Jim Denning

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A Republican leader in the Kansas Senate says he’ll propose a fee on all utility bills in the state to help fund education.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, says his plan calls for a $3 monthly fee on residential electric, gas and water bills in the state. Those with all three utilities would pay $9 more a month. For commercial customers, the monthly fee would be $10 per bill.

The whole package would raise $150 million a year, Denning estimates.

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

About two hundred people on Saturday attended a town hall event in Olathe where they questioned nine Republican lawmakers about their positions on Medicaid expansion and school financing.

Many held placards expressing support for more Medicaid funding. All of the lawmakers present were opposed to expanding the program and agreed with Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to veto an expansion bill passed overwhelmingly last month by the Legislature.

Kansas Legislature

The vice chairman of the Kansas Senate Ways and Means Committee says he's been told by Gov. Sam Brownback that the governor might consider rolling back a major portion of his signature 2012 tax cut bill.

Sen. Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend Podcast this weekend and told host Sam Zeff that Brownback might not veto a bill that would close the loophole that allows more then 300,000 small businesses in Kansas to avoid state income tax.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says if Kansas lawmakers won't approve additional funds for the National Bio And Agro-Defense Facility, there's a chance it won't get built.  And that's a risk he's not willing to take,  he said over the weekend on a stop in Kansas City, Kansas. 

President Obama's FY2014 budget requested $714 million for the top security animal disease lab proposed for Manhattan, Kansas.  As part of that request, the state was asked to contribute  $202 million. That's in addition to almost $150 million Kansas has already committed.

Some Republicans in Topeka suggest Governor Brownback’s request for an additional $202 million in bonds for the proposed animal disease lab represents a “moving target,” and want to be reassured the state isn’t going to be responsible for more than it can afford for a federal facility.

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Hospitals in Kansas could lose some federal money if the state doesn't expand Medicaid services under the federal health care law. A lawmaker helping to draft the budget says the state needs to consider assisting those hospitals. 

Many hospitals receive payments to help them cover the costs of medical care for the uninsured. They’re known as disproportionate share hospital payments.   As the federal health care law continues, the focus will move to funding more Medicaid services, meaning the current disproportionate share funds could be reduced or completely eliminated.