Author

Noah Taborda

Noah Taborda

Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.

Senate passes bill expanding private school tax credit program to 200K Kansas students

By: - February 11, 2021

TOPEKA — In a lengthy debate Thursday in the Kansas Senate, Republican legislators batted away several suggested amendments and intraparty dissenters in passing a bill expanding a private school tax credit program beyond the originally intended at-risk students. The bill expands eligibility for the program, which reimburses organizations providing scholarships for private schools up to […]

Advocates ask lawmakers for path to terminate parental rights of sex abusers

By: - February 11, 2021

TOPEKA — It is an “unconscionable” thought that victims of sexual assault resulting in the conception of a child may have to co-parent alongside the perpetrator, advocates say. A proposal in the Senate would create a process to terminate the parental rights of a person whose sexual assault results in the birth of a child. […]

Kansas Sentencing Commission, Department of Corrections back bill lowering punishment for low-level drug crimes

By: - February 10, 2021

TOPEKA — A representative for the Kansas Sentencing Commission says research casts doubt on the theory that increased prison sentences will effectively deter people from drug misuse or drug-related crimes. According to a 2018 study conducted by Pew Research Center comparing state drug imprisonment rates with self-reported drug use, drug arrest and overdose deaths, there […]

House bill seeks to rehab Kansas unemployment system, establish oversight council

By: - February 9, 2021

TOPEKA — Supporters of a House bill that would revamp the unemployment insurance system in Kansas say if changes are not made now, issues faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will resurface. Since the pandemic began, the Kansas Department of Labor has been flooded by a historic number of unemployment claims. To make matters worse, the […]

Commerce wants to expand use of STAR bonds in Kansas. Skeptics say program doesn’t work.

By: - February 9, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas legislators are once again considering a renewal and modification of sales tax revenue bonds that would allow for use of public funding on rural redevelopment, hospital and company headquarters projects. Sales tax revenue, or STAR, bonds, is an economic development tool allowing Kansas municipalities to issue bonds to finance major attractions that […]

House panel considers controversial savings accounts for Kansas students in remote learning

By: - February 9, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas public school advocates raised concerns Monday with a bill that would create education savings accounts for students subjected to remote learning, shifting tax dollars to private and home schools. One of multiple so-called “voucher” bills on the legislative docket this session, the measure proposed Monday would allow “at-risk” students to have the […]

Kansas public defender system in crisis with low pay, unreasonable caseloads

By: - February 8, 2021

TOPEKA — The executive director of the Kansas board overseeing court-appointed defense in felony criminal cases says the state public defender system is in crisis. Issues with caseloads, staffing, pay parity and overall lack of infrastructure are weighing down public defenders, said Heather Cessna, executive director of the Kansas Board of Indigent Defense Services. These […]

House panel puts on lengthy, one-sided ‘informational hearing’ against remote learning in Kansas

By: - February 7, 2021

TOPEKA — In a one-sided, two-and-a-half-hour “informational hearing” Wednesday, a parade of upset parents, children, outspoken doctors and lobbyists vented to Kansas legislators in the House K-12 Budget Committee their frustrations with the shortcomings of remote and hybrid learning. Republican legislators praised the speakers for their bravery in calling out school boards and exemplary efforts […]

Advocates argue suspension of speedy trials will disenfranchise Kansans

By: - February 5, 2021

TOPEKA — Opponents of a proposal to delay or eliminate Kansans’ right to a speedy trial say if passed, the measure would be an affront to the constitution and open the door for litigation and unnecessary expenses for the state. Amid the pandemic, jury trials have all but ceased across the county. Under the state’s […]

Kansas Senate demands governor prioritize ‘law-abiding citizens’ over prisoners for vaccines

By: - February 4, 2021

TOPEKA — A resolution passed Thursday by the Kansas Senate calls on the governor to prioritize “law-abiding citizens” before incarcerated individuals in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution order. The measure also condemns Gov. Laura Kelly’s vaccination plan while simultaneously praising President Trump’s COVID-19 response as a “triumph of American ingenuity.” The resolution does not carry any […]

District attorneys ask Kansas lawmakers to suspend 150-day trial clock by 3 years

By: - February 4, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas district attorneys concerned about case backup caused by the pandemic pleaded Thursday for Senate legislators to consider passing a measure delaying assurances of a speedy trial by several years. Current law dictates a case in Kansas must be brought to trial within 150 days, or 180 days if the defendant is not […]

Kansas House endorses bill enhancing penalty for stalking a minor

By: - February 3, 2021

TOPEKA — Rep. Megan Lynn said she knows firsthand the shame, embarrassment and fear stemming from sexual assault suffered as a minor. Driven by her past as a child victim of sexual assault, the Olathe Republican encouraged Kansas House members Wednesday to pass a bill that would ensure those accused of stalking a minor face […]