In The News

See all Press Releases Here
See all News Clips Here

For media inquiries, please contact:
Lauren Tice Miller,

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

RELEASE: Former six-term Sedgwick County DA, Nola Foulston, to run for 30th Senate District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 3, 2020 WICHITA, KS – Alongside Governor Laura Kelly today, Nola Foulston, former six-term District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District of Kansas, announced her campaign for the Kansas Senate’s 30th District, which includes a portion of Sedgwick County. The seat is currently held by Senate President Susan Wagle. “In all that […]

Faust-Goudeau: Governor Kelly right to make changes that provide real hope to Kansans (OpEd)

The following editorial is attributed to Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita: I applaud Governor Kelly, alongside her administration, for their unwavering commitment to every Kansan. Since day one, they have worked hard to do what’s best for Kansans and their families. Governing is hard enough but cleaning up the mess left behind by Brownback and Colyer […]

Hensley: Hawkins, Schmidt defend Brownback/Colyer policies ripping apart Kansas families (OpEd)

The following Op-Ed is attributed to Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley:  House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins and Attorney General Derek Schmidt are defending reckless Brownback/Colyer policies that have done nothing but rip apart Kansas families. All the while Governor Kelly’s administration is working to keep families together and help Kansans find jobs. Temporary Assistance for […]

Medicaid expansion supporters drown out Kansas Senate proceedings (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Medicaid expansion supporters burst into chants and song during Senate proceedings Wednesday morning, bringing the chamber to a halt. The Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, of Topeka, and eight others were apprehended after about 20 minutes of protesting. News reporters were ordered to leave before the arrests under threats from the Senate president’s staff of losing access […]

Kansas Senate affirms Court of Appeals nominee, sends signal to Supreme Court (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Wednesday the governor’s nominee to the Kansas Court of Appeals and narrowly approved a procedural maneuver to raise the profile of a proposed constitutional amendment to require Senate oversight of selections to the state Supreme Court. Gov. Laura Kelly said she appreciated the Senate’s swift approval of Johnson County attorney […]

Kansas Legislature reaches chaotic finish amid protests, first veto override of Kelly (The Kansas City Star)

The Kansas Legislature’s annual session came to a chaotic, divisive end Wednesday amid the removal of disruptive protestors and an override of Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget vetoes. The final day of session is often a ceremonial affair. This time, it was anything but. Police removed nine pro-Medicaid expansion protestors from the Senate after they began singing and shouting […]

Former Kansas commerce secretary violated policy with data dump (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

A Kansas Department of Commerce secretary in the administration of Gov. Sam Brownback was involved in secretly transferring a treasure trove of state data on thousands of Kansas companies, business executives and economic development specialists to the secretary’s own private consulting firm. The Topeka Capital-Journal confirmed through documents and interviews the previously unreported maneuver was […]

Brown Foundation celebrates 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board case at Washburn (WIBW)

Hundreds of people packed into Washburn’s Memorial Union for an anniversary banquet. The event is put on every year by the Brown Foundation. Along with celebrating Washburn’s role in the historic case, the banquet celebrated the accomplishments of Senator Anthony Hensley and Michael Young. Young is the artist behind the Brown v. Board of Education […]

Why not lower fines for marijuana possession, advocacy group asks (Wyandotte Daily)

A Unified Government committee is scheduled to hear a proposal to reduce the fine for marijuana possession on Monday, May 20. The UG Administration and Human Services Committee meeting will be held in the fifth floor conference room at City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas, immediately following the 5 p.m. Monday Public […]

Kansas Senate votes to keep tweeting judge off court at $16K cost to taxpayers (Kansas City Star)

Kansas senators drove back to Topeka and met for less than hour Tuesday to reject a state Court of Appeals nominee no one wanted. The cost to taxpayers? Roughly $16,000. “I am totally frustrated with a nomination and confirmation process that can be characterized as a cluster-gaggle,” Sen. Dan Goddard, R-Parsons, said. The Senate voted […]

Kansas Senate rejects Twitter-damaged nominee for Court of Appeals (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Republican-controlled Kansas Senate unanimously voted Tuesday to reject the nomination of a Labette County judge for a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals after disclosure of vulgar commentary on social media about controversial issues and conservative politicians. The bipartisan 0-38 vote brought to a close a soap opera that followed Judge Jeffry Jack […]

Kansas Senators Reject Governor’s Appellate Court Nominee, But That’s Not The Last Word (KCUR)

Kansas senators met Tuesday to formally vote down Gov. Laura Kelly’s nomination for a Court of Appeals seat. In a strange twist, even Kelly wanted her nominee rejected. The outcome was already known before lawmakers returned to Topeka for the single vote. Kelly had tried to withdraw the nomination of District Court Judge Jeffry Jack after a […]

Why Kansas Cops Don’t Want To Legalize Marijuana — Medical Or Otherwise (KCUR)

When it comes to marijuana, Kansas is a red state in an increasingly green country. Three of its neighbors — Colorado, Oklahoma and Missouri — have legalized some form of the drug in recent years. Yet Kansas remains one of four states in the country without a comprehensive medical or recreational marijuana program. That’s not for lack […]

Court rules Kelly can’t withdraw nomination of judge who sent partisan tweets (The Kansas City Star)

The Kansas Senate will have to return to Topeka next week to vote down Gov. Laura Kelly’s controversial choice for an open seat on the state Court of Appeals, after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday his nomination could not be withdrawn. If senators don’t vote him down by Tuesday, Labette County District Judge Jeffry […]

Supreme Court ruling prompts Senate vote on flawed judicial nomination (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that shortcomings in state law didn’t allow for withdrawal of a nominee to the state Court of Appeals, effectively putting the controversial nomination of District Judge Jeffry Jack back into play before the Kansas Senate. The decision one day after oral argument in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General […]

Kansas Supreme Court presses for ‘finish line’ in school finance litigation (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Eric Rosen wanted to know if there will ever be an end to the decades-long fight between public schools and the Legislature over the state’s K-12 finance formula. Alan Rupe, the attorney for Schools for Fair Funding, told the court during arguments Thursday that the two sides are “real close” to […]

Nomination dispute stalls action on Kansas Court of Appeals vacancy (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Supreme Court engaged in unprecedented oral argument Thursday about a vacancy on the state’s second-highest court pitting the attorney general against the governor, chief of the Supreme Court and the Kansas Senate. The confluence of all three branches of government responding to a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Derek Schmidt brought obvious discomfort […]

Justices may rule Kelly can’t withdraw nomination of judge who sent partisan tweets (The Wichita Eagle)

Kansas senators may have to quickly return to Topeka to reject an appeals court nominee, even though he withdrew from consideration weeks ago. Gov. Laura Kelly nominated Judge Jeffry Jack in March. Days later he withdrew at her request amid condemnation for past partisan and profanity-laced tweets. Now, the state Supreme Court appears to be […]

Anti-abortion rally raises prospect of constitutional amendment debate (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Abortion opponents in Kansas took up strategic positions Thursday along the Topeka street separating chambers of the Kansas Supreme Court and offices of legislators in the Capitol to express dismay at court decisions finding a right to abortion in the state constitution. The rally hosted by Kansans for Life, attended by former Secretary of State […]

Gov. Laura Kelly hails adoption of law enforcement reform bills (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Gov. Laura Kelly celebrated signing of legislation Wednesday improving the flow of information to victims of domestic violence about release from jail of the offenders and to restrain power of judges to reduce sentences of adults convicted of sex crimes against youths. She also welcomed supporters of a new law instituting a first-in-the-nation task force […]

‘A punch in the gut’: Kansas Department of Corrections officials ignored warnings about dental lab instructor (Salina Journal)

