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House committee approves a budget bill…plus other headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: February 5, 2016

andy lambertFebruary 5, 2016

A Kansas House committee approves a bill to eliminate a projected deficit of nearly $200 million in the state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. It includes many of Governor Brownback’s proposals for closing the gap by juggling money and capturing unanticipated savings. The panel also added cash to give uniformed corrections officers a pay raise.

Opponents of a proposal to consolidate school districts weigh in in a Kansas House committee meeting. The bill would require 98 of Kansas’ 105 counties to have one unified school district per county. The head of a coalition of rural districts called Schools for Quality Education told a meeting that any consolidation should be up to local parents.

The state House Appropriations Committee approves another $3 million for the state’s two mental hospitals. The move comes three months after the federal government decertified the facility at Osawatomie, and cut off as much as $1 million a month in funding.

A new legislative budget measure would prevent the University of Kansas from spending unanticipated tuition dollars and other funds. The provision approved Thursday by a House committee is a response to an arrangement that allowed the university to use $327 million in bonds to fund construction projects without lawmakers’ approval.

The Kansas House rejects a proposal to give the governor and legislators more control over appointments to the state Supreme Court. Supporters fell 16 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The measure would allow the governor to nominate new justices, with Senate approval.

One person is dead after a chase involving a stolen truck in Topeka. Police say the driver of the truck was fleeing police Thursday morning when it struck two cars and killed a passenger in one of them. Three other people were hurt but they don’t have serious injuries.

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