Stephen Koranda

Stephen is the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

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Education
10:23 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Kansas Senator Laura Kelly Says Subcommittee Targeting KU In Budget

Updated at 11:44 a.m CT:

A Kansas Senate committee is considering a budget bill that would restore some funding to state universities that was cut last year.

However, the bill caused some heated words about whether lawmakers are targeting the University of Kansas.

The bill eliminates $2 million dollars Governor Sam Brownback had proposed for a program to help commercialize KU research.

Only KU had a program proposal deleted from the governor's suggestions. Topeka Democrat Laura Kelly says the committee targeted KU.

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Community
9:50 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Kansas Equality Groups Ask for Respect for Phelps Family

Family members of 84-year-old Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps have confirmed that he's in hospice care in Topeka and may be near death.

The group is known for funeral protests that have created a lot of anger, but equality groups are asking for a different response to Phelp's condition.

Stephanie Mott is with the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, or K-STEP. She's a transgender woman. She has traveled the nation giving presentations on LGBT issues and often hears the same question over and over.

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Community
7:30 am
Mon March 17, 2014

UPDATE: Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Dies At 84

Updated on March 20 at 11:24 CT: WIBW and the Topeka Capital-Journal has confirmed that Fred Phelps, the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, has died at the age of 84.

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Government
12:35 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Kansas Statehouse May Offer Online Streaming

Credit Stephen Koranda

Right now, there's only audio streaming from the floor of the House and Senate, so you can tune in to hear things like this.

"Further questions on the amendment? Senator from Wilson, Senator Knox. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I rise in opposition to this amendment."

The bills would add live audio and video streaming from four of the most-active committee rooms. Committees are where much of the real work on bills takes place. Representative Reid Petty, a Republican from Liberal, says many people in his district can't take the time for a nearly six-hour drive to the Statehouse.

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Courts
3:44 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

House Committee Votes To Cut Court Reporter Jobs

The budget-writing committee in the Kansas House has voted to cut 18 court reporter positions in the judicial branch and eliminate 13 additional unfilled positions.

Representative Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican, says this would help prompt the judicial branch to find cost savings. He says there's institutional resistance to change.

“Most of them know that this is inevitable and actually best and it’s efficient and probably the thing that needs to happen," DeGraaf says. "But who wants to be the first one to suggest it?”

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Health
10:52 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Trials Begin at University of Kansas Stem Cell Center

The Kansas Legislature created a new adult stem cell therapy facility at the University of Kansas Medical Center less than a year ago.

Officials with the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center told a legislative committee on Monday that they've started clinical trials.

Dr. Buddha Dawn says work has begun on a trial aimed at treating blood flow problems in the feet and legs.

There are also planned trials on new ways to treat cancer and heart problems.

"So these trials would help local patients to get access to adult stem cell therapy through our center," Dawn said.

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Education
10:34 am
Mon March 10, 2014

State Lawmakers Resume Talks Over Education Funding

State lawmakers are resuming their talks about education funding.

A Kansas Supreme Court ruling last week said the state has created inequalities between schools districts and that lawmakers violated the Kansas Constitution by cutting funds that help equalize school district budgets.

The group that filed that lawsuit, and some lawmakers, say the solution is to restore more than $100 million dollars in education funds.

Democratic House Representative and governor candidate Paul Davis says Kansas has fallen short.

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Education Funding
3:56 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Court: Schools Unconstitutionally Unequal

The Kansas Supreme Court says the state has created unconstitutional inequalities between school districts by cutting state funds.

School districts and parents filed a lawsuit asking the state to increase education funding. The court says lawmakers created inequality when they cut certain education funds during the recession.

Justices say lawmakers must solve the problem by July, and some estimates indicate that a fix could cost more than $100 million.

Joyce Eisenmenger Morrison is with the group Schools for Fair Funding, which filed the lawsuit.

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Kansas Legislature
5:39 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Bill Would Keep People From Changing Political Parties Before Primaries

A Kansas Senate committee is considering a bill that would stop people from switching political parties in the final weeks before a primary election.

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Government
10:12 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Kansas House Rejects State Contract Changes

The Kansas House has rejected a proposal that Democrats say would create more jobs for Kansans.

The amendment would have required companies that get state contracts to mostly employ Kansas workers.

Representative Annie Tietze introduced the plan during debate on a bill.

"We talk about the American dream and we want to grow businesses,  but these peoples need jobs first," she says.

Representative Marvin Kleeb says the measure could lead to other states passing similar rules, and that could hurt Kansas businesses.

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