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Statehouse Blend Kansas Profile

Statehouse Blend Kansas

English, News, 1 season, 20 episodes, 4 hours, 8 minutes
Statehouse Blend Kansas explores the inner workings of Kansas politics and government. Host Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service talks each week with people at the center of key debates. You'll hear from lawmakers, advocates and regular Kansans. And you'll stay up to date on what's happening in Topeka throughout the legislative session.
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COVID-19 Compromise Ends Divisive Session Of Kansas Legislature

Weeks of political wrangling over Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s authority to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic ended when Republican leaders agreed to a compromise that increased their oversight of emergency orders and $1.2 billion in federal relief funds.
6/9/202015 minutes, 21 seconds
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Coronavirus Closures Send Kansas Unemployment Claims Soaring

The coronavirus continues to spread in Kansas. The result of emergency orders is that many people are staying in their homes. The shutdown of businesses across the state has triggered a record wave of people seeking unemployment benefits. The public health emergency has also forced politicians off the campaign trail. On this week’s Statehouse Blend Kansas, Jim McLean talks with the manager of one U.S. Senate campaign to find out how that candidate is adapting.
3/27/202019 minutes, 36 seconds
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Kansas Lawmakers Question Kelly's Use Of Emergency Powers Before Fleeing Coronavirus Threat

Kansas lawmakers approved a basic budget this week before heading home to await whatever the coronavirus has in store for the state and their communities. They’re hoping to reconvene in late April to wrap up their work for the year. But they left knowing they might not have an opportunity to resolve their differences on several big issues, including Medicaid expansion and a constitutional amendment on abortion. On their way out of town, some Republican lawmakers questioned whether Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly was properly using her authority to respond to the coronavirus emergency. Citing her decision to close schools for the remainder of the academic year, they accused her of overreacting. In this week's podcast, Kelly defends her actions in an interview with host Jim McLean.
3/20/202016 minutes, 57 seconds
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With Talk Of Shortened Session, Kansas Lawmakers Still Stuck on Abortion And Medicaid

Kansas lawmakers are making contingency plans in case the spread of the coronavirus forces an early end to the 2020 legislative session. A shortened session would lessen the chances of lawmakers resolving their differences on abortion and Medicaid expansion before heading home. Susan Wagle, the Republican president of the Kansas Senate, is blocking consideration of a bipartisan expansion bill until the House approves a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. Attempts by legislative leaders to end the stalemate appear to be making little progress. Statehouse Blend host Jim McLean talks with a lawmaker trying to end the impasse and discusses how funding problems are hindering the state’s public defender agency with Kansas News Service reporter Nomin Ujiyedin on this week’s episode of the podcast.
3/13/202016 minutes, 35 seconds
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Kansas Officials Steel For Coronavirus; Lawmakers Seek End To Stalemate

Kansas health officials say the state is ready to deal with the new coronavirus now that Kansans are starting to get sick. Lawmakers still aren’t ready to move past a dispute on abortion and Medicaid expansion that is blocking progress on both issues. Host Jim McLean talks with a legislator at the center of that dispute about why he cast a decisive vote against the anti-abortion amendment. Also featured on this week’s episode: an interview with the state’s chief health officer on preparations for the coronavirus.
3/6/202017 minutes, 59 seconds
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Halfway Through But A Lot Left To Do - Plus, Getting Young Kansans To 'Nerd Out' On Politics

Kansas lawmakers sped through dozens of bills this past week to keep them alive past a “turn around” deadline marking the midpoint of the session. Measures to legalize sports betting and to give citizens more control over property taxes were among bills that made the cut. Still, many of the biggest issues remain for lawmakers to tackle in the session’s final months. Among them, Medicaid expansion and a constitutional amendment that supporters say is needed to preserve the state’s ability to regulate abortion. Republicans may also resume their push for tax cuts despite Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s warning of a likely veto. Host Jim McLean covers those issues with Kansas News Service Statehouse reporter Stephen Koranda and Republican Sen. Molly Baumgardner on this week’s podcast. He also chats with Davis Hammett about his efforts get young Kansans more involved in politics and their government. Hammet is president of Loud Light .
2/28/202014 minutes, 39 seconds
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How Abortion Battle Could Boost Wagle's Lagging U.S. Senate Campaign

Conservative Republicans at the Kansas Statehouse are attempting to block passage of Medicaid expansion until lawmakers send a constitutional amendment on abortion to voters. The amendment, which would overturn a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling that declared abortion a right protected by the state’s Bill of Rights, has passed the Senate but remains a handful of votes short in the House.
2/21/202014 minutes, 37 seconds
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Abortion And Vaping Laws: The Latest At Kansas Legislature

