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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Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has sent a tax relief bill down in flames, taking her veto pen to the measure she says would wreck the state budget. But, as a priority for Republicans, it could remain in play for the rest of the legislative session and rise from the ashes.

The last week might have been easier for Gov. Laura Kelly if every staffer and appointee had stuck to sharing cat photos on Twitter instead of political opinions.

The Kansas GOP pounced quickly on her newly formed Democratic administration for the social media transgressions of its people. With divided government in Topeka, GOP leaders won’t miss a chance to point out potential errors.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A House committee rejected Gov. Laura Kelly’s school funding bill Thursday before advancing their own plan to settle a long-running legal battle over how much to spend on education.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s nomination for commerce secretary will go to the Senate floor but without a favorable committee recommendation.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Gov. Kelly announced Tuesday morning that she is withdrawing her nominee for an appeals court seat after past tweets showed Jeffry Jack insulting the president and calling for gun control.

“It’s unacceptable for a sitting judge, who must be seen as unbiased and impartial, to post personal political views on social media,” Kelly said in a statement Tuesday morning.

Republicans in the Kansas Senate seem ready to end a long-running lawsuit by complying with a court ruling that said the state sends too little money to local school districts.

The Kansas House? Not just yet. It’s advancing a plan that would continue adding school spending for another year, and only another year.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Senate has agreed to a school funding plan aimed at ending a long-running lawsuit over education spending. It’s a rare example of Republicans going along with Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

Gov. Kelly proposed essentially renewing a plan the Kansas Supreme Court ruled last year was close to adequate. Based on calculations from the Department of Education, the proposal would add $90 million more a year to account for inflation.

It passed the Senate on a 32-8 vote and is headed to the House. Republican Sen. Molly Baumgardner calls the plan reasonable.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

A Kansas school boards group plans to oppose an education funding bill that it says likely won’t end a long-running court battle over how much the state spends.

Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar / flickr, Creative Commons

The debate over legalizing sports betting in Kansas could hinge on how gamblers’ personal data is used.

Some House lawmakers studying the issue are concerned personal data could be used to target habitual gamblers and encourage them to gamble more.

To avoid that, Republican Rep. Francis Awerkamp wants the state lottery to directly manage online sports betting.

“It allows the Legislature to better control what happens to the personal data collected through the apps so that it’s not used in ways which we don’t agree with,” he says.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service, File Photo

Gov. Laura Kelly’s school funding plan is headed to the full Senate for consideration. Though the proposal is advancing, a coalition of Kansas school districts has pulled its support.

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