Politics + Government

Harvesters, a private food bank, saw the amount of food distributed increase from 54 million pounds in 2019 to 65 million in 2020. In this picture, food is distributed at a drive-in in Kansas City, Kansas. (Harvesters — The Community Food Network)

As food insecurity rates rise amid COVID-19, Kansas advocates call for assistance

BY: - August 1, 2020

TOPEKA — Haley Kottler sees firsthand desperation of young families struggling to put food on the table as the economy wilts under the COVID-19 pandemic. She understands the lifeline offered by the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that delivers food benefits nationwide. “Families often depend on school lunches, […]

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Kansas Democrat serving the 3rd District, says President Donald Trump's latest round of executive orders don't come close to meeting the COVID-19 needs of Kansas families. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas delegation beats drum for jobless aid, liability cloak, ‘sound’ tax reform

BY: - July 31, 2020

Kansas congressional delegation anxious to push bills on unemployment benefit, business liability protection and tax reform for recording industry.

Democrat Aaron Coleman, of Kansas City, Kan., says controversy about his stalking women while in middle school and other issues lead him to believe it best to quit his race for the 37th District seat in the Kansas House. He won the August primary against Rep. Stan Frownfelter. (Submitted to Kansas Reflector)

‘Mask it or casket’: Democratic House candidate hopes GOP stricken by COVID-19

BY: - July 31, 2020

Kansas House Democratic candidate Aaron Coleman says GOP politicans shouldn't wear masks so they get sick and do poorly in November elections.

‘14,000 attempts’: Balky technology, expiring benefits worry workers, state leaders

BY: - July 31, 2020

Congress is continuing to squabble over whether to extend a federal supplement to unemployment insurance and, if they do, by how much. But as they argue over whether to continue the supplement at its current $600-per-week level or some fraction of that, out-of-work Americans are left to worry whether they can survive on state benefits […]

Secretary of State Scott Schwab, seen during a tour in June in Topeka of Binswanger Glass, which is making Plexiglas shields for polling sites, says voters in the August primary won't be denied a ballot based on whether they wear a mask. (Photo by Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas secretary of state says no to Trump’s proposed delay of November election

BY: - July 30, 2020

Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab said Thursday there was no reason to delay the November election, contrary to a suggestion made by President Donald Trump on Twitter. Trump said, without evidence, that mail-in voting in this year’s election would be historically fraudulent and inaccurate. His proposed solution was to delay voting until people are […]

Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said wearing masks, improving testing capacity and isolating people infected with COVID-19 was the best approach during the pandemic as long as there is no approved vaccine. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

‘A lot of anger’: Kansas authorities on alert for threats to health officers

BY: - July 30, 2020

TOPEKA — Kansas Department of Health and Environment secretary Lee Norman says he is used to “looking over my shoulder,” behavior the lieutenant colonel in the Kansas Army National Guard learned while serving as senior medical commander in a combat zone. Norman again finds himself under threat of attack. Public health officials across the the […]

U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins, who lost in the 2nd District Republican primary in August, attempted to win re-election by leaning on $408,000 in taxpayer financed communication expenditures since taking office in 2019. Kansas' four-person U.S. House delegation has spent $1 million in franked tax dollars as of June. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Kansans take partisan view of U.S. House package aiding child care industry

BY: - July 30, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House stepped in to try to rescue the nation’s child care system from collapse under the weight of the pandemic. The chamber approved a pair of bills Wednesday that backers say are needed to fully reopen the economy and shore up the child care industry in the longer term, while skeptics […]

Kansas candidates for U.S. Senate and congressional seats during the primary ending Tuesday have produced a record number of TV commercials and flooded homes with direct-mail postcards that offer pointed commentary. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Avalanche of Kansas ads in GOP primary races ignore restraint

BY: - July 30, 2020

The GOP U.S. Senate and congressional primaries in Kansas prompted a record number of campaign commercials spewing high doses of venom.

Protesters demand more transparency from Kansas Department for Children and Families

BY: - July 29, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A dozen protestors stood in the rain on Wednesday calling for change to be made at the Kansas Department for Children and Families. They said a lack of transparency has cost the lives of children, including Adrian Jones, Evan Brewer and, most recently, 3-year-old Olivia Jansen. Olivia’s body was found in […]

Felony charges against Rep. Steve Watkins have become a flashpoint in his GOP primary race against state Treasurer Jake LaTurner. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Affidavit: Rep. Steve Watkins lied about address change, not voting

BY: - July 29, 2020

A Shawnee County sheriff’s detective in her affidavit report says U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins lied to her when he claimed he didn’t actually vote in a local election and wasn’t responsible for listing a UPS store as his home address. Video surveillance and a review of mail-in ballots provide the basis for three felony charges […]

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, opposed Gov. Laura Kelly's plan to add $100 weekly in state funding to $300 in weekly federal aid under a plan developed by President Donald Trump. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas officials endorse expenditure of $254 million in federal COVID-19 aid

BY: - July 29, 2020

The State Finance Council agreed to invest $254 million in federal COVID-19 aid in education, public health and economic development initiatives.

Social distancing is practiced in this July 22 meeting at Salina High South to to plan the reopening of the Salina school district. (Salina Public Schools)

Local control takes shape as school districts across Kansas plan for reopening

BY: - July 29, 2020

Many of Kansas’ largest public school districts are pushing their start date until after Labor Day to provide additional preparation time in light of a surge in COVID-19 infections — but smaller and mid-size districts are taking more immediate measures or offering hybrid learning opportunities. School boards are making these decisions in the wake of […]