Statehouse briefing: Tax debate looming in Topeka
Here are today's headlines from Kansas government:
(Harris News Service) Group wants tax study: With state revenues burgeoning, lawmakers set their sights on cutting taxes early on this session. However, advocates for tax-funded social and education services worry that an expanded slate of tax cuts and exemptions for specific groups could cloud the state's budget picture in the future.
(KC Star) Kan-Ed under fire: After three years of operation and more than $40 million, Kansas' statewide broadband network for schools, libraries and hospitals is operating at only 3 percent capacity.
(LJW) Official English measure before Senate: Supporters of declaring English the official language of Kansas said Wednesday that it would help immigrants succeed, but opponents said the legislation was an insult.
(KTKA) Official English: insult or aid to assimilation?: The bill to make English the state's official language started on the House side, where lawmakers voted to include $500,000 for English classes for non-native speakers. Then they passed it over to senators, who had their first hearing on the bill Wednesday.
(Kansas Health Institute News Service) Committee approves exemption to Consumer Protection Act: The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday endorsed a bill that would exempt health care providers, including veterinarians, from the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.
(6News) Legislators focus on metal thefts: State lawmakers look to put an end to an increasingly rapid crime trend. Theft of materials like copper, brass and stainless steal are skyrocketing and a new bill in the Senate would add regulations to those who buy and sell the materials.
(LJW) Bill concerns fetal remains: When Dawn Lewis of Gardner asked hospital officials what happened to the remains of her "little one" after a miscarriage, she was told "you don't want to know." After she persisted, she was told by the hospital that the fetal remains were incinerated with medical waste. Now, three years later, Lewis is seeking legislation that would give a mother the right to determine final disposition of the remains of the fetus, and that hospitals adopt standards to handle these situations.
(LJW) Private prison proposal pushed: State prison and religious leaders Wednesday testified against a proposal that would allow a private prison in the state.
(Wichita Eagle) Lottery revenue sought for sports hall: A bill to tap the state lottery to provide $1.5 million for the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame made it through a key legislative committee Wednesday.
(LJW) Unpaid bills straining hospitals: Another year means another increase in money that local hospitals lose in providing health care to people who are unable to pay their bills.
(LJW) Lawmakers criticize affiliation: Several lawmakers Wednesday expressed dismay with Kansas University's proposal to affiliate with Missouri-based St. Luke's Hospital.