Kansas News Service

The Kansas News Service produces essential enterprise reporting, diving deep and connecting the dots regarding the policies, issues and and events that affect the health of Kansans and their communities. The team is based at KCUR and collaborates with KMUW and public media stations across Kansas.

The Kansas News Service is made possible by a group of funding organizations, led by the Kansas Health Foundation. Other funders include United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Sunflower Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Additional support comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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A massive voter-tracking program run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — which purports to help states keep voter rolls accurate — has halted operations over concerns about its own accuracy and security.

The Interstate Crosscheck system, which Kobach’s office promised would be working ahead of the 2018 elections, has been sidelined while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducts a security assessment following the unintended release of hundreds of voters’ private information.

So far this month, eastern Kansas foster care contractor KVC Kansas hasn’t had any kids sleep in its offices. St. Francis, the contractor for the rest of the state, has had four kids overnight, according to the latest update from the state child welfare agency.

In recent months, each of those contractors logged dozens of overnight stays per month.

File/Reno County Fire District #6

A legislative audit released Tuesday concluded that while wildfires in Kansas are becoming more frequent, a lack of resources and coordination are hampering the state’s ability to fight them.

Firefighting duties and resources are spread across three separate agencies, which auditors said is complicating wildfire response and communication between state and local officials.

LaRissa Lawrie / KMUW

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer on Tuesday denied pardon requests for 21 of the state's inmates.

Colyer made the announcement at a press conference in Wichita. Typically when a governor holds a press conference about pardons, it’s to announce he or she is granting one; Colyer announced only denials, focusing specifically on the clemency petition of Everett Gentry.

Gentry is serving 25 years to life for his role in the 2006 murder of 14-year-old Chelsea Brooks. The Wichita teen was nine months pregnant at the time. 

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File Photo

The Trump administration’s policy of separating parents and children who cross the border without legal permission has become a divisive issue across the United States and in Congress.

The policy spurred U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, to demand Monday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions "take immediate action to end the practice" that's divided nearly 2,000 families since April. There's also a Senate bill, known as the Keep Families Together Act, that would ban the separation tactic and has only Democratic backing.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, joined a growing bipartisan group of lawmakers calling on the Trump administration to discontinue its practice of splitting up families who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

On Monday, Yoder sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for an immediate end to the policy.

Kansas will no longer be allowed to block people from registering to vote if they don’t provide documents such as birth certificates or passports to prove their citizenship.

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that doing so violates the U.S. Constitution and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

Read the complete ruling

“It's a 100 percent win,” said Mark Johnson, a Kansas City attorney who represented one of the plaintiffs, Parker Bednasek. “We got everything we asked for. Can't say that very often.”

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

Tat Hidano still gets the usual questions when he’s overseas recruiting international students to Wichita State University. The big one: Where is Wichita?

But lately Hidano has been hearing another question: Will I be safe in the United States?

“The questions about safety in the United States have been dominant,” Hidano said. He says his job has begun to feel less like recruiting and more like diplomacy.

Survivors of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, will host a town hall in Kansas City, Kansas, Monday night as part of a national tour.

NPR reports that March For Our Lives, the organization founded by the student activists who put together the event of the same name in Washington, D.C. three months ago, will make more than 50 stops in 20 states as part of the tour, including the 6 p.m. event Monday at Reardon Convention Center.

Family and friends of the two Wyandotte County deputies who were fatally shot had the support of the community Sunday evening, as hundreds gathered in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, for an emotional vigil.

"They touched not only their family, but the community's lives. It was nice to see the community come together for them," said Nichelle Garrett, who was friends with one of the deputies.

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