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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.

Bill in KS House Would Require Workers to Be Verified

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 would affect any job that uses tax dollars. That would include state, local and school district jobs. Similar bills have been defeated in recent years.

Bill Would Toughen DUI Penalties

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.

House Spending Bill Would Cut State Employee Pay

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.



Spending Cuts Get Hearing in Committee

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.

Representative: Freeze Bill Could Jeopardize Fed Funding

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 account balance up in the future.

KU to Host Summer Seminar for Teachers

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).

Selective Summer Seminar Coming to KU

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 (785-864-5044).

KU to Host Seminar on Civil Rights Era

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 University of Kansas (785-864-5044).

House Committee Approves Plan to Cut State Employee Pay

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 million dollars in the current fiscal year.

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