The warden of the state-run women’s prison doesn’t know why Kansas Department of Corrections officials retained until December a dental lab instructor who sexually harassed an inmate in her facility two years ago. Warden Shannon Meyer recommended firing the instructor, Tomas Co, following an internal investigation into problematic behavior reported by an inmate in January […]

Kansas lawmakers make new push to lower grocery taxes, corporate tax bills (The Kansas City Star)

A sweeping plan that would affect how much Kansans pay for groceries and what corporations owe in taxes may soon head to Gov. Laura Kelly, who vetoed a similar bill earlier this year. Under it, the state is projected to take in $245 million less in revenue over the next three years. The House is expected to […]

Kansas Senate passes tax reform bill despite Gov. Laura Kelly’s warning (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Gov. Laura Kelly pressed the Republican-led Legislature to proceed cautiously on tax reform legislation Thursday to avoid producing an impulsive, sweeping overhaul damaging to the state’s financial interests. She spoke out ahead of passage by the Kansas Senate of a bill crafted by Republican leadership and business lobbying interests in response to the governor’s veto […]

Abortion opponents say they’ll wait until 2020 to seek to change Kansas constitution (The Kansas City Star)

Abortion opponents won’t try to change the Kansas Constitution this year in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion. The delay gives activists time to rally support for an amendment. Republican lawmakers failed Thursday to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a separate anti-abortion bill. Some lawmakers say that […]

Closed case DNA bill passes Kansas Legislature (Wyandotte Daily)

A bill that would expand DNA searches to closed cases has passed the Kansas Legislature. According to State Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist., who advocated for the bill, Senate Bill 102 was bundled with another measure and passed with only minor changes from the original bill. The bill now goes to the governor for a […]

JoCo senator’s ‘pass’ vote was key as Kansas Medicaid expansion attempt fails (The Kansas City Star)

The Kansas Senate fell one vote short of forcing a Medicaid expansion bill on to its calendar Wednesday, leaving the hot-button issue possibly dead for another year unless supporters can find a new way to advance it. The vote represents a significant defeat for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, who made expansion one of her top priorities. Democrats tried […]

Kansas Senate narrowly dismisses effort to put Medicaid expansion in play (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Senate narrowly shot down an attempt Wednesday to put Medicaid expansion into play, striking a blow to one of the best last chances for expansion supporters who hope to pass a plan this session. Lawmakers returned to action after a three-week hiatus and confronted a maneuver from Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, […]

Kansas taxpayers stuck with fallout from Brownback’s assault on Docking building (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Bedbugs, fleas and mice tormented employees who languished in outmoded and deteriorating furnishings inside the Docking State Office Building. The workers washed their hands with worm-filled water that flowed through rusty pipes, struggled to get comfortable with inconsistent temperatures in their office spaces and hoped to avoid getting stuck in the frequently faulty elevators. For former Gov. […]

The Governor, House and Most Senators in Kansas Want to Expand Medicaid. So Why Did It Just Fail? (Governing)

A majority of Kansas senators voted in favor of Medicaid expansion on Wednesday. It failed anyway. In March, the state House voted to make more low-income people eligible for government-run health insurance, as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act. Anthony Hensley, the Democratic leader in the Senate, forced a procedural vote that could have […]

Kansas Legislature fails to override Kelly on vetoed abortion bill (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Republican-led Legislature failed Wednesday to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a bill mandating Kansas physicians tell patients prescribed pills to induce an abortion that the process might be interrupted if a woman decided not to end the pregnancy. Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, successfully led adoption of an override motion by […]

Medicaid expansion backers in Kansas may hold budget hostage (AP News)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Advocates for expanding Medicaid in Kansas are looking to block passage of the state’s next annual budget to force an expansion plan through the Republican-controlled Legislature over conservative leaders’ objections. Legislators reconvened Wednesday after an annual spring break, and the state Senate rejected an effort by its top Democrat to expedite […]

Kansas Medicaid Expansion Fails To Get A Vote, But Supporters Threaten Budget To Force One (KCUR)

Supporters of expanding Medicaid in Kansas proved Wednesday they’ve got the votes in the Legislature — if they can get a vote. But they lacked enough lawmakers on their side to bypass Republican leadership and force that vote. At stake is whether the state would spend about $50 million a year in money from Kansas taxpayers to […]

Brown v. Board of Education: Kansas Supreme Court nudges public schools toward equitable educational opportunity (Leavenworth Times)

Decades of intervention by Kansas Supreme Court justices in the state’s public school system is harnessed to harsh reality that festering inequities in educational opportunity often divide wealthy and impoverished districts serving more than 450,000 children. Lawsuits reaching the state’s highest court in Kansas have exposed stark differences in strength or weakness of the property […]

As Medicaid expansion talks falter, new study predicts little impact on Kansas budget (Leavenworth Times)

A new analysis from a national health insurance advocate predicts Kansas could provide coverage to low-income families through Medicaid expansion without compromising the state budget. The analysis, which traces savings from a spike in federal funding and subsequent tax revenue, coincides with a meeting Wednesday between Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Republican leaders who remain […]

Clydesdales team with politicians to toast Kansas’ movement away from 3.2 beer (Pratt Tribune)

Powerful elegance of eight Budweiser Clydesdales and one docile Dalmation captivated hundreds of people Thursday with a slow-moving demonstration of how beer was delivered to consumers when commerce required use of wagons. Mary and Nick Elkins, of Harveyville, had an unusually high level of appreciation for the well-manicured team pulling the bright red wagon. They […]

Editorial: Precinct committees have great sway (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

  A small group recently elected a new Shawnee County sheriff. Ordinarily, candidates for sheriff, state legislator and other elected positions must earn the support of far more voters. But when there’s an unexpected vacancy — as happened when then-Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones became head of the Kansas Highway Patrol — the party of […]

Wagle’s roadmap to U.S. Senate: stick close to Trump, push back hard against Kelly (The Kansas City Star)

Even as she prepared for a White House meeting about a possible U.S. Senate run, Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle was thinking about her next round of battles with Gov. Laura Kelly back in Topeka. The Wichita Republican has embraced her status as Kelly’s chief antagonist during the new Democratic governor’s first months in office. She is certain […]

Kelly signs bill that lets Sedgwick County residents vote at any county polling site (The Wichita Eagle)

Sedgwick County residents will now have the option to vote at any polling place on Election Day. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly this week signed into law Senate Bill 130, which gives counties the option to let voters cast ballots at any polling place in the county — not just the one they’re been assigned. “This […]

Letter to the editor: Support Hensley and ask for change (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Support Hensley and ask for change In a recent opinion piece, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley reported that two individuals — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle and her righthand man Sen. Jim Henning — have effectively decided the fate of proposed Medicaid expansion in Kansas. Senate rules allow majority party leadership to decide which bills […]

How a change in Kansas law and a new app may help you beat the crowds on Election Day (The Wichita Eagle)

Coming soon to Sedgwick County: You’ll be able to vote at any polling place you want on Election Day and use an app to help find the site where you can get in and out the fastest. That’s a result of near-unanimous passage of Senate Bill 130, which Gov. Laura Kelly has indicated that she […]

Anthony Hensley: It’s time to debate Medicaid expansion in Senate (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Just prior to the 2019 Legislature’s first adjournment on April 5, I made a motion to withdraw House Bill 2066 from the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and place it on the Senate calendar for debate when we return on May 1. This bill establishes the KanCare bridge to a healthy Kansas program. The […]

Gov. Laura Kelly vows to mend child safety net, ditch ‘all-punitive’ prison model (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

WICHITA — Gov. Laura Kelly joined a couple of hundred loyalists Tuesday to feast on the new reality of Kansas politics. Kelly, a Democrat in GOP-rich Kansas moving through her first legislative session as governor, prevailed upon the House and Senate to approve a $90 million raise in state aid to public education. Kansas’ chief […]

