Author

Lily O'Shea Becker

Lily O'Shea Becker

Lily O’Shea Becker studied journalism at the University of Kansas. She was an intern with the Kansas Reflector for the 2022 summer. Lily has experience as a multimedia journalist, photojournalist, producer and copy editor for a variety of news outlets in Lawrence and at the University of Kansas.

Gov. Laura Kelly signed bipartisan legislation that addresses Kansas’ rural housing shortage through a bundle of tax credits. The pandemic exacerbated problems associated with the lack of affordable housing. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Homelessness stretches beyond urban borders in Kansas. New tax credits for housing could help.

By: - August 16, 2022

TOPEKA — Rural communities in Kansas are struggling with some big city problems: homelessness and a lack of affordable housing. Efforts to boost the state’s affordable housing found bipartisan support in the Legislature this past session, but it is unclear how much the measures will relieve the pressures on communities as the number of unsheltered […]

Tents sit around a gazebo on Aug. 12, 2022, in Watson Park in Lawrence. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

Backlash over cleanup of Lawrence homeless camp points to bigger problems

By: - August 15, 2022

LAWRENCE — Flyers were posted around downtown Lawrence in April alleging the city released a “lie-filled response” to concerns about the movement of a homeless camp. The flyer said the city issued the response — in which the city claimed it followed protocol regarding homeless camps — because of the “pressure they’ve been receiving for […]

A man lies under shading on July 19 on North Topeka Avenue in Wichita. Temperatures reached 108 degrees in Wichita that day. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

As Wichita embraces efforts to reduce homelessness, profound challenges remain

By: - August 14, 2022

WICHITA — Staci Ellis left a verbally abusive relationship and ended up homeless in Wichita for nine months before settling into an apartment about four weeks ago. Ellis, who describes herself as a huge advocate for the homeless population, has been homeless four times. She said everyone in Wichita’s homeless community knows her because she […]

Kansas law enforcement training about missing or murdered Indigenous people now available

By: - August 10, 2022

LAWRENCE — A new training module for Kansas law enforcement agencies focusing on investigations of missing and murdered Indigenous people is now available. The Kansas Attorney General’s Office partnered with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center to develop the training, according to a news release from the attorney general’s […]

Rachel Sweet, campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, smiles Aug. 2, 2022, at the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom watch party after Kansans vote to preserve a constitutional right to abortion. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas voters defeat abortion amendment in unexpected landslide

By: and - August 2, 2022

OVERLAND PARK — Kansas voters in a landslide Tuesday defeated a constitutional amendment that would have stripped residents of abortion rights, defying polling and political observers who expected a close result. The ballot measure was failing by a 60-40 margin late Tuesday after voters responded to an intense and costly campaign marked by dubious claims […]

"Vote Yes" supporters protest at a rally for reproductive rights at South Park in Lawrence on June 4. "Vote No" supporters moved to cover anti-abortion signs. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Lawrence Journal-World)

Kansas abortion rights advocates and Democrats work to boost voter turnout

By: - July 7, 2022

LAWRENCE — Kansas advocacy groups and Democrats are working to broaden outreach to unaffiliated and young voters this summer to get Kansans to vote against the anti-abortion constitutional amendment on the Aug. 2 ballot. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the League of Women Voters of Kansas and the Kansas Democratic party have […]

From left, Rep. Christina Haswood, Rep. Brandon Woodard and Rep. Rui Xu prepare to record a podcast at the Kansas Reflector office in Topeka. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas House Democrats: ‘Regressive politics’ drive young people to leave the state

By: - July 4, 2022

TOPEKA — Democratic Rep. Rui Xu says regressive politics are the driving force behind young Kansans leaving the state. Xu, of Westwood, joined two other House Democrats — Christina Haswood, of Lawrence, and Brandon Woodard, of Lenexa — in a Kansas Reflector podcast to discuss what it is like being a young representative, running unopposed […]

Police and railroad crew work the scene where an Amtrak train derailed on June 27, 2022, in Mendon, Missouri. The train, traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago, struck a dump truck at a crossing, killing four people and injuring dozens. (Chase Castor/Getty Images)

Brother and sister recount ‘very traumatizing’ Amtrak derailment in Missouri

By: - June 29, 2022

A mother aboard a train derailment in Mendon, Missouri, on Monday climbed on top of the wreckage and went from train car to train car, yelling into each window while searching for her three children, according to her son, Dax McDonald.  The Amtrak train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago when it struck a […]

Democrat Jaelynn Abegg is running for the Kansas House seat in west Wichita held by Republican Rep. Brenda Landwehr. (Submitted)

Wichita candidate for Kansas House focuses on transgender rights, health care, business

By: - June 24, 2022

LAWRENCE — Kansas House candidate Jaelynn Abegg said her consideration for public office began while advocating earlier this year in Topeka against Senate Bill 160, which would have banned transgender athletes from school sports. Abegg, who labels herself as a progressive Democrat, is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Brenda Landwehr in the GOP-leaning 105th District […]

Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, departs the post Wednesday following the re-election defeat of President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. (Screenshot of U.S. State Department briefing/Kansas Reglector)

Brownback agrees with U.S. Supreme Court ruling on state funding of religious schools

By: - June 21, 2022

Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback released a statement agreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday, which stated a Maine school voucher program cannot exclude funding for sectarian education.  The program – which is unique to Maine because more than half of its school districts operate without a public high school – appropriates taxpayer money […]

Kansas high school students embrace importance of journalism and voting

By: - June 17, 2022

LAWRENCE — Marisa Wise believes young voices deserve to be heard because, while they cannot vote, they have the “entire internet at (their) fingertips,” and she uses it to research and stay informed.  Wise, a 15-year-old from Gardner, was among more than 80 high school students who signed up for The University of Kansas School […]

Motient, the company that uses software to monitor hospital bed space in Kansas, says the available space is lower now than it was at this time a year ago. (Getty Images)

Hospital staffing shortages contribute to lower hospital bed availability across Kansas

By: - June 16, 2022

Hospital bed availability is lower across Kansas than it was at this time last year, according to Motient, which operates software that assists health systems with medical transports. The Kansas Hospital Association attributes the bed space to a statewide staffing shortage that has lingered along with the COVID-19 pandemic. “However, as I’ve been visiting with […]