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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The University of Kansas School of Law is expanding free legal assistance for children brought into this country illegally by their parents. Under a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), some children have been allowed to remain in the U.S. legally to work and attend school.

While that program is being phased out, some recipients can renew their temporary immigration status before a deadline next month. The KU School of Law will provide free assistance to people seeking a DACA renewal.

Stephen Koranda

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:25 p.m. Sept. 18.

The Leavenworth County Commission on Monday morning backed off its support for a controversial chicken processing plant, throwing the future of the massive project into doubt.

The commission voted 2-1 to formally rescind a resolution that would have paved the way for $500 million in bonds to be issued for construction of the Tyson Foods plant near the Leavenworth County town of more than 5,000.

Matt Davis / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers from the Leavenworth County area will address questions today about a chicken facility planned for outside Tonganoxie. The proposed $320 million Tyson plant could process more than 1 million chickens per week.

Jen Peak is a Tonganoxie resident who’s opposed to the plan. However, she says the meeting will be helpful for anyone interested in the project, which could include people outside Leavenworth County.

Amazon is planning to open a second headquarters in the U.S., and Kansas officials will be making a pitch for it.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer told members of the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce that he and other Kansas leaders will make the most aggressive offer they’ve ever made for a company. It’s not yet clear what that could include as far as tax breaks or economic incentives, but according the Lawrence Journal-World, Colyer noted Kansas already has a relationship with the company because of local Amazon shipping centers.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Fellow members of a presidential commission on election integrity pushed back against Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s argument that out-of-state voters may have swayed the outcome of a Senate election in New Hampshire.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is leading the second meeting of President Trump’s election integrity commission in New Hampshire Tuesday.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has authorized pay raises for around 3,000 state workers who did not get a pay hike earlier this year. Lawmakers approved raises for many state employees, but because of the way those raises were structured, some workers were left out.

“This pay plan genuinely came out of reaction to what happened with the Legislature’s pay plan, seeing that there were some folks that were left behind,” says John Milburn, a spokesman for the Department of Administration.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Tyson Foods Inc. and Kansas officials unveiled plans Tuesday for a $300 million chicken facility outside Tonganoxie, a town about 15 miles northeast of Lawrence. The project will include a hatchery, feed mill and plant capable of processing more than 1 million birds per week.

Doug Ramsey, Tyson’s group president for poultry, said the complex will employ about 1,600 people and will produce trays of chicken sold at grocery stores.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Supporters of a policy that lets some undocumented immigrants stay in the U.S. rallied at the Kansas Statehouse Friday. They met as President Trump considers elimination of the program.

August tax collections in Kansas topped estimates by more than $8 million.

The state Department of Revenue reported $460 million in tax collections last month, ahead of its official projection of $452 million.

The AP reports that since Kansas' current budget year began on July 1, that state has collected a total of $914 million in taxes, about $16 million more than projected.

Kansas Revenue Secretary Sam Williams said it's too early to tell whether economic growth is boosting revenues.

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