Stephen Koranda

Stephen Koranda is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for Kansas Public Radio.

A former employee of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office said in federal court Monday that she was fired in part for not attending church, which left her confused and depressed.

Paul Davis kicked off his campaign for the Kansas 2nd District seat in Congress by calling Washington broken and criticizing a culture there that quashes bipartisanship.

“No matter what party you affiliate with, no matter who you voted for in the 2016 presidential election, Washington is not working for you,” said Davis, who served as the top Democrat in the Kansas House and narrowly lost a bid to unseat Gov. Sam Brownback in the 2014 election.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families is dealing with computer problems that brought down the system used to process welfare benefits applications.

Theresa Freed, spokeswoman for DCF, says people seeking benefits can still submit paper applications and required documentation. The applications will be entered after the system comes back online.

There’s a crowded field of candidates running or considering the race for Kansas governor in 2018, and that means they’ll need to find ways to set themselves apart.

A year from now, Kansans could be in the middle of the biggest primary battle for governor in recent history.

With Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer poised to finish the second term of Gov. Sam Brownback — likely to leave office soon for an ambassador job — candidates are lining up for the 2018 contest.

Republican Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer announced Tuesday that he will run for Kansas governor in 2018, ending speculation that he would enter the race.

Another Republican candidate is joining the race for Kansas governor. State Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer has appointed a campaign treasurer so he can raise money for a run.

The president’s advisory commission on election integrity has heightened talk about voting issues and election security. Two of the loudest voices in the discussion come from Kansas and Missouri, and they’re clashing over the issue.

Former Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander crossed the border and stopped recently in Douglas County, Kansas. He aimed some of his comments at Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Kander has been touring and talking voting policies, and he believes some of the rules pushed by Kobach are a bad idea.

Health care advocates say they’ll keep the pressure on Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran as debate moves forward on a possible repeal of Obamacare. Moran voted to go ahead with debate on a health care overhaul, but in the past he’s voiced concerns about Medicaid cuts.

Related: Moran Explains Position On Obamacare Repeal After Vote Against Bill

A federal judge has ruled that the president’s election commission, vice chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, can go ahead with its effort to collect voter data from states.

Kobach requested every state send detailed voter information to the federal Election Integrity Commission, including names, birthdays, and voting history.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center wanted to block the data collection. Some states have said they won’t comply, citing privacy and security concerns.

The unemployment rate remains low in Kansas, but the state has been shedding private sector jobs in recent months.

Numbers from the Kansas Department of Labor show private sector jobs were climbing from January to March. But according to a new monthly report, the state began losing private sector jobs -- more than 11,000 of them from March to June.

Manufacturing jobs fell over that period, but not nearly as much as service sector jobs. The area that sagged the most includes the support jobs for organizations, such as office administration, personnel services and cleaning.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas says wording on a state website might leave voters confused about whether they’re eligible to cast a ballot. The group wants Secretary of State Kris Kobach to make changes.

At issue is information about Kansas’ requirement that new voters prove their citizenship with a document such as a birth certificate or passport. Court rulings say that requirement currently doesn’t apply to people who register to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles or use the federal voter registration form.

A state office that oversees attorneys will investigate a complaint against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Topeka resident Keri Strahler filed the complaint and made public the response from the office of the disciplinary administrator.

“The allegations contained in your letter will be investigated,” said the response signed by a staff member in the office, which is part of the judicial branch.

This story was updated Thursday to reflect a response from Secretary Kobach's office.

Kansans who registered to vote at the DMV or otherwise used the federal voter registration form are eligible to vote in all races, according to court rulings, whether they’ve provided a citizenship document or not. But those voters might have been confused by inconsistencies on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's website.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:20 p.m. July 12 to reflect a response from Secretary Kobach's office. Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service are continuing to follow this issue.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice are asking states, including Kansas, for information related to the National Voter Registration Act — a move made the same day that the president’s commission on voter fraud sent a request for “publicly available voter roll data.”

Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice are asking states, including Kansas, for information related to the National Voter Registration Act — a move made the same day that the president’s commission on voter fraud sent a request for “publicly available voter roll data.”

Taxes in Kansas will be climbing over the weekend because a tax increase approved by lawmakers is taking effect. The new law will raise income tax rates and reinstate income taxes for thousands of business owners.

“We’re encouraging everybody to just think about it,” said Kansas Revenue Secretary Sam Williams.

For wage-earning employees, Williams recommends studying paychecks in July to make sure the income tax withholding has been increased.

Many Kansas workers will soon see a change in their paychecks because of an income tax increase that takes effect Saturday.

Lawmakers approved a $1.2 billion income tax increase to close a projected $900 million budget gap for the next two fiscal years. 

The new law raises income tax rates and reinstates income taxes on thousands of business owners.

“We’re encouraging everybody to just think about it,” said Kansas Revenue Secretary Sam Williams.

The Kansas legislative session may be over, but lawmakers still aren't sure whether their work has ended. They're waiting to see whether the new school funding system they put in place will satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court.

The court previously said education spending was inadequate. In response, lawmakers approved $300 million in new funding over two years and a new method to distribute the money.

Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, says members of the group like the new funding formula, but they still have concerns.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle says she’s considering a run for either Kansas governor or for the 4th District congressional seat in the Wichita area.

Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says he doesn’t support the health care overhaul bill in the U.S. Senate. Leaders in the Senate announced Tuesday that they are delaying a vote on the bill over concerns that it didn’t have enough support.

Moran initially was one of the undecided lawmakers. That changed when the vote on the GOP plan was delayed: Now, he says the Senate bill “missed the mark” for Kansas and he would not have supported it.

Moran says he's glad the vote was delayed and says the full legislative process should be used to develop a better proposal.

Kansas lawmakers met briefly Monday for the ceremonial end of the legislative session. They considered overriding some vetoes issued by Gov. Sam Brownback but ultimately took no action.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle ended that chamber’s meeting quickly because she said some lawmakers were gone and overrides simply weren’t going to be possible.

Gov. Sam Brownback denounced the level of spending in the Kansas budget, but he still chose to sign the bill into law over the weekend.

Gov. Sam Brownback has until Sunday to take action on the Kansas budget approved by lawmakers. His decisions could prompt action on the ceremonial last day of the legislative session.

It’s likely Brownback will sign the budget, but he can block specific items with his line item veto power. Lawmakers also have the power to override those decisions with a two-thirds vote.

Democratic Sen. Anthony Hensley says some line item vetoes could draw override attempts. Those would come on the ceremonial last day of the session, which is Monday.

A school finance plan that will add nearly $300 million over two years gained approval Monday night in the Kansas Legislature and now moves to Gov. Sam Brownback for consideration.

Lawmakers faced a June 30 deadline to increase school funding after a March ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court that said current funding is inadequate. During debate, some lawmakers raised concerns that the $300 million plan will not satisfy the court and could make a special session likely.

The Kansas Senate and House voted Thursday to allow public health care facilities to continue banning concealed weapons. The 24-16 Senate vote and 91-33 House vote send the bill to Gov. Sam Brownback for consideration.

A state law taking effect July 1 will allow people to carry concealed guns into any public building that is not secured by armed guards and metal detectors.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Senators have approved a plan for funding K-12 schools. The 23-14 vote sends the bill to the House for consideration.

The proposal would increase spending by around $230 million over two years, after the state Supreme Court ruled in March that Kansas schools are inadequately funded.

The Kansas Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would allow public health care facilities to continue to ban concealed guns.

A state law taking effect July 1 will allow people to carry concealed guns into any public building that is not secured by armed guards and metal detectors.

Heavy rains early Friday flooded some Statehouse offices and displaced some of the researchers who work for Kansas lawmakers.

Maintenance staff and members of the Kansas Legislative Research Department worked Friday to clean up and sort through water-damaged books and documents in the ground-floor offices.

Raney Gilliland, director of the department, said a 10-inch pipe that carries rainwater from the Statehouse roof failed during the storm.

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