Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Barber County officials are looking to the federal government to help pay for firefighting efforts during last year’s massive wildfire.

The Kansas Forest Service says the wildfire last March was the largest in state history. The fire did the most damage in Barber County.

Barber County’s emergency management director Jerry McNamar says fighting the fire cost the county $1.5 million.

About $400,000 alone was spent on four National Guard Helicopters that dropped water on the fire over two days.

Amy Jeffries / KCUR

The campaign to fill CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s Kansas congressional seat is underway.

The election on April 11 will be the first congressional contest to be decided since President Donald Trump took office. Republicans near and far are treating it as an early test of the new president’s agenda.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Efforts to repeal major juvenile justice reforms passed in Kansas last year appear to have stalled.

The law passed last year is aimed at rehabilitating juvenile offenders closer to their families rather than in prisons or group homes that studies show often cause more problems than they solve.

But the law stripped prosecutors and judges of some discretion to impose stiffer sentences in some juvenile cases so those groups opposed the changes from the start.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have the tall order of writing a new school funding formula this year to replace temporary block grants. The work so far has been behind the scenes.

There have been school funding proposals introduced in the Kansas Legislature, but committees have yet to advance any plans.

Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman says he wants something that’s sustainable and is predictable when it comes to costs for the state and funding for schools. Ryckman wants to have a plan in place by April, but that’s not a hard deadline.

Hugo Phan, file photo / KMUW

A Wichita civil rights lawyer has been elected the Democratic candidate in the special congressional election to fill Kansas’ 4th District seat.

Kansas’ three political parties began the process this week of selecting their candidates for the 4th Congressional District special election (the first in Kansas for a House seat since 1950). State Treasurer Ron Estes was named the Republicans' nominee on the April 11th ballot; Democrats and Libertarians from the district will each meet Saturday.

Meg Wingerter / Kansas News Service

Dana Stanton drove hours from Hays to a Friday meeting in Topeka hoping to learn what the governor’s budget proposal would mean for the children’s programs she oversees.

After the Kansas Children’s Cabinet meeting adjourned, she didn’t know much more than she did before.

Laura Spencer / KCUR/File photo

Democrats and Libertarians from Kansas' 4th Congressional District will each have nominating conventions Saturday to select their nominees for the special election to replace Mike Pompeo, who was picked to be the president's new director of the CIA.

Kansas' attorney general says the U.S. Department of justice has identified Kansas as a state of origination for victims of human trafficking. Derek Schmidt is continuing his fight to address the issue with more proposed legislation.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

While one tax plan stalls in the Kansas Senate, another tax proposal makes headway in the Kansas House.

Thursday, the House tax committee advanced a bill that would eliminate an income tax exemption for business owners. It would also add a third income tax bracket and raise income tax rates.

Some Republicans say the income tax hikes are too steep for them to support. Others, like Republican Representative Melissa Rooker, say it would help with the state’s finances.