Author

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the 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. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, a former U.S. senator from Kansas, is preparing to undergo treatment Monday for lung cancer. (Pool photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

Bob Dole, Kansas political icon, dies at 98 after battle with lung cancer

By: and - December 5, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas political icon Bob Dole, who represented the state for decades in Washington, D.C., and was the Republican nominee for president in 1996, died Sunday morning at age 98. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced his death. He said in February he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. “It is with heavy […]

Kansas governor touts billions in new business investments during pandemic years

By: - December 3, 2021

TOPEKA — Commerce secretary and Lt. Gov. David Toland says there is no question the Kansas economy is better now than it was three years ago, when Gov. Laura Kelly took office. The administration has leveraged the state’s natural advantages throughout the pandemic to secure new investments, including $1 billion in automation this year in […]

Kansas governor picks nonprofit attorney to fill new child advocate position

By: - December 2, 2021

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday she has selected Kerrie Lonard to serve as the top advocate for Kansas foster children. Lonard has worked as an attorney for the past 14 years at Kansas Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm for low-income residents. She is also a former social worker. “I am honored to […]

Hearing on critical race theory in Kansas schools veers into sex, religion and supposition

By: - December 1, 2021

TOPEKA — A state education official told lawmakers Wednesday they need to “stop calling everything under the sun” critical race theory if they want to work together to improve student achievement. Ann Mah, a Democrat on the Kansas State Board of Education and former state representative, clashed with Republicans during a hearing on how CRT […]

Kansas state parks offer free admission for those who #OptOutside on Black Friday

By: - November 25, 2021

TOPEKA — The 28 state parks in Kansas will participate in a nationwide outdoors promotion by waiving entry fees on Friday. Visitors also can get a shot at winning a free night’s stay in a state park cabin by sharing a selfie from one of the parks on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the tags […]

Special session offers hint of what awaits Kansas lawmakers in 2022 legislative session

By: and - November 24, 2021

TOPEKA — Republican Sen. Rob Olson added his name to the long list of legislators who exited the one-day special session with less than they wanted. The House and Senate approved and Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill supportive of Kansans who objected to COVID-19 vaccination and presented their employers with religious, medical or philosophical […]

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signs special session bill allowing unvaccinated workers to keep jobs

By: - November 23, 2021

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday signed legislation passed during a special session the day before, clearing the way for unvaccinated workers to keep their jobs in the face of federal mandates. The bill crafted by GOP leaders in the Legislature provides for unquestioned moral, religious and medical exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine requirements and […]

Kansas Legislature adopts bill with expanded vaccine exemptions, unemployment benefits

By: and - November 22, 2021

TOPEKA — The Kansas Legislature completed a 14-hour special session Monday night by sending Gov. Laura Kelly a bill packed with generous medical, religious and philosophical exemptions to federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates and the potential of state unemployment benefits to people fired for refusing to be inoculated. As legislators were voting on the measure, the […]

Kansas House passes bill allowing moral, medical, religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines

By: - November 22, 2021

TOPEKA — Rep. John Eplee, a Republican primary care physician from Atchison, shot down fears of the COVID-19 vaccine in a speech Monday on the House floor. Several other Republicans raised concerns about the safety and efficiency of the vaccine during debate over a bill expanding the ways workers can opt out of COVID-19 vaccine […]

Lee Norman steps down as Kansas health secretary, months after internal dispute

By: - November 19, 2021

TOPEKA — Lee Norman stepped down Thursday from his high-profile cabinet post as the chief medical officer in Kansas, where he managed the state’s response to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. His departure from Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration follows months of conversations between Norman and her office about whether he was ready to leave state government. […]

Kansas child death report looks beyond rep’s claim that critical race theory shames white girls

By: - November 18, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas children who kill themselves typically die with a gun or by asphyxiation, according to an annual report on adolescent deaths in the state. The team of health professionals, law enforcement officers, educators and attorneys who examine each child death in Kansas point to a history of physical or sexual abuse, family discord, […]

Location, other details released for Kansas redistricting town halls

By: - November 17, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas legislative staff released details Wednesday about how to participate in upcoming public meetings on redistricting. Lawmakers are gathering input before redrawing congressional and legislative boundaries in the upcoming session, and plan to listen by live video feeds to public comments from four virtual town halls. GOP leaders previously announced they would hold […]