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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A former employee of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office said in federal court Monday that she was fired in part for not attending church, which left her confused and depressed.

Kansas News Service/File

The U.S. Senate comes back from a break next month, but it’s not yet clear when they’ll take up the nomination of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for a position in the Trump administration.

Brownback is slated to take over as international ambassador for religious freedom, but he’ll need hearings and a Senate vote for confirmation. He says he’s not sure when that will happen.

“There’s lots of speculation, but you just don’t know on these until they set the calendar,” Brownback says.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Democratic Party and the Democrat leader in the state Senate, Anthony Hensley, called out top Republican officials Wednesday for not condemning the white nationalist march and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The events left one person dead and dozens injured. Two officers also died when a state police helicopter monitoring the rally crashed.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Gov. Sam Brownback has enrolled Kansas in a federal program that helps first responders communicate in emergencies.

FirstNet, as it’s known, will create a network in Kansas that will help local, state and federal officials communicate when responding to disasters. Kansas is the 14th state to take part.

Paul Davis

Paul Davis kicked off his campaign for the Kansas 2nd District seat in Congress by calling Washington broken and criticizing a culture there that quashes bipartisanship.

“No matter what party you affiliate with, no matter who you voted for in the 2016 presidential election, Washington is not working for you,” said Davis, who served as the top Democrat in the Kansas House and narrowly lost a bid to unseat Gov. Sam Brownback in the 2014 election.

dcf.ks.org

The Kansas Department for Children and Families is dealing with computer problems that brought down the system used to process welfare benefits applications.

Theresa Freed, spokeswoman for DCF, says people seeking benefits can still submit paper applications and required documentation. The applications will be entered after the system comes back online.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

There’s a crowded field of candidates running or considering the race for Kansas governor in 2018, and that means they’ll need to find ways to set themselves apart.

Sudipto Sarkar / flickr Creative Commons

The Shawnee County Commission has voted to change the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Commissioner Bob Archer said he pushed for the change because of falling county health rankings.

“If we don’t take action, we’re just not doing our jobs, in my opinion," Archer said. "This is something we can do. It’s sending a message out that we care about the health of our citizens."

The proposal passed on a 2-1 vote. Commissioner Shelly Buhler supported it, but Commissioner Kevin Cook was opposed.

Stephen Koranda

A year from now, Kansans could be in the middle of the biggest primary battle for governor in recent history.

With Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer poised to finish the term of Gov. Sam Brownback — likely to leave soon for an ambassador job — candidates are lining up for the 2018 contest.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Republican Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer announced Tuesday that he will run for Kansas governor in 2018, ending speculation that he would enter the race.

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