Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the 2021 and 2022 Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He is a lifelong Kansan.

Rep. Lisa Moser said wind turbine lighting system disrupted the beauty of Kansas' rural landscape. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas House roundup: Wind turbine lights, feminine fight, ballot deadline, Biden energy policy

By: and - March 28, 2023

TOPEKA — Wind turbine lights are a dangerous nuisance, Kansas House lawmakers said during a lively discussion Tuesday of wind farm lighting statewide. The wind turbine bill was among nearly two dozen pieces of legislation the House planned to consider during a jam-packed debate as lawmakers attempt to make progress ahead of next week’s end-of-session […]

Rep. Henry Helgerson speaks to lawmakers during a debate Tuesday on the House floor

Kansas House advances budget over objections to unchecked spending

By: - March 28, 2023

TOPEKA — Rep. Henry Helgerson appealed to his fellow House members’ sense of duty Tuesday as he asserted no more than “a handful of you” had actually read the 337-page budget proposal they were about to endorse. Helgerson, an Eastborough Democrat, said lawmakers years ago would divide the state’s $16.6 billion spending blueprint into as […]

Caroline Sacerdote, right, staff attorney for Center for Reproductive Rights, answers reporters questions following a March 27, 2023, hearing before the Kansas Supreme Court.

Kansas law singling out abortion clinics contested at high court

By: - March 27, 2023

TOPEKA — An attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights says a 2011 state law that targets abortion clinics with a “regulatory scheme” was an unjustified attempt to restrict access to a fundamental right. The center, which represents two doctors who operate a clinic in Overland Park, wants the Kansas Supreme Court to permanently block […]

Early McIntosh appears as a young boy holding a football

‘I buried this terrifying experience’: Survivors of child sex crimes urge changes to Kansas law

By: - March 23, 2023

TOPEKA — Earl McIntosh wants state lawmakers to look at a photo of himself as a young boy, to see him as an innocent child full of joy and potential, and to think about how his life forever changed when he was sexually assaulted. Kansas law protects the man who assaulted McIntosh from facing consequences […]

Child sex abuse survivors, from left, Tess Ramirez, Joe Cheray, Lesa Patterson-Kinsey and Kim Bergman appear at their advocacy table March 21, 2023, at the Statehouse in Topeka

After weeks of waiting, Kansas survivors of child sex abuse eager for legislative hearing

By: - March 22, 2023

TOPEKA — Every week since the beginning of the legislative session in January, survivors of childhood sexual abuse have staffed a table near the main public entrance to the Statehouse. Every week, they have met with senators and representatives, working toward a compromise on legislation that would remove barriers for other survivors who seek justice […]

Gov. Laura Kelly

Kansas governor vetoes legislation banning transgender athletes from school sports

By: - March 17, 2023

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly for the third straight year has vetoed model legislation that would ban transgender girls from playing school sports with cisgender girls. The Democratic governor said Friday the annual attack on transgender students sends “a signal to prospective companies that Kansas is more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation than becoming […]

Alejandro Rangel-Lopez appears before a Senate panel March 15, 2023, to advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana

Medical marijuana advocate blames Kansas lawmakers for needless suffering

By: - March 17, 2023

TOPEKA — Alejandro Rangel-Lopez says lawmakers who refuse to legalize medical marijuana are responsible for the needless suffering of Kansans. After two days of Senate hearings on proposed legislation, there appears to be little hope for change this year. Rangel-Lopez, a Dodge City resident who has appeared before the Legislature previously to advocate for voting […]

Rep. Pat Proctor appears during a committee hearing

Kansas Republicans push forward with changes to ethics rules amid ongoing investigations

By: - March 15, 2023

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly’s chief of staff urged Republican lawmakers Tuesday to spend more time studying proposed changes to campaign finance law before moving forward with legislation inspired by ongoing investigations. The House Elections Committee on Tuesday amended and advanced a stripped down version of House Bill 2391, which was written by attorneys who […]

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 […]

Rep. Adam Thomas, a Republican from Olathe, leads a roundtable discussion

Republican lawmaker, leery of rivalry with Kansas public schools, launches conversation

By: - March 13, 2023

TOPEKA — Rep. Adam Thomas compares the relationship between state lawmakers and public schools to the legendary baseball rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. He puts it mildly: Traditionally, they don’t get along. Thomas, an Olathe Republican, hopes to defuse tensions over education policy by starting a conversation. On Thursday, he […]

Gary Morgan and Hannah Mingucci appear at a March 7, 2023, hearing of the House Elections Committee

Kansas lawmaker considers banning drop boxes to appease election deniers

By: - March 8, 2023

TOPEKA — Rep. Pat Proctor imagines a scenario in which his wife leaves their SUV parked in the driveway with the vehicle’s back door open. He compares this scenario to arguments surrounding the use of drop boxes in Kansas elections. On one hand, there is no evidence of voter fraud associated with drop boxes. On […]

Adam Kellog, a transgender man and University of Kansas student from Olathe, listens to speakers during a bodily autonomy rally March 6, 2023, at the Statehouse in Topeka

Transgender Kansans alarmed by bills seeking to undermine constitutional rights

By: and - March 6, 2023

The Kansas Legislature is advancing an agenda transgender individuals view as a collective assault on their constitutional rights and personal liberties.