Stephen Koranda

Stephen is the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

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Education
12:11 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

State Board Of Regents Starts On Budget For Higher Education

The Kansas Board of Regents is in the early stages of writing a budget request for the state’s higher education system. On Wednesday, they’ll start discussions on the spending plan they’ll submit to Governor Sam Brownback.

Breeze Richardson, with the board, says they'll be writing a two-year budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

She says this is only the second time the board will write a two-year budget in recent memory, and it requires a little more forethought.

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Crime and Courts
12:05 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Kansas Judges Gather for Annual Conference

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss
Credit Stephen Koranda

Judges from across Kansas met in Topeka to brush up on their judicial knowledge as part of an annual conference.

This year, judges also heard a presentation on the judiciary in Nazi Germany.

They heard how small compromises by judges in areas like civil liberties eventually increased and helped the Nazi party grow in power and eventually carry out crimes against European residents.

Marcus Appelbaum, with the National Holocaust Memorial Museum, says there are lessons modern judges can take from the example.

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Weather
11:39 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Recent Heavy Rains Won't Eliminate Kansas Drought

A map showing dry conditions covering essentially all of Kansas.
Credit Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Some areas of Kansas have seen four or more inches of rain in recent days, but that won't be enough to eliminate drought conditions in the state. As Stephen Koranda reports, rain in the coming weeks will play a critical role in determining whether the drought stays or goes.

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Education
9:40 am
Mon May 19, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks To Topeka High School Graduates

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  First lady Michelle Obama says young people who've grown up with diversity must lead a national fight against prejudice and discrimination.

Speaking to Topeka high school graduates Friday, the first lady said the historic Brown versus Board of Education ruling against school segregation is "still being decided every single day."

Mrs. Obama said it will take all of today's young people to help solve the nation's problems.

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Politics
12:15 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Governor Sam Brownback Files For Re-Election Campaign

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer have officially started their campaign for a second term.

The two were joined at a kickoff event by their campaign co-chairs, former Senator Bob Dole and Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower.

At the kick-off event, Gov. Brownback said his economic policies and the tax cuts he helped pass promoted job growth and helped build a significant financial cushion in the state budget.

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Education
12:58 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Kansas BOE Want To Continue Studying 'Innovative Districts' Plan

The Kansas State Board of Education will continue studying a plan to exempt two school districts from many state regulations.

The idea is that exempting schools from regulations may give them more flexibility and lead to better student outcomes.

The McPherson and Concordia districts are the first two seeking approval to become so-called “innovative districts.”

The board decided to form a study committee to meet with officials from the districts and look into some issues raised by board members.

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Politics
10:44 am
Tue May 13, 2014

State Panel Rejects Challenge to Roberts Candidacy For Re-Election

Two of the panel's members, Eric Rucker, representing Secretary of State Kris Kobach (right) and Brant Laue representing Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer.
Credit Stephen Koranda

A state panel has rejected an effort to block Kansas Senator Pat Roberts from running for re-election. The State Objections Board ruled 3-0 against a group of Kansans arguing that Roberts doesn’t really live in the state. It sets the stage for Roberts to face challenger Milton Wolf in the August Republican primary.

Chuck Henderson, a Milton Wolf supporter from Manhattan, filed one of the objections. He believes Roberts shouldn’t be eligible to run again because he actually lives in a home in Virginia.

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Politics
1:58 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

UPDATE: Kansas Board Rejects Residency Challenge Against Sen. Pat Roberts

UPDATE: A state elections board has rejected a claim that U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts is not truly a Kansas resident, allowing him to seek re-election this year.

A state panel will meet today to decide if Republican Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is eligible to appear on the primary election ballot.

Four Kansans have filed claims challenging his candidacy; they say he may not meet the residency requirement.

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Government
10:14 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Gov. Brownback Signs Bill Tweaking Workers Comp In Kansas

Brownback during the ceremonial signing of the workers compensation bill.
Credit Stephen Koranda

    

Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill allowing more workers compensation claims for firefighters and law enforcement officers.

More than 40 years ago, Kansas rewrote workers compensation laws. Part of that created a rule that said a worker couldn't collect workers comp for heart attacks or strokes related to their job unless it was caused by an unusually high level of exertion that isn't normally required for the job. 

Governor Brownback says that had an unintended consequence for some workers.

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Education
10:12 am
Wed May 7, 2014

KU Professor Says It May Take Some Time Before Teachers Will Feel The Effects Of Tenure Repeal

Major changes to teacher employment laws in Kansas will soon be taking effect, eliminating from state law what many people know as “tenure.”

That means administrators will be able to be fire teachers more easily.

It could be several years before we know the full effects of the changes.

Under the old rules, Kansas teachers who had been with a district fewer than three years were on probationary status, and could be let go without a reason.

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