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. 

Kansas lawmakers returned to the Statehouse on Wednesday, but reached the weekend having made little progress on the major issues that remain for this legislative session.

On Thursday, The House Appropriations Committee approved an amended version of Governor Brownback's proposal to issue more bonds for a federal lab.

Earlier, they'd delayed a decision on whether to approve an extra $200 million for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility to be built in Manhattan, KS.

Some state lawmakers like Mark Hutton of Wichita, believe the deal between the federal and state government wasn't clearly defined.

Kansas lawmakers just returned to the Statehouse on Wednesday, but already it looks like a disagreement on taxes could push the session past lawmakers' 80-day deadline.

House and Senate Republicans disagree on whether to extend a temporary sales tax increase. It's set to expire on July 1, and House leaders want to let it end as planned. Republican leaders in both chambers want to lower income tax rates, and Senators say keeping the sales tax elevated allows the state to lower income tax rates more quickly.

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran says the next federal farm bill is likely to cut back or eliminate some farm subsidies. The Republican from Manhattan says that while many lawmakers are focused on cutting spending, he's hoping to protect money allocated to support the federal crop insurance program.

Moran says that Kansas farmers' need for crop insurance has been shown in recent years, with drought and late spring freezes among the challenges they've been facing.

A  report from WSU’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research projects modest job growth in Kansas this year.

It’s driven partially by the energy, construction and services sectors.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Gov. Sam Brownback and the Shawnee County district attorney continue to disagree about some alleged violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Brownback held a series of legislative dinners at Cedar Crest earlier this year. More than 90 lawmakers, virtually all Republicans, were invited.

As Stephen Koranda reports, the investigation looked at whether the legislative dinners violated the open meetings act.

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