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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Kansas lawmakers are looking for ways to come up with cash to respond to a court ruling that says the state needs to spend more on schools. Currently, the House Tax Committee is considering a plan to raise property taxes.

The proposal would boost property taxes over three years, topping out with a $659 million increase. The plan met urban and rural opposition in a hearing on Tuesday. Realtors said the tax hike would make it harder to buy a home. It would also hit farmers by raising taxes on their land.

Ruins Pub

Ryan Cavanaugh has a vision for downtown Topeka: a restaurant and pub called Brew Bank, where customers can access a wall of 20 electronic, self-serve beer taps as a way to mingle and try local brews.

“It’s just about a community experience,” he said. “For the patrons to be able to try all of these beers and try them responsibly in small amounts is just an exciting thing.”

The devices let customers use an electronic card to dispense brews.

“Let’s face it,” Cavanaugh said, “the technology’s just really cool.”

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Some lawmakers said Monday that putting Kansas at the center of a database intended to root out voter fraud might eventually put it in the middle of a lawsuit if things go wrong.

Kate Hutchens / KMUW/File photo

Kansas lawmakers this week will look at tightening the rules for companies and local governments that want to tap into a major economic development program, STAR bonds.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Gov. Jeff Colyer has made it a point to say he will not accept harassment and discrimination in his administration, but he won’t say if he’ll reinstate an executive order that would bar discrimination against LGBT state workers.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Gov. Jeff Colyer is creating a task force to study ways to fight drug abuse in Kansas through prevention and treatment. He signed an executive order Thursday bringing together the heads of 16 state agencies, as well as medical professionals and law enforcement.

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Officials with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said Thursday that a staff member improperly disclosed personal information for 11,000 people in an email sent to multiple addresses.

J. Schafer / KPR/File photo

A bill in the Kansas House would require children convicted of sexually violent crimes to register as sex offenders for life. That’s the same penalty adults face.

Under current law, juvenile offenders over 14 can be required to register as a sex offender for serious crimes. However, in many cases, juvenile offenders are not required to register for the public offender list.

The bill was prompted by a double murder in Newton. The victims were 24-year-old Alyssa Runyon and her 4-year-old daughter.

Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas lawmakers return to the Statehouse on Wednesday still facing the largest challenge of this year’s session: balancing the budget and responding to a court order to spend more on schools.

In recent years, though, lawmakers plucked the low-hanging fruit when it comes to finding cash. That makes any revenue harvest ahead that much more difficult.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas House has voted to toughen penalties for so-called swatting pranks that use false police reports to draw law enforcement to an address.

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