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The Latest: Kansas governor interrupted twice by heckler

January 10, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s State of the State address (all times local):

7 p.m.

A heckler in a Kansas House gallery interrupted Republican Gov. Sam Brownback twice during his annual State of the State address.

Officers escorted the bearded man from the gallery after his second interruption of the governor Tuesday evening. Such heckling is highly unusual during the annual speech, though some governors have faced protesters or been booed while walking into the House chamber.

The man first interrupted Brownback when he was arguing that money alone won’t lead to better schools and cited the Kansas City, Missouri, school district’s past problems.

The man shouted, “Because of poverty!”

The second time, Brownback promised an aggressive fight against human trafficking after noting Kansas’ history as an anti-slavery state.

The man shouted: “What about the slavery in our prisons?”

Brownback ignored the man each time.

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6:25 p.m.

Top Republican legislators in Kansas are upset with GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to boost spending on public schools because he is not yet spelling out how he would pay for it.

Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning of Overland Park said Tuesday night that they do not think the state can sustain the spending Brownback is proposing.

In his State of the State address, Brownback proposed phasing in a $600 million increase in education funding over five years. He said he’s not proposing a tax increase.

Wagle called it a feel-good proposal that will force lawmakers to consider tax increases later. Denning said the plan is “insulting.”

House Majority Leader Don Hineman of Dighton said he doesn’t see how the plan will work.

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5:05 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing that the state phase in a $600 million increase in spending on its public schools over five years without detailing how he’d pay for it.

Brownback included the proposal in his State of the State address Tuesday evening to a joint session of the Legislature.

The proposal is a response to a Kansas Supreme Court mandate to boost spending on public schools.

The court ruled in October that the state’s annual aid of $4.3 billion to its public schools was insufficient. Its decision came after lawmakers last year phased in a $293 million increase in education funding.

Brownback told lawmakers that he is proposing to increase spending on schools without increasing taxes. He planned to release detailed budget proposals to lawmakers Wednesday.

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11:08 a.m.

Kansas legislators are waiting to see what Republican Gov. Sam Brownback proposes on funding for public schools in his annual State of the State address.

Brownback was scheduled to give the annual speech Tuesday evening to a joint session of the Legislature. It will be the term-limited Republican governor’s last address.

Lawmakers face a mandate from Kansas Supreme Court to boost spending on public schools.

The court ruled in October that the state’s education funding in inadequate under the state constitution even after lawmakers phased in a $293 million increase over two years to increase it to $4.3 billion a year.

Brownback has said he’ll have a school funding plan without hinting at the details. He plans to outline his full budget recommendations for lawmakers Wednesday.

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