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Kansas News Service/File photo

For decades, Republicans and Democrats both made it hard for the public to know what goes on in the Statehouse.

But in the wake of a Kansas City Star series highlighting the lack of transparency, some members of both parties are pushing for change. Recent days have seen a flurry of activity. 

Republican and Democratic leaders called last week for lobbyists to disclose when they approach the governor or agencies about state contracts.

On Monday, House Speaker Ron Ryckman, a Republican, announced he would no longer let lawmakers file bills anonymously.

Justice for Andrew Finch Facebook

The mother of a Wichita man who was fatally shot by a police officer last month in a swatting incident says she is seeking justice.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Today, when mentally ill Kansans land in a psychiatric hospital or behind bars, they lose Medicaid coverage. When they’re freed, the daunting chore of signing up for government health coverage starts from scratch.

Now, a push gaining steam among state lawmakers would merely pause that coverage, keeping care and critical medications ready for mental health patients when they get out.

Susie Fagan / Kansas News Service/File photo

The U.S. Senate is moving toward a vote on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's nomination for an ambassador's post.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a motion Monday to cut off debate on President Donald Trump's nomination of the conservative Republican governor to serve as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

The Center for Combating Human Trafficking / Wichita State University

The Center for Combating Human Trafficking at Wichita State University will host an event Thursday focusing on the criminalization of individuals who have survived sex trafficking.

The center’s “Love Not Lockup” event will feature a showing of the documentary "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story" by Dan Birman. Cyntoia Brown was arrested for the 2004 murder of a 43-year-old man. Brown, who was 16 at the time, was forced into prostitution and the man had solicited her for sex. She was given a life sentence.

Brian Grimmett

A proposed merger between two of Kansas’ biggest electric utilities drew little criticism, or praise, during a public hearing Monday night in Topeka.

Kansas News Service/File photo

The Brownback administration may soon throw in the towel on a plan to lock a more restrictive version of Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program in place for another five years.

GLENDALE, CALIF., POLICE DEPARTMENT/ AP

The family of a Wichita man who was fatally shot by police on his porch after a hoax emergency call has sued the city and the unidentified officers involved.

The federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of Kansas seeks unspecified damages related to the Dec. 28 death of Andrew Finch. He was shot by police responding to a California man's call with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at Finch's Wichita home. Finch, 28, was unarmed.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

The U.S. Department of Education has thrown its weight behind a Kansas school plan that aims for much higher rates of math and reading proficiency by 2030.

Initial feedback from the federal agency on Kansas’ 90-page blueprint for closing achievement gaps had been lackluster, forcing the state to revise it.

Stephen Koranda

Most bills considered by the Kansas Legislature are introduced anonymously. House Speaker Ron Ryckman is putting new rules in place so it’s clear where bills are coming from.

Speaker Ryckman said starting now, he’s requiring House committees to record in their minutes the actual author of a bill and whether that’s a lawmaker or a lobbyist. That information should soon be appearing in the online bill directory.

“For me, it’s how do we improve?" Ryckman said. "How do we become more transparent? What can we do administratively? This is something that we can do.”

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