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.

Barb Wasinger

Kansas House and Senate both pass legislation targeting transgender youth

By: and - February 23, 2023

TOPEKA —  The Kansas House passed parental rights legislation and a controversial transgender student athlete sports bill following months of debate and pushback from public education officials and advocates. The transgender student athlete bill has been debated for the past three years, although education officials have said the bill’s scope is extremely narrow. Only two […]

Parental rights bill panned by educators gains traction in Kansas House

By: - February 23, 2023

TOPEKA — Kansas House lawmakers moved forward on a form of parent’s rights legislation, one that would allow parents to pull their children out of any classes they found offensive without repercussions to the child’s grades.  Rep. Rebecca Schmoe, an Ottawa Republican, introduced an amended form of the bill on the House floor Wednesday. Schmoe […]

Rep. Vic Miller said there was no evidence of voter fraud in Kansas elections during a Feb. 22, 2023 House debate. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas House debate on election security showcases GOP split over voter fraud theories

By: - February 22, 2023

TOPEKA — Kansas Republicans are once again divided on voter fraud and election security, wrangling over whether mail-in ballots could be trusted during a House discussion on state election laws.  Rep. Pat Proctor, a Leavenworth Republican, said a bill tightening laws on mail-in ballots would restore Kansans’ faith in elections. Proctor spoke in support of […]

Senate President Ty Masterson

Wide-ranging Kansas tax exemption proposal would benefit fitness club magnate

By: - February 21, 2023

TOPEKA — Though he hadn’t actually read the legislation in question, Senate President Ty Masterson spoke in support of wide-ranging tax exemptions for businesses thought to be in competition with government entities. Property and sales tax exemption proposals have been kicked around for years, including when Kansas fitness club magnate Rodney Steven began a campaign […]

Rep. Susan Concannon, chair of the House Child Welfare and Foster Care Committee, opens the hearing on foster care caseloads during a Feb. 20 hearing. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

Foster care legislation would cap social worker caseloads, change foster parent adoption process

By: - February 21, 2023

TOPEKA — Kansas’ foster care system has seen workers struggling under excessive caseloads, lackluster resources and foster children not getting the help they need. Legal limits to caseloads and changes to the state’s adoption system are being touted as potential solutions. During a Monday House Child Welfare and Foster Care Committee hearing, lawmakers discussed House […]

Rep. Doug Blex, vice chair for the House Local Government Committee, shook hands with Rep. Jeff Underhill after the comittee passed a bill striking racist language from housing documents. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

House lawmakers drop provision undercutting local anti-discrimination measures in Kansas

By: - February 20, 2023

TOPEKA — Following backlash to legislation that would have nullified local government anti-discrimination protections, lawmakers voted to strike the offending section from an anti-discrimination bill.  Rep. Mike Amyx, a Lawrence Democrat, along with other lawmakers, said the change was a good idea. “I think it allows for ordinances that have been worked long and hard […]

Cargill meatpacking plant in Kansas part of federal investigation into illegal child labor

By: - February 17, 2023

TOPEKA — Federal authorities have fined a cleaning company nearly $400,000 for illegally employing minors and making them work in dangerous conditions at a Dodge City meatpacking plant. The fine was tied to a U.S. Department of Labor investigation that involved at least 102 children, ages 13-17, at meatpacking plants owned by multiple companies in […]

Kansas House passes juvenile justice reform bill creating more youth oversight

By: - February 17, 2023

TOPEKA — Kansas officials have high hopes for a proposed program that would patch up flaws within the state’s juvenile justice system, creating more resources and oversight for at-risk youths. House Bill 2021 would require the Department of Corrections and the Department for Children and Families to coordinate risk and needs assessments for at-risk children. […]

Rep. Kristey Williams

Kansas parental rights legislation folded into unrelated bill

By: - February 17, 2023

TOPEKA — A modified form of parental rights legislation would require school districts to create an online portal for parents and publish district curriculum yearly.  The legislation was advanced during a Wednesday K-12 Education Budget Committee hearing, despite questions from committee lawmakers. The legislation was added as an amendment to House Bill 2271, a separate […]

Kansas Statehouse

‘I was paralyzed’: Kansas advocate urges lawmakers to add protections against date rape drug

By: - February 16, 2023

TOPEKA — In the mid ’90s, Paula Mitchell was celebrating a college basketball win at a party hosted by one of the players. As the designated driver for her friends, she was sticking to Dr. Pepper, but she started to feel sick after she was given another soda by a basketball player. “I get halfway […]

Caroline Dean spoke against a proposed women's bill of rights during a Feb. 15, 2023 hearing, saying the legislation doesn't actually benefit women. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Critics call proposed Kansas ‘women’s bill of rights’ sexist, transphobic

By: and - February 15, 2023

TOPEKA — Lawmakers unrolled a new bill that would bar transgender women from female-only spaces under the assumption that biological women tend to be naturally weaker and more vulnerable to violence than men.  Senate Bill 180 was given about 30 minutes of discussion at Wednesday’s Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee hearing, a time frame […]

Rep. Christina Haswood questioned the fairness of a flat tax proposal that would mainly benefit wealthy Kansans. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas lawmaker questions fairness of flat tax plan that would benefit state’s top earners

By: - February 14, 2023

TOPEKA — Lawmakers on Tuesday debated the merits of a flat tax proposal that would lower revenues by an estimated $1.5 billion annually and disproportionately benefit the state’s wealthiest residents. Rep. Christina Haswood, a Lawrence Democrat, questioned during a House committee hearing why the Legislature should favor the flat tax over more equitable tax cut […]