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 Presidential Commission on Election Integrity -- which some have taken to calling simply the “Kobach commission” -- holds its first in-person meeting in Washington, D.C., later Wednesday morning. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is vice chair of the commission, and his pursuit of voter fraud in Kansas will be in the spotlight.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A state office that oversees attorneys will investigate a complaint against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Topeka resident Keri Strahler filed the complaint and made public the response from the office of the disciplinary administrator.

“The allegations contained in your letter will be investigated,” said the response signed by a staff member in the office, which is part of the judicial branch.

nostri-imago / Flickr / Creative Commons

A subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives was discussing tax reform on Thursday, and they’re considering some of the same types of tax policies that Kansas recently overturned. Kansas came up multiple times in the discussion.

The plan in the subcommittee would cut tax rates and cut taxes on some business income, known as pass-through income. The goal is economic growth and specifically boosting small business.

California Democrat Mike Thompson noted the similarities to Kansas policies that were repealed.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

This story was updated Thursday to reflect a response from Secretary Kobach's office.

Kansans who registered to vote at the DMV or otherwise used the federal voter registration form are eligible to vote in all races, according to court rulings, whether they’ve provided a citizenship document or not. But those voters might have been confused by inconsistencies on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's website.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice are asking states, including Kansas, for information related to the National Voter Registration Act — a move made the same day that the president’s commission on voter fraud sent a request for “publicly available voter roll data.”

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The state of Kansas saw a bump in tax collections in June, with revenues coming in significantly more than expected. That means Kansas ends the fiscal year with $70 million more than anticipated. Total tax collections over the year were $5.8 billion.

Sales, corporate and personal income taxes all beat estimates in June, meaning the month's tax collections topped estimates by $72 million. The June tax collections are a growth of almost 6 percent over the same month in 2016. Fiscal year 2017 revenues grew a total of 1 percent over fiscal year 2016.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Taxes in Kansas will be climbing over the weekend because a tax increase approved by lawmakers is taking effect. The new law will raise income tax rates and reinstate income taxes for thousands of business owners.

“We’re encouraging everybody to just think about it,” said Kansas Revenue Secretary Sam Williams.

For wage-earning employees, Williams recommends studying paychecks in July to make sure the income tax withholding has been increased.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Updated Friday at 10:26 a.m.

A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman said officers at the El Dorado Correctional Facility worked over the day to get a group of inmates to return to their cells. Todd Fertig said in an email that a group of inmates refused to return to their cells Thursday morning.

Fertig said the situation was resolved around 5:00 Thursday afternoon, after backup was called from other facilities.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File photo

The Kansas legislative session may be over, but lawmakers still aren't sure whether their work has ended. They're waiting to see whether the new school funding system they put in place will satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court.

The court previously said education spending was inadequate. In response, lawmakers approved $300 million in new funding over two years and a new method to distribute the money.

Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, says members of the group like the new funding formula, but they still have concerns.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says he doesn’t support the health care overhaul bill in the U.S. Senate. Leaders in the Senate announced Tuesday that they are delaying a vote on the bill over concerns that it didn’t have enough support.

Moran initially was one of the undecided lawmakers. That changed when the vote on the GOP plan was delayed: Now, he says the Senate bill “missed the mark” for Kansas and he would not have supported it.

Moran says he's glad the vote was delayed and says the full legislative process should be used to develop a better proposal.

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