Kansas Senate, House break impasse on education finance compromise (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas House school finance negotiators succumbed to mounting pressure to make a deal Wednesday by accepting the Senate’s bill adding $90 million annually to public school spending in the next four years to comply with a Kansas Supreme Court order. The top House negotiator, Rep. Kristey Williams, R-Augusta, said House GOP leadership agreed to run […]

Kansas governor, Senate GOP president face off over Medicaid (The Kansas City Star)

As Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly urges lawmakers to expand Medicaid, the state Senate’s top Republican is opening the door to a health care bill that would include provisions favored by conservatives, such as work requirements. But Senate President Susan Wagle wants the Legislature to study expansion later this year and take up a bill in […]

Kansas Senate contemplates override attempt of vetoed income, sales tax bill (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Senate balked at an opportunity Tuesday to vote on override of Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a tax bill beneficial to multinational corporations, people interested in itemizing on state tax returns and critics of the state’s sales tax on food. Majorities in the House and Senate sent the tax legislation to the Democratic […]

Gov. Laura Kelly seeks legislative fix for Court of Appeals nomination dispute (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration entered negotiations with legislative leadership staff to draft a bill resolving the simmering dispute about who possesses authority to make a replacement nomination to the vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Withdrawal of Kelly’s initial pick at the close of a 60-day deadline prompted Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, to […]

Medical marijuana hopes withering in Kansas as Missouri gets ready for rollout (Kansas City Star)

Lisa Sublett has been pushing for broad legalization of medical marijuana for years in Kansas, remaining optimistic despite little movement in the state legislature. Sublett, the founder of an advocacy group called Bleeding Kansas, isn’t ready to give up on getting it done during the current legislative session, but said this week that it’s a […]

After bitter fight, Kansas senators confirm Gov. Kelly’s pick to lead commerce agency (The Kansas City Star)

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s choice to lead the state’s economic development agency will remain on the job following a fight that echoed brutal Washington-style confirmation battles. The state Senate voted 23-14 on Monday to confirm David Toland as Secretary of Commerce. The decision brought to a close a two-week drama over his nomination centered on […]

Kansas Senate approves controversial nominee to lead commerce department (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Senate voted Monday to confirm Gov. Laura Kelly’s nominee to lead the Kansas Department of Commerce amid skepticism about his economic development resume, personal attacks leveled by conservatives and criticism of health grants tied to an abortion doctor. David Toland, who prevailed 23-14 after a Senate committee rejected the nomination, survived an effort […]

Failure of Kansas House to pass school funding bill becomes focal point in education talks (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley seized on the failure of House Republicans to find support for their school finance plan as lawmakers began negotiations Monday in search of a solution that will satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court. The talks feature a showdown between House leaders who want to install a fleet of policy demands […]

Kansas Senators and House Members Start Work on School Funding Compromise (KPR)

Kansas House and Senate negotiators have arrived at the bargaining table to work out a school finance deal. Senators came to the table Monday with a plan that would add $90 million in school funding each year for the next four years. House leaders brought a proposal for just two years of increases. But, as […]

Medicaid expansion advocates unfurl ‘blood on their hands’ banners aimed at GOP leaders (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Protesters displayed massive banners in the Capitol rotunda Wednesday declaring four House and Senate Republican leaders had “blood on their hands” for not expanding access to Medicaid health care services for more than 130,000 low-income adults and children. The banners, 24 feet high and 10 feet wide, were marked by dozens of handprints in red […]

Wichita senator questions racial composition of child-welfare task force (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

A Wichita state senator questioned the legitimacy Monday of recommendations by a Kansas child-welfare task force amid debate about legislation developed to secure more federal funding for services to traumatized juveniles. Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, the first black woman elected to the Kansas Senate, said the task force previously operated without black members while children of […]

Gov. Laura Kelly vetoes GOP-backed income, sales tax reform legislation (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed major tax legislation Monday ferociously advocated by Republicans to trim income tax obligations of multinational corporations and wealthy individuals, while shrinking the sales tax on food and broadening the sales tax on nonresident internet businesses. The Democratic governor repeatedly denounced Senate Bill 22 after it cleared the House 76-43 and the […]

Locals react to the possibility of marijuana legalization (The Emporia Gazette)

Kansas legislators are considering legislation which would legalize the use of medical marijuana in the state. Last week they heard from opponents and proponents of the bill. Senate Bill 113 was filed by state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City. It was supported by Rep. Jim Karleskint, R-Tonganoxie. The bill would legalize medical marijuana and allow […]

Closed case DNA bill passes Senate (Wyandotte Daily)

Before Senate Bill 102, the closed case DNA bill, passed the Kansas Senate Thursday, human rights activist Alvin Sykes was on the phone with Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist. Sykes, who had advocated for the bill, really wanted to be there in person when the bill passed. Instead, he had to settle for listening from […]

Kansas Senate advances Rural Opportunity Zone bills (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Senate gave initial approval Tuesday to a pair of bills relating to expansion of the state’s Rural Opportunity Zone program. The program provides student loan forgiveness and income tax waivers to those who relocate to rural areas. About 80 counties already fall under the program. Proposed legislation would add eight counties to the […]

Medical marijuana advocates urge legalization for treatment in Kansas (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Veterans, victims of chronic illness and their loved ones packed an overflowing Senate committee room Thursday to urge lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana. They say the drug offers a safer treatment for mental and physical pain than pharmaceuticals and deride opposition as the product of decades of racist propaganda. Opposition testimony is planned for Friday. […]

Senate passes constitutional amendment to end tweaks of census data for redistricting (Pratt Tribune)

The Kansas Senate unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment Thursday that would end the state’s unique practice of spending about $830,000 every decade to ask college students and military members where they want to be counted for the U.S. census. Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab requested changing the Kansas Constitution to eliminate the “burdensome, […]

GOP-led Kansas Legislature sends income, sales tax reform bill to Gov. Laura Kelly (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Legislature sent Gov. Laura Kelly a bill Thursday massaged to help multinational corporations and individuals avoid paying state income taxes, lower the state’s sales tax on food and impose a sales tax on out-of-state businesses making internet transactions. The core of the bill emerged in response to changes in federal tax law that […]

Senate advances bill requiring independent study of Kansas retail electric rates (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Members of the Kansas Senate agreed on compromise legislation Wednesday to authorize an independent $1 million study of retail rates charged by electric public utilities. Utility companies had objected to demands for analysis of whether electric rates in Kansas were regionally competitive, but the bill advanced by the Senate would require that a bipartisan council […]

Mother of Catholic church abuse victim in Kansas laments ‘third-degree burns to the soul’ (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Janet Patterson ripped the blinders off when her adult son killed himself shortly after revealing a priest sexually abused him as a child. For three decades, Catholic church leaders in Wichita, Newton and Conway Springs ignored reports of children suffering at the hands of Robert Larson. At least five victims committed suicide. “Suicide is a […]

Kansas Sen. Larry Alley proposes lifting local property tax cap while lowering burden for homeowners (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas Sen. Larry Alley on Tuesday proposed lifting a state-imposed cap on local property tax increases in exchange for exempting the first $20,000 of assessed value on residences from local mill levies. Alley, a Republican from Winfield, said governing bodies would then take the blame for raising taxes. As it is, he said, people can’t […]

Kansas lawmakers go inside Docking for look at challenges (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas lawmakers touring the underbelly of the Docking State Office Building got a glimpse Monday into the room where unused IT equipment used to be hidden away. A few pieces of cardboard are all that remain. The senators and representatives were gathering information about the condition and limitations of the mostly vacant building before considering […]

