Statehouse scraps

Gov. Laura Kelly appears with school children

Statehouse scraps: Veto overrides that fizzled, shameful anti-trans bill, Kansas governor persists

BY: - April 29, 2023

You’ll hear no argument from me, friends. This veto session of the Kansas Legislature was a rough one. I try to keep an optimistic tone in my columns and life, but such optimism was a challenge to summon at points this week. Lawmakers dived headfirst into odious transphobia, disdain for the poor and attempts to […]


Statehouse scraps: Kansas session shuts down for spring break with ridiculous all-night marathon

BY: - April 10, 2023

Happy Monday to you all, and happy end to the regular session of the Kansas Legislature. Oh, members will be back, and sooner than you might expect. The so-called veto session begins April 26, and the usual crew of legislators, lobbyists and journalists will once again flood into Topeka. Nevertheless, let’s all relish the two […]


Statehouse scraps: Disability rights advocates disarm bill, anti-trans deadline, more ghost towns

BY: - April 1, 2023

Happy April 1, friends! In tribute to this day of fibs and falsehoods, Twitter CEO and tech-world mastermind Elon Musk has decreed that verified accounts will lose their blue badges. Unless they pay him, of course. In case anyone wondered, Kansas Reflector has no plans to pay for verified status or to cover such payments […]


Statehouse scraps: Catholic lobby’s stance on abuse bill, Medicaid losses, fentanyl frustration

BY: - March 25, 2023

News officially overflowed this week. Not only did Kansas Reflector reporters chase a multitude of stories around the Statehouse, but events we already covered unwound in unpredictable ways. You’ll see how throughout today’s roundup. In the middle of this all, we managed to speak to audiences in Hutchinson and Valley Falls. Thanks to the 200 […]

Oshara Hayes, right, demonstrates in support of Medicaid expansion March 15, 2023, outside the Statehouse in Topeka

Statehouse scraps: The hearings that weren’t, school monopoly loopiness, bills never die in Kansas

BY: - March 17, 2023

Where are the hearings? That’s my question as the Kansas Statehouse barrels into its final three weeks. Gov. Laura Kelly and advocates rallied for Medicaid expansion on Wednesday. Forget whether lawmakers want to approve the policy or not. They haven’t even held a single hearing about it this session. Kansas Reflector has run repeated stories […]

Kansas Reflector opinion editor Clay Wirestone is viewed from a safe distance

Statehouse scraps: Big support for voting rights, transgender ban numbers, homelessness bill paused

BY: - March 11, 2023

If you haven’t visited the Kansas Statehouse before, I recommend it. The restored building practically glows with early 20th century beauty, and you might spot your favorite lawmaker. You might spot your least-favorite lawmaker too, and if they have a moment you could tell them so. Journalists, including yours truly, show up for the fun. […]

The Kansas Statehouse inner dome

Statehouse scraps: Turnaround twaddle, stacked hearings multiply, another abortion ban proposed

BY: - March 4, 2023

The Kansas Legislature took Monday and Tuesday off this week, which lulled me into a temporary sense of complacency. Topeka, it seemed, was returning to normal. Then Wednesday and Thursday happened, and lawmakers returned with a vengeance. Aha, I thought. Here was the inexplicable incoherence I missed. Stay tuned this week for zombie bills, more […]


Statehouse scraps: A toothpick factory on the moon, punishing the poor, elevating conspiracies

BY: - February 18, 2023

Do I have news for you! This week at the Kansas Statehouse practically quivered with nervous energy, as hearings stacked merrily atop one another, legislators kept saying outrageous things, and Kansas Reflector staff took their coffee black to keep up with it all. This week’s roundup features a jaw-dropping 11 items, and believe me when […]

The Kansas Statehouse stands out against a bright blue sky dotted with wisps of cloud

Statehouse scraps: Food tax intrigue, Florida group’s influence, informational hearings off rails

BY: - February 11, 2023

Let’s have a chat today, you and me, before starting the column. We’ve blasted through five weeks of the 2023 session of the Kansas Legislature thus far, and I’ve written enough chatty introductions to this roundup column. You and I both know you skip over this section anyway. Let’s get to the action. As the […]


Statehouse scraps: Secrecy shrouds semiconductor deal, counting a community, silver screen plans

BY: - February 4, 2023

Somehow we just wrapped the fourth week of the 2023 Kansas legislative session. Tracking lawmakers’ antics sometimes feels like pounding a half-dozen slushies and taking a ride on a tilt-a-whirl. The individual experiences might be fun, exhilarating even, but you need a cast-iron stomach to prevent the worst. Like previous weeks, this one saw exceptionally […]

Ad Astra statue on top of the Statehouse dome

Statehouse scraps: Kansas lawmakers shred transparency, good and bad bills, hated photo

BY: - January 28, 2023

While I spent much of this week fending off the sinus pressure and congestion of a head cold, Kansas legislators spent the week fending off public scrutiny and refusing to acknowledge that folks really, really don’t want to ban abortion. Yes, we’ve come to week three of the session. The bloom is off the rose, […]


Statehouse scraps: Transparency fail, LaTurner threat trial, KanCare expansion prospects

BY: - January 20, 2023

The second week of the Kansas Legislature has barreled through Topeka like a steam locomotive fueled with plutonium. Along with the usual committee hearings and backroom dealmaking, political news across Kansas kept the pace with GOP organizational hijinks and the bizarre trial of a man who threatened U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner. At the Statehouse, lawmakers […]