State Government

Governor picks appeals court judge for Kansas Supreme Court

TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday picked an experienced appeals court judge, who started her career in retail sales, to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court. Judge Melissa Taylor Standridge, from Leawood, has served on the Kansas Court of Appeals since 2008. She previously ...

Kansas community colleges: No reason to take politics out of higher education mergers

TOPEKA — Kansas community college presidents oppose a bill developed by the state Board of Regents ending authority of the Legislature and governor to block voluntary mergers between community or technical colleges and a university. Dennis Rittle, president of Cowley Community College in ...

Mask resistance softens in Kansas as virus cases soar

Story updated at 4:24 p.m. Tuesday GREAT BEND (AP) — Resistance to masks appears to be weakening in Kansas as the coronavirus surges, straining the capacity of the state's hospitals. Gov. Laura Kelly's latest effort to require face coverings takes effect Wednesday, although Kansas law still ...

Extended unemployment benefits ending next month in Kansas

WICHITA (AP) — A federal program that had extended unemployment benefits for an extra 13 weeks in Kansas will stop next month just as new COVID-19 restrictions could lead to more furloughs and layoffs. The U.S. Department of Labor informed the state labor agency that the Kansas unemployment ...

Pandemic straining Kansas hospitals days before Thanksgiving

TOPEKA — Surging pandemic numbers are straining hospitals across Kansas just days before Thanksgiving gatherings that public health officials fear could worsen the outbreak. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported on Monday 95 new hospitalizations, bringing the total of ...

Movie theaters among businesses to get Kansas virus relief funds

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas is including movie theaters among the businesses to receive aid as the state gets close to wrapping up its distribution of federal coronavirus relief funds. Legislative leaders signed off Friday on a proposal from Gov. Laura Kelly's pandemic recovery office to allocate ...

Kansas hospitals buckle, schools pull back amid virus surge

MISSION (AP) — Hospitals across Kansas are buckling as coronavirus cases swell, leading many schools to scale back in-person learning and one county to intensify plans for a possible field hospital. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment added 5,939 cases to the state’s pandemic ...

Kansas Supreme Court upholds 2 convictions using warrantless blood tests

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that results from warrantless blood tests were admissible in two cases of driving under the influence, even though the statute that had authorized them was later found to be unconstitutional. In separate decisions, the state's highest court ...

COVID-19 spurs Kansas Legislature to plan $3M tech upgrade

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Legislature plans to spend about $3 million on technology upgrades in hopes that people will be able to watch committee hearings and other functions even if they can’t leave their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic. The upgrades are designed to ensure that ...

Kansas racial equity panel to recommend police no longer use unmarked cars

TOPEKA (AP) — A commission Gov. Laura Kelly established to examine policing and other racial justice issues after George Floyd's death plans to recommend that Kansas law enforcement agencies no longer use unmarked police vehicles during traffic stops — unless police believe they are needed ...

Kansas aims to boost virus testing, but strategy unfinished

TOPEKA (AP) — Nearly two months after Gov. Laura Kelly announced that Kansas would develop a “unified” strategy to ramp up coronavirus testing, the program is enough of a work in progress that even some of the state's contractors don't yet have all the details. A Republican legislative ...

Kansas governor issues new mask mandate as COVID cases surge

Updated at 6:47 Wednesday TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly issued a new mask mandate Wednesday in hopes of lessening the spread of the coronavirus in Kansas after the state again reported another record seven-day increase in new cases. State law still allows Kansas' 105 counties to opt out of such ...

Kansas governor preparing to announce new COVID-19 measures

Updated story - Kansas governor issues new mask mandate as COVID cases surge TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly prepared Wednesday to announce new measures designed to control the spread of the coronavirus in Kansas as the state again reported another record seven-day increase in new ...

Kansas health officials urge communities to do more amid virus surge

Mission — Kansas health officials on Tuesday urged communities to take stronger action as more hospital rooms are devoted to caring for coronavirus patients and hundreds of doctors, nurses and other workers are quarantined, leading some surgical procedures to be delayed. Hospital emergency ...

As businesses struggle, Kelly calls for more federal COVID-19 relief funding

Updated at 10:36 p.m. Monday TOPEKA — Kansas can’t help at least half of the struggling small businesses seeking relief because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Monday, calling for additional federal aid as the state reported another record for new coronavirus cases. Democratic ...

Aide: Kansas Sen. Moran plans to seek reelection in 2022

TOPEKA — Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran plans to seek reelection in 2022. Moran spokesperson Tom Brandt confirmed the two-term Republican senator's intent Wednesday, two days after tweeting that Moran planned to run again. The 66-year-old Moran has faced questions about whether he'd seek to unseat ...

Kansas sets COVID-19 records as counties struggle with contact tracing

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas set records again Wednesday for new coronavirus cases and COVID-19-related hospitalizations as some local officials reported having trouble getting people to cooperate in finding those who may have been exposed. Several counties reported that some people won't provide ...

Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, February 2014.

The big takeaway from the 2020 election: Kansas is still very red

WICHITA —Charles Bell usually passes on voting. He’s a Democrat in a Republican state and said, “If I vote, it’s not going to count.” But after seeing Kansans elect a Democratic governor in 2018, he thought maybe the state was changing. And so this year, for only the second time in ...