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Bryan Thompson Sunday, March 27th, 2011

One part of the federal health reform law that went into effect one year ago requires companies to spend most of the premium dollars they collect on health care for their customers. As Kansas Public Radio’s Bryan Thompson reports, some companies may struggle to meet that requirement. Bryan will have more on the controversy over medical loss ratio requirements at 6:30 and 8:30 this morning.

Stephen Koranda Friday, March 25th, 2011

Lawmakers in both chambers will be debating their budget proposals this week. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has this look at some of the differences between what the House and Senate will be considering.

Stephen Koranda Friday, March 25th, 2011

Senate leaders believe a nominee to head the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services will be confirmed, despite some controversy. An email made public this week referred to remarks supposedly made by acting SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki (SIDE-leck-ee) in front of a group of mental health center administrators. The email alleged Siedlecki said he would not follow legislative guidelines when spending state dollars. Siedlecki said he never made those comments. Senate Vice President John Vratil, a Leawood Republican, asked Siedlecki about the email during a Ways and Means Committee...

KPR Web Operations Friday, March 25th, 2011

With Duke losing last (THUR) night in the NCAA basketball tournament, only Kansas and Ohio State remain in the field as number-1 seeds. The Jayhawks play tonight (FRI) against 12th seeded Richmond. En route to KU's national title three years ago, coach Bill Self remembers the Jayhawks' two-point victory over tenth-seeded Davidson.Tipoff on tonight's (FRI) game in San Antonio, where the Jayhawks won the title in '08, is at 6:27. The television network it can be seen on is TBS.

KPR Web Operations Friday, March 25th, 2011

Bob Kendrick will begin his duties as president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on April 11. As Kansas Public Radio's Greg Echlin reports, Kendrick was back among old friends at yesterday's (THUR) news conference.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Some lawmakers are criticizing a proposal to cut the pay of state workers. The House Appropriations Committee approved a budget plan this week that would trim the pay of government workers making over 40 thousand dollars per year. Shortly before passing the budget, the committee voted to exempt legislative staff. Representative Sharon Schwartz, a Republican from Washington, proposed the amendment. That move drew opposition from some Republicans and Democrats, including Paul Davis of Lawrence, the top Democrat in the House.Supporters of the pay cut say it’s needed to help the state balance...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Democrats are criticizing a proposal to cut the pay of some state workers. The House Appropriations Committee approved a budget plan this week that would trim the pay of government workers making over 40 thousand dollars per year. Shortly before passing the budget, the committee voted to exempt legislative staff. That move drew opposition from some Republicans and Democrats, including Paul Davis of Lawrence, the top Democrat in the House.Supporters of the pay cut say it’s needed to help the state balance the budget in the face of a nearly 500 million dollar deficit. The Appropriations...

Bryan Thompson Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Kansas Supreme Court is considering a medical malpractice case that could affect doctors, patients and trial attorneys. At issue is the constitutionality of a state law that limits the amount of money that victims of medical malpractice can collect in court. As Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, one victim is challenging the state's cap on damage awards. You can find more on the Miller case and its potential effect on doctors, hospitals and patients on the website of the Kansas Health Institute -- www.khi.org

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Kansas House has advanced a bill that would move the state toward 401(k)-style retirement plans for teachers and government workers. The state pension system faces a nearly 8 billion dollar deficit over the next 30 years. The bill would require employees hired after July 1st, 2013, to join a 401(k)-style plan, instead of the state pension plan. Representative Ed Trimmer, a Winfield Democrat, opposed the bill. He said keeping new employees out of the pension system would make the funding problem worse.After the new 401(k) plan started, current employees would be able to opt-in, or see...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Kansas Senate has approved a bill that would restrict late-term abortions, with the reasoning that fetuses can feel pain. The bill has already passed in the House and should soon be sent to Governor Sam Brownback. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more.The Senate also advanced a bill that would require parental consent for a minor to get an abortion. Current law only requires that parents be notified.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Kansas Senate has approved a bill restricting abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy. The legislation has already passed the House and should soon be sent to Governor Sam Brownback. Supporters of the bill say after 21 weeks is when a fetus can feel pain. Senator Terry Bruce, a Hutchinson Republican, brought the bill to the Senate floor.Opponents of the bill dispute the fetal pain claim. They say there is conflicting evidence on whether a fetus can feel pain at that stage of development. The bill allows an abortion after the 21st week of pregnancy only if the mother's life is in...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Kansas Senate has approved a bill requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls. The vote was 36 to 3. Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been pushing the bill. He believes it would help combat voter fraud. Senator David Haley, a Kansas City Democrat, believes voter fraud is not a problem in Kansas, and he says the new requirements would make it difficult for Kansans to vote.The bill would also require people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to prove they're U-S citizens. That requirement would not take effect until 2013. A version that passed the House would put the...

Bryan Thompson Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Kansas House has given tentative approval to a bill to repeal the smoking ban exemption for state-owned casinos. But members turned back efforts to essentially repeal the smoke-free law. We get more from Jim McLean of the KHI News Service.

Bryan Thompson Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Affordable Care Act, the legislation which will overhaul America’s health care system over the next four years, is one year old today(WED). As Kansas Public Radio’s Bryan Thompson explains, whether that’s cause for celebration or outrage depends whom you ask.

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

In college basketball, Wichita State has a home game tonight (WED) in the National Invitation Tournament with a trip to New York on the line. The Shockers will play a South Carolina mid-major, the College of Charleston. But, as Kansas Public Radio's Greg Echlin reports, the Shockers head coach is sensitive about the perception of tonight's teams.

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall is miffed about the perception of the Shockers as a mid-major team. The Shockers have a home game tomorrow (WED) night in the National Invitation Tournament against the College of Charleston, in South Carolina, where Marshall used to be an assistant coach.So far in the N-I-T, the Shockers have beaten two teams from B-C-S conferences, Nebraska and Virginia Tech.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

A budget proposal is headed to the full House. The Appropriations Committee approved that chamber's version of the bill yesterday (TUE). As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the legislation had critics on both sides of the aisle.Shortly before passing the bill, lawmakers voted to exempt legislative staffers from the pay cut.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Lawmakers have resurrected legislation aimed at exempting Kansas from the federal health care law. Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican, introduced the so-called “Health Care Freedom Act” as an amendment to a bill. It is designed to keep Kansans from having to comply with any federal requirement to purchase health insurance. Pilcher-Cook says the act will help preserve the rights of Kansans.Opponents say the act would be trumped by federal law. The House inserted similar language into a bill yesterday (MON), and gave final approval to the bill today (TUE).

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

The House Appropriations Committee today (TUE) approved a budget proposal for the fiscal year starting July 1st. The legislation mirrors much of Governor Sam Brownback’s budget plan, including a 230-dollar-per-student cut to education funding. But the committee decided to trim more spending. They also reduced funding for social services and cut pay for state employees who make more than 40 thousand dollars per year. Elected officials and other state officers would see a 7.5 percent pay cut. The legislation was criticized by members of both parties, but passed on a 12-10 vote. Representative...

Bryan Thompson Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Efforts to repeal or weaken the state’s new ban on smoking in public places don’t appear to have much momentum in the Legislature. More from Jim McLean of the KHI News Service.

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