Stephen Koranda

Stephen is the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

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Government
5:00 am
Thu March 26, 2015

UPDATE: Bill Expanding Concealed Carry Heads To Governors Desk

Credit Auraelius, flickr Creative Commons

Update from AP: 

A proposal to allow Kansas residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit has won final approval from the Legislature.

The measure was headed to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback despite some lawmakers' misgivings about the state dropping its requirement that anyone seeking to carry a concealed firearm undergo at least eight hours of training.

Brownback's office didn't say what his plans are, but he's signed every other major gun-rights measure sent to him since taking office in January 2011.

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Government
1:47 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Brownback Isn't Concerned By Unbalanced Budget Bills In Kansas Legislature

Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he isn’t concerned by budget bills in the House and Senate that aren’t balanced. The chambers are considering bills that would require a tax increase to keep the state out of the red. That comes after lawmakers cut taxes in recent years. As Stephen Koranda reports, Brownback fielded some questions about the budget at an event in Topeka on Monday.

Brownback does not seem phased by the budget bills. He says lawmakers will fill the deficit, like the Kansas Constitution requires.

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Government
12:42 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Face Legislative Deadline This Week

Credit Stephen Koranda

It will be a busy week for Kansas lawmakers as they try to beat a legislative deadline on Wednesday. As Stephen Koranda reports, they’ll be working mostly on the floor of the House and Senate this week passing bills.

This is one of several significant deadlines Kansas lawmakers face during the session. A bill has to have passed both chambers, in some form, to survive the deadline. Most bills that haven’t passed both chambers are lost for the session.

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Government
1:40 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Kansas House Committee Votes To Ease Concealed Carry Rules

Credit WickedVT, flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas House committee has advanced a bill that would allow people over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm in Kansas without a permit. State law currently requires training and a background check before residents can carry a concealed gun.

Republican Representative Travis Couture-Lovelady says Kansans shouldn’t have to ask for permission from the government to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

“And I think the citizens of Kansas have proved that they are able to safely carry concealed without problems,” says Couture-Lovelady.

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Education
6:57 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Kansas Senate Passes Bill Scrapping School Funding System

Senate President Susan Wagle speaks during debate on the bill.
Credit Stephen Koranda

A bill that scraps the school funding system in Kansas has passed out of the Legislature and is heading to the governor’s desk for consideration.

The Senate voted 25-14 to concur with a bill that had previously passed the Kansas House. As Stephen Koranda reports, it would temporarily create a block grant system while lawmakers write a new funding formula.

Supporters of the bill say it has $300 million in new funding and gives Kansas schools more flexibility.

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Education
4:49 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

KS House Abandons Reconsideration Of Block Grants Bill

Credit Stephen Koranda

Last week, House lawmakers narrowly passed a controversial bill that would scrap the current school funding system in Kansas and replace it with block grants. Some opponents of that plan had been hoping for a do-over on the vote, but as Stephen Koranda reports, the chamber’s rules shut down that possibility.

Some critics of the bill had hinted they would try to reconsider the funding formula vote on Monday. That would give them a second crack at the issue. But it became clear the chamber’s rules would block the move, so the idea was abandoned.

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Government
12:52 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

KS Senate Could Vote on Block Grants Bill Monday

Credit Stephen Koranda

A bill that would replace the school funding formula in Kansas with block grants has been speeding through the legislative process. It could stay on the fast track this week and could be on the governor’s desk in mere days.

The bill passed the House on a tight vote just over a week after it was introduced. Republican Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce says the Senate could move to simply agree to the House bill as soon as Monday. That would skip sending the bill through the normal committee process in the Senate, but Bruce says a motion to concur isn’t out of the ordinary.

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Education
1:47 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Kansas House Committee Advances Block Grant Bill

Ron Ryckman Jr. speaks to reporters after the committee advanced the bill.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Lawmakers in the Kansas Legislature are fast-tracking a major overhaul of the state’s school funding system. The bill would toss out the current finance formula and replace it with a series of block grants, which would last for two years as lawmakers write a new funding formula. As Stephen Koranda reports, the bill has been approved by a committee and is now headed to the full Kansas House.

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Health
12:00 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Bill To Ban Dismemberment Abortion Procedure Advances

A bill to ban a certain abortion procedure in Kansas was advanced on Thursday by a legislative committee.  

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee advanced the bill, but only after a debate on an amendment that would have strengthened it further.

The bill would ban a procedure that is used during some dilation and evacuation abortions.

Proponents are calling the procedure dismemberment because it involves using forceps or other instruments to dismember the fetus before removal.

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Education
2:32 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Budget Panel Proposes Funding Cuts For KU, K-State

Credit wikipedia.org

A budget-writing subcommittee in the Kansas Senate has proposed cutting millions of dollars from the University of Kansas and shifting that money to the KU Medical Center. The plan would also cut Kansas State University. Stephen Koranda reports.

The proposal from Republican Senator Tom Arpke would cut KU’s main campus by more than $9 million over the next two years. Arpke says there would be a similar funding increase for KU Med, with the goal of training more doctors for rural areas.

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