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KPR Web Operations Friday, March 11th, 2011

Time is running out for the largest food bank in Lawrence. The food program and pantry -- known as "Just Food" -- is on the brink of closing, unless it can raise a lot of money -- and soon. Supporters of "Just Food" are working to raise $100,000 in less than 60 days. KPR news intern Justine Greve (GREEVE) reports.Officials with Just Food said earlier today (THUR) that they've now reached 39-percent -- or $39,000 -- of their fundraising goal.

Bryan Thompson Friday, March 11th, 2011

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is asking the federal government to relax rules prohibiting the state from cutting its Medicaid program. As Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, Brownback made the request in a letter to Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 10th, 2011

A group of lawmakers is calling for an end to ethics hearings focused on a former Kansas attorney general. Phill Kline is accused of misleading judges and mishandling evidence during his investigations of abortion providers. KPR Statehouse Reporter Stephen Korand has more.

KPR Web Operations Thursday, March 10th, 2011

For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the University of Kansas basketball team reached the 30-victory mark. In the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament this (THUR) afternoon, the Jayhawks squeaked by Oklahoma State, 63 to 62. Jayhawk fans held their breath in the final seconds when Oklahoma State had the ball. Even Bill Self admitted he felt a little anxiety.Oklahoma State's last shot was off-target, so KU advances to play the Colorado Buffaloes in the tournament semifinals. Colorado defeated the K-State Wildcats this (THUR) afternoon by a score of 87 to 75.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 10th, 2011

A group of lawmakers is calling for an end to ethics hearings focused on a former Kansas attorney general. Phill Kline is accused of misleading judges and mishandling evidence during his investigations of abortion providers. Kline, a Republican, was attorney general from 2003 to 2007. He then served as Johnson County district attorney. Around 25 lawmakers today (THUR) said the hearings should end. Representative Steve Brunk is a Republican from Wichita.The top Democrat in the Kansas House, Paul Davis of Lawrence, says lawmakers should not interfere with the ethics hearings. He believes...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Budget writing committees in the Kansas Legislature are working on compromises to maintain funding for the Early Head Start program. More from Jim McLean of the KHI News Service.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

The state court system in Kansas is starting a comprehensive study to look for ways to save money. Last year, the court system had to close its doors for several days due to a budget crunch. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, court officials hope to avoid problems like that in the future.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

The state court system in Kansas today (WED) kicked off a comprehensive study to look for ways to save money. Last year, the court system had to shut its doors for several days due to a budget crunch. A commission appointed by the court will try to find ways to cut costs in the judicial branch. Chief Justice Lawton Nuss says it’s difficult to find a balance between saving dollars and keeping the court system accessible to Kansans.The state court system includes the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and district courts. The recommendations are expected to be ready at the beginning of next...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Kansas lawmakers are considering a resolution that seeks to reduce the number of school superintendents. Republican House Speaker Mike O'Neal of Hutchinson is supporting a measure that directs the State Board of Education to craft a plan in which superintendents each serve at least ten thousand students. O'Neal says there's not enough money to maintain existing administrative staff levels.While the plan would not force school consolidation, it would require districts to share superintendents. Opponents say that the plan could lead to superintendents having to oversee students spread out...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

A House committee may urge the Board of Education to look at reorganizing school districts. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the House Education Committee is considering legislation that is aimed at reducing school administrative costs.

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Sporting Club Kansas City, formerly known as the Kansas City Wizards, announced the naming rights for its new soccer stadium set to open later this year in Kansas City, Kansas. It will be associated with Livestrong, the foundation created in 1997 by former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. Its new name is Livestrong Sporting Park. Armstrong admitted he was caught off-guard when approached by Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman about naming rights to a soccer venue.It was termed a multi-year deal between the foundation and Sporting Club Kansas City. Financial figures were not disclosed.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

A bill aimed at curbing methamphetamine production is facing pushback from opponents. The Senate Local Government Committee is considering a plan to require a doctor's prescription to purchase drugs containing pseudoephedrine, which is an ingredient used in the manufacture of meth. But Arkansas City Police Chief Sean Wallace says it's a minor...and appropriate...inconvenience.-------------- Supporters say the solution being proposed by drug companies for computerized tracking of over-the-counter cold medicine sales does not go far enough. Teams of addicts currently purchase small quantities...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Kansas public employee groups are defending the state's pension plan against a bill that would change it. The new system would compensate new hires with a 401(k) system more commonly used in the private sector. Kansas National Education Association lobbyist Terry Forsyth says the current plan has lower administrative costs, and has weathered the effects of recessions well.The state is facing a 7.5 billion dollar shortfall in the current system, following the recession and years of under-funding by lawmakers. Legislators would still have to find money to cover that shortfall, since any...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

A bill that would switch the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, from a pension plan to a 401(k) system is being considered by the Legislature. Topeka Independent Business Association head Ken Daniel says the current plan's 7.5 billion dollar long-term shortfall means that the state should act now.If Kansas switches its compensation to a 401(k) plan, the funding gap would still exist for current employees. The state cannot legally force existing workers into a different system. However, proponents of a change say there would be no chance of shortfalls for newly-hired workers...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

This is National Consumer Protection Week. The event is being observed in Kansas with several activities, including free document destruction services at various locations around the state. Kansas Attorney General spokesperson Jeff Wagaman says the activity is meant to help combat a crime that's becoming more common.The shredding events will take place at two locations of the Meritrust Credit Union in Wichita today (WED). Events will be held in Overland Park and Shawnee tomorrow (THUR), and in Lawrence and Topeka on Friday.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

This is National Consumer Protection Week. Jeff Wagaman, the spokesperson for the Kansas Attorney General's office, says one of the activities being held in conjunction with the event is geared toward high school students.The writers of the top 3 entries from around the state will each win 400 dollars. All entries are due next Monday, March 14th. More information can be found online at the Kansas Attorney General's website, www.ksag.org. National Consumer Protection Week is being observed with various activities in all fifty states.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

The Kansas House has given first-round approval to a bill outlawing lap dances at strip clubs and placing restrictions on other sexually oriented businesses. The bill would require strip club dancers to stay at least 6 feet away from customers. The bill also restricts when adult businesses can be open and where they can be located. Opponents of the measure argued that it isn’t in line with calls for smaller government. Supporters say the businesses bring a host of problems to communities. Forrest Knox, an Altoona Republican, brought the bill to the House floor.The House could give final...

Stephen Koranda Monday, March 7th, 2011

State government in Kansas is starting a comprehensive study of how tax dollars are spent. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the goal of the program is to find the exact costs for government services.

KPR Web Operations Monday, March 7th, 2011

Two former employees of the University of Kansas athletics department were sentenced today (MON) for their roles in the KU ticket scandal. Kansas Public Radio's Greg Echlin has more.

Stephen Koranda Monday, March 7th, 2011

State government in Kansas is undergoing a comprehensive study to see how tax dollars are spent. That’s what Kansas Budget Director Steve Anderson told the House Appropriations Committee today (MON). The goal of the program is to find the exact costs for government services to determine where money can be saved. Anderson gave the example of a boiler inspection performed by the Department of Labor.The program is starting with the Department of Labor and Department of Agriculture. Anderson says they’re hoping to have more state agencies studying their costs by this summer.

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