Kansas republican pushes bill to cut funding for state universities

Feb. 29
  • Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal, a Hutchinson republican, is pushing a bill that would cut funding for the remedial classes that state universities offer. He said taxpayers shouldn’t be required to pay for these classes just because K-12 schools failed to teach basic courses properly.
  • Kansas water officials have proposed measures to protect water levels in the state’s two major aquifers, which showed an average decline of 2.25 feet during 2011. One of these measures is a bill that would eliminate a provision that requires water-right owners to use a certain amount of water each year. Legislature is currently considering this bill.
  • A Kansas House committee is preparing to act on a bill that would prohibit public schools from using materials in human sexuality classes from groups that provide abortion services. The bill would also prevent people from deducting abortion expenses in their income taxes.
  • A man accused of video taping the sexual encounters of a Rutgers University student, which led to the student’s suicide, is currently on trial. He faces a 15-count indictment and up to 10 years in prison if convicted. A proposed law, released less than a month after Tyler Clementi’s suicide, would require universities to create policies prohibiting the harassment of any student.
  • Terrance Anthony Dean was sentenced to 32 months in prison for a 2009 charge of robbery on the University of Kansas campus. Dean robbed a student of marijuana at gunpoint near McCollum Hall on April 29, 2009.

Organizations voice concerns about Kansas abortion bill

By Nikki Wentling

Pro-choice and Pro-life organizations unite in their disapproval of house bill 2598, which would impose new restrictions on abortion in Kansas. The bill is sponsored by the House Committee on Federal and State affairs, and would allow physicians to withhold information from patients in order to prevent them from seeking abortions. To hear reactions on this bill, click the link below.

Listen to the story


Nikki Wentling: This is Capital Connections; I’m Nikki Wentling

Both pro-life and pro-choice organizations spoke out against a bill this week that would allow physicians to withhold information from their patients in order to prevent them from seeking abortions.

The Kansas House Committee on Federal and State Affairs is sponsoring the bill, which also prevents women from having an abortion based on gender of the fetus. The committee closed the hearing on the bill Wednesday, but it will reopen at a later date.

Organizations like Planned Parenthood and Kansas NOW are against the bill, and pro-life institutions have also expressed their disapproval. Sarah Campbell, director of Lawrence’s Christian-based Pregnancy Care Center, says the proposed restrictions would take away a women’s right to make an informed decision.

Sarah Campbell, Pregnancy Care Center Director: Our job is to empower women with all of the information we that we can possibly give them to make a right decision.

Nikki Wentling: This is one of three bills currently in the house that would restrict abortion in the state of Kansas. According to politicalfiber.com, the Kansas legislature considered 13 anti-abortion bills in 2011 and passed five of them. The reproductive justice coordinator for the commission on the status of women Amanda Schulze thinks legislators sponsor these bills to wear down pro-choice lobbyists.

Amanda Schulze, Reproductive Justice Coordinator: The way that anti-abortion activists work is they have a lot more money and resources than we do so they will try and push a lot of bills that are kind of silly.

Nikki Wentling: Campbell thinks the issue of abortion has always been important in the state of Kansas. She says the issue has become more pronounced since the election of Governor Sam Brownback in 2010.

Sarah Campbell: Sibelius that left, you know she was very passionate on the other side of the issue and so I think it just fired up the base of the opposition and when that shift happened in 2010 it was really a priority for the people that got in there.

Nikki Wentling: Shulze encourages students to discuss the issue of abortion. She says the bill should be discussed amongst those whom it will affect, and not be in the hands of male politicians.

Amanda Schulze: It’s not affecting a 50-year-old congressman. It’s affecting us girls, in college, at a reproductive age.

Nikki Wentling: Vice President for the commission on the status of women Haley Miller thinks the proposed bill is a scare tactic, and immoral.

Haley Miller, Vice President of the Commission on the Status of Women: It’s when you start telling lies to women who want this procedure that’s when it becomes an issue.

Nikki Wentling: This is Nikki Wentling reporting for Capital Connections, nwentling.wordpress.com.

The University of Kansas may receive extra state funding for quality educators

Feb. 15

  • The House Appropriations Committee approved the higher education budget, which is a 4.4 percent increase from the current year. Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal for a $3 million increase to the University of Kansas to hire internationally known professors will be revisited. The extra funding would help the school retain its membership in the Association of American Universities.
  • Protestors plan to rally in Wichita over the President’s day weekend in opposition to Koch Industries. The group says the Koch brothers exemplify corporate dominance of politics. Participants of the “Occupy Koch Town” event are also against the creation of the Keystone-XL pipeline that would carry oil from Canada to Texas, passing through Kansas, for fear of water contamination.
  • An alliance of Kansas organizations rallied at the Statehouse Wednesday against the Republican legislature and Secretary of State Kris Kobach. This Kansans United in Voice and Spirit rally is in opposition to the state’s changes in school finances, income tax structure and social service programs.
  • The Kansas Delegation, along with Gov. Sam Brownback, released a statement Wednesday contending President Barack Obama’s budget regarding the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to be built in Manhattan, Kan. The delegation thought the proposed budget was insufficient to complete the construction of the NBAF, and accused Obama of using his budget as a campaign document.
  • The committee closed the hearing and took no action on a house bill that would further restrict abortions in Kansas. The hearing closed after Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator of the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, called the committee process irrelevant, spurring criticism from several committee members. Hear more reactions from pro-choice and pro-life organizations by clicking the link.

Proposed Kansas abortion bill allows doctors to withhold information

Feb. 8

  • The Kansas House committee reviewed a bill Wednesday that would exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withheld medical information about potential birth defects to prevent women from having abortions. Women would also be unable to sue if they suffered health problems during pregnancy because of the withheld information. Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe) is advocating this legislation.
  •  The Kansas House committee endorsed a proposal by Secretary of State Kris Kobach to require some Kansas voters to prove U.S. citizenship before this year’s presidential election. This endorsement allows a debate in the House. The state approved and enacted the proof-of-citizenship requirement last year, but it wasn’t scheduled to take effect until 2013.
  • According to a survey conducted by the Partnership for Public Service, just six percent of college students say they want to work for government, at any level. This number has decreased from 2009, when 10.2 percent of students had government career aspirations. Most of the 35,000 students polled are interested in graduate school, non-profit work or employment in the private sector.
  •  Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney during his speech Tuesday night at the Dole Institute of Politics on the University of Kansas campus. Pawlenty said Romney’s business experience would help during the country’s tough economic climate, and that he would be able to unite the Republican party.