June 20, 2014 •

Facebook “Like” by Lobbyist Complaint Dismissed by KS Ethics Commission

On June 18, the Kansas Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint accusing a candidate of soliciting contributions from lobbyists through social media, according to the Kansas City Star. On May 1, while the Legislature was still in session, a Facebook page […]

like buttonOn June 18, the Kansas Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint accusing a candidate of soliciting contributions from lobbyists through social media, according to the Kansas City Star.

On May 1, while the Legislature was still in session, a Facebook page for former state Sen. Jean Schodorf’s campaign was posted seeking help to raise money for her political campaign for secretary of state. Clay Barker, the state GOP executive director, made a complaint after a lobbyist “liked” the page. State law prohibits candidates from seeking contributions from lobbyists while the Legislature is in session.

Schodorf told the Star the commission informed her they found no probable cause to believe she violated the law and dismissed the complaint.

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May 5, 2014 •

Kansas Adjourns Short Legislative Session

The Kansas Legislature adjourned in the early morning hours of May 3, making this the shortest legislative session in 40 years. State lawmakers passed a budget and approved funding for courts and schools, but failed to address the state’s falling […]

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The Kansas Legislature adjourned in the early morning hours of May 3, making this the shortest legislative session in 40 years.

State lawmakers passed a budget and approved funding for courts and schools, but failed to address the state’s falling revenue due to deep tax cuts passed in 2012 and 2013.

Sharp declines in revenue are causing the state to quickly burn through its reserve funds, leaving some to wonder if the next Legislature will be able to fund critical state services.

 

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April 14, 2014 •

Gov. Brownback Vetoes Bill to Increase Kansas Lobbyist Registration Threshold

Gov. Sam Brownback has vetoed a bill increasing the spending threshold for lobbyist registration. Senate Bill 99 would have raised the expenditure threshold triggering lobbyist registration from $100 per calendar year to $500 per calendar year. The increased threshold was […]

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Gov. Sam Brownback has vetoed a bill increasing the spending threshold for lobbyist registration. Senate Bill 99 would have raised the expenditure threshold triggering lobbyist registration from $100 per calendar year to $500 per calendar year.

The increased threshold was recommended by the state ethics commission because the current threshold had not been increased in 25 years.

In vetoing the bill, Gov. Brownback stated he understood the bill’s purpose and intent but believed the current threshold better served the interest of government transparency.

 

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July 29, 2013 •

Kansas Legislators Prepare for Fall Special Session

Changes to sentencing law

Seal of KansasKansas lawmakers will return to work on September 3 for a special session addressing state sentencing law.

The state’s “Hard 50” law allowed judges to impose sentences of 50 years without parole for serious crimes, but according to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, only juries may impose such sentences.

The state attorney general urged Governor Sam Brownback to call the session, in order to alter the law to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision.

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June 4, 2013 •

Kansas Legislature Finally Adjourns

Passes tax package in final hours

The Kansas Legislature finally concluded its 2013 session in the early hours of Sunday, June 2, 2013. The session had dragged on for nine days past the constitutionally set adjournment date after lawmakers failed to reach a consensus on a tax plan.

Governor Brownback endorsed the plan eventually passed by the Legislature, calling it a “fabulous package,” and is expected to sign it.

Photo of the Kansas State Capitol by Aviper2k7 on Wikipedia.

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January 18, 2013 •

Changes May Be Coming to Kansas Lobbyist and PAC Fees

Ethics commission will likely propose modest increase

Seal of KansasThe Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission is seeking changes to the fees it charges for lobbyist and political action committee registrations. The commission’s executive director Carol Williams said the commission has not determined the amount of the increase it plans to propose, but that it will likely be a modest amount.

The fees for lobbyists and PACs have not increased in 12 years and the commission receives about a third of its funding through fees. The commission is also recommending an increase in the threshold amount at which a person must register as a lobbyist, from the current $100 in expenditures for lobbying to $500. The current threshold has not increased in 25 years, and the commission believes the proposed amount is a reasonable inflation factor.

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May 14, 2012 •

Kansas Legislative Session Continues

Legislators return today

Kansas State CapitolThe regular legislative session in Kansas continues this week despite a scheduled end date of May 11, 2012.

Legislators must return Monday, May 14, 2012, to address major legislation such as the state budget and reforms to the public employees retirement system.

Photo of the Kansas State Capitol Building by Aviper2k7 on Wikipedia.

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May 9, 2012 •

Today’s Redistricting News Roundup

We have news on redistricting issues from four states:

The GerryManderAlaska:  “High court to hear redistricting petition” by The Associated Press in The Anchorage Daily News.

Kansas: “GOP redistricting fight could mean courts make final decision” by John Hanna (Associated Press) in the Lawrence Journal World.

North Carolina: “Redistricting sets stage for fall elections” by Emery Dalesio (Associated Press) in the Winston-Salem Journal.

Washington:  “Supreme Court upholds state redistricting plan” by Warren Kagarise in the Issaquah Press.

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May 2, 2012 •

Here is the Latest Redistricting News

Today we have items from eight states:

U.S. Congressional DistrictsAlaska: “Redistricting map solutions elusive as court battle looms” by Richard Mauer in the Anchorage Daily News.

Kansas: “Kansas Senate OKs redistricting plan” by Brad Cooper in the Kansas City Star.

Kentucky: “Kentucky Supreme Court cites redistricting law as unconstitutional” by Franklin Clark in the Cadiz Record.

