Stephen Koranda

Stephen is the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Kansas is only three months into a new fiscal year and already tax collections have come in below estimates in each of the three months.

In both August and September, the state missed the mark by more than $30 million. Annie McKay studies the economy with the Kansas Center for Economic Growth.

She says in other years, those revenue shortfalls wouldn’t be a major concern. But this year, Kansas officials were predicting a reserve fund of less than $100 million.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Some Kansas lawmakers are considering their options for fighting federal regulations on carbon emissions while at the same time allowing the state to develop a plan to meet those rules.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A lawsuit is targeting Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach over a new rule he put in place that will cancel incomplete voter registrations. The suit also asks a federal court to overturn the Kansas requirement that voters supply documents proving their citizenship.

More than 30,000 Kansas voter registrations have been put on hold because they don’t include the citizenship documents. Kobach’s new rule would cancel those incomplete registrations once they are 90 days old.

Stephen Koranda

Gov. Sam Brownback has proclaimed October as “Zombie Preparedness Month.” That not-so-serious name is aimed at getting people to think about a serious topic.

Brownback stood next to 15-year-old Faith Tucking, who was decked out in bloody zombie makeup, as he signed the proclamation Wednesday. The idea behind “Zombie Preparedness Month” in Kansas is an eye-catching way to think about emergencies. The supplies needed to survive a zombie attack will actually benefit you in other emergencies.

Certain health insurance options for state workers in Kansas will more than double in cost next year.

Rebecca Proctor with the Kansas Organization of State Employees says employees on the lower end of the pay scale often choose a plan with cheaper premiums and a higher deductible. Those plans will see the largest increase, with one option jumping from $50 per paycheck to more than $130.

Stephen Koranda file photo

It’s not easy for the board that organizes legal defense for poor Kansans charged with crimes. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, in some areas they’re running low on attorneys willing to work for what they can pay.

It can be hard to find attorneys willing to work on high-level defense cases for $65 per hour--that’s according to Patricia Scalia, director of the Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services. She says they’re already sometimes seeking attorneys who don’t live near the defendants, requiring a lot of travel.

David / Flickr / Creative Commons

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office is preparing for arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court next month. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the justices will consider death sentences that were overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court.

File photo

John Boehner resigning as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives could be good for Kansas 1st District Congressman Tim Huelskamp. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, Huelskamp hailed the announcement that Boehner was stepping down.

There’s no love lost between Huelskamp, from the 1st District in western Kansas, and Speaker Boehner. After some conflict, Huelskamp lost his positions on the important Agriculture and Budget Committees.

Stephen Koranda

Speaker John Boehner resigning from the U.S. House might create some new opportunities for Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. She currently serves in the leadership as the House Republican Conference vice chair.

University of Kansas Political Science Professor Patrick Miller says if Jenkins is planning to stay in the House, some higher leadership jobs could become available.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Opponents of the death penalty in Kansas are hoping the pope’s words can spur some action on the issue. Pope Francis called for ending capital punishment during a speech before a joint session of Congress Thursday.

Mary Sloan, with the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, had hoped Pope Francis would talk about the issue during his visit to the U.S., and she’s especially pleased it came during his high-profile speech.