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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Kansas could end up handing out fewer felonies — and more misdemeanors —  for certain property crimes.

That could mean sending fewer people to state prison, though some might end up in county jail instead.

Until 2016, stealing $1,000 worth of property was the threshold between misdemeanor and felony theft. Then Kansas raised the dividing line to $1,500.

Another Republican broke ranks this week to endorse the Democrat in the Kansas governor’s race. And an attack from the 2014 governor’s race resurfaced, this time in the battle for a 2nd Congressional District seat. Jim McLean, Madeline Fox, and Stephen Koranda of the Kansas News Service catch up on the latest from the campaign trail. 


The ACLU of Kansas is now suing Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker to gain access to lists of 900 voters who filed provisional ballots and about 150 voters whose advance ballots were not counted in the August primary. 

A committee of Kansas judges and attorneys says cities need to reduce the costs of appearing in municipal court.

The Kansas Supreme Court appointed the ad hoc committee last September to assess whether the state’s municipal courts impose an unreasonable financial burden on low-income people. 

A report released Wednesday lists more than a dozen suggestions to reduce or simplify fees, bail and monetary fines that come with being arrested and charged with a crime.

The alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl while she was waiting for a foster care placement in May has many asking about consequences for the contractor, responsible that day for both the girl and the 18-year-old accused of assaulting her.

On a Facebook Live session Wednesday, Department for Children and Families secretary Gina Meier-Hummel fielded a question about why the contractor hasn’t been dropped.

At least one Kansas business says the Trump administration's plan to further limit the number of refugees entering the country could hurt its operations.

Secretary of State of State Mike Pompeo announced on Tuesday a plan to cap the number of refugees entering the country at 30,000 next year. For the current year the cap was lowered to 45,000, though final admissions numbers will be about half that.

In the wake of rape charge filed in an attack on a 13-year-old girl in the office of a foster care contractor, Kansas lawmakers said Tuesday they’ll investigate what went wrong.

One legislator said state officials and the contractor responsible for watching over the alleged victim will face tough questions later this month.

Facebook, Wikipedia

Prominent Kansas Republican Nancy Kassebaum has endorsed Democrat Sen. Laura Kelly for governor.

Kassebaum spent three terms in the U.S. Senate as a moderate Republican between 1978 and 1997. She was the first woman to chair a major committee. Now she’s endorsing Kelly over conservative GOP nominee Kris Kobach.

In a statement, Kassebaum praised Kelly’s “competence, understanding, and dedication.”

Former Republican Gov. Bill Graves has also endorsed Kelly.

Paul Andrews

Journalist Sarah Smarsh grew up in what she calls a working-poor family in south central Kansas. Her new memoir, Heartland, is out Tuesday. It’s a look at Smarsh’s childhood through the lens of the national politics and the forces of poverty.

KMUW’s Beth Golay talked with Smarsh at our studios.

www.aauw.org

A new study says Kansas lags many other states when it comes to the pay disparity between men and women.

The report from the American Association of University Women ranks Kansas 42nd in the nation. It says women make on average 77 percent as much as their male counterparts in Kansas, but it stresses the state can improve.

Kim Churches, with the group, says protecting employees who disclose salaries can help bring disparities to light. She says the state could also block the use of past salaries in hiring.

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