Peter Hancock (Statehouse/politics reporter)

I cover K-12 education. That includes Lawrence USD 497 as well as state policy issues from the legislature and State Board of Education. I am a graduate of the Kansas University with bachelor's degrees in political science and education. Before joining the Journal-World, I published an online news service called the Kansas Education Policy Report. I also spent nine years as the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and worked a couple of years as the spokesman for the (former) Kansas Health Policy Authority. You can follow me on Twitter (@pqhancock) or join our conversation about public schools on the First Bell blog.

Recent stories

Labor department reports weak job growth in Kansas
12:17 p.m., May 22, 2015 Updated 10:41 p.m.
The Kansas unemployment rate ticked up to 4.3 percent in April as the state lost 2,900 private-sector jobs. Over the past year, private-sector job growth was only 1 percent. By Peter Hancock
Court rules Highway Patrol must pay KU Hospital for prisoner’s medical bills
11:07 a.m., May 22, 2015 Updated 10:37 p.m.
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Highway Patrol is responsible for paying the medical bills of an indigent man who’d been arrested for drunk driving after crashing his car into a tree. By Peter Hancock
Budget negotiators drop tuition freeze, narrow revenue gap
May 21, 2015
House and Senate budget negotiators agreed Thursday to drop a proposal in their spending plan that would have prohibited state colleges and universities from raising tuition. They also made other adjustments in the proposed budget that narrow the projected revenue shortfall for next year to about $380 million. By Peter Hancock
Kansas Senate calls off tax debate
04:12 p.m., May 21, 2015 Updated 10:25 p.m.
Senate GOP leaders postponed the debate until next week to give members more time to draft proposed amendments. Both the House and Senate are now expected to debate tax bills next week, after they return from an extended four-day Memorial Day weekend. By Peter Hancock
Kansas House advances bill giving Kobach power to prosecute election crimes
02:20 p.m., May 20, 2015 Updated 10:48 p.m.
The bill, which has already passed the Senate, would give the secretary of state independent authority to prosecute election crimes. It also increases the penalties for those crimes and lowers the standard of proof for a conviction. By Peter Hancock
Tax plans coming together, but business owners’ taxes still a hot issue
10:50 a.m., May 19, 2015 Updated 10:40 p.m.
A budget-balancing plan to raise Kansas’ sales tax and repeal an income tax break championed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback cleared a state Senate committee Tuesday, but GOP legislators are split and influential business groups oppose it.
Bill threatens to defund Kansas judicial branch
05:17 p.m., May 18, 2015 Updated 10:26 p.m.
House and Senate negotiators agreed Monday on language of a bill that would cut off funds to the judicial branch if the Kansas Supreme Court strikes down a law governing how chief judges of district courts are selected. A lawsuit challenging the new selection process is pending in Shawnee County District Court. By Peter Hancock
Senate considers bill to abolish Kansas Bioscience Authority
03:32 p.m., May 18, 2015 Updated 10:27 p.m.
The Kansas Senate is considering a bill that would abolish the Kansas Bioscience Authority, an agency designed to attract new investments in health care, pharmaceuticals, animal health and other related industries to Kansas. By Peter Hancock
Some Kansas environmental groups disappointed with clean energy compromise
May 17, 2015
A bill that changes the state’s renewable energy standards for electric utilities into voluntary goals is now on its way to Gov. Sam Brownback. But some environmental groups are still disappointed in the compromise worked out between the wind industry and conservative free-market political groups that opposed the old requirements. By Peter Hancock
Lawrence delegation and the tax debate: on the outside looking in
02:10 p.m., May 15, 2015 Updated 10:18 p.m.
In a chamber controlled by conservative Republicans, the three Democrats and one moderate Republican from Lawrence have had little input in the ongoing debate over how to solve the state’s budget woes. But that could change as conservatives continue to have trouble mustering enough votes from their own ranks for a plan to balance the budget. By Peter Hancock

Full story list

Recent photos

Democratic Sens. Tom Holland of Baldwin City and Marci Francisco of Lawrence confer on the Senate floor before a scheduled debate and vote on a $496 million tax bill. But Republican leaders called off the debate and rescheduled it for Wednesday of next week.

Rep. Boog Highberger, D-Lawrence, speaks on the floor of the Kansas House against a bill that gives the Secretary of State independent authority to prosecute election crimes.

A grassroots group calling itself the Kansas Eagles uses T-shirts to convey its message to House and Senate tax committees, Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

Sen. Jeff King, right, R-Independence, leads the Senate negotiating team over a budget that ties funding for the judicial branch to the outcome of a pending lawsuit. Also at the table are Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Augusta, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, and ranking Democrat Laura Kelly, of Topeka, who opposes the plan.

Duane Cantrell, president and CEO of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, testifies before a Senate committee against a bill that would abolish the program.

Full photo list