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly gets pushback on education funding increase (KSHB)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ new Democratic governor is meeting unexpected resistance to her plan for boosting public education funding from local school districts that believe her proposal wouldn’t supply enough new money. Gov. Laura Kelly touts her proposed increase of roughly $90 million a year as a simple way to comply with a Kansas […]

Kansas Legislature resumes work on bulging school, tax, health policy to-do list (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The monkey on the back of the Kansas Legislature will look much the same Wednesday as it did when state lawmakers rolled into Topeka in January. House and Senate members make their way back to the Capitol aware of the need to resolve issues of public school finance, a federal income tax windfall, the governor’s […]

Capitol Insider podcast: Women lawmakers explore struggle for gender parity in Kansas Capitol (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Wichita Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau ran for public office in response to a death-bed plea from her mother, who marched for equality and justice with the Rev. Martin Luther King. Her introduction to door-to-door campaigning revealed obstacles faced by women in a political system affording men a solid majority of seats in the Kansas Legislature. She […]

Blue wave? Kansas Democrats think they have a ‘real chance’ for U.S. Senate in 2020 (The Kansas City Star)

It has been a seminal year for the Kansas Democrats. Not only did the party beat out a hard-line conservative for the governor’s office, it also made history by electing Sharice Davids, an openly gay Native American woman, to the House of Representatives, adding to the highest-ever number of women in Congress. But party leaders […]

Kansas Democrats Gather for Washington Days 2019 (WIBW)

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) The second day of the Kansas Democrats 2019 Washington Days consisted of various meetings. The 2nd Congressional District meeting took place Saturday morning at the downtown Ramada. The agenda consisted of Secretary and Treasurer’s reports, focus areas, and the announcement of the upcoming Listening Tour. Focus areas included; candidate recruitment and support, and […]

GOP legislators tout mid-session accomplishments; Democrats not impressed (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Republican leaders of the House and Senate offered calm assurances Thursday there was no justification to fret about the pace of progress in the 2019 legislative session. On the contrary, Democrats argued, major legislation on education, taxes, Medicaid, the budget and other priorities remain unresolved in a session that started in mid-January. “If I were […]

Senate President Susan Wagle says Legislature will win battle with Gov. Laura Kelly (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Senate President Susan Wagle is preparing to battle the governor over an anticipated veto and major policy goals in a confrontation she believes the Republican-controlled Legislature will win. Reflecting on the first six weeks of the session, Wagle said Thursday she was disappointed in a lack of communication from Gov. Laura Kelly. The governor’s office […]

Kansas Senate engages in cabin-fever ruckus on rental fees at state parks (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Senate hiked into a pitched battle Wednesday over legislation granting the state parks secretary unilateral authority to adjust rental fees on lake cabins and campsites. The bill appearing to be of minor consequence on the Senate calendar attracted Republican opposition like ants zeroing in on a picnic spread. The debate on Senate Bill […]

Kansas Senate unanimously passes bill to mandate reports of missing foster children (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday aiming to create quicker response times in reporting missing foster children in Kansas. “Basically, what the bill does is put in a process and notification of children under foster care that have gone missing,” said Sen. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, “so that we as legislators know the circumstance and frequency […]

Kansas schools must hold 16 drills a year. Is that too many? (The Kansas City Star)

Students everywhere know the drill. Go outside for a fire drill. Huddle in a restroom or tuck your head under your arms for a tornado drill. Hide away from the door and turn off the lights for a crisis drill. Kansas schools average a drill about every 10 school days. They must hold at least […]

Instead of fully funding schools, Kansas lawmakers are dawdling and risking disaster (The Kansas City Star)

School funding could have been an easy fix for Kansas lawmakers this year. But why make it easy when there’s so much fun to be had by delaying and dithering and pushing up against a nearly year-old deadline? Why rush when you can ratchet up stress levels and play with the fates of legions of […]

Sen. Jim Denning says school plan will add $90 million, calls Gov. Laura Kelly’s approach ‘amateurish’ (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said Tuesday the governor’s bundling of school finance legislation was “amateurish” as debate erupted on the Senate floor over progress toward adding a court-ordered inflation adjustment. The Republican from Overland Park said GOP leaders have met with Attorney General Derek Schmidt about their plans. Schmidt will be comfortable, Denning said, […]

‘What are we doing here?’: Kansas Sen. David Haley questions purpose of protecting police from traffic violations (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Sen. David Haley questioned Tuesday why legislation is needed to protect law enforcement officers from minor traffic infractions while fighting crime. Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, said nobody prosecutes police for such violations as parking in the median while monitoring traffic, running a red light, making a u-turn or exceeding the speed limit. Proposed […]

‘A true public servant’: New Kansas child welfare leader vows openness, more resources (The Kansas City Star)

Before she’s even asked what ails Kansas’ troubled child welfare system, Laura Howard rattles off a list of woes. First, there’s the number of kids in foster care. At more than 7,300 children, that’s proportionately higher than many other states. Then there’s the job vacancy rates that run between 12 percent and 18 percent in child […]

Local politicians discuss funding state agencies (The Mercury)

Stage agencies and services are still recovering from funding deficits caused by the 2012 tax cuts, area legislators told constituents Saturday morning. Kansas Rep. Sydney Carlin, Rep. Tom Phillips and Sen. Tom Hawk spoke at a legislative coffee Saturday morning at Sunset Zoo in Manhattan. They said the state is still searching for ways to […]

Kansas judges, legislators dig into details of suspended-license amnesty program (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Sedgwick County Judge Phil Journey said state lawmakers can dramatically improve lives of low-income Kansans by adopting a statewide amnesty program for people with suspended drivers’ licenses. The loss of driving privileges is often triggered by a traffic citation, failure to appear in court and inability to pay all fines. “I have seen many individuals […]

Jim McLean: They’re Talking About Your Health Coverage In The Hallways of The Kansas Statehouse (KCUR)

The Kansas Legislature is in the meat of its 2019 session. Not quite halfway through, but well into the “getting down to business” part. As such, there are consequential conversations happening throughout the Statehouse. Some occur in hearing rooms. But far more take place out of public view — in offices, hallways and the many […]

Bus drivers lobby for summertime unemployment (WIBW)

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Governor Laura Kelly showed her support for legislation to help school bus drivers in the summer. Teamsters Local 696 supports allowing bus drivers to qualify for unemployment when school is not in session. Lawmakers would need to approve it. Bus driver Ray Alvarez said it would help retain safe and qualified bus […]

Kansas’ abortion uncertainty fuels response to New York law (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas abortion opponents are as eager as ever to impose new restrictions but aren’t sure of their options because the state’s legal climate is uncertain. So in the meantime, they’re putting their energy into condemning New York’s new law protecting abortion rights. The Kansas Senate adopted a resolution Thursday decrying the New York law as […]

Kansas Republicans Make Moves That Could Derail The Democratic Governor’s Budget Plan (KCUR)

Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate are forging ahead with plans to plow millions into tax relief that would largely benefit big business. Some Democrats and more moderate Republicans suspect it’s also a strategy to deprive the governor of the money to fund her priorities. Carving out chunks of the state savings account now could […]

Critics worry about impact of Kansas Farm Bureau’s unregulated alternative to health insurance (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Critics of the Kansas Farm Bureau’s proposal for an unregulated cheap alternative to health insurance worry about the scope of coverage that will be offered and fear the option will drive up costs for those with traditional plans. KFB says the idea is to serve those left behind by the Affordable Care Act, such as […]

Beef industry makes pitch to state of Kansas for funding of disease tracing pilot program (The Ottawa Herald)

