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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Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

This story was updated Thursday to reflect a response from Secretary Kobach's office.

Kansans who registered to vote at the DMV or otherwise used the federal voter registration form are eligible to vote in all races, according to court rulings, whether they’ve provided a citizenship document or not. But those voters might have been confused by inconsistencies on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's website.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice are asking states, including Kansas, for information related to the National Voter Registration Act — a move made the same day that the president’s commission on voter fraud sent a request for “publicly available voter roll data.”

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The state of Kansas saw a bump in tax collections in June, with revenues coming in significantly more than expected. That means Kansas ends the fiscal year with $70 million more than anticipated. Total tax collections over the year were $5.8 billion.

Sales, corporate and personal income taxes all beat estimates in June, meaning the month's tax collections topped estimates by $72 million. The June tax collections are a growth of almost 6 percent over the same month in 2016. Fiscal year 2017 revenues grew a total of 1 percent over fiscal year 2016.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Taxes in Kansas will be climbing over the weekend because a tax increase approved by lawmakers is taking effect. The new law will raise income tax rates and reinstate income taxes for thousands of business owners.

“We’re encouraging everybody to just think about it,” said Kansas Revenue Secretary Sam Williams.

For wage-earning employees, Williams recommends studying paychecks in July to make sure the income tax withholding has been increased.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Updated Friday at 10:26 a.m.

A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman said officers at the El Dorado Correctional Facility worked over the day to get a group of inmates to return to their cells. Todd Fertig said in an email that a group of inmates refused to return to their cells Thursday morning.

Fertig said the situation was resolved around 5:00 Thursday afternoon, after backup was called from other facilities.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File photo

The Kansas legislative session may be over, but lawmakers still aren't sure whether their work has ended. They're waiting to see whether the new school funding system they put in place will satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court.

The court previously said education spending was inadequate. In response, lawmakers approved $300 million in new funding over two years and a new method to distribute the money.

Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, says members of the group like the new funding formula, but they still have concerns.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says he doesn’t support the health care overhaul bill in the U.S. Senate. Leaders in the Senate announced Tuesday that they are delaying a vote on the bill over concerns that it didn’t have enough support.

Moran initially was one of the undecided lawmakers. That changed when the vote on the GOP plan was delayed: Now, he says the Senate bill “missed the mark” for Kansas and he would not have supported it.

Moran says he's glad the vote was delayed and says the full legislative process should be used to develop a better proposal.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Democratic state Rep. John Wilson, from Lawrence, said he is stepping down from his seat in the Kansas House later this year. He made the announcement Monday during the final day of the 2017 legislative session.

Wilson has two young children and said he’s had to divide his attention between his legislative duties, his private job and family.

“This is a decision I don’t take lightly. In fact, now is actually a really great time to be in the Legislature. It’s just not a really great time for me, with where I am in my career and my family,” Wilson sasys.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas lawmakers met briefly Monday for the ceremonial end of the legislative session. They considered overriding some vetoes issued by Gov. Sam Brownback, but ultimately took no action.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle says she’s considering a run for either Kansas governor or for the 4th District congressional seat in the Wichita area.

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