Politics + Government

Path to civic engagement for Kansas’ marginalized communities littered with barriers

BY: - September 5, 2020

TOPEKA — Shannon Portillo remembers the glares and sideways glances cast at her father, a darker-skinned, Mexican American man, and her mother, a blond, blue-eyed, white woman, as they entered their polling location together. Despite the looks, her parents took pride in voting, said Portillo, the assistant VP of academic affairs at the University of […]

Cancellation of the Kansas State Fair created an estimated $2.3 million revenue shortfall that fair officials want to be filled through a state or federal bailout. Some livestock events are being held, but the Pronto Pup, regarded as a banquet on a stick, won't be available until the fair in September 2021. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas State Fair outlines $2.3 million revenue shortfall, requests budget bailout

BY: - September 4, 2020

TOPEKA — Cancelling commercial aspects of the Kansas State Fair compelled the organization to halt building renovations, impose staffing cuts and set in motion a plan to raid its charitable foundation to cover an estimated $2.3 million revenue shortfall. David Tobias, interim general manager of the state fair, said the state fair could avoid some […]

Gov. Laura Kelly declined to accept demands of Republican legislators to insert language into the statewide COVID-19 disaster declartion that she wouldn't close businesses in the next 30 days in response to the pandemic. Kelly is asking the State Finance Council to approve a 30-day extension of the disaster declaration. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas enters race for Space Command headquarters

BY: - September 4, 2020

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday she would make a strong push to land the new U.S. Space Command in Kansas. The governor’s office said four Kansas communities have submitted proposals to become the home for headquarters of the U.S. Space Command, which is responsible for military operations in space. The cities are Derby, […]

Members of the Commission on Racial Equity and Justice express an interest Thursday in increasing diversity of listening session communities. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas tribes seek clarity with federal, state law enforcement

BY: - September 4, 2020

TOPEKA — In Vivien Olsen’s experience as an American Indian tribal attorney, she has seen firsthand how the complicated tribal, state and federal law enforcement relationship has led to over-victimization of native people in Kansas. Olsen, the former tribal attorney for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, said native people often face questions about […]

The Republican majority on the State Finance Council voted down Thursday a plan endorsed by Gov. Laura Kelly, to seek $300 in weekly supplemental federal unemployment benefit that would be matched by $100 weekly paid by the state. Kansas will apply for the $300 weekly benefit from FEMA. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

GOP blocks Gov. Laura Kelly’s request for a $400 weekly surge in jobless benefits

BY: - September 3, 2020

Gov. Laura Kelly says state Department of Labor will apply for $300 in weekly supplemental jobless benefits paid by the federal government.

Republican Tracey Mann, campaigning for the 1st District congressional race against Democrat Kali Barnett, says the United States must learned how to coexist with COVID-19 because trillions of federal dollars, business shutdowns and vaccine research may all fall short. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

U.S. House, Senate candidates dive into desires and jitters of COVID-19 response

BY: - September 3, 2020

TOPEKA — Democratic congressional candidate Kali Barnett is convinced Congress must pass a new COVID-19 stimulus bill for struggling businesses and the millions of unemployed people despite cringeworthy accumulation of trillions of dollars in federal debt. “Right now it is incredibly important that we take care of our working Americans,” said Barnett, who is running […]

Under new rules adopted in May, representatives can designate a proxy rather than vote in person from the floor of the U.S. House, seen here in a file photo from October 2019. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Why D.C. lawmakers are voting remotely during the pandemic

BY: - September 3, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Republicans have a new line of attack against some Democrats, accusing them of failing to show up for work. The criticism refers to 2020’s practice of proxy voting in the House, which enables lawmakers of either party to cast votes even when they are not at the Capitol. The emergency measure […]

Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the state wouldn't plan to inoculate children for COVID-19 because the vaccines hadn't been approved for younger people. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas health secretary wary of Lake Perry motorcycle rally: ‘I’m sure we’ll see an outbreak’

BY: - September 2, 2020

TOPEKA — Kansas health secretary Lee Norman renewed warnings Wednesday about rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, including a deadly two-day spike, and cautioned Kansans against participating in a large motorcycle rally planned for Lake Perry. State officials also announced they plan to reveal the locations of outbreaks — a decision previously delegated to county officials […]

Bryan Caskey, elections director for the Kansas Secretary of State's office, notified Sen. Julia Lynn on Wednesday she would remain on the November ballot. (Sherman Smtih/Kansas Reflector)

Sen. Julia Lynn flubs paperwork, will remain on November ballot

BY: - September 2, 2020

The Kansas Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday denied Sen. Julia Lynn’s last-minute effort to drop off the November ballot. Lynn announced her plans to retire on Tuesday, the deadline to be removed from the ballot, citing her sister’s failing health. Kansas law allows candidates to quit after the primary if they have a severe […]

Economic recovery task force approves unemployment assistance program

BY: - September 2, 2020

TOPEKA — Kansans receiving unemployment benefits due to job loss caused by COVID-19 should soon receive much-needed support in the form of up to $400 in additional payments from a federal unemployment program. The program temporarily provides an additional $300 per week for those who are receiving unemployment benefits. Each state may also choose to […]

The Kansas Legislature's auditors say industrial hemp remains a risky crop but growing expertise and development of markets for the plants fiber, grain and floral parts could generate more than $20 million annually in revenue within several years. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Legislature’s auditors assess economic prospects of Kansas’ fledgling hemp crop

BY: - September 2, 2020

Value of Kansas' hemp crop in 2019 was modest, while Kansas State University is studying potential of using hemp flowers as cattle feed.

State and federal agencies reported the Kansas unemployment rate dropped in November to 3.6%, a reduction from 3.9% in September and October. Joblessness at outset of the COVID-19 pandemic was 12.6% in April 2020. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

EPA targets two southeast Kansas lead smelter sites for Superfund list

BY: - September 2, 2020

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is focusing on two southeast Kansas lead smelting sites for inclusion in the Superfund program.