A bipartisan group of senators shared enthusiasm Friday for continuing state investment in a $1.5 million pilot program to develop a sophisticated system for tracking animal disease in beef cattle from birth until slaughter. Gov. Laura Kelly didn’t recommend funding in her proposed state budget for the second year of the project linking the Kansas […]

Kansas governor expected to veto GOP approved tax relief plan (Hays Post)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Democrats are attacking a Republican tax relief bill approved Thursday by the state Senate as a give-away to large corporations and managed to peel away a couple of GOP votes Thursday by highlighting how it benefits big businesses. The bill is designed to prevent Kansas residents and businesses from paying higher […]

Jim McLean: Kansas Republicans’ Beef About Kelly’s Political Weakness About to Be Tested(KCUR)

Ty Masterson finally said it this week. He gave voice to what many Republicans had been thinking since November. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s election was a fluke. “Her presence in the governor’s office is a tragic collision of timing,” Masterson, a state senator from Andover, told Associated Press Correspondent John Hanna. As a result, Masterson […]

Lawmakers introduce bills to legalize medical marijuana in Kansas (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Lawmakers on Thursday announced legislation in both the House and Senate that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. House Bill 2163 and Senate Bill 113 would offer relief for 22 specific conditions, or any condition that causes pain. Cannabis could be prescribed as treatment for such things as glaucoma, sleep apnea and […]

Kansas Senate adopts $190 million ‘windfall’ income tax reduction bill (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

A divided Kansas Senate completed swift approval Thursday of a bill clearing a path for corporations and individuals to avoid about $190 million in state income taxes. All but two Republican senators locked arms in support of Senate Bill 22, which was forwarded to the House on a vote of 26-14. No Democrat backed the […]

Kansas House advances bill to greenlight sales tax hikes in five counties (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The House advanced a bill Thursday to authorize four counties to hold votes on raising sales taxes to cover local projects. Also included in House Bill 2033 is legislative blessing of an unauthorized tax increase already adopted in Finney County. Rep. Adam Smith, R-Weskan, urged lawmakers to support local authority over the requests, which failed […]

Senate advances $190 million tax ‘windfall’ bill denounced by Gov. Laura Kelly (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Senate embraced a controversial bill Wednesday helping corporations and individuals avoid nearly $190 million in state taxes linked to realignment of the federal tax code. The bill championed by Senate Republican leadership would allow individuals to take an elevated standard deduction on federal returns while itemizing on state returns. Corporations would immediately benefit […]

Clash in Kansas Over Tax Relief Quickly Coming to a Head (U.S. News)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s election victory suggested that Kansas repudiated past GOP fiscal policies, yet voters also encouraged top Republicans to pursue income tax relief by giving conservatives more power in the Legislature. The contradiction is driving a political clash coming to a head quickly. The Republican-dominated state Senate gave first-round approval Wednesday […]

Recipient of no-bid IT contracts fails to meet deadline on Kansas tax processing system (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The company awarded no-bid technology contracts by the Kansas Department of Revenue amid a push to privatize government operations failed in October to deliver functional software for processing tax returns and prompted the state to rely on existing older technology, the new department secretary said Tuesday. The wisdom of decisions by former Secretary of Revenue […]

Dozens of Kansas lawmakers seek to ban discrimination against LGBT individuals (The Wichita Eagle)

Kansas employers would not be allowed to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers under a proposal offered on Monday by the state’s first two openly LGBT lawmakers. Legislation from Rep. Brandon Woodard, D-Lenexa, and Rep. Susan Ruiz, D-Shawnee, would add sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class in state law — […]

No honeymoon: Battles between Kelly, Republicans over big-dollar plans intensifying (The Wichita Eagle)

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Republicans are in a battle over hundreds of millions of dollars this year – and billions in future decades – that has only intensified since Kelly took office less than a month ago. Far from settling into a honeymoon period, the new Democratic governor and Republican lawmakers almost immediately began […]

Kansas Senate advances plan to pay $115M to KPERS (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Senate on Monday advanced legislation to transfer $115 million to the state pension fund despite objections from Democrats who prefer to wait until other budget areas are considered. By making the payment to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, lawmakers would put a dent in the surplus Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget depends upon for […]

Sen. Anthony Hensley: Senate President Susan Wagle should take own advice, not squander surplus (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley on Thursday suggested his Republican rival should follow her own advice. The Topeka Democrat complained that tax reform endorsed by Senate President Susan Wagle will cost the state $200 million in the first year and quickly derail the state budget. In her response to Gov. Laura Kelly’s state of the state address, Wagle warned […]

Kansas corporations line up for majority of Senate panel’s $191 million in tax breaks (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

A special Senate committee voting on party lines Thursday passed a bill crafted by Republican lawmakers and corporate lobbyists to deliver an estimated $191 million in state income tax relief to businesses and individuals. Senate President Susan Wagle, who formed the committee and appointed herself chairwoman, delivered GOP votes necessary to advance Senate Bill 22, […]

Some ex-GOP lawmakers in 3 states, including Kansas, have a new title: Democrat (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

TRENTON, N.J. — Democratic gains in state legislatures didn’t end with last November’s elections. Over the past two months, as lawmakers were sworn in to office and this year’s legislative sessions got underway, Republicans in California, Kansas and New Jersey switched their party affiliations and became Democrats. Their reasons varied, but the party-switchers have one […]

Kansas Senate Democrats probe business savings in windfall tax reform (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Democratic senators grilled proponents of corporate tax reform Wednesday in a quest to unveil the names of companies that will benefit from proposed legislation and how much money is at stake. Lawmakers are wrestling with the implications of federal tax code changes for businesses with multinational profits. Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, is spearheading efforts to […]

Kansas Senate panel votes to pay $115 million debt owed to state pension system (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The Kansas Senate’s budget committee voted Wednesday to earmark $115 million to make up for a missed payment three years ago to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. The 2016 Legislature was struggling to find enough cash to balance the state budget when the decision was made to skip a $97 million quarterly payment to […]

KanCare expansion and taxes the top talk at the Statehouse (WIBW)

She released a bill, like she promised during her State of the State address, by Kansas Day. The proposal mirrors one lawmakers passed in 2017, but then-governor Sam Brownback vetoed. “I voted for that bill because I think Medicaid expansion’s time has come,” said Sen. Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka). “I think it’s very important that the […]

2 medical marijuana bills expected to be introduced to Kansas Legislature, report says (KMBC News)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two different bills are being drafted to make medical marijuana legal in Kansas, KSNT-TV reports. Lisa Ash Sublett, who founded the group Bleeding Kansas, helped last year to introduce the Kansas Safe Access Act amendment to legalize medical marijuana. The House rejected it. Bleeding Kansas is pushing a new bill that will be […]

Sen. Susan Wagle plans swift action on Kansas tax reform, test of veto power (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Senate President Susan Wagle on Tuesday urged lawmakers to work with urgency to pass tax reform and test the governor’s appetite for windfall legislation. Wagle launched into hearings on Senate Bill 22 in a select committee she created to address the implications of federal tax code changes. The bill is projected to deliver $137 million […]

Kansas Gov. Kelly Goes With Medicaid Expansion Plan That Almost Worked Before (KCUR)

Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s Medicaid expansion proposal is a retread. It’s virtually the same bill that former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed in 2017. An attempt to override that veto in the House failed, but only by three votes. A bipartisan working group appointed by Kelly to provide input met once and decided against making any major […]

Prospects for Medicaid expansion this session murky, say Shawnee Mission area lawmakers at forum (Shawnee Mission Post)

A bill to expand access to Medicaid in Kansas passed the House and Senate last year only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Sam Brownback. But even with a new governor who is a strong proponent of Medicaid expansion in office, the prospects of getting a bill signed into law this year are murky, Shawnee Mission-area […]

