Stephen Koranda

Statehouse 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. 

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The deadline to register to vote in Sedgwick County for next month's general election is on Tuesday.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers considered tighter rules on payday lending during a committee meeting Wednesday, but they ultimately decided not to recommend more regulations for the short-term loans.

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Tuesday that he is issuing a single pardon and denying 72 other requests for clemency made to his office.

The action comes as Brownback prepares for a likely departure to join the administration of President Donald Trump.

In a statement, Brownback said he is pardoning Mark Schmitt, who was convicted of felony theft in 1994 over a false insurance claim of about $1,500. The Prisoner Review Board had recommended clemency.

Stephen Koranda

An advocacy group for Kansans over 60 will continue to push for Medicaid expansion. 

The Silver Haired Legislature targeted expanding Medicaid as a goal for the next Kansas legislative session.

Don Woodard, one of the group’s leaders, says there are thousands of Kansans between the ages of 60 and 65 who fall into a coverage gap. They aren’t old enough to qualify for Medicare, but they make too much to qualify for Medicaid right now.

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Newly unsealed documents show Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had proposed changes to federal voting law when meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump. The ACLU wanted to disclose the documents in a lawsuit over Kansas voting rules.

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Proposals to rebuild part of the prison at Lansing could prompt a new debate over the Kansas death penalty. Plans for the prison include closing the facility that houses the state’s death chamber.

Kansas hasn’t executed anyone since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1990s. At a committee meeting Thursday, Republican Sen. Carolyn McGinn said instead of building a new death chamber, legislators might want to consider eliminating the death penalty.

U.S. senators considering Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination as ambassador for international religious freedom peppered him Wednesday with questions, including some about his actions as Kansas governor.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

The American Civil Liberties Union launched a national voting rights campaign during a Sunday night event in Lawrence that was broadcast online throughout the country. It was the start of a grassroots effort, called Let People Vote, which the ACLU says is a chance to go on the offensive.

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This weekend in Lawrence, the ACLU will kick off a national campaign on voting rights called Let People Vote. The group chose Kansas because of the state’s strict voting policies pushed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Micah Kubic, with the ACLU of Kansas, says the group is moving to a more proactive position.

“When we shift from defense to offense it means that we cannot and will not only file lawsuits and do litigation,” Kubic says.

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Gov. Sam Brownback says Kansas officials are still trying to attract a Tyson chicken processing plant to the state, after plans stalled to build one in Leavenworth County. Brownback says things will be handled differently this time around.

When Tyson announced plans for the $300 million facility outside Tonganoxie, there was a sizable public outcry and the proposal was put on hold. One reason for the opposition was that the plans were developed in secret and only made public after local officials had already promised economic incentives.

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