Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the editor in chief of Kansas Reflector. He writes about things that powerful people don't want you to know. A two-time Kansas Press Association journalist of the year, his award-winning reporting includes stories about education, technology, foster care, voting, COVID-19, sex abuse, and access to reproductive health care. Before founding Kansas Reflector in 2020, he spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He graduated from Emporia State University in 2004, back when the school still valued English and journalism. He was raised in the country at the end of a dead end road in Lyon County.

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 […]

Gov. Laura Kelly appears on stage in front of a campaign banner

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly picks budget director to lead Department of Administration

By: - January 3, 2023

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly has appointed her budget director to serve as secretary of the Department of Administration as she kicks off her second term. Adam Proffitt will take over the agency formerly led by DeAngela Burns-Wallace, whose last day is Friday. Proffitt has been the governor’s budget director for the past two years. […]

Dorothy Hughes

Telehealth ‘another arrow in the quiver’ for Kansas providers, but barriers remain

By: - December 20, 2022

TOPEKA — Kansas patients and health care providers value telehealth as a convenient and accessible option, new research shows, but they also recognize its limitations and technological challenges. Dorothy Hughes, an assistant professor of population health and surgery at the University of Kansas School of Medicine’s Salina campus, spent 18 months studying the use of […]

Debbie Cox registers new voters at the United Wireless Convention Center in Dodge City

Federal lawsuit says Dodge City’s election system keeps Latino candidates out of office

By: - December 15, 2022

TOPEKA — A coalition of voting rights groups says Dodge City’s election system is designed to prevent the community’s Latino population from holding office on the city commission. In a complaint filed late Thursday in federal court, the coalition argues the “at-large” election system is unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act of […]

Kimberlyn Jones and Brandon Hutton appear at a lectern

Kansas share of federal broadband cash in jeopardy because of ‘grossly inadequate’ map

By: - December 14, 2022

TOPEKA — Kansas officials worry the state will lose part of its share of a $42.5 billion federal investment in broadband expansion because the Federal Communications Commission commissioned a “grossly inadequate” map of existing services. The map, released in late November, shows broadband is available everywhere in Kansas. The state faces a Jan. 13 deadline to […]

Vic Miller stands behind microphone and lectern in a room at the Statehouse

Kansas House Democrats pick Vic Miller for minority leader

By: - December 5, 2022

TOPEKA — Vic Miller told fellow House Democrats on Monday they can overcome their “numbers problem” by sticking together and being smarter than their Republican rivals. The caucus narrowly selected Miller, a Topeka Democrat, as the minority leader for the upcoming session. Miller beat out Lenexa Democrat Brandon Woodard in a 21-19 vote. In his […]

A judge's gavel on top of a pile of $100 bills

Wichita has spent $150,000 on legal fees in defense of police gang list

By: - November 29, 2022

TOPEKA — The City of Wichita has paid a private law firm more than $150,000 in legal fees to defend itself from litigation over the police department’s use of a gang list. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Kansas Appleseed filed a class action lawsuit against the city in April 2021, arguing that […]

Rep. John Barker appears in a committee hearing room

New York Times investigation shows how sports gambling industry exploited Kansas legislators

By: - November 25, 2022

TOPEKA — A New York Times investigation into the gambling industry’s bare-knuckled lobbying efforts provides insight into concessions Kansas lawmakers provided when they legalized sports betting earlier this year. Among the revelations from the report, published Sunday as part of a series on “a relentless nationwide campaign” to expand sports betting: Kansas lawmakers slashed an […]

Pages from internal polling of Kim Zito's House race

‘Complete bulls***’: Kansas Democrats scrutinize internal polling offered to House candidates

By: - November 18, 2022

TOPEKA — Three weeks before Election Day, Kim Zito received internal polling and analysis of voters in her House district that could help her focus campaign efforts in the closing days of a tight race. Zito, a Democrat running for state office for the first time, viewed the assistance as a gesture of faith and […]