Panel reviews Brownback’s tax plan
TOPEKA (AP) — Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan told legislators Tuesday that Kansas must further reduce individual income tax rates to remain economically competitive, but he faced questions about whether it’s fair to the poor to offset those cuts by scrapping deductions for homeowners and raising additional sales tax revenues.
The Republican-dominated Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee opened hearings on tax proposals from conservative GOP...
Kansas officials struggle with corporate income tax
TOPEKA (AP) — Republican officials in Kansas are interested in lowering corporate income taxes but acknowledged Friday that they’re struggling to figure out how they’d mesh such reductions with GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s plans for more cuts in individual income tax rates.
Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan told reporters during a briefing on tax issues that reducing corporate income tax rates would boost the state’s economy, but he described the issu...
Missouri tax cut debate focuses on Kansas
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Envious of big tax cuts in neighboring Kansas, Missouri Republicans outlined ambitious plans Thursday to cut state income taxes in hopes of deterring businesses and residents in western Missouri from moving across the state line.
While business lobbyists praised the proposals, Democrats, budget analysts and a teachers’ union representative all warned that Missouri may not want to be too much like Kansas, which now is...
Concealed-carry applications hit 3,000 for January
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Attorney General’s office has seen an unusual number of applications for licenses to carry concealed handguns during the first three weeks of the year, an assistant attorney general told lawmakers.
Assistant attorney general C.W. Klebe told House and Senate committees on Wednesday that the office expects to process 3,000 concealed-carry permits by the end of January and is bringing in extra help to meet a 90-day deadli...
Can smart machines do your job?
By BERNARD CONDON,
AP Business Writers
EDITOR'S NOTE: Second in a three-part series on the loss of middle-class jobs in the wake of the Great Recession, and the role of technology.
WASHINGTON — Art Liscano knows he's an endangered species in the job market: He's a meter reader in Fresno, Calif. For 26 years, he's driven from house to house, checking how much electricity Pacific Gas & Electric customers have used....
Nebraska governor OKs pipeline route
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved a new route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Tuesday that avoids the state’s environmentally sensitive Sandhills region.
The Republican governor sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying he would allow the pipeline to proceed through his state.
His announcement came one day after Obama promised in his inauguration speech to tackle climate c...
Abortion foes mark anniversary
TOPEKA (AP) — Abortion opponents marked the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision Tuesday with workshops, prayers and calls for more limits on the rights established by the Supreme Court in the landmark ruling that still defines one of the nation’s most intractable debates.
Many in the anti-abortion movement looked to Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a series of tough anti-abortion measures during his first two years ...
Officials seek change in sex trafficking laws
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Friday that they want to crack down on sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation in the state with increased fines and penalties for those crimes.
The proposal would increase the fines for those who purchase sexual services in Kansas, raising the penalties to felonies, Schmidt said. The changes are designed to put a spotlight on the issue and curb demand for i...
Company presses Hendrix vinyl
SALINA (AP) — A Salina company is busy pressing 30,000 vinyl records for a new double album of unreleased performances by famed guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
The new album of 12 previously unreleased studio performances is scheduled for release March 5 as a CD and two-record set, called “People, Hell and Angels.” Hendrix died of an overdose in 1970 at age 27.
Plating technicians at Quality Record Pressings in Salina are pressing the albums, with eac...
Legislators hear more about judicial selection
TOPEKA (AP) — Supporters of Kansas’ judicial selection method for its highest courts told legislators Thursday that there is no need to change the process and put politics back into the way the state picks the judges.
Lawyers, businessmen, the Kansas Bar Association and the chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, completing the second of two days of hearings. They argued against changing the ...
Legislators open hearing on judicial changes
TOPEKA (AP) — Several law professors said Wednesday they would favor a different system for appointing judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on a proposed change in the Kansas Constitution that would allow the governor to appoint appellate judges, with confirmation by the Senate. Voters would have to approve the constitutional change.
Under the current system, the gove...
State budget plans include surprise
TOPEKA (AP) — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback surprised some fellow conservatives Wednesday by reviving a failed proposal to eliminate Kansas’ popular deduction for interest paid on home mortgages to help close a budget shortfall while further reducing state income tax rates.
The governor had promised legislators that the state could keep moving toward eliminating income taxes while preserving aid to public schools and spending on core governmen...
Brownback’s plans defy court’s ruling on schools
TOPEKA (AP) — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday called for a fresh round of aggressive cuts in Kansas’ income taxes and changes in the state constitution to rein in the judiciary, outlining proposals for a GOP-dominated Legislature in defiance of both a budget shortfall and a court order on education funding.
Brownback also used his State of the State address to defend massive income tax reductions enacted last year and reaffirm that hi...
County reaches casino settlement
COLUMBUS (AP) — Cherokee County officials are considering a $7.25 million tentative settlement offer to end a dispute over a planned state-owned casino that was never built in the county.
Penn National Gaming made the offer to settle a $53 million breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by Cherokee County in 2008 after the company pulled out of plans to build a casino in Southeast Kansas. The settlement, which must still be formally approved by the c...
Fiscal issues dominate legislative agenda
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas legislators opened their annual session Monday facing major budget issues even as many of them hoped to cut income taxes a second consecutive year.
Each chamber installed a new top leader for its conservative Republican majority, Speaker Ray Merrick of Stilwell in the House and President Susan Wagle of Wichita in the Senate. Both are allies of GOP Gov. Sam Brownback and committed to shrinking state government and phasing o...
Brownback unveils mental health plan
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday proposed a $10 million initiative to boost mental health services to targeted populations.
The initiative would direct funding to what Brownback called the most at-risk and challenging mental health patients to meet their specific treatment requirements. The program will not target residents who are receiving services through Medicaid.
The Republican governor announced the proposal...
School guards can carry guns in Emporia
WICHITA (AP) — Emporia school officials have decided to allow security guards at the district’s high school and middle school carry guns, as districts across Kansas re-evaluate safety protocols in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre.
“A number of districts throughout the state are reviewing their safety and security plans, their crisis plans” after the shooting on Dec. 14 that left 20 children and six staff members dead at Sandy Hook E...
Sports complex moves forward
LAWRENCE (AP) — The University of Kansas plans to begin building its part of a large new sports complex in Lawrence, but the city will wait until February to vote on its portion of the project, which will be called Rock Chalk Park.
City commissioners on Tuesday approved rezoning requests and a special-use permit that will allow the university and its private partners to move ahead with plans for a track and field stadium, soccer field, softbal...
Student’s letter gets attention
OSAGE CITY (AP) — A Kansas high school student’s extra-credit assignment in a government class was meant as an exercise in expressing her views on a hot topic. But it helped sway some opinions in Congress.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said he received a letter from Lindsey Heward criticizing the effects of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new rules about calorie counts in school lunches. Roberts, the No. 2 Republican on the Senate Agriculture Com...
Two Kansas bases make short list for Air Force tankers
WICHITA (AP) — The Air Force has selected both McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita and Forbes Airfield in Topeka as finalists for basing the new KC-46A air refueling tankers.
U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts said Wednesday that both installations are finalists for main operating bases for active duty and National Guard sites. McConnell is also a finalist to house the tanker flight training school.
McConnell is competing against other act...