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. 

Ways to Connect

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.

The Republican-controlled Kansas House approved wide-ranging tax legislation Thursday. The measure would reduce sales taxes on food, which could help Kansans across the income spectrum. It would also give some big corporations a break, and that will likely spark a showdown with Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

Kansas Democrats scored critical wins in the last election. Now they’re struggling to transform those victories into Democratic-minded policies, and to hold on to the corners of power they’ve captured.

They meet in their annual convention this weekend to pick party leaders and search for consensus on strategies for governing and see if they can repeat last year’s election wins next year.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly wanted a quick solution to the on-going school funding lawsuit, but lawmakers are leaving for a mid-session break without having approved a plan.

They have until April 15 to agree on how much they want to spend on education and submit arguments for their plan to the Kansas Supreme Court.

The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Tom Sawyer, is frustrated with the pace of progress.

“We’ve got a lawsuit sitting there,” he said. “We’ve got to solve funding for our schools and we haven’t even started working on that.”

J. Schafer / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Kansas universities and colleges have been living under a budget cut for several years. Now, House lawmakers recommend fully reversing the cut and increasing funding for higher education.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas would do away with the current voter registration deadlines under a bill in the Legislature.

Dan Skinner / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Lowering the state sales tax on food is an idea with broad support in Kansas, but it hasn’t happened because lawmakers haven’t figured out how to pay for it. Health advocates and grocery store owners asked lawmakers Monday to find a way to make it happen.

The new chairman of the Kansas Republican Party is focused on winning back the governorship and the 3rd Congressional District. He told party leaders this weekend how he plans to do it.

Johnson County attorney Mike Kuckelman was the only one to present a full slate of leadership candidates for party officials to consider at their state convention Saturday.

Gov. Laura Kelly has said she has an easy solution for funding schools: Just renew the finance plan the Kansas Legislature agreed to last year and fold in an adjustment for inflation. But over in the Senate, lawmakers are picking that proposal apart.

After months of wrangling last year, lawmakers approved a $500 million multi-year boost for schools in response to a state Supreme Court ruling in the long-running Gannon case.

Pages