Stephen Koranda

Contributing 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. 

Stephen Koranda / KPR

This post was updated on Tuesday at 12:21 p.m.

With little notice, a state panel has approved a temporary election rule that will have some Kansans vote with provisional ballots, but only their votes in federal races will be counted. Votes for state and local races will be tossed out.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

It’s time to start voting, Kansas.

From the top of the primary ballot to the bottom there are important decisions to make by Aug. 2.

AgriLife Today, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas has hired a new state government official responsible for regulating drones. As Stephen Koranda reports, the state’s first director of unmanned aircraft systems says Kansas could be at the forefront of the technology.

Air Force veteran Bob Brock will lead the efforts in Kansas to regulate unmanned aircraft while boosting the industry. Brock says the state’s aircraft sector puts Kansas in a position to become a leader in areas like manufacturing and training related to drones.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Highway Patrol will send troopers to Ohio to help with security at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The Highway Patrol was contacted through a national system that allows law enforcement agencies to request help from organizations in other states.

KHP Lieutenant Adam Winters says Kansas troopers will be assisting federal and state law enforcement agencies at the convention.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

There’s less than a week left to register to vote in Kansas for the August primary election.

Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says people can contact the local election office if they need help before the July 12 deadline.

"If you have moved, changed your name or you just need to get register, you need to go ahead and get that taken care of before July 12 so you won’t have any issues when you go to vote, either early or in person," Lehman says.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Supreme Court has set arguments for September in an ongoing lawsuit over school funding. At issue is whether the state is spending enough on schools.

Republican leaders in the Legislature call the timing of the arguments political, because they’ll take place not long before the fall election. House Speaker Ray Merrick says it’s an effort to direct attention away from retention elections for the justices.

“The timing of the scheduled arguments yet again demonstrates the court’s desperate political motivations,” Merrick says.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Several posters promoting a white nationalist group were placed near the Kansas Statehouse in downtown Topeka. At least one of the posters was still up Wednesday morning, with another found partially torn down.

The posters are associated with the group Identity Evropa, which describes itself on Facebook as “educating the people of European heritage about the importance of a Eurocentric identity.”

Wikipedia

The Kansas Department of Corrections says a lockdown at the Lansing Correctional Facility was lifted today.

Four separate attacks on staff members Thursday led to a lockdown of the maximum security unit. That meant all programs and visitation in the maximum security section of the prison were cancelled. Adam Pfannenstiel, with the Department of Corrections, says four staff members suffered minor injuries in the attacks last week.

Christopher Sessums / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers avoided a legal fight shutting down schools at the beginning of this month. Legislators adjusted the budget to comply with a Supreme Court ruling. But as statehouse reporter Stephen Koranda reports, there’s more legal wrangling ahead in a lawsuit over school funding.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas tax collections were more than $30 million short in June, the final month of the fiscal year. That grew the state’s budget deficit to more than $75 million and prompted Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration to take steps to erase the shortfall.

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan says it’s difficult to cut budgets at the end of the fiscal year. Instead, the state is moving funds, including delaying part of a payment to school districts. Democratic State Sen. Laura Kelly says that’s worked in the past, but moving the payment is risky when tax collections have been so inconsistent.

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