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

The 2016 Kansas legislative session starts next month. KPR’s Stephen Koranda sat down to talk with Gov. Sam Brownback about his outlook on taxes, the budget and education.

Hugo Phan

Some university officials in Kansas could be making a push next legislative session to keep concealed guns off college campuses, but Gov. Sam Brownback does not seem interested in changing the law.

Universities currently have an exemption to state law allowing them to ban concealed weapons, but that will end in 2017. In a recent interview, Brownback said constitutional rights extend onto college campuses.

File photo

The Kansas Supreme Court is considering whether lawmakers violated the Constitution when they changed how chief judges are selected.

Chief judges have administrative control over local courts. Lawmakers took the power to select them away from the Supreme Court and gave it to local judges.

Attorney Pedro Irigonegaray is representing a judge from central Kansas and says the state Constitution gives that administrative power to the state's high court--and that system has worked well for years.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A Kansas legislative committee has concerns about the way the state is handling the placement of foster children, but the committee delayed taking any action until next month.

Rep. Jim Ward wants an audit of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, because he says evidence of wrongdoing can’t be released due to confidentiality laws. The Wichita Democrat says an audit could reveal discrimination by DCF against same-sex couples.

Stephen Koranda

Concealed weapons will be allowed on university campuses in Kansas starting in 2017 as required by a state law. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, more than 100 students, faculty and staff gathered yesterday at the University of Kansas to share their thoughts and concerns about the issue.

Miranda Ganter, a sophomore at KU and an RA, says she’s already scared sometimes when she has to confront men in the dorms who are drinking or otherwise breaking the rules.

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Gov. Sam Brownback is sticking with his decision not to allow state agencies to help relocate Syrian refugees to Kansas. In recent weeks, faith leaders have asked the governor to reconsider under the religious ideals of compassion for those in need.

Brownback says in an interview that he maintains his concern terrorists could infiltrate the U.S. with the refugees.

Dan Kitwood, Getty Images (from NPR.org)

More religious officials are joining the call for Gov. Sam Brownback to reverse his stance on Syrian refugees coming to Kansas.

Kansas State University

Forty professors from Kansas State University say in a letter to lawmakers that higher education institutions should be able to decide if guns are allowed on their campuses. Universities and colleges currently have an exemption from state law allowing the schools to ban guns, but that will expire in 2017.

“We certainly want people, the Legislature in particular -that’s why we addressed it to them- to recognize we are strongly against having guns on campus,” says physics professor Chris Sorensen.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas tax collections beat projections last month. Taxes were $8 million above estimates and adding in other sources of state revenue brings the November surplus to more than $15 million.

Kansas Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan says individual income taxes and retail sales taxes were two of the bright spots in the month of November.

“We aren’t going to throw too big a party yet, but it’s one month and it’s a good sign that there’s been some growth this month,” Jordan says.

Flazingo Photos, flickr Creative Commons

A survey of business officials in the middle of the country paints a dim outlook for the region’s economy. The survey by Creighton University shows a negative outlook for job growth and overall business conditions in Kansas and other mid-America states.

Creighton economics professor Ernie Goss says the numbers show manufacturing has taken a hit in the region, with more than 1 percent of manufacturing jobs lost in the last year.

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