Jim McLean

Jim McLean is an editor and reporter for KCUR 89.3. He is the managing director of KCUR's Kansas News Service, a collaboration between KCUR and other public media stations across Kansas. 

Jim was previously news director and Statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio and a managing editor for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He has received awards for journalistic excellence from the Kansas Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he won’t resign until the U.S. Senate confirms his nomination for a ambassador’s post in the State Department.

Republican legislators have temporarily sidetracked an effort to block the Brownback administration from obtaining federal approval to renew KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

Democrats on a joint committee that oversees KanCare wanted the panel’s report to the full Legislature to recommend keeping the current program in place until a newly elected governor takes office in January 2019.

Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder is offering a vigorous defense of the Republican tax cut bill as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on its version of the controversial measure.

In a lengthy news release posted Thursday that Yoder touted as separating myth from fact, the 3rd District representative said the bill does not favor wealthy taxpayers over middle-class families, as Democrats and other critics claim.

Donald Trump Jr. is topping the bill at a fundraiser on Tuesday night for Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach, the perceived front-runner in a crowded Republican field.

Kobach, a conservative in the mold of President Trump, is literally banking on the ability of the president’s eldest son to draw a crowd despite increasing legal scrutiny of his ties to Russians who may have attempted to manipulate the outcome of the presidential election.

Trump Jr. will be the featured guest at a reception and $200-a-plate dinner at an Overland Park hotel.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran is a frequent critic of the health care system run by the Veteran’s Administration. But at a recent town-hall meeting, the Kansas Republican made it clear he doesn’t want to replace it.

Moran is a strong supporter of the Choice Program, which gives veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility the option of seeing private providers closer to home.

But he says he is opposed to efforts by some in the Trump administration to do away with the VA health care system.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran candidly discussed his reservations about President Donald Trump’s tax cut bill Wednesday at a town hall meeting in the small north-central Kansas community of Frankfort.

But in response to prodding from some in the crowd of approximately 100, he declined to commit to voting against the bill if Republican leaders don’t address his concerns.

Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday used a group of like-minded witnesses to attack President Donald Trump’s tax cut plan by comparing it to what they repeatedly referred to as Kansas’ “failed” tax experiment.

State Medicaid officials on Friday formally started the process of renewing KanCare, the privatized Medicaid program launched by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in 2013.

The two state agencies that oversee the private contractors that manage the program released a draft of the plan they intend to submit for federal approval after a public comment period that runs through November.

Democrats in the U.S. Senate are working to delay a vote on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination for a diplomatic post.

The Washington bureau of the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle was the first to report on the effort to delay a vote on Brownback’s nomination as an ambassador for religious liberty.

Brownback’s repeal of regulations protecting state workers from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, has Senate Democrats concerned about whether he will stand up for LGBTQ individuals facing religious persecution abroad.

State Medicaid officials on Friday formally started the process of renewing KanCare, the privatized Medicaid program launched by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in 2013.

The two state agencies that oversee the private contractors that manage the program released a draft of the plan they intend to submit for federal approval after a public comment period that runs through November.

A female former legislative staff member is charging that sexual harassment is widespread at the Kansas Statehouse.

Abbie Hodgson, who served as chief of staff to former House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs from 2014 to July of 2016, was one of several women quoted in an article about sexual harassment in Statehouses across the country published Wednesday by The Hill, a Washington, D.C., publication that covers government and politics. 

The state of Kansas is scrambling to regain federal funding for one of its psychiatric hospitals and to prevent the decertification of another.

Officials at the agency responsible for the state’s mental health hospitals say they’re confident that the renovations needed to fix problems at the Larned State Hospital, problems turned up by a recent inspection, will be completed in time to avoid a threatened loss of federal funding in January.

The four teenagers running to be the next governor of Kansas were tested Thursday at a forum organized by their peers at Lawrence Free State High School.

Phyllis Gilmore, the secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, is coming under increasing fire because of problems in the state foster care system.

Former legislator and current Republican candidate for governor Mark Hutton is calling on Gov. Sam Brownback to fire Gilmore. He says revelations about missing foster children are the latest in a “near endless stream of failures.”

In a recent interview, he also expressed frustration about reports of children having to spend the night in the offices of the state’s foster care contractors.

Kansas gubernatorial candidate Ed O’Malley came out swinging Tuesday at a campaign launch event in Overland Park.

The former Republican legislator from Johnson County, who for the last decade has served as president and CEO of the Wichita-based Kansas Leadership Center, swung for the policy fences by pledging that his primary goal as governor would be to make Kansas public schools the “best in the world.”

Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder is joining fellow Republicans in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shootings in calling for a ban on a device used to increase the firing power of semi-automatic rifles.

Yoder, who represents the state’s 3rd District, said in a statement Thursday that he “will support measures to regulate or ban” so-called bump stocks, conversion kits that turn semi-automatic rifles into weapons capable of firing 400 to 800 rounds per minute.

Members of Congress might want to familiarize themselves with the story of Kansas' failed tax-cutting experiment as they begin deliberations on President Donald Trump's tax-reform plan.

It could serve as a cautionary tale because some elements of the president's updated proposal mirror pieces of the tax-cut plan that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback pushed through the state legislature in 2012, promising it would deliver a "shot of adrenaline" to the Kansas economy.

Democrat Josh Svaty says Kansans want a problem solver as their next governor. That’s the takeaway message from his just-concluded tour of all 105 Kansas counties.

Svaty, a 37-year-old former legislator who headed the state Department of Agriculture under former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, says Kansans recognize that state government isn’t working as well as it used to. He says they vented about budget cuts, canceled road projects and diminished services under the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas is in a familiar position. He’s one of several Republican senators under pressure to vote for the latest Obamacare repeal bill. However, Moran remains undecided.

Moran, who surprised many by opposing some earlier Obamacare repeal bills and supporting others, says he’s studying the so-called Graham-Cassidy amendment.

He says he still favors repeal but wants to know more about the new bill.

The maximum-security unit at Kansas’ Lansing prison was on lockdown on Friday afternoon following a fight earlier in the day in the prison lunchroom.

A fight between what state officials are describing as “two offender groups” broke out shortly after noon on Friday as inmates lined up for lunch.

A spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Corrections says there were no serious injuries in the altercation, which took guards about 40 minutes to bring under control.

Low-income Kansans are less likely to have health insurance than their counterparts in other states, according to an analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The uninsured rates in Kansas and Missouri continue to drop, but not as fast as those in states that have expanded their Medicaid programs.

New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show the uninsured rate in Kansas dropped to 8.7 percent in 2016 from 9.1 percent the year before. That is not a statistically significant change.

Approximately 249,000 Kansans lacked health coverage in 2016, down from about 261,000 the previous year.

The uninsured rate in Missouri declined to 8.9 percent from 9.8 percent the previous year.

The head of the Kansas Department of Corrections says he sees no connection between last week’s riot at a prison in Norton and disturbances earlier this summer at the state’s El Dorado prison.

But some lawmakers are charging that mismanagement of the state’s prison population is contributing to the unrest.

Facing what could be a tough race for re-election, Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder appeared determined to strike a bipartisan tone Tuesday night in his first in-person town hall meeting since last year’s election.

He stressed the importance of civility and working across the aisle several times during the meeting sponsored by the Kansas City Star, touting his work with Democrats to expand child-care tax credits and strengthen privacy laws.

News of White House strategist Steve Bannon’s resignation broke Friday afternoon during U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s town hall meeting in Topeka.

The second-term Republican was fielding questions about President Donald Trump’s fitness for office when a man in the back of the American Legion hall reading the news on his cell phone shouted that Bannon was out

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced immediate pay increases for corrections officers during a news conference Thursday afternoon at the state prison in El Dorado. 

Brownback said all officers will receive an immediate 5 percent salary increase, and starting pay will be increased across the corrections system. The hourly pay rate for entry-level corrections officers will climb from $13.95 to $14.66.

At El Dorado, where the staff vacancy rate is 47 percent, the hiring hourly rate will go from $13.95 to $15.75, he said.

One way or another, Tim Keck wants to replace the state’s aging Osawatomie State Hospital with a new mental health treatment facility.

Though he is meeting with some resistance, the secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is pushing lawmakers to consider privatizing the state-run psychiatric hospital, which in recent years has been beset by operational problems.

Kansas lawmakers had some tough questions Thursday for Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood about staff shortages that recently contributed to several violent incidents at a state prison in El Dorado.

Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, took Norwood to task for withholding information about inmate unrest at the prison located just north of Wichita.

Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s long-rumored move to a position in President Donald Trump’s administration is no longer rumor.

One of the least popular governors in the country is leaving his post to take a new position with the Trump administration.

President Trump announced Wednesday that he would nominate Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a social conservative with deep religious convictions, to head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the U.S. State Department. As ambassador at large, Brownback's mission would be to monitor and respond to threats to religious freedom around the world.

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