Politics + Government

Alex Orel, a lobbyist with the Kansas Bankers Association, told a joint House and Senate economic recovery committee that COVID-19 added stress to Main Street businesses and the agriculture sector. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Coronavirus draws Kansas farm bankruptcy, business stagnation into focus

BY: - August 12, 2020

Bipartisan Kansas legislative committee is sorting through COVID-19 economic problems to help speed business recovery.

M.T. Liggett, an extraordinary folk artist who created masterpieces out of a farm shop in Mullinville, works on a metal sculpture. The late artist's roadside expressions made of old machinery parts is the basis of a visitor center being developed to display and preserve his work. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Unfinished business: Recasting arts commission as engine of economic growth falling short

BY: - August 12, 2020

TOPEKA — Complexities of building a visitor center to celebrate scrap metal sculptures, whirligigs and signs fabricated by Mullinville’s most curious resident help illustrate the pressure placed on the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission to create a statewide arts organization that equally values artistic and economic achievement. Provocateur M.T. Liggett’s acerbic outdoor art displayed on […]

Attorneys for former Newton social worker Arlan Kaufman are appealing a U.S. District Court judge's refusal to release him 15 years early from prison due to poor health and risk of COVID-19. Kaufman and his wife were found guilty of forced labor, involuntary servitude and other crimes for abusing mentally ill adults under their care. (Illustration/Kansas Reflector)

Inmate Arlan Kaufman, abuser of mentally ill Kansans, appeals denial of early release

BY: - August 11, 2020

Mennonite church leaders and family members support compassionate release from prison of Arlan Kaufman, convicted of abusing mentally ill adults in Newton.

Mark Pringle and his wife, Mary Jane Shanklin, say the pandemic has exacerbated issues that already existed in farming communities (Submitted)

Kansas farmers find themselves increasingly isolated, in need amid pandemic

BY: - August 11, 2020

TOPEKA — Mark Pringle has seen the self-sufficient mindset of many Kansas farmers and their families challenged by COVID-19 as the virus disproportionately impacts rural communities. Pringle is a fourth-generation farmer and the Democratic candidate for the Kansas House in the 13th District. He and his wife, Mary Jane Shanklin, a registered nurse, have watched […]

The Kansas unemployment rate in July held steady at 2.4%, an improvement from 3.4% in July 2021 and 6.4% in July 2020. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Trump’s $400 per week jobless aid could be just $300. It depends on where you live.

BY: - August 10, 2020

WASHINGTON — Governors, lawmakers and state unemployment agencies on Monday wrestled with confusion created by President Donald Trump’s executive action extending unemployment benefits, and it appeared some states could settle for $300 per week in benefits instead of the $400 the president touted. State leaders from both political parties remained unsure how much they’d have […]

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, left, filed a lawsuit Monday designed to keep the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma from building a casino on land in Park City. The U.S. Department of Interior decided in May the project could proceed. The plaintiffs are two tribes, the city of Mulvane and Sumner County, which hosts the Kansas Star Casino. (Kansas Reflector)

Kansas attorney general files federal lawsuit to thwart proposed tribal casino

BY: - August 10, 2020

TOPEKA — Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma Chief Bill Friend expressed skepticism Monday a federal lawsuit filed by the Kansas attorney general on behalf of four plaintiffs would succeed in blocking construction of a trial casino on land near Wichita. The petition submitted by Attorney General Derek Schmidt in U.S. District Court seeks an order setting […]

House Speaker Ron Ryckman, left, and House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins will retain their leadership positions in the House for the 2021 session, while Senate Republicans elected Sen. Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, to be Senate president. (Nick Krug/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas dials up plan to spend $60 million in COVID-19 aid on broadband expansion

BY: - August 10, 2020

Gov. Laura Kelly joins legislators to direct $60 million in COVID-19 aid to expand broadband to address telemedicine, education and business needs.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment secretary Lee Norman says during a recording of the Kansas Reflector podcast that he would prefer mask mandates to curtail the spread of COVID-19. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

KDHE secretary warns of ‘lethal brew,’ yearns for mask mandate, says schools not yet safe

BY: - August 10, 2020

KDHE Secretary Lee Norman tells Kansas Reflector bars are red-hot vectors of COVID-19, Kansas needs mask mandate, too soon to open schools and universities.

Kansas Sen. Jeff Longbine, an Emporia Republican, used a $336,000 loan through the federal Payroll Protection Program to sustain employment of more than 35 employees at his Longbine Auto Plaza. More than 53,000 Kansas businesses have made use of $5 billion in PPP loans. (Nick Krug for Kansas Reflector)

Emergency paycheck loan program delivers $5 billion to 53,000 Kansas businesses

BY: - August 9, 2020

TOPEKA — Chevrolet dealer Jeff Longbine understood the economic damage to sales from the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential benefit of an emergency federal loan program fashioned to sustain small businesses and prevent employee layoffs. He applied for and received $336,000 under the Paycheck Protection Program, which is the $669 billion nationwide initiative created through […]

Payment Protection Program loans kept health care facilities across Kansas operating through the pandemic (University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita Medical Practice Association)

PPP loans keep hospitals, clinics financially stable

BY: - August 9, 2020

TOPEKA — Hospitals and clinics in Kansas, which were struggling to pay employees and stay above water financially before COVID-19, were buoyed by millions of dollars in Payment Protection Program loans. Since 2010, seven rural hospitals have closed across Kansas, including Sumner Community Hospital and St. Luke’s Cushing Hospital this year. A 2019 study indicated […]

President Donald Trump addresses the nation in March from the Oval Office about the widening coronavirus crisis. He is expected to sign a bill that provides $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog. (Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images)

Trump moves to extend unemployment benefits, suspend payroll taxes after talks break down

BY: and - August 8, 2020

President Donald Trump on Saturday circumvented Congress and took action into his own hands, after weeks of unsuccessful negotiations over another coronavirus relief package on Capitol Hill. He signed three presidential memoranda and an executive order at his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Trump would provide $300 per week in federal unemployment assistance with […]

Brianna Ibarra, a Shawnee freshman at the University of Kansas, said Friday she willingly participated in the mandatory COVID-19 testing of students as the campus prepares for opening of fall semester classes. Her father, George, helped with her belongings outside a KU residence hall. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

K-State, KU take different avenues on COVID-19 testing of students

BY: and - August 7, 2020

The University of Kansas and Kansas State University to employ different testing strategies for COVID-19 when students return to campus.