Kansas Senate tax ‘windfall’ legislation delivers $191 million to corporations, individuals (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

The special Senate committee appointed to handle a potential windfall to the state treasury from federal tax reform opens hearings Tuesday on a bill rewriting Kansas law to deliver $137 million to corporate filers and reduce by $54 million the burden for individuals. Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, created the select committee and […]

Are the savings worth the cost? Kelly plan will take longer to pay off KPERS debt (The Wichita Eagle)

Just a few years ago, Kansas was on the hook for more than $10 billion in unfunded future pension payments to retirees. The health of its pension system, KPERS, was among the worst in the country. Since then Kansas has whittled its unfunded liability to less than $7 billion and moved into the middle of […]

Senate bill allows same-day registration, voting in Kansas elections (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

A bipartisan group of Kansas senators endorsed a bill abandoning a state law requiring people to register at least three weeks before an election to be eligible to vote. Contents of Senate Bill 43 would allow Kansas residents to register to vote and cast a provisional ballot on Election Day. Under current law, voters must […]

Column: It’s time for Kansas to pass Medicaid expansion (Wyandotte Daily)

It’s no wonder that Medicaid expansion was on the minds of many people at a recent legislative forum in Wyandotte County. Expanding Medicaid, sometimes called KanCare, here would benefit Wyandotte County because the county has an estimated 19 percent uninsured rate, compared to an estimated 12 percent uninsured rate in Kansas. The cost of caring […]

Kansas senator introduces Sheldon’s Law to require churches to report child abuse (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Sen. Tom Holland on Wednesday announced he was introducing a bill that would require the clergy to report child abuse to authorities. Holland, a Democrat from Baldwin City, named the bill Sheldon’s Law for a Jefferson County family who says their son suffered abuse from two older boys at a Lawrence church. The boy’s mother, Lori Cook, […]

Sen. Holland introduces bill to make church clergy mandatory reporters of suspected sex crimes (Lawrence Journal-World)

TOPEKA — State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, introduced a bill Wednesday to require that church clergy and employees be mandatory reporters of sexual assault. “Clergy leadership are adults that children must be able to trust to keep them safe,” Holland said during an afternoon news conference at the Capitol in Topeka. “(The bill) mandates […]

Kansas Lawmakers Defect to Democrats as G.O.P. Struggles in Suburbs (The New York Times)

LENEXA, Kan. — State Senator Dinah Sykes, a Democrat for three whole weeks, told the retirement home residents that she had felt ignored by Republican leaders. She said that she remained a political moderate. She promised that her views on policy hadn’t changed when she quit the Republican Party, only the letter beside her name. But […]

These 3 Former Kansas Republicans Say They No Longer Felt At Home In The GOP (NPR)

Stephanie Clayton won her fourth term in the Kansas legislature as a moderate Republican but when she started in office this month, she did so as a Democrat. She says she had an abrupt change of heart about a month after the November election last year. It was the day Republican legislative leaders said they […]

Senate panel facing blustery debate on Kansas tax windfall bill (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

A Kansas Senate committee jumped Tuesday into a murky dispute involving powerful special interest groups eager to claim part of a windfall to the state treasury resulting from changes to federal tax law. The Legislature’s effort to deal with the issue ground to a halt in the 2018 session because nailing down a dollar amount […]

Over 2,300 attend Kelly’s inaugural ball (WIBW)

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Governor Laura Kelly ended her Inauguration Day at the Kansas Expocentre. With a standing ovation more than 2,300 people welcomed Kelly to her inaugural ball. Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, Senate President Susan Wagle and house leaders toasted bipartisanship and a new era with Kelly in the capital. “Governor Kelly,” said […]

Education the focus of 2019 legislative session (WIBW)

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Monday marked the beginning of the 2019 legislative session. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives gaveled in to start the session. To start off the legislative session, new members of the House and Senate were sworn in to office, but plenty of work is coming for lawmakers as they […]

Dinah Sykes: Why I left the Republican Party

As published in The Washington Post, January 6, 2019. Dinah Sykes is a member of the Kansas State Senate. Compromise, common sense and listening to all sides of an issue don’t seem like countercultural values. Certainly, in the home I grew up in they weren’t. My parents belonged to separate political parties, and those values […]

Kansas House Democrats propose bill mandating policy coverage of pre-existing conditions (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Five House Democratic colleagues are sponsoring a bill to reform Kansas health insurance law to forbid marketing of policies exempting coverage of pre-existing conditions. Major health insurance policies compliant with the Affordable Care Act feature a popular provision prohibiting distinctions for pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes or asthma. Not all […]

Hensley names new Chief of Staff

TOPEKA – Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley announced today that Kerry Gooch will become his new Chief of Staff. Kerry Gooch served as Executive Director of the Kansas Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017.  Most recently, he was campaign manager for the Paul Davis congressional campaign.  Gooch is a graduate of Kansas State University.  He replaces […]

Hilderbrand Voted Against Funds to Find DCF Missing Children

According to the Kansas City Star, “In late November, Kansas’ newly-appointed child welfare leader said foster children spending the night in offices instead of homes or other placements was “unacceptable.” But more than four months later, dozens still do. And although officials insist they have focused time and resources every day to find kids who […]

Richard Hilderbrand Sides with Drunk Drivers over Victims

During the 2018 legislative session, the Kansas Senate considered, and ultimately passed, a bill that would allow drunk driving defendants who injure or kill someone to introduce evidence that the victim was not wearing their seat belt at the time of the accident.  SB 296 was voted on in the Kansas Senate on February 21, […]

RELEASE: Bryan Hoffman files to run for Senate District 13

MULBERRY – Lifelong resident of Southeast Kansas, Bryan Hoffman, filed Friday with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office for the Senate’s 13th District, which includes Cherokee and Crawford counties along with portions of Bourbon and Labette counties. “I am an average, hardworking Kansan with a career building roads, bridges, and sidewalks,” said Hoffman. “Southeast Kansas […]

Compact expected to be approved would help Kansas fight wildfires

April 1, 2017 By Morgan Chilson The Kansas Senate approved a bill last week that should make it easier to get help from out-of-state resources if Kansas is faced with more devastating wildfires in the future. The bill would give approval for the state to join the Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact, which would make […]

Senate gives OK to budget that won’t balance without cut or tax hikes

March 29, 2017 By Jonathan Shorman TOPEKA – A state budget that sets out nearly $13 billion in spending over the next two years cleared a key hurdle in the Senate on Wednesday, but the bill would leave Kansas hundreds of millions of dollars in debt without new revenue. The budget given first-round approval functions primarily […]

Kansas Senate votes to expand Medicaid

March 27, 2017 By Jonathan Shorman TOPEKA – The Kansas Senate voted to expand Medicaid on Monday, days after Congress abandoned legislation that would have blocked expansion. Senators voted 25-13 to give early approval to expansion, with a final vote expected Tuesday. The House has already passed the bill. Gov. Sam Brownback signaled a likely veto […]

Kansas Senate votes to expand Medicaid as Gov. Sam Brownback doubles down on opposition

March 27, 2017 By Hunter Woodall and Bryan Lowry TOPEKA – Kansas lawmakers ignored Gov. Sam Brownback’s wishes Monday and gave initial approval to a bill that would expand Medicaid to thousands in the state. The Kansas Senate voted 25 to 13 to expand KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, after a lengthy debate Monday afternoon. […]

Senators assessing idea of elections for county appraisers in Kansas

March 24, 2017 By Tim Carpenter A Senate committee dropped into the legislative hopper a bill requiring election of the people now appointed by county commissions to appraise property for tax purposes. The proposal by Sen. Larry Alley, R-Winfield, would place county or district appraisers on ballots starting with the general election in November 2018. […]

