick in state legislatures this year to restrict abortion.



In Kansas, the Legislature has passed bills to restrict abortion in recent years, but they were vetoed by previous governors. Republican Governor Sam Brownback has signed the abortion bills sent to him by the Legislature since he took office in January.

Food Industry in KS Could Grow

Following the announcement of a new chocolate factory in Topeka, some state officials say the food industry could help attract more jobs to Kansas. Last week, Mars Chocolate announced it will build a 250 million dollar factory in Topeka. Secretary of Commerce Pat George says with expertise already in the state, Kansas could attract more food processing jobs.



Kansas currently has beef processing and other types of food production, such as a Frito Lay factory in Topeka. The Mars plant is expected to open in 2013 and create around 200 jobs

Abortion Regulations Face Court Challenge

New regulations on Kansas abortion clinics are getting their first test in court today (FRI). The new law sets strict standards for equipment and facilities that clinics must meet to be licensed by the state. Two abortion providers are challenging the law in federal court, saying the new rules are aimed at shutting down clinics. University of Kansas law professor Richard Levy (LEE-vee) says generally the courts don’t interfere with state regulations. But he says abortion rights have been protected by the courts, so the judge will take a close look at the law.



Levy says the court will also consider if clinics were given enough time to comply with the new rules. Supporters of the regulations say they help protect the health of women.

Climate Changes Could Benefit Crop Pests, Crop Diseases

Researchers say that climate change is already affecting agriculture in the Midwest. And some aspects have actually helped farmers, like a longer growing season and more humid summers. But that same weather could have some negative effects, too. Harvest Public Media's Kathleen Masterson reports that increased extreme rainstorms and other weather patterns could ultimately help crop pests and diseases flourish.



You can learn more about this story -- and find more agricultural news online -- at HarvestPublicMedia.org. This special website features news, video, podcasts and blogs about agriculture in the Midwest. That web address, once again, is HarvestPublicMedia.org.

Planned Parenthood Clinic Now Only KS Abortion Provider

With only hours before a deadline, Kansas officials announced that one clinic in the state will meet a series of new abortion regulations. The law takes effect today (FRI). It adds new requirements that abortion providers must meet to be licensed. The requirements specify the size of some rooms, the required equipment and specific temperatures that must be maintained in certain areas. KPR's Stephen Koranda has more.



Anchor lead out: The two clinics that did not get licenses have filed a lawsuit to block the new regulations.

KDOT Adds Flood Information to Website

The Kansas Department of Transportation has added a page to its website that includes information about flooding...not only in Kansas, but also in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. Barb Blue is a spokesperson for K-DOT:



Calling 5-1-1 from any phone in Kansas will connect you to the latest driving conditions, work zone updates and other travel information. Information on the Kansas Turnpike and any U-S, Interstate or state highway that runs through Kansas or Nebraska is available there, 24 hours a day.

The information is also accessible at 1-866-511-KDOT (1-866-511-5638), or online at www.ksdot.org.

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