Stephen Koranda

Stephen is the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

Tax revenues in Kansas were $30 million below estimates for the month of August.

The state’s revenue numbers were dragged down by large tax refunds given to companies as part of economic development programs.

Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan says the economic development programs are considered when writing the estimates, but this month included especially large refunds.


Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s nominee for commerce secretary has backed out of the job, after citing a possible conflict of interest. As Stephen Koranda reports, the withdrawal comes just a day before a hearing on his nomination was set to begin.

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is pushing a plan to cancel voter registrations if they aren’t completed within 90 days. Kansas law requires people registering to vote for the first time to prove their citizenship, and more than 30,000 voter registrations are on hold because they don't include the documents. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, a hearing Wednesday will give the public a chance to weigh in on the plan.

Stephen Koranda

A state panel has approved a total of $6 million in additional funding for Kansas school districts. Nearly 40 districts requested money to cover lower property values or climbing enrollment. As Stephen Koranda reports, the districts received around half of what they were asking for.

The panel trimmed back the requests for the so-called “extraordinary needs” funding to make sure they were really focusing on out-of-the-ordinary situations.

Bryan Thompson

Nearly 40 Kansas school districts will be asking a panel of lawmakers today for additional state funding.

The requests are from districts that have seen falling property values because of reduced oil prices or have seen increases in their student populations. Those are variables not taken into account in the state’s new block grant system for school funding.

Stephen Koranda file photo

An amnesty program for Kansans behind on their taxes will start next month. The goal is to bring in tax dollars that otherwise the state may not easily collect.

The revenue department has now posted details online and will begin accepting applications Sept. 1.

Kansas Department of Revenue spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda says only tax debt accrued before the end of 2013 is eligible for amnesty.

The chairman of the state Democratic Party has resigned after efforts to revamp the party’s message for Kansas, where Republicans hold big majorities.

Recently, Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Meeker had been using the phrase “red state Democrats,” arguing that Kansas Democrats are different from Democrats in traditionally blue states.

He said there was room in the party for people with different views about abortion and same-sex marriage. But Democratic activists pushed back, saying Meeker was abandoning some of the party’s core principals.


Leaders in the Kansas capital city say it’s not OK to bare it all. The Topeka City Council has voted to ban public nudity. City Council members referenced an increased number of complaints about nudity recently. Councilman Jeff Coen pointed to an example on the busy shopping strip Wanamaker Road.

“I am a huge supporter of individual liberties, but jogging naked down Wanamaker disrupts the quality of life for the rest of us,” says Coen.

Webb Garlinghouse, who’s associated with a clothing-free camp outside Topeka, calls the ordinance “highly discriminatory.”

Lindsay Fox, flickr Creative Commons

The Topeka City Council has voted to ban e-cigarettes in all public places where normal cigarettes are already banned.

The council heard from supporters of a ban, including Mary Jane Hellebust, a former director of the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition. She told commissioners that it still isn’t known if the vapors from e-cigarettes are safe.

“It is better if we keep these vapors out of the public places until we have decades, literally, of research to show that they are safe. Go back to the old maxim: better safe than sorry,” Hellebust says.

Michael B. / flickr Creative Commons

Dozens of Kansas school districts will be asking lawmakers for extra state funding next week because they have more students or falling property values.

Monday is the deadline to apply, and the total number of schools asking for funding could be around 40.

Kansas moved to a block grant system this school year, and it doesn’t automatically add additional funding when student enrollment grows.