Stephen Koranda

Contributing Reporter

Stephen Koranda reports on the Kansas Legislature, state government and everything else for Kansas Public Radio. He previously worked in Mississippi and Iowa, where he covered stories ranging from hurricanes to state executions. 

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

The debate over allowing concealed guns on college campuses is starting to heat up in the Kansas Statehouse.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Lawmakers have the tall order of creating a new school funding system for Kansas public schools: The temporary block grants that have been funding schools are set to expire this year. Stephen Koranda reports on how legislators might begin the process.

Stephen Koranda

Members of the Kansas House have rejected a proposal that would have required all bills to include the name of the lawmaker who introduced it. Currently, bills are sometimes submitted without a sponsor's name attached. Democratic Representative Jim Ward said knowing the author of each bill would increase transparency.

“We have had bills that were introduced in secret, that we did not know where they came from,” Ward says.

Republican Blaine Finch argued against the proposal.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal would delay payments into the state pension plan, KPERS. It would also take an additional 10 years to pay off a deficit in the retirement system.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers are moving fast on revisions to the process for filling a Congressional vacancy, anticipating there will be a vacancy very soon. Hearings to confirm Congressman Mike Pompeo as CIA director started on Thursday.

The Kansas House has approved a bill to extend by a month the timeline for a special election to be held after being called by the governor. That would put the state in compliance with federal rules allowing members of the military to vote by absentee ballot.

Republican Rep. Keith Esau says the revisions are sorely needed.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback released on Wednesday a wide-ranging plan for fixing the state’s budget shortfall. It would take money from the highway fund, raise some taxes and overhaul the funding system for children’s programs. It would also take longer to pay off a shortfall in the state's pension plan, KPERS.

Jim McLean, of the Kansas News Service, spoke with Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda about the budget plan and how lawmakers are reacting.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is proposing hiking tobacco and alcohol taxes and shifting money from other parts of the budget to balance the state’s finances. The proposal would take money from the state highway fund and delay the payoff date for a deficit in the state pension plan.

Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, outlined the proposed budget during a committee meeting Wednesday morning. He said they’ve submitted a reasonable proposal.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback laid out new policy proposals and budget plans during his State of the State address Tuesday. Even though Kansas faces a budget deficit adding up to almost a billion dollars by next year, the governor began his speech by showcasing some of the state's strong points. KPR's Stephen Koranda reports.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback will lay out his legislative priorities at 5 p.m. in his annual State of the State Address. As Stephen Koranda reports, it’s likely the governor will outline broad goals, but may not offer many specifics.

In recent years, Gov. Brownback has used the speech to focus on a few main themes and accomplishments, like defending his tax cuts.

Tonight, he may provide some new clues about his spending plans. So far, he’s only said his budget proposal will be balanced and will include both revenue measures and budget cuts.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas lawmakers wasted no time getting down to business on the first day of the 2017 legislative session. House tax committee members met and introduced their first tax proposal Monday afternoon.

The bill would repeal an income tax exemption for more than 300,000 Kansas businesses to help balance the state budget in the face of a deficit. Republican Steven Johnson, the committee’s chairman, said they’ll also be considering other ideas.

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