Stephen Koranda

Stephen is the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio.


12:00 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Bill To Ban Dismemberment Abortion Procedure Advances

A bill to ban a certain abortion procedure in Kansas was advanced on Thursday by a legislative committee.  

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee advanced the bill, but only after a debate on an amendment that would have strengthened it further.

The bill would ban a procedure that is used during some dilation and evacuation abortions.

Proponents are calling the procedure dismemberment because it involves using forceps or other instruments to dismember the fetus before removal.

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2:32 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Budget Panel Proposes Funding Cuts For KU, K-State


A budget-writing subcommittee in the Kansas Senate has proposed cutting millions of dollars from the University of Kansas and shifting that money to the KU Medical Center. The plan would also cut Kansas State University. Stephen Koranda reports.

The proposal from Republican Senator Tom Arpke would cut KU’s main campus by more than $9 million over the next two years. Arpke says there would be a similar funding increase for KU Med, with the goal of training more doctors for rural areas.

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2:19 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

UPDATE: State Senator Asks Tough Questions Of Kansas Appeals Court Nominee

Kathryn Gardner speaking during the hearing.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Updated at 4:00pm 

The chair of a Kansas Senate committee had some tough questions for a nominee for the Kansas Court of Appeals. Republican Senator Jeff King asked Kathryn Gardner if they should reject her nomination because they don't know much about her opinions on legal matters.

“We are lacking that paper trail of your own thought, your own opinion, your own personal writing reflecting that,” says King.

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12:45 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Kansas Session Hits Halfway Point With No School Funding Plan

Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas Lawmakers have passed the halfway point in the 2015 session without unveiling a proposal to rewrite the state’s school funding formula. Governor Sam Brownback has proposed an overhaul, but first he says lawmakers should freeze spending and issue block grants to schools. As Stephen Koranda reports, a proposal could be coming soon.

Governor Brownback and some Republicans have been unhappy with unexpected cost increases for Kansas education. A block grant proposal would give them time to write a new plan while keeping funding steady.

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10:46 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Deadline Marks The End For Many Bills In The Kansas Legislature

Credit Stephen Koranda

Lawmakers are taking a long weekend after working hard last week to beat a legislative deadline known as "turnaround." As Stephen Koranda reports, when they return on Wednesday, they’ll have fewer issues to consider.

Most bills had to have passed one chamber in the Kansas Legislature by the end of last week or they are dead for the session. That means many bills are done for this year. But, bills from certain legislative committees are exempt, for example budget bills remain alive and well.

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2:36 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

State Senate Approves Bill Moving Local Government Elections In Kansas

The Kansas Senate has advanced a bill that would move local elections from the spring to the fall of odd-numbered years. The bill is a compromise that is aimed at balancing efforts to increase voter turnout against objections from local governments. Stephen Koranda reports.

Republican Senator Mitch Holmes says the goal is to get more people voting by moving the Kansas local elections to the traditional voting season in the fall.

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2:59 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

KS House Moves To Bar Political Candidates From Dropping Out Of Races

Voters casting ballots in Douglas County.
Credit Stephen Koranda

The Kansas House has advanced a bill that would bar political candidates from removing themselves from the ballot after the filing deadline. Currently, candidates can declare they can’t serve in office and have their name taking off the ballot before an election.

Republican Representative Mark Kahrs repeatedly referenced Democrat Chad Taylor dropping out of the U.S. Senate race last year.

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1:18 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

KS House Committee Considers Removing Tuition Benefit For Undocumented Students

Kelvin Lopez urges lawmakers not to repeal the in-state tuition law for certain undocumented immigrants.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Currently, the children of illegal immigrants are allowed to pay in-state tuition at Kansas community colleges and universities - if they meet certain criteria. But some lawmakers want to change that.

A House committee took testimony Tuesday on a plan to revoke the in-state tuition, which is currently used by about 650 students in Kansas.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach says the current law is unfair to legal immigrants, who may not be eligible for in-state tuition.

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2:05 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

KS House Committee Advances Bill Expanding Liquor Sales

Rep. Scott Schwab speaking after the vote.
Credit Stephen Koranda

A Kansas House committee has approved legislation that would let convenience stores sell full-strength beer. It would also allow grocery stores to sell beer, wine and liquor. Stephen Koranda reports on the proposed changes, which would take effect in 2018.

Republican Representative Scott Schwab says this change will be convenient for Kansas consumers. He says in his family, his wife doesn’t want to go to a liquor store while out shopping.

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11:20 am
Mon February 23, 2015

KS Senate's Top Democrat Believes Session Is Off Track

Senator Anthony Hensley speaking to the media last month.
Credit Stephen Koranda

The top Democrat in the Kansas Senate says lawmakers haven't accomplished enough so far this session.

Legislators are facing a significant deadline this week, which marks the midpoint of their scheduled time in Topeka.

Democratic Senator Anthony Hensley believes they're not making enough progress solving problems like a budget shortfall.

Stephen Koranda reports...

Hensley is concerned that they haven’t tackled some big issues and they haven’t passed enough bills. He says they’re already set up to go beyond the normal 90 days of the Kansas session.

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