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Brownback ponders possible special legislative session…and other headlines: June 2, 2016

andy lambertJune 2, 2016

Governor Brownback isn’t saying yet whether he’ll call the Kansas Legislature into special session to respond to a state Supreme Court order on public schools. The Republican governor said after lawmakers adjourned their annual session that he will work with their leaders and Attorney General Derek Schmidt to respond “aggressively” to any action by the court to close the state’s schools.

A real estate developer in Topeka is indicted by federal grand jurors on 103 counts of bankruptcy fraud. That man filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2012. Federal law states any property gotten after the bankruptcy filing belongs to the bankruptcy estate. The indictment accuses him of buying more than 100 guns valued at more than $80,000 from August 2013 to late 2014, then not telling creditors or the bankruptcy trustee.

The Kansas Legislature votes overwhelmingly to override Governor Brownback’s veto of a bill at the center of a multi-million dollar tax dispute involving a retired pizza magnate. The votes Wednesday were 39-1 in the Senate and 120-0 in the House. The governor rejected the bill over a provision dealing with how tax disputes are handled. The override was an unusual rebuke for the GOP governor.

The state will challenge in court the Obama administration’s directive that public schools allow transgender students to use the restrooms that matches their gender identity. Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he has not yet decided whether to join a lawsuit by 11 other states or sue separately. The state Senate praised his announcement and passed a resolution condemning the directive from the White House.

Kansas’ top education official is worried that school counselor positions in the state have become too focused on administrative work. Education commissioner Randy Watson addressed more than 350 school counselors from across the state at an annual conference in Manhattan organized by Kansas State University. Watson says the state needs to decrease the number of students each counselor handles.

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