Rachel Mipro

Rachel Mipro

A graduate of Louisiana State University, Rachel Mipro has covered state government in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. She and her fellow team of journalists were 2022 Goldsmith Prize Semi-Finalists for their work featuring the rise of the KKK in northern Louisiana, following racially-motivated shootings in 1960. With her move to the Midwest, Rachel is now turning her focus toward issues within Kansas public policies.

Heather Cessna

Public defender: Kansas faces crisis point on 60th anniversary of landmark U.S. Supreme Court case

By: - March 18, 2023

TOPEKA — A top public defender in Kansas says the state is at a crisis point on the 60th anniversary of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that guarantees legal representation for those who can’t afford to hire an attorney. Heather Cessna, executive director of the Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services, described the […]

John Eplee, R-Atchison, says the proposed legislation isn't an attack on transgender people

Kansas lawmakers classify people with sexual development differences as disabled in revised bill

By: - March 17, 2023

TOPEKA — Intersex people and those born with sexual development differences would be classified as disabled and required to use separate bathrooms and locker rooms under legislation being considered by Kansas lawmakers. This designation was added as an amendment to Senate Bill 180, otherwise known as a “women’s bill of rights.” Lawmakers in the House […]

Sarah Stephens, president of the KS Hemp Consortium and CEO of Midwest Hemp Technology, said many people were confused about hemp products. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

New legislation could allow hemp products to be used in Kansas animal feed

By: - March 16, 2023

TOPEKA — Industrial hemp could open up new pastures for Kansas, said industry professionals urging lawmakers to loosen regulatory measures they believe gave a chilling effect on the business.  Sarah Stephens, president of the KS Hemp Consortium and CEO of Midwest Hemp Technology, companies focused on production and processing of hemp grown for fiber and […]

Kansas Statehouse

House lawmakers advance proposal to study Kansas legislative salaries, potentially increase pay

By: - March 15, 2023

TOPEKA— House lawmakers advanced a legislative pay adjustment proposal in an attempt to remedy years of stagnant wages and make legislative careers more accessible.  During a Wednesday House hearing on the proposal, Rep. John Carmichael, a Wichita Democrat, said most people couldn’t afford to make a career in the House or Senate due to the […]

Speaker of the House Rep. Dan Hawkins rallied Republican representatives to vote in favor of a controverisal education proposal during a House meeting. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas House narrowly approves education proposal to fund unregulated private schools

By: and - March 15, 2023

TOPEKA — The Kansas House passed a wide-ranging bill funneling state funding to unregulated private schools after holdups due to bipartisan concern about the proposal’s effects. The vote was initially divided, 60 for and 64 against, with Republicans breaking rank to vote with the 40-member Democratic bloc during the Wednesday House meeting. One Democrat voted […]

Rep. Kristey Williams, an Augusta Republican, says implementing a voucher-like program would help Kansas students who need more specialized education

Kansas House advances education program giving state dollars to private schools

By: - March 14, 2023

TOPEKA —  Public schools have become a monopoly, Republican lawmakers argued, in an attempt to gain support for a far-reaching voucher-like program that would fund unregulated private schools with state dollars.  During a Tuesday House hearing on the legislation, Augusta Republican Rep. Kristey Williams, the driving force behind Senate Bill 83, said the proposal would […]

Scott Rothschild of KASB wears a button advocating for full funding of special education

‘Really rotten bundle:’ Kansas lawmaker, education officials call bill bundling a bad practice

By: and - March 14, 2023

TOPEKA — A bill that formerly dealt with naturopathy has been transformed into a wide-ranging public education budget and policy bill, the latest bundle of education bills and amendments rolled into one piece of legislation. During a Monday House K-12 Education Budget hearing, lawmakers voted to substitute several House bills dealing with the education budget […]

Kansas Statehouse

Kansas governor signs bills for Civil War mural, Ad Astra sculpture

By: - March 13, 2023

TOPEKA — Two art installation projects will become reality after years of delay. On Monday, Gov. Laura Kelly signed bills authorizing plans for a mural honoring the 1st Kansas Colored Voluntary Infantry Regiment and the placement of a life-size Ad Astra sculpture on Statehouse grounds. Both projects have been long-anticipated. Plans for a mural honoring […]

George Hanna discusses medical marijuana legalization during a Kansas Reflector podcast. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

‘A little bit nerve-wracking’: Supporters of medical marijuana hold hope for Kansas law

By: - March 13, 2023

TOPEKA — The medical marijuana debate has been a hard-fought issue for years, heating up as surrounding states passed some form of legalization. But despite several forms of marijuana legislation currently under discussion, advocates aren’t sure of success. Kansas remains one of three states left in the country that does not permit some form of […]

Kansas proposal to regulate Evergy’s charges could save customers millions

By: - March 10, 2023

TOPEKA — With anger rising statewide about bigger electric bills, lawmakers advanced a proposal that would limit Evergy’s ability to recoup construction costs from customers’ wallets. “No one got exactly what they wanted, but I do think this is a good thing for the state,” said Justin Grady, testifying on House Bill 2225 on behalf […]

Sen. Mark Steffen attributed rising drug cases to a lack of southern border control. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas lawmaker faults Biden, lack of border control for spike in drug overdoses

By: - March 9, 2023

TOPEKA — A Republican lawmaker Thursday blamed President Joe Biden’s administration for the rise in fentanyl overdose deaths in Kansas. Sen. Mark Steffen, a Hutchinson Republican, said Biden’s failure to secure the southern border was the root of Kansas’ growing drug overdose problem. “We’ve got an open southern border and we’ve got a presidential administration […]

Lawmakers vote to pass legislation funding abortion alternative programs. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas House committee advances legislation to protect infants ‘born alive’

By: - March 8, 2023

TOPEKA — Rep. Ron Bryce, a Coffeyville Republican, was a Texas medical resident in the late ’80s when he was called into an operating room and found a premature baby boy who survived his mother’s attempted abortion. Bryce said he picked up the infant and brought him to the neonatal infant care unit. “As I […]