Laura Kelly

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service/File photo

A top Republican legislator who worked with Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on a plan for expanding Medicaid in Kansas announced Friday that he is not seeking re-election.

Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said it’s time for him to focus again on his wife and business. The Overland Park Republican is the retired CEO of an eye care and optical surgery company and was expected to have a tough re-election race this year.

Stephen Koranda file photo

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's top Republican legislative critic has launched an effort to curb the governor's power in emergencies, impose oversight over the spending of federal aid and force Kelly to provide tax relief to struggling businesses.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Gov. Laura Kelly said Wednesday that she’s still considering releasing some Kansas inmates early because of the coronavirus pandemic even though an outbreak of hundreds of cases has one prison under quarantine.

Kelly confirmed last week during an Associated Press interview that the Department of Corrections moved six inmates from state to house arrest before being forced to stop early releases because of an outbreak at the Lansing Correctional Facility outside Kansas City. As of Wednesday, 609 inmates and 88 staff members there were infected.

TOPEKA, Kansas — With the number of new coronavirus cases still rising steadily and the state’s economy stuck in reverse, Gov. Laura Kelly announced her plans for a phased-in reopening.

The governor’s plan — essentially it lets retailers, restaurants and churches ease into a new normal — comes despite Kansas lagging other states in testing for COVID-19 and growing outbreaks clustered near meatpacking plants.

After six weeks of asking Kansans to stay at home, Gov. Laura Kelly is expected to announce Thursday that the state will start to reopen for businesses and some public gatherings on May 4.

Even if people can travel at-will and previously non-essential retailers can open their doors, the governor likely will leave some restrictions in place and maybe enact new rules.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Gov. Laura Kelly filed a joint motion this weekend with two churches suing her over stay-at-home orders, signaling her first steps to reopen the Kansas economy and tamp down the fight over religious freedom.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Protesters angry about the stay-at-home order in Kansas and the tens of thousands of people it’s tossed from work rallied at the state Capitol Thursday.

They clogged traffic on the four blocks that ring the Statehouse for more than an hour, honking on horns, calling out slogans on bullhorns and pressing Gov. Laura Kelly to reopen businesses in the state.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas on Monday slashed its projections for what it expects to collect in taxes by nearly $1.37 billion to reflect the economic damage associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Two Kansas churches temporarily don’t have to abide by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s limit of 10 or fewer attendees, a federal judge ruled Saturday.

The judge sided with the First Baptist Church in Dodge City and Calvary Baptist Church in Junction City, which had argued in a lawsuit that Kelly’s executive order was an unconstitutional limit on the right to exercise religious freedom and went against the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Easter services at Heritage Baptist Church in Lawrence felt like a typical Sunday meeting. Several dozen congregants sang hymns and heard messages about Jesus Christ and the importance of going to church.

Some people sat in every other row and tried to maintain separation in the pews. A few wore masks.

“I believe very strongly that the Bible commands us to have church,” said the Rev. Scott Hanks, one of only a handful of ministers who held services in defiance of a statewide order, backed by the state Supreme Court, that limited even religious gatherings to 10 or fewer people. 

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