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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There’s a crowded field of candidates running or considering the race for Kansas governor in 2018, and that means they’ll need to find ways to set themselves apart.

Sudipto Sarkar / flickr Creative Commons

The Shawnee County Commission has voted to change the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Commissioner Bob Archer said he pushed for the change because of falling county health rankings.

“If we don’t take action, we’re just not doing our jobs, in my opinion," Archer said. "This is something we can do. It’s sending a message out that we care about the health of our citizens."

The proposal passed on a 2-1 vote. Commissioner Shelly Buhler supported it, but Commissioner Kevin Cook was opposed.

Stephen Koranda

A year from now, Kansans could be in the middle of the biggest primary battle for governor in recent history.

With Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer poised to finish the term of Gov. Sam Brownback — likely to leave soon for an ambassador job — candidates are lining up for the 2018 contest.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Republican Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer announced Tuesday that he will run for Kansas governor in 2018, ending speculation that he would enter the race.

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Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer has appointed a treasurer for a campaign for the Republican nomination for governor next year.

Selzer filed the form last week with the secretary of state's office. Appointing a treasurer allows him to legally accept contributions.

Five other Republicans have appointed treasurers: Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former state Sen. Jim Barnett of Topeka, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman, Leawood businessman Patrick Kucera and ex-state Rep. Ed O'Malley of Wichita.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

The president’s advisory commission on election integrity has heightened talk about voting issues and election security. Two of the loudest voices in the discussion come from Kansas and Missouri, and they’re clashing over the issue.

Former Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander crossed the border and stopped recently in Douglas County, Kansas. He aimed some of his comments at Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Kander has been touring and talking voting policies, and he believes some of the rules pushed by Kobach are a bad idea.

Susie Fagan / Kansas News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday touted his credentials and passion for helping the Trump administration mitigate religious persecution around the globe.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Health care advocates say they’ll keep the pressure on Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran as debate moves forward on a possible repeal of Obamacare. Moran voted to go ahead with debate on a health care overhaul, but in the past he’s voiced concerns about Medicaid cuts.

Related: Moran Explains Position On Obamacare Repeal After Vote Against Bill

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A federal judge has ruled that the president’s election commission, vice chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, can go ahead with its effort to collect voter data from states.

Kobach requested every state send detailed voter information to the federal Election Integrity Commission, including names, birthdays, and voting history.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center wanted to block the data collection. Some states have said they won’t comply, citing privacy and security concerns.

The unemployment rate remains low in Kansas, but the state has been shedding private sector jobs in recent months.

Numbers from the Kansas Department of Labor show private sector jobs were climbing from January to March. But according to a new monthly report, the state began losing private sector jobs -- more than 11,000 of them from March to June.

Manufacturing jobs fell over that period, but not nearly as much as service sector jobs. The area that sagged the most includes the support jobs for organizations, such as office administration, personnel services and cleaning.

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