RELEASE: Don McGuire announces plan to run against Sen. Jim Denning

TOPEKA – Don McGuire, of Overland Park, announced today that he will run against Sen. Jim Denning in 2020 to represent the 8th Senate District, which includes a portion of Johnson County. “Senator Denning’s loyalty to Gov. Brownback prevents him from doing the right thing and has proven he was willing to say anything to win […]

Chamber poll dings state on amount it spends on school administration, taxes, other topics

January 16, 2017 By Peter Hancock TOPEKA — The Kansas Chamber released survey results Monday that showed taxes and health care costs are the top public policy concerns among business owners and leaders in the state, and that most believe Kansas schools spend too much on administration. Those results were generally consistent with previous surveys the […]

Brownback plan would increase KPERS costs by $6.5 billion over time Read more here:

January 12, 2017 By Bryan Lowry and Hunter Woodall TOPEKA  Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to save Kansas money now would eventually increase the state’s long-term pension costs by $6.5 billion, the pension system’s executive director says. Alan Conroy, the executive director of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, briefed the Senate budget committee Thursday on […]

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget plan faces strong opposition in Kansas

January 11, 2017 By Brian Lowry and Hunter Woodall TOPEKA  Gov. Sam Brownback wants to increase alcohol and tobacco taxes and take more money from the highway fund to help avert a projected shortfall of more than $900 million over 18 months. He also wants to liquidate a long-term investment fund and sell off the […]

GOP division offers Kansas Democrats opportunities, and pitfalls

January 16, 2017 By Jonathan Shorman Senate Democrats have taken notice of the growing division between the chamber’s Republican leaders and the GOP governor – a feud that represents potential opportunity, and peril, for the minority party. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, condemned the verbal bombs lobbed last week between Senate President Susan […]

Topeka may need to win over opponents of abandoned property bill to avoid Brownback veto

January 15, 2017 By Jonathan Shorman For years, Kansas City Sen. David Haley has vehemently opposed legislation to make it easier for cities to gain control of abandoned property. The city of Topeka plans to introduce this year’s version in the coming week, and if it wants the anti-blight measure to become law it […]

Why children’s advocates worry about future tobacco settlement payments

January 15, 2017 By Peter Hancock TOPEKA — For the past week or so, visitors coming into the Kansas Statehouse through the public entrance are greeted with a poster display stretched out along the main corridor, touting the benefits of a program called the Children’s Initiative Fund. But those posters were not put there by […]

Brownback’s plan to sweep more highway money faces pushback

January 14, 2017 By Dion Lefler and Brian Lowry and Larry Hauth has a farm in Coffey County and a daughter in Wichita. Good roads are kind of important to him. So he’s disturbed by the ongoing and accelerating trend of the state taking money out of the highway fund to balance the […]

The quandary over tax overhaul: Repealing LLC loophole won’t be enough

January 13, 2017 Peter Hancock In their first joint news conference of the session, the two Democratic leaders of the Legislature said they believe the only long-term solution to the state’s ongoing budget problems is through taxes, and specifically repealing many or all of the sweeping tax cuts that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback championed in […]

National Guard Bureau asks for review of Kansas National Guard at request of adjutant general

January 13, 2017 Jonathan Shorman The National Guard Bureau will review the Kansas National Guard, the state organization said Friday, after disclosure of evidence of “toxic leadership” within the state guard. Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, who leads the Kansas Guard as adjutant general, asked for the review following a story on Sunday in The […]

Brownback budget relies on borrowing idle funds, continued raids on highway money; critics call it ‘delusional’

January 11, 2017 By Peter Hancock TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback offered his long-awaited plan Wednesday for digging the state out of its budget hole, suggesting the state should borrow from its idle funds and use other one-time sources of money to get through the final two years of his administration — a plan that […]

GOP senators and Brownback trade barbs over budget after proposal draws poor reviews

January 11, 2017 By Jonathan Shorman Senate GOP leaders lashed out against Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal Wednesday, arguing the plan lacked a true structural fix to the state’s shortfall. Brownback’s office hit back, accusing Senate President Susan Wagle of preferring tax hikes and “punishing” across-the-board cuts. The conflict turned a long-running cold war […]

4 GOP leaders, Democrats rip Brownback’s proposed budget fixes

January 11, 2017 By Post Staff TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget and tax proposals (all times local): Four Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate have issued a joint statement criticizing GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget-balancing proposals. The statement Wednesday criticized Brownback for proposing to increase taxes on wine, […]

Brownback warns against repealing tax exemption

January 10, 2017 By Bryan Lowry and Dion Lefler and Gov. Sam Brownback warned incoming lawmakers not to repeal his signature tax exemption for some business owners and to not even think about expanding Medicaid for the state’s working poor. He called Kansas “the envy of the world” in his State of the […]

Kansas legislators convene session with confidence, trepidation

January 9, 2017 By Tim Carpenter The 2017 session of the Kansas Legislature began Monday with dozens of new lawmakers taking the oath of office feeling a complicated mixture of optimism and dread about dealing with a $350 million budget shortfall, rewriting the school-finance formula and demands for tax policy reform. The House and […]

RELEASE: Democrats announce bills benefiting working Kansans

Democrats announce bills benefiting working Kansans TOPEKA –Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley (Topeka) and House Democratic Leader Jim Ward (Wichita) were joined by members of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses today to roll out more than a dozen bills that directly benefit Kansas workers. “Democrats are working to strengthen the Kansas workforce, to protect […]

Kansas lawmakers fear further delays to $100 million KPERS payment

September 12, 2016 By Jonathan Shorman Lawmakers fear Kansas will not make good on its promise to pay $100 million to its pension system that it withheld earlier this year on the condition the amount is paid with interest by 2018. Members of the Joint Committee on Pensions and Investments said Monday the Legislature […]

Legislators push back against Gov. Brownback’s personnel changes

September 6, 2016 By Tim Carpenter Bipartisan skepticism surfaced Tuesday among legislators on a regulatory advisory committee studying the Kansas Department of Administration’s plan for altering policy on employee layoffs and rehiring, annual performance ratings, and donation of unused sick leave. The administration of Gov. Sam Brownback hasn’t recently raised the prospect of broad […]

Local lawmakers react to governor’s education funding request

Channel 6 News, Lawrence September 1, 2016 Written by James Ryan Roberts Wednesday Governor Sam Brownback called for public input on school funding in Kansas, a conversation local legislators say is long overdue. “We’ve known for two years that this is an issue that needs to be addressed and it only needs to be addressed […]

Community rallies teachers despite education cuts

Channel 6 News, Lawrence, KS August 12, 2016 Written by Paige Vaughn The Lawrence community came together to welcome teachers and staff back to school Friday morning. After recent cuts to education, the community is hoping the warm welcome will encourage teacher to stay in the field. “This coming year the state legislature will be […]

Faust-Goudeau: DCF goal should be bringing families back together

The following was originally published July 27, 2016, by KWCH 12: By Jacob Albracht Wednesday’s report on the Legislative audit into the Department for Children and Families doesn’t address the speed or efficiency in bringing families back together, but that’s a major issue overall according to one state senator. (FIND LINK TO THE FULL AUDIT […]

Fifth generation Kansan files to run for 40th Senate District

TOPEKA – Alex Herman, of Hays, filed today with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office for the Senate’s 40th District, which includes Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Logan, Norton, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas, Trego, and Wallace counties along with portions of Phillips county. “The voices of northwest Kansans are not being heard in Topeka,” said […]

Wichita Attorney files for 27th Senate District

TOPEKA – Tony Hunter, of Wichita, filed last week with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office for the Senate’s 27th District, which includes the northwest portion of Sedgwick County. “The current Legislature has failed to understand and fulfill the most basic responsibilities of government,” said Hunter. “Those responsibilities include having an independent judiciary and adequately […]

