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.

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Melissa Standridge

Kansas Supreme Court justices point to ‘chilling’ impact of law on voter registration activity

By: - February 1, 2023

TOPEKA — Kansas Supreme Court justices raised concerns Wednesday about the “chilling” effect a 2021 law could have on League of Women Voters volunteers and others who participate in voter registration drives. Part of the legislation makes it a crime to engage in conduct that would cause someone to believe you are an election worker. […]

Adam Proffitt, budget director for Gov. Laura Kelly, presented a new state government budget to House and Senate members Thursday that deposits $500 million in a rainy-day fund, expands Medicaid and ends the state's 4% sales tax on groceries April 1. (Rachel Mipro/Kansas Reflector)

Analysis shows Kansas Chamber’s flat tax proposal costs $1.5B, favors top 20% of wage earners

By: , and - January 30, 2023

A flat-rate income tax sought by the Kansas Chamber would reduce state revenue $1.5 billion per year and primarily benefit the state's highest wage earners.

She killed her rapist after months of abuse. Advocates say Kansas governor should set her free.

By: - January 30, 2023

TOPEKA — Sarah Gonzales-McLinn regrets killing Hal Sasko. She also regrets moving into his Lawrence home, where he repeatedly raped her until she channeled a lifetime of trauma into psychotic rupture. On a January night in 2014, she drugged her captor, zip-tied his limbs and slit his throat. “That is the moment that my pain […]

House Minority Leader Vic Miller addresses the student government at Emporia State

Emporia State University graduate encourages student leaders, laments school’s ‘debacle’

By: - January 27, 2023

EMPORIA — House Minority Leader Vic Miller regaled members of the Emporia State University student government Thursday with tales of his early 1970s escapades on campus — while lamenting the school’s elimination of tenured staff and programs last year. He pointed to himself and his Republican counterpart, House Speaker Dan Hawkins, as examples of accomplished […]

Four representatives sit at a table

Young Kansas lawmakers say pay increase is needed to remain in office, attract better candidates

By: - January 25, 2023

TOPEKA — When Rep. Tory Marie Blew first won election to the House in 2016, people told her she was losing money by going to Topeka. She was 23 years old at the time, and her only expenses were rent and student loan repayment. As she has grown older — and married, with a mortgage — […]

Lesser prairie chicken perform dancing

Kansas Senate adopts resolution condemning protection of lesser prairie chicken

By: - January 23, 2023

TOPEKA — The Kansas Senate suspended rules and took emergency action Monday to adopt a resolution condemning federal protection of the lesser prairie chicken. Sen. Dan Kerschen, a Garden Plain Republican, introduced the resolution on the Senate floor immediately before making the motion to take a vote. The Senate adopted the resolution, which is sponsored […]

Micah Kubic, of the ACLU of Kansas, appears at a microphone

ACLU of Kansas prepared to challenge Legislature’s attacks on trans kids, voting rights

By: - January 16, 2023

TOPEKA — The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas is prepared to challenge the Kansas Legislature’s annual attacks on transgender children, voting rights and reproductive health care while searching for common ground on criminal justice reform and medical marijuana. The organization’s priorities for the 2023 session are mostly at odds with leadership in the GOP-dominated […]

Kim Bergman speaks at a news conference

Survivors of sexual abuse plead for changes in Kansas law that protects pedophiles

By: - January 13, 2023

TOPEKA — Four survivors of childhood sexual abuse revealed details about the worst moments of their lives in a public rebuke of state law that protects pedophiles from criminal prosecution or civil lawsuits. Backed by a bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers, the women emphasized that it can take years before a survivor accepts what happened […]

Gov. Laura Kelly

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly cleared to return after doctors say COVID-19 test was inaccurate

By: - January 12, 2023

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly’s office says she doesn’t have COVID-19 after all. The office issued a statement Thursday saying her physician and state health officials believe an initial test earlier this week produced a “false positive” result. Her subsequent tests have been negative, the statement said. The governor appeared at a series of events […]

‘We need to wake up’: Kansas celebration of MLK urges end to divisiveness

By: - January 12, 2023

TOPEKA — Angela Bates told a crowd gathered Thursday at the Statehouse to celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. there is one thing we all have in common. We’re all going to die. The question, she said, is what footprint will you leave on the free soils of Kansas? “I urge us all to have […]

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert

Kansas Supreme Court chief justice points to attorney shortage, specialty courts, behavioral health

By: - January 11, 2023

TOPEKA — Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert in her State of the Judiciary speech Wednesday asked lawmakers for support of specialty courts, behavioral health services, and pay raises for judges and court employees. Luckert also sounded an alarm about the severe shortage of attorneys in rural areas. “Judges across the state report they […]

Paul Hughes speaks into a microphone in a committee room at the Statehouse

Kansas officials pursue new megadeals with semiconductor makers

By: - January 10, 2023

TOPEKA — Kansas officials are pursuing megadeals for six new projects, including two companies that make semiconductors, by using the same tax incentives that landed Panasonic’s $4 billion investment last year. Paul Hughes, deputy secretary for business development at the Department of Commerce, briefed lawmakers Tuesday on the status of Panasonic’s operation and the potential […]