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.

Senate Republican wants local officials in Kansas to ‘feel some pain’ for enforcing COVID-19 restrictions

By: - March 19, 2021

TOPEKA — A Senate Republican expressed reservations Friday about using federal aid to compensate businesses impacted by the pandemic because local officials need to be punished for enforcing public health orders. Attorneys who sued the state on behalf of a fitness gym in Wichita endorsed legislation that would direct $100 million from the federal stimulus […]

Kansas Senate passes transgender sports ban after ‘incredibly insulting’ debate

By: - March 18, 2021

TOPEKA — As tensions boiled over in a heated debate Wednesday night over a proposal to ban transgender girls and women from sports, Sen. Renee Erickson deflected concerns about the mental state of transgender youths. Democrats insisted the scrutiny the bill would place on a vulnerable population of children would lead to more suicide, that […]

Kansas Senate majority leader hands off duties a day after drunk driving arrest

By: - March 17, 2021

TOPEKA — Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop said Wednesday he would transfer duties of his leadership position while resolving matters relating to his drunk driving arrest a day earlier. Suellentrop was stopped by Kansas Highway Patrol officers early Tuesday after several 911 callers reported he was driving on the wrong side of Interstate 70 through […]

Kansas lawmaker says Senate’s obsession with genitals warrants crime for outing LGBTQ kids

By: - March 17, 2021

TOPEKA — Rep. Brandon Woodard introduced legislation Wednesday that would make it a crime to disclose a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Lenexa Democrat, one of three openly LGBTQ state lawmakers, said the bill was a direct response to a Senate plan to ban transgender girls and women from high school and college […]

Sen. Kellie Warren R-Leawood, formally launched a campaign for the Republican Party's nomination for attorney general. Her rival in the 2022 election will be Kris Kobach, a former secretary of state. Their quest is to replace Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is running for governor. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas Legislature passes rewrite of emergency management powers

By: - March 16, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bipartisan reform of the state’s emergency management law, installing new checks on powers of the governor, health officers and school boards to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and future disasters. The Senate adopted the legislation by a 31-8 vote hours after it won approval in the House by […]

Kansas Senate panel approves bill banning transgender girls from sports

By: - March 16, 2021

TOPEKA — The Republican chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee called a vote Tuesday on legislation to ban transgender girls from participating in K-12 or college sports after silencing a Democrat who wanted to tell a personal story in opposition to the bill. Members of the committee removed a section of Senate Bill 208 that […]

Senate majority leader arrested, released after allegedly driving wrong way on I-70

By: and - March 16, 2021

Kansas Senate's No. 2 Republican arrested on DUI charge after allegedly driving wrong direction on Interstate 70 in Topeka.

Kansas poised to make COVID-19 vaccines available to another 600K residents

By: - March 15, 2021

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly announced Monday the state was a week away from advancing to the next phase in the rollout plan for COVID-19 vaccines, and expressed optimism that Kansans soon could resume their pre-pandemic lives. The administration plans to combine the next two scheduled phases of the rollout and broaden the scope of […]

Senators squabble with Kansas health secretary over priority list for COVID-19 vaccines

By: - March 15, 2021

TOPEKA — Members of a Senate health panel on Monday questioned the wisdom of withholding COVID-19 vaccines from cancer patients and others in fragile health while inoculating young, healthy essential workers. The Republicans clashed with Kansas Department of Health and Environment secretary Lee Norman and his agency’s decision to block counties from moving into the […]

Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover, asked Gov. Laura Kelly's three nominees to the Kansas Board of Regents to discuss their view of critical race theory. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Senate sends Kansas property tax reform package to governor

By: - March 11, 2021

TOPEKA — Sen. Caryn Tyson urged fellow senators Thursday to endorse “historic” property tax reform and overlook changes made by the House to lump school districts into the reform package for local governments. Tyson, a Republican from Parker, credited the late Sen. Bud Estes, a Dodge City Republican who died last month, with engaging her […]

Norman says Kansas won’t ‘over liberalize’ by rolling back COVID-19 restrictions

By: - March 9, 2021

TOPEKA — After 412 days of monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, Kansas health secretary Lee Norman is still “harping,” as he puts it, on the importance of keeping yourself safe. Yes, things are getting better, he said during a briefing Tuesday with the University of Kansas Health System. Fewer people are sick and dying from the […]

Kansas Jayhawks part ways with football coach Les Miles amid allegations of misconduct at LSU

By: and - March 8, 2021

Reports emerging from LSU about former football coach Les Miles' alleged misconduct with women ends his coaching career at KU.