Mississippi: “Mississippi Senate unveils its redistricting map” by The Associated Press in the Clarion Ledger.

New Hampshire: “House redistricting plan faces more legal challenges” by Garry Rayno in the Union Leader.

Pennsylvania: “Redistricting panel to receive input on new Pa. maps” by Ali Lanyon (Associated Press) on WHTM.

South Carolina: “Supreme Court considering fate of primary candidates” by Gina Smith in The State.

South Carolina: “SC justices consider fate of dozens of candidates” by Jeffrey Collins (Associated Press) in the Spartanburg Herald Journal.

Vermont: “Vt. lawmakers finish redistricting” on NECN.com.

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March 28, 2012 •

The Latest Redistricting News

Today we have news on redistricting issues from nine states:

gerrymanderAlaska: “Alaska Redistricting Board says it has adopted new election districts” by Matt Buxton in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

Arizona: “Brewer signs bill to keep Arizona redistricting commission going while new maps are pending” by The Associated Press in The Republic.

Florida: “Redrawn Senate map passes House, scramble for seats begin” by Mary Ellen Klas in the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida: “Legislature ends redistricting session, new Senate map approved” by Mary Ellen Klas in The Miami Herald.

Idaho: “Redistricting will shake up Idaho Legislature” by Sean Ellis in the Capital Press.

Kansas: “Kan. House to debate congressional remap bill” by The Associated Press in the Salina Journal.

Maryland: “Group seeks referendum on new Md. congressional map” by Annie Linskey in The Baltimore Sun.

Missouri: “Missouri Supreme Court upholds House districts” by Elizabeth Crisp in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

West Virginia: “W.Va. lawmakers seek OK of congressional districts” by Eric Eyre in the Charleston Gazette.

Wisconsin: “Judges: Collaboration needed on Wis. voting maps” by The Associated Press on Madison.com.

Wisconsin: Opinion piece “Redistricting decision offers important lesson” by Christine Neumann-Ortiz in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

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March 22, 2012 •

Stay on Top of Redistricting News

Here is a roundup of the latest articles from four states:

Jigsaw PuzzleArizona: “Arizona lawmakers OK money for redistricting panel” by The Associated Press in the Arizona Daily Sun.

Arizona: “Arizona redistrict panel to get more cash” by Mary Jo Pitzl in the Arizona Republic.

Florida: “Down to the wire, Senators propose last-minute changes to new Senate map” by Mary Ellen Klas in the Miami Herald.

Florida: “Florida Senate panel approves redistricting plan” by The Associated Press in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Florida: “Fla. Senate panel approves redistricting plan” by Bill Kaczor in the Deseret News.

Kansas: “Kan. Senate delays vote on redistricting bill” by The Associated Press in the Salina Journal.

Kansas: “Kansas House votes down latest redistricting bill” by Fred Mann in the Wichita Eagle.

New York: “Between the Lines: Map Complete, Time to Sort Out Who’s Running” by Joshua Miller in Roll Call.

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March 14, 2012 •

Redistricting News Roundup

Here are articles from four states:

U.S. mapFlorida: “Lawmakers ready to tackle redistricting during special session” by Bill Kaczor (Associated Press) in Florida Today.

Florida: “Legislators return for special session to redraw rejected Senate map” by Mary Ellen Klas The Miami Herald.

Florida: “Senate Re-Redistricting Plan Is Flawed, Says State Dem Chair” by Brandon Larrabee in Sunshine Slate.

Kansas: “Kansas lawmakers face votes on redistricting plans” by The Associated Press in the Wichita Eagle.

Minnesota: “Redistricting maps give DFL advantage in legislative races, but …” by Eric Black on MinnPost.com.

New York: “An Update on New York Redistricting” by Thomas Kaplan in The New York Times.

New York: “Silver bristles at Cuomo slap at NY Legislature” by The Associated Press in The Wall Street Journal.

New York: “New York: Redistricting End Is Nigh” by Joshua Miller in Roll Call.

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May 26, 2011 •

Kansas Governor Signs Elections Law

New Law Changes Political Committee Requirements

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed House Bill 2080 into law. This bill requires every treasurer for a political committee to report the name and address of each candidate for whom an in-kind expenditure in the aggregate of $300 or more has been made. The political committee treasurer must also report the services or products provided, as well as the amount, date, and purpose of each expenditure.

A second provision in the bill requires political committee treasurers to report the name and address of each candidate for state and local office who is the subject of an expenditure, made without the cooperation or consent of the candidate or the candidate’s committee, expressly advocating the nomination, election, or defeat of such candidate, in the aggregate amount or fair market value of $300 or more.

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March 9, 2011 •

Kansas House Passes Union Contribution Bill

Opponents say bill would limit workers’ ability to organize

A bill prohibiting unions from making paycheck deductions for political activities has passed the Kansas house and is now in the state senate. The bill would also ban public employee unions from endorsing candidates.

Opponents of the bill claim the legislation is an attack on the ability of workers to organize and participate as a group in the political process, while those in favor of it say this is simply an effort to help workers who do not support their union’s political activity.

A similar law passed in Alabama during a December special session outlawed payroll deduction contributions to PACs by public employees. That law, passed by Republicans, was harshly criticized as “partisan politics” because the PACs traditionally supported by public employee payroll deductions leaned overwhelmingly Democrat.

Photo of the Kansas State Capitol by Nikopoley on Wikipedia.

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