Fredonia business owner switches parties, files to challenge Forrest Knox

TOPEKA – Carl Shay, Jr., of Fredonia, filed Tuesday with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office for the Senate’s 14th District, which includes Chautauqua, Coffey, Elk, Greenwood, Wilson, and Woodson counties along with portions of Butler, Cowley, Labette, and Montgomery counties. “I decided to change parties when I came to the conclusion that the Kansas […]

Senate Democrats vote against bathroom resolution, condemn lack of action on school finance ruling

The following press release was sent on June 1, 2016: TOPEKA – Senate Democrats today voted unanimously against a resolution in the Kansas Senate regarding the use of school bathrooms by transgender students. “Senate Democrats believe taxpayer dollars have just been wasted on an election year charade over which bathroom students should use,” said Senate […]

Kansas attorney general’s office, Senate strike back on transgender restroom use

The following was published on June 1, 2016, by the Wichita Eagle: Kansas is joining a legal challenge to the Obama administration’s directive to local schools on the rights of transgender students. The announcement Wednesday came a day after an appeals court in Virginia declined to hear a school district’s appeal of a case involving […]

Kansas lawmakers pass resolution on school bathroom use, don’t take action to keep schools open

The following was originally printed by the Lawrence Journal-World: By: Peter Hancock June 1, 2016 Topeka — Kansas lawmakers formally adjourned the 2016 legislative session Wednesday without addressing last week’s state Supreme Court decision that threatens to close public schools because of inequitable school funding. But the Senate did pass a resolution opposing new federal […]

Ben Poteete to challenge Dan Kerschen for the 26th district in the Kansas Senate

Former Paratrooper, Friends University graduate student,  running for District 26 Senate Seat Goddard – Ben Poteete, a former Paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division, Goddard High Grad, and Friends University graduate student, filed today to challenge Dan Kerschen for the 26th district in the Kansas Senate. “I am extremely disappointed with the path the state […]

Johnston to challenge Tyson for Kansas Senate

Johnston to challenge Tyson for Kansas Senate TOPEKA – Chris Johnston, of Ottawa, filed today with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office to run for the Senate’s 12th District, which includes Anderson, Franklin, and Linn counties along with portions of Allen, Bourbon, and Miami counties. “I am very unhappy with the path Gov. Brownback and […]

Susan Fowler files for the 17th Senate District

News Release For More Information, Contact: May 12, 2016   Susan Fowler, 620-366-1316 Susan Fowler files for the 17th Senate District TOPEKA – Susan Fowler, of Emporia, filed Wednesday with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office for the Senate’s 17th District, which includes Lyon county and portions of Geary, Pottawatomie, and Wabaunsee counties. The seat […]

Senator Pat Pettey files for second term in Kansas Senate

Pettey files for second term in Kansas Senate TOPEKA – Senator Pat Pettey, D-Kansas City, announced today that she has filed with the Kansas Secretary of State for a second term serving the Senate’s 6th District.  Pettey was first elected in 2012. “It is an honor to serve the people of the 6th District in […]

Hawk seeks second term in the Kansas Senate

TOM HAWK FOR KANSAS SENATE News Release For More Information, Contact: January 7, 2016 Tom Hawk, (785) 341-4162 Hawk seeks second term in the Kansas Senate TOPEKA – Senator Tom Hawk, of Manhattan, today filed with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office for re-election to the Senate’s 22nd District, which includes Riley and Clay counties […]

Don Shimkus files to challenge Abrams

Don Shimkus For State Senate News Release For More Information, Contact: April 25, 2015   Don Shimkus, 620-440-6311 Don Shimkus files to challenge Abrams for 32nd Senate District TOPEKA – Don Shimkus, of Oxford, filed by petition Friday to run against Sen. Steve Abrams for the 32nd district, which includes Barber, Comanche, Harper, and Sumner […]

Lynn Rogers officially files to run against Sen. Michael O’Donnell

LYNN ROGERS FOR STATE SENATE News Release For More Information, Contact: September 15, 2015   Lynn Rogers, 316-262-4716 Lynn Rogers officially files to run  against Sen. Michael O’Donnell TOPEKA – Lynn Rogers, of Wichita, today officially filed with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office to run against Sen. Michael O’Donnell for the Senate’s 25th District, […]

Lynn Rogers, longtime Wichita School Board Member, to run for 25th Senate District

LYNN ROGERS FOR STATE SENATE News Release For More Information, Contact: August 4, 2015   Lynn Rogers, 316-262-4716 Lynn Rogers, longtime Wichita School Board Member, to run for 25th Senate District TOPEKA – Lynn Rogers, of Wichita, today announced that he plans to file for the Senate’s 25th District, which includes a portion of Sedgwick […]

Southwest Johnson County Mayor to Challenge Senator Julia Lynn

Southwest Johnson County Mayor to Challenge Senator Julia Lynn Gardner – Chris Morrow, Mayor of Gardner, announced today that he is running for the Kansas State Senate. Morrow has served his community since 2011, when he was elected to city council; he was elected, again, as mayor in 2013. “For years I have followed the […]

Don Merriman announces plan to run against Sen. Tom Arpke

DON MERRIMAN FOR STATE SENATE News Release For More Information, Contact: December 1, 2015   Don Merriman, 785-452-0560 Don Merriman announces plan to run against Sen. Tom Arpke TOPEKA – Don Merriman, of Salina, announced today that he will run against Sen. Tom Arpke to represent the 24th Senate District, which includes Saline County and […]

Our Candidates

Learn more about the men and women across our state who are running to serve in the Kansas State Senate.

Candace Ayars files to challenge Vicki Schmidt for 20th Senate District

Candace Ayars For State Senate For More Information, Contact: Candace Ayars, 785-249-9220 Public Health Doctor files to challenge Vicki Schmidt for 20th Senate District TOPEKA – Candace Ayars, of Topeka, filed Monday with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office for the Senate’s 20th District, which includes parts of Shawnee and Wabaunsee Counties. The seat is […]

Sen. Laura Kelly: KDHE has ‘bad rep’ over access to information regarding KanCare

April 28, 2015 By Jonathan Shorman A Democratic senator slammed the state agency running KanCare on Tuesday over difficulty in obtaining data about the program’s performance. Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka, criticized the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which oversees the state’s Medicaid program, during a meeting of the Legislature’s KanCare Oversight Committee. […]

Senate Democrats Oppose GITMO Transfers

For Immediate Release March 17, 2016 HCR 5024: Polarizing and Uncivil Topeka, KS – Today, the members of the Kansas Senate Democratic caucus, in a letter to President Obama, requested that the President not transfer prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth. The letter, which addresses safety and security concerns, notes the […]

Kansas Senate committee considers limiting number of children in foster homes

The following article was originally published February 11, 2016, by the Topeka Capital-Journal: By Justin Wingerter A Kansas Senate committee considered reforms to the state’s foster care system Thursday, including strict limits on the number of children in a foster home. Senate Bill 315, introduced by Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, would limit the number […]

Haley supports Senate action to make sure judicial branch is funded

The following was published January 28, 2016, by Wyandotte Daily Online: State Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist., spoke on the Kansas Senate floor today about the necessity to uphold the separation between the different branches of government. The Senate took action today to make sure the judiciary branch was funded. At issue was a law […]

Kansas lawmaker, allies push for renewable energy

Channel 6 News, Lawrence December 6, 2013 Written by Associated Press A Kansas Senate Democrat and her allies plan to push next year for policies promoting renewable energy because of concerns about climate change. A key Republican lawmaker is interested in the same issues, but he worries the policies will lead to higher electric rates. […]