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. 

Stephen Koranda

There will be a political shift in the Kansas legislature with the new leaders lawmakers selected Monday. Conservatives will hold on to the very top jobs for 2017, but more moderate Republicans also picked up key positions. There is turnover among some of the Democratic leadership posts too.

All the change reflects gains made by moderate Republicans in the August primaries, and gains by Democrats in November, especially in the House. The move to the center on the Senate side is more subtle, but nonetheless notable.

Dole Institute of Politics / Facebook

The political landscape is changing at the Kansas Statehouse. When the session starts in January, more Democrats and more moderate-leaning Republicans will fill seats in the state Legislature. They’ll also face two big challenges: filling a $350 million budget hole and writing a new funding formula for public schools.

Last week, lawmakers, reporters and political party officials sat down at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas to talk about the fall election and discuss what effects it might have on Kansas.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A report released Thursday shows Kansas revenues last month narrowly beat the state's new, more pessimistic estimate.

Kansas tax collections in November met the estimate almost exactly on the dot.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he supports President-elect Donald Trump’s claim that millions of illegal votes were cast in the election.

@GovSamBrownback Twitter

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is giving few hints regarding his plan for fixing the Kansas budget shortfall. The state faces a $350 million deficit in the current fiscal year and an additional budget gap next year.

The governor will unveil his Kansas spending plan in January. Brownback told reporters at an event Tuesday that he isn’t working with lawmakers on crafting the proposal, and he wouldn’t give any specifics about what he’s considering.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor/File photo

Kansas officials updated the state’s revenue forecast earlier this month, and this week will be the first chance to see how the estimates stack up. As Stephen Koranda reports, state tax collections for November will be reported on Thursday.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers already know they’ll have some big issues on their plate during the next legislative session, which kicks off in January. There’s also uncertainty clouding the issues.

As Stephen Koranda reports, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments in a school funding lawsuit this fall, but justices haven’t yet handed down a decision.

dcJohn / flickr Creative Commons

There have been plenty of rumors about Kansas elected officials joining the administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Most of that has focused on people like Gov. Sam Brownback or Secretary of State Kris Kobach taking a cabinet job. But Trump will get to appoint much more than just the cabinet positions that run federal agencies.

Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty says these lower positions in the agencies are still important federal jobs and could be attractive spots for Kansas elected officials.

IRA GELB, FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Kansas has been given a grade of "B" for legislative laws regarding the sex trafficking of minors. The grade has risen over the past several years.

In 2011, Kansas had a score of "F" from Shared Hope, an international victim advocacy group. The group monitors all 50 states on laws that help to prevent child sex trafficking and punish offenders.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

Kansas political watchers have been buzzing with talk of state officials possibly moving into the administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo has already been selected to head the CIA. There’s also been talk of possible jobs for Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Gov. Sam Brownback and others.

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