Stephen Koranda

Stephen is the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

Alberto G., flickr Creative Commons

Kansas education officials will soon release scores from a new set of state tests. Those scores could come in lower than some people expect.

Marianne Perie, with the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas, which developed the new exams, says students are taking different tests and they need to get used to the process.

Stephen Koranda

For nearly 40 years, Don Wistuba has been running the snack bar at the Kansas Statehouse. Making cash transactions is part of the job and it doesn't seem to be a big deal for Wistuba either, even though he's blind.

But his business will come to a close at the end of the month.After four decades of serving lawmakers and capitol visitors, he's calling it quits.

Linn County Sheriff's Department

Gov. Sam Brownback’s brother, Jim Brownback, has been involved in some long-running disputes with neighbors in Linn County, in Eastern Kansas.

Tim Carpenter, a reporter with the Topeka Capital-Journal, says there are questions about whether Jim Brownback has benefited from his connection to the state’s most powerful politician. Carpenter wrote about the allegations in an article published over the weekend.

Chesapeake Bay Program, flickr Creative Commons

A court recently struck down an Idaho law that barred undercover filming of livestock facilities. Those types of videos are sometimes used by animal rights activists. The ruling could lead to a challenge of a similar Kansas law.

Warren Parker, with the Kansas Farm Bureau, says videos can be edited and twisted to paint a negative picture. He says the law helps prevent people trespassing onto farm property to film the videos, where they could introduce disease. He says livestock producers keeping their farms closed to cameras isn’t about protecting abuse.

This piece originally aired Aug. 6, 2015, during Morning Edition.

The Topeka City Council will consider a plan to outlaw public nudity. There’s currently nothing on the books making it illegal for people in the Kansas capital city to bare it all. 

At a meeting this week, City Councilman Jeff Coen called the Shunga Trail a gem in Topeka.

“Every time I ride, there’s bunny rabbits running across there. We’ve seen turtles and snakes,” Coen says.

But there are some things he doesn’t want see.

Becky McCray, flickr Creative Commons

An earlier version of this piece aired August 4, 2015, during All Things Considered.

There’s more than a year before the 2016 election, but some races in the Kansas Statehouse are starting to take shape. Just this week, Wichita school board member Lynn Rogers decided to challenge sitting Republican state Sen. Michael O’Donnell. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, that’s just one of several challengers taking on incumbent state senators.

thinkpanama, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Department for Children and Families is lifting a restriction on ATM withdrawals by people on cash assistance programs.

Lawmakers this year put a controversial $25-per-day limit on the cash withdrawals of welfare benefits. They later amended the law to give the secretary of DCF the ability to change or rescind the limit, after concerns the rule could put federal grant money in jeopardy.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers have begun working on a proposal to study the state’s government for efficiency. As Stephen Koranda reports, the state will hire a firm to comb through and evaluate how Kansas spends money.

Kansas lawmakers included $3 million in the budget to pay for the study.

Republican Rep. Ron Ryckman is leading a group drawing up the contract documents. The hope is an outside firm could scour state government in a way that lawmakers can’t.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Kansas could soon issue a billion dollars in bonds, but that idea isn’t getting a glowing review from Moody's Investors Service, one of the nation's leading bond-rating companies.

The state wants to borrow money to help shore-up the finances of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS.

Moody’s pointed to the state’s recent budget troubles when giving the Kansas bonds what it calls a “below-average rating.”

Stephen Koranda

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director believes Kansas officials need to study how they estimate future state tax collections. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the comments were made just before new July revenue numbers came in below the mark.

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