Stephen Koranda

Statehouse Reporter, Kansas News Service

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.

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TOPEKA, Kansas — Kiley Klug, flanked by her 13-year-old son, Owen, in a wheelchair, stood before Kansas lawmakers Wednesday and pleaded to let her treat her son’s hundreds of daily seizures with legal medicinal marijuana.

At one point, she paused to tend to one of the boy’s seizures before resuming her testimony.

“He, as you can see, suffers from a rare, relentless seizure monster called Dravet Syndrome,” she said. “He, at his worst, has struggled through up to 200 to 300 seizures a day.”

The pandemic caused counties across the state to issue varying levels of business shutdown orders meant to slow the spread of a life-threatening virus.

Now businesses that lost their ability to make money during the pandemic want a tax refund for the time they were forced to hang “closed” signs.

Lawmakers heard competing arguments about property tax rebates this week.

Businesses say the closures put them on the brink of shutting down for good. Local governments warn they don’t have the resources to be offering mass tax refunds.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Lawmakers sent voters a state constitutional amendment Thursday that anti-abortion forces say Kansas needs to keep existing laws intact and that their opponents say could ultimately make abortions unattainable in the state.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Fights between Republican lawmakers and the Democratic governor — over new taxes and her power to shut down businesses in a pandemic — threaten calls on both sides for political unity.

Meanwhile, conservatives in the Legislature push ahead quickly to amend the Kansas Constitution to declare it contains no right to abortion.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly continued to push for vigilance in the fight against the coronavirus and tried to combat skepticism of the vaccine on Tuesday as she laid out her goals for 2021.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — In north Lawrence, the city set up 20 white-and-gray tents in a park to house people who are homeless.

It’s not health care, or COVID-19 tests, but federal coronavirus tax dollars are paying for the camp.

“If we put our homeless population into the shelter, there’s a higher chance that they’ll get the virus and then they’ll spread it across the community,” Douglas County Commissioner Patrick Kelly said.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday picked an experienced appeals court judge, who started her career in retail sales, to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — This week’s election set the stage for partisan fights in the Kansas Statehouse over things like redistricting, abortion, Medicaid expansion and pandemic-related aid.

Democrats had hoped to crack the Republican supermajority in both chambers — thus taking away the GOP’s power to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s vetoes — but that didn’t happen.

Democrats and Republicans in Kansas will keep their seats in the U.S. House, as Tuesday’s election favored the incumbents plus the Republican candidate in the 2nd Congressional District.

STILWELL, Kansas — After Doug Reed put his elderly father’s Johnson County home up for sale, the mailbox started to fill up with letters from the Kansas Department of Labor, sometimes 25 or 30 at a time.

“We had two or three big batches of them, and they’ve been dribbling in ever since,” Reed said.

Within a couple weeks, about 130 letters had arrived, all bearing his father’s street address but addressed to different names.

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