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.

Delta Dental board directors illegally seized power from Kansas dentists, court rules

By: - December 10, 2021

TOPEKA — Political appointees to the Delta Dental of Kansas board illegally extended their terms and stripped power from member dentists during a confidential meeting last December, a Sedgwick County District Court judge ruled Thursday. The judge sided with two dentists who filed a lawsuit over the changes to the nonprofit insurance provider’s articles of […]

Kansas extends deal for patient transfer system used by 115 hospitals during COVID-19 surges

By: - December 8, 2021

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has extended a contract with Motient for access to a patient transfer system used by 115 hospitals statewide. Known as Mission Control, the program helps overwhelmed hospitals find available bed space for acute care patients. The software also provides a real-time view of surging cases of […]

Federal judge sides with Kansas AG, blocks enforcement of vaccine mandate for federal contractors

By: - December 7, 2021

TOPEKA — A federal judge in Georgia issued a temporary injunction Tuesday blocking requirements for employees of federal contractors get vaccinated from COVID-19. The ruling comes in a lawsuit from a coalition of seven states, including Kansas, that challenged whether President Joe Biden’s executive order for federal employees could be extended to private contractors. U.S. […]

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 […]