Politics + Government

House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, center, R-Wichita, challenged the legality of Gov. Laura Kelly's opinion that county commissions couldn't reject her executive order mandating that all students, employees and visitors to public and private schools wear a mask to reduce potential of spreading COVID-19. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Conflict persists about Gov. Laura Kelly’s power to impose school health orders

BY: - July 24, 2020

House Minority Leader Dan Hawkins says Gov. Laura Kelly is wrong to believe county commissions can't block her order for all in K-12 schools wear a mask.

Health secretary Lee Norman outlines the growing number of COVID-19 infections in Kansas during a news conference last week in which Gov. Laura Kelly announced her order to keep schools closed until after Labor Day. On Wednesday, Norman told board members that schools can't be safe islands in unsafe communities. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Medical experts dispute claims by Kansas Board of Education member

BY: and - July 23, 2020

TOPEKA — Kansas State Board of Education member Michelle Dombrosky confronted health secretary Lee Norman during Wednesday’s meeting to ask why his advice — to delay the start of school for three weeks — conflicts with the opinion of other medical experts in the state. The board member from Olathe identified Children’s Mercy Hospital, the […]

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 Commission on Racial Equity and Justice turns focus to community involvement

BY: - July 23, 2020

Wichita police Chief Gordon Ramsay says throughout his career in law enforcement he has noticed, and often been told of, the need to address the system of fines leading to the removal of driver’s licenses and sometimes incarceration. “Once you get into that cycle of debt, you lose your license and then you can’t get […]

The administration of Gov. Laura Kelly said an inquiry had been launched into allegations of a state employee and "concerned taxpayer" about potential misuse of aircraft by the Kansas Highway Patrol's aviation unit. The allegations center on pilots obtaining flight credentials of little use to the KHP and of using a helicopter for trips to Kansas City restaurants. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Inquiries clear Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent of wrongdoing

BY: - July 23, 2020

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday expressed unqualified support for the superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol following completion of internal and external reviews of allegations he engaged in sexual harassment, gender discrimination and misuse of state aircraft. KHP Superintendent Herman Jones, who assumed the law enforcement agency’s top job in 2019, was the […]

Nancy Jensen, center, a former resident of a Newton home for mentally ill adults led by Arlan Kaufman, objected to Kaufman's request to be released from federal prison due to poor health after serving 15 years of a 30-year sentence. A federal judge denied the request for compassionate release. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Victims: 15 years in prison not enough for architect of Kaufman House terror

BY: - July 23, 2020

Victims of former Kansas social worker Arlan Kaufman's abuse of mentally ill adults persuaded a judge to deny him early release from prison.

Members of the Kansas State Board of Education, who met via video conference Wednesday, rejected the governor's order delaying the opening of public schools until after Labor Day. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas Board of Education blocks Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to delay K-12 classes

BY: - July 22, 2020

The Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday rejected Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order to delay the start of public and private school instruction for three weeks because of a resurgence of coronavirus in the state, with half the board members citing a need for a more local approach. The controversial decision by Kelly to […]

Rep. Troy Waymaster, left, a Republican from Bunker Hill, says the COVID-19 pandemic will erode casino and lottery revenue relied on by the state government to invest in economic development programs. (Nick Krug for Kansas Reflector)

State Finance Council complicit in cloaking financial terms of lawsuit settlements

BY: - July 22, 2020

State Finance Council, comprised of the Kansas governor and eight legislators, test transparency limits by avoiding public discussion of lawsuit settlements.

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)

House sends bipartisan public lands bill to president’s desk

BY: and - July 22, 2020

WASHINGTON — Major environmental legislation sailed through Congress Wednesday while the nation’s political leaders were stuck in intense negotiations over the contours of a fifth coronavirus relief package. The bill would provide $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog and provide permanent funding at $900 million per year […]

Vaccine makers deny political pressure in race for safe, effective shot

BY: - July 22, 2020

Leaders of the companies working on some of the top candidates for COVID-19 vaccines predict they should have shots available by early 2021 but said they will rely on the federal government to determine how to distribute them. The heads of five biopharmaceutical companies with promising vaccine candidates told members of Congress on Tuesday they […]

U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, who represents the 1st District in Kansas, is competing against former Secretary of State Kris Kobach and a handful of other candidates in the August Republican primary. (Submitted)

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts endorses Roger Marshall in GOP primary

BY: - July 21, 2020

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., endorses Congressman Roger Marshall in the GOP primary. Roberts' retirement set off a scramble for the seat.

Kansas Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran released a statement to constituents saying President Donald Trump has the right to wage a legal fight for a fair counting of votes in the presidential election, but should offer presumed Democrat Joe Biden the national security briefings and other support common to transition to a new president. (Submitted)

Kansas attorney general outlines COVID-19 scams for U.S. Senate panel

BY: - July 21, 2020

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., chaired a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday on COVID-19 scams. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt shared testimony.

Spirit AeroSystems employee Michelle Tran discovered after furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic that she had inadvertently accepted years ago unemployment benefits she wasn't entitled to receive. She paid back the money with interest, but is banned from getting jobless assistance for five years under Kansas law. (Submitted by Michelle Tran to Kansas Reflector)

Kansas enforces nation’s most draconian penalty for unemployment ‘fraud’

BY: - July 21, 2020

Kansas has the toughest unemployment law in the nation — a five-year penalty — for any type of "fraud," which includes inadvertently taking extra cash.