Jim McLean

Contributing Reporter

Jim McLean, Executive Editor of KHI News Service, oversees the KHI News Service. From 2005 until 2013, McLean coordinated all communications activities at KHI as Vice President for Public Affairs. The position he now occupies was created as part of a strategic initiative to solidify the editorial and operational independence of the KHI News Service. Prior to coming to KHI, McLean had a distinguished career as a journalist, serving as the news director and Statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio and a managing editor for the Topeka Capital-Journal. During his more than 20 years in Kansas journalism, McLean won numerous awards for journalistic excellence from the Kansas Press Association, regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. In 1997, McLean and two Capital-Journal colleagues received the Burton W. Marvin News Enterprise Award from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism for a series of stories on the state’s business climate. McLean holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washburn University.

 

File Photo / KCUR

Evidence that the wave election Democrats are hoping for in 2018 is brewing can be seen in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. It appears there will be competition for the right to challenge Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder.

Iraq veteran and Bronze Star winner Joe McConnell has officially filed for the Democratic nomination. Jay Sidie, the 2016 nominee, is also expected to run.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The filing deadline isn’t until next June. But candidates already are lining up for what could be the toughest job in Kansas: succeeding Gov. Sam Brownback.

Four hopefuls are at least tentatively in the race and several more are thinking about getting in, including some Republican heavyweights.

Who?

Well, Kansas Secretary of State and political lightning rod Kris Kobach for one. Interviewed at the Kansas Republican Party’s state convention earlier this year, he said, “I am taking a very serious look at the governor’s race.”

J. Schafer / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Kansas Lawmakers aren’t yet in record territory, but they’re facing challenges that could make the 2017 session among the longest ever.

Lawmakers must close a budget gap that now stands just south of $1 billion -- and increase funding for public schools by enough to get them off the hook with the Kansas Supreme Court.

Big challenges, but particularly tough now for a couple of reasons: First is the mismatch between conservative Republican leaders and a majority coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats.

Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas legislative leaders working on a plan to end the 2017 session have what amounts to a chicken-and-egg dilemma.

Kansas News Service/File photo

  

A former Kansas legislator who also served as the state agriculture secretary and as a senior official in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is running for governor.

Steven Lee / Creative Commons, flickr

Private investigators and some other services that Kansas lawmakers consider “non-essential” may soon be subject to the state sales tax.

The House on Monday passed a bill 78-42 that would impose the state’s 6.5 percent sales tax on a relatively short list of currently exempt services.

In addition to private investigation and security services, the list includes plumbing and pool cleaning, towing, non-residential janitorial services, debt collection and pet care excluding veterinary services.

Doug Kerr, flickr Creative Commons

Lobbyists for Kansas highway contractors are urging state lawmakers to increase the gas tax, but it’s proving to be a tough sell.

Forced to deal with massive budget problems in recent years, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and lawmakers have diverted billions of dollars from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Kansas News Service/File photo

With a Monday deadline approaching, it isn’t clear whether all of the health insurance companies now participating in the Affordable Care Act marketplace in Kansas will continue in 2018.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, the state’s largest health insurer, has made a preliminary decision to continue and has filed initial paperwork with the Kansas Insurance Department, said Mary Beth Chambers, a company spokeswoman.

Kansas News Service/File photo

The drama unfolding in the Kansas Statehouse pales in comparison to the intrigue surrounding recent events in the nation’s capital.

But what’s happening — and not happening — in Topeka will determine the extent to which a group of new legislators elected last fall can fulfill the promises they made to voters to stabilize the state budget and adequately fund public schools.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

After several false starts, the Kansas Senate on Wednesday finally debated a tax bill.

But after a brief debate, Democrats and conservative Republicans voted for different reasons to reject the bill.

Two Democrats joined 16 moderate Republicans in voting for the bill, which failed 18-22.

The seven Democrats who voted against the measure said they feared it would not generate sufficient revenue to both balance the state budget and increase funding for public schools by enough to satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court.

Pages