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, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Supreme Court justices had some pointed questions for an attorney representing the state in a lawsuit over school funding. At issue is whether lawmakers have done enough to reduce funding disparities among school districts.

Justice Dan Biles expressed frustration that lawsuits over education funding have been going on for years and the latest solution from lawmakers appears to be just a one-year solution.

“How many years do we operate unconstitutionally before we say the music’s got to stop and we got to quit dancing?” Biles said.

kac.org

An influential advocacy group based in Topeka is getting a new leader. Annie McKay is taking over as president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children.

She replaces Shannon Cotsoradis, who's leaving KAC for a job with the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative.

McKay praised the agency and Cotsoradis for their accomplishments, which included stopping the state from selling off part of a tobacco settlement used to pay for children’s programs.

Chris, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a lawsuit over school funding. At issue is whether lawmakers have done enough to reduce funding disparities among school districts. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, a ruling against the state will likely bring lawmakers back to Topeka for more work.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The vice president of the Kansas Senate says he will not seek re-election.

Republican Jeff King, from Independence, says lawmakers have become too focused on what he calls soundbites and politics. King says the current political system punishes lawmakers who admit they’ve made a mistake and try to fix it. He uses the example of a business income tax exemption he initially supported, then in recent years worked to eliminate.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

The two Planned Parent organizations in Kansas and Missouri wasted little time challenging Kansas’ termination of their Medicaid funding.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

An unusual coalition of lawmakers helped soundly defeat a bill that would have repealed a tax exemption for Kansas businesses. The tax policy allows more than 300,000 Kansas businesses to avoid paying income taxes. Republican Representative Sue Boldra called the repeal effort a step in the right direction.

“It’s not the whole pie, as many of us desire, but certainly this is enough to right our ship of state and get a handle on our budget,” Boldra said.

Madeleine Deaton / Flickr Creative Commons

It could soon cost slightly more to register vehicles in Kansas. Lawmakers have approved a bill that would increase vehicle registration fees to help fund the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Republican Rep. Virgil Peck opposes the move, because he says they could divert existing registration money instead of adding the new $3.25 fee.

“We have a way to fund it other than this increase. I do not support increasing vehicle registration fees on Kansas vehicle owners by nearly $10 million,” Peck said.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas lawmakers struggled over the weekend, working late nights as they tried to craft a budget solution. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, they ultimately approved a plan in the early hours of Monday morning.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas lawmakers are slated to vote on a bill Sunday that would delay a payment into the state pension plan and cut government spending to balance the budget.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Around 100 opponents of a so-called bathroom bill rallied at the Kansas Statehouse today. The legislation would require transgender students to use the restroom of their sex at birth.

Stephanie, who only wanted to use her first name, is a Kansas teacher and is transgender. She says transgender students already face challenges in school and this would single them out and make life tougher.

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