Kansas is slipping to the back of the pack on some critical economic measures. In this episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, host Jim McLean talks with Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland about what the agency is doing to try to reverse those trends. McLean also hears from Kansas News Service reporters about a proposal to ban the sale of vaping flavors, and he asks why Republicans resist Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s proposal to create an independent office on energy policy.
2/14/202014 minutes, 8 seconds
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Abortion Vote Fails, And A Look At The Kansas DOT

The Kansas House of Representatives has stopped — at least temporarily — an all-out push by anti-abortion groups for a constitutional amendment that they say is needed to maintain the state’s ability to regulate the procedure.
2/8/202016 minutes, 36 seconds
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Abortion, Sports Gambling And Rural Kansas

Kansas lawmakers are nearing decisions on two big issues — Medicaid expansion and a constitutional amendment on abortion. They’re also talking about how to raise more money without increasing taxes. One idea is to legalize wagering on sporting events. We talk about all that and with Republican state Rep. Adam Smith, chair of the House Committee on Rural Revitalization, on this edition of Statehouse Blend Kansas.
1/31/202013 minutes, 55 seconds
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Medicaid Expansion, Abortion In The State Constitution And Taxing Streaming Services

The legislative session in Kansas is just getting underway, but lawmakers are already at odds on the hot-button issues of abortion and Medicaid expansion. Republican leaders are pushing for quick passage of an anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning are joining forces to break a nearly decade-long stalemate on expansion.
1/24/202014 minutes, 10 seconds
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We'll Pick That Back Up In 2020

Battles over a Republican tax cut proposal and Medicaid expansion persisted through the last day of the Kansas Legislature's 2019 session … and remain unresolved. Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning says he plans to address healthcare and tax policy next session, when maybe he'll be Senate President.
6/1/20198 minutes, 9 seconds
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All Wrapped Up — But Not With A Medicaid Expansion Bow

All Kansas lawmakers really had to do to end the 2019 legislative session was pass a budget. They did that, with gusto. But also without passing Medicaid expansion. That's one of the items left on freshman Rep. Brandon Woodard's to-do list for next year.
5/7/20199 minutes, 27 seconds
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School Funding Passed, Commerce Secretary Confirmed, We Are Adjourned

Things got a little chippy during the final week of the regular legislative session, but Kansas lawmakers came away with a school funding plan and a permanent commerce secretary. And now Sec. David Toland is ready to move on to reinvigorating the state's economic development efforts.
4/7/20198 minutes, 5 seconds
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Dollars Vs. Policy — A Clash Of School Finance Titans

The Kansas Senate has agreed to give school districts raises. The House has not. Instead, negotiators are headed to the bargaining table with a stack of new requirements for reporting how schools spend their money. Rep. Kristey Williams is the one leading the charge for more accountability from districts.
3/31/20197 minutes, 58 seconds
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It's Not Really About The Tweets

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's new administration experienced some social media mishaps this past week, and conservative Republicans pounced. Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty says there's more going on than meets the eye.
3/24/20198 minutes, 2 seconds
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Governor Kelly Keeps Her Veto In Her Back Pocket

Just after approving the school funding Gov. Laura Kelly asked for, the Kansas Senate turned around and gave the final okay to a tax relief package she opposes, daring the new governor to issue her first veto.
3/17/20198 minutes, 3 seconds
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Round And Round On Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Laura Kelly signed her first bill and school finance got some attention, but roundtable discussions on Medicaid expansion dominated a short week at the Kansas Statehouse. Sara Collins, a healthcare economist with the Commonwealth Fund, and Michael Cannon, health policy director for the Cato Institute, represented diverging views of the costs and benefits.
3/10/20198 minutes, 4 seconds
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Red Light, Green Light For Bills And Highways

Kansas lawmakers have given the green light to a slew of bills to proceed past a mid-session break, while stopping other proposals in their tracks. Meanwhile, new KDOT Secretary Julie Lorenz is looking forward to getting the state highway program back on the road.
3/2/20198 minutes, 16 seconds
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Slow The Decline Of Rural Kansas How?

Rep. Don Hineman got a new assignment this session to figure out how to sustain rural Kansas. The three things the chairman of the Rural Revitalization Committee says rural communities need most: broadband, housing, and, of course, health care.
2/23/20197 minutes, 54 seconds