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 / KPR/File photo

A new survey from Fort Hays State University shows Gov. Sam Brownback and the state Legislature are still unpopular with many Kansans, while the congressional race in the 1st District is a dead heat.

Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature continue to be unpopular, and the primary race in the 1st Congressional District is in a dead heat, according to a new survey from the Fort Hays State University Docking Institute.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

When you’re a Republican, and the governor is a Republican, and the governor has a low approval rating, running for office can be tricky. In a state Senate race in Topeka, both Republicans are trying to keep their distance.

wikipedia.org

Congress has yet to come to an agreement on appropriating money to fund Zika virus research, but that hasn’t stopped Kansas State University researchers from studying the disease.

Scientists at K-State acquired samples of Zika from the CDC. The work has been going on at the Biosecurity Research Institute.

“We certainly hope and believe that we’re moving the knowledge and science forward,” says Biosecurity Research Institute Director Steve Higgs.

He says they’re studying how the virus infects mosquitos and what types of mosquitos can spread the infection.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas Bioscience Authority will soon go on the auction block. A state panel Wednesday officially merged the KBA into the Kansas Department of Commerce, the first step in selling off the state-funded investment organization.

Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave says the agency will be taking bids to purchase the organization in the coming months. He says they’re hoping for a buyer with a connection to the state of Kansas.

Kansas Bioscience Authority

The planned sale of the Kansas Bioscience Authority could advance this week. As Stephen Koranda reports, the State Finance Council will work on the issue Wednesday.

The Finance Council will consider merging the Bioscience Authority into the Kansas Department of Commerce. That has to happen before the state can sell off the assets of the organization.

U.S. Dept. of Justice [Public domain] / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been helping craft the party platform at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The GOP delegate had some significant influence on the document.

The platform is a series of policy idea and goals drafted by party officials that will be presented to the full GOP convention next week.

Stephen Koranda

A property tax lid is going into effect in Kansas next year,  and some communities are taking action to prepare for the revenue restrictions.

 

  

Kansas legislators created the tax lid with a law that says property tax collections can’t outpace the consumer price index.

If property tax collections grow faster than the index, then either tax rates would have to go down to return that money to taxpayers or a public vote would have to be held to take in money above the cap.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

This post was updated on Tuesday at 12:21 p.m.

With little notice, a state panel has approved a temporary election rule that will have some Kansans vote with provisional ballots, but only their votes in federal races will be counted. Votes for state and local races will be tossed out.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

It’s time to start voting, Kansas.

From the top of the primary ballot to the bottom there are important decisions to make by Aug. 2.

AgriLife Today, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas has hired a new state government official responsible for regulating drones. As Stephen Koranda reports, the state’s first director of unmanned aircraft systems says Kansas could be at the forefront of the technology.

Air Force veteran Bob Brock will lead the efforts in Kansas to regulate unmanned aircraft while boosting the industry. Brock says the state’s aircraft sector puts Kansas in a position to become a leader in areas like manufacturing and training related to drones.

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