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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Kansas Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts say funding for a federal lab to be built in Manhattan has passed an important hurdle.

A state board Tuesday rejected a proposed change to a law requiring Kansans to present proof of citizenship when registering to vote for the first time.

A national advocacy organization says Kansas is one of only a handful of states that cut funding for higher education this year.

The National Endowment for the Arts has made a preliminary decision saying Kansas is once again eligible to receive federal matching funds for arts programs. That decision was revealed during a meeting of the state's arts agency Friday.

When Governor Sam Brownback vetoed state arts funding in 2011, Kansas lost federal matching dollars. With some arts funding restored, the NEA says Kansas could be eligible for up to $560,000 in matching funds this fiscal year.

Peter Jasso, director of the Creative Arts Industries Commission, called the decision great news.

Stephen Koranda

State regulators took public comments last night on a proposed Westar Energy rate increase.

Westar is asking to raise rates by 2 percent and to shift more electricity costs from large customers to residential users and small businesses. The company said the cost shift is necessary because larger business customers are paying more than their fair share.

About 80 people showed up in Topeka for the hearing, and many of them lined up to blast the proposal.

Common Core educational standards were once again a topic at Tuesday's meeting of the Kansas State Board of Education.

The Kansas Attorney General's office has received notifications from more than 300 local governments stating that they're exempting themselves from a new state gun law.

A Democratic senator from Topeka says Governor Sam Brownback is packing the Kansas Board of Regents with too many Republicans.

Douglas County has been awarded grants totaling more than $68,000 for a regional food hub feasibility study.

The year-long study will determine whether 16 counties in the northeast corner of Kansas could benefit by creating a warehouse for locally-grown foods.

The state of Kansas will need to do less internal borrowing next fiscal year to pay the state's bills. Tuesday, a group made up of legislators and the governor approved $300 million in transfers for the new fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Every year tax collections go up and down month to month, meaning the state has to temporarily move money from various programs into the general fund to pay the bills. Those transfers have been going down in recent years. Gov. Sam Brownback says that’s good.

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