KCUR

Kansas City Star columnist Steve Rose handed in his resignation Saturday after Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning accused Rose of falsely attributing statements to him about Medicaid expansion.

Rose, who is not an employee of The Star but has written a political column for the newspaper for years, told KCUR that The Star accepted his resignation on Monday.

In a brief phone interview, Rose said he has been writing columns for nearly 50 years “and I’ve never made anything up and I can prove that what he is saying is absolutely wrong.”

An appeal filed by a Kansas man on death row has caught the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court and could change how Kansas and other states prosecute people who commit crimes while mentally ill.

Nobody disputes that James Kahler murdered four family members in 2009. But Kahler’s attorneys argued at trial and in subsequent appeals that he had spiraled into a mental health crisis in the months preceding the murders and was psychotic during the attack. The murders took place in Burlingame, about 30 miles south of Topeka.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas' 3rd District had been in office for less than 24 hours when Republicans came out swinging with an attack ad.

"With her very first vote in Congress, Sharice Davids caved to the party bosses and voted to support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker," says a female narrator, with chilling music in the background.

While working as an orthopedic surgeon in Hawaii, Dr. Diane Payne had treated one person with a gunshot wound in three years. But when she moved to Atlanta in 2013, Payne said it was like treating gunshot victims was suddenly all she was doing.

“I was shocked by the number of gun-related injuries that we’re seeing and taking care of here,” said Payne, who works at Atlanta’s busy downtown trauma center, Grady Memorial Hospital.

In 2013, Grady treated more than 600 gunshot victims.

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, the new congresswoman from Kansas' 3rd District, will meet with Republican Sen. Jerry Moran this week and lobby him to vote for a House bill that would reopen the government, Davids said on Sunday.

Kansas State University is now officially home to one of the best groups of cyber-defense trainees in the nation.

In December, the university's Cyber Defense Club won second place nationally and first place regionally in a competition hosted by the United States Department of Energy. The K-State students competed against 70 teams from 24 states at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, one of seven sites to host the contest.

On what threatens to become the longest government shutdown in history, Kansas Republican representatives tend to agree — Democrats are to blame. 

It's the third week of the shutdown, which came after Democrats and Republicans in the Senate failed to reach an agreement on a spending bill that would allocate $5 billion for a border wall. That means it's the third consecutive week thousands of federal workers across the country have gone without pay.

A Kansas Army veteran who saw six tours of duty in a 27-year military career thought he had legally adopted his niece in 2014. Federal immigration authorities, however, claimed the adoption was invalid. Now, the veteran's years-long legal effort to secure citizenship for his adopted daughter is getting help from a national organization.

After his niece, Hyebin, was abandoned by her father in South Korea, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Schreiber of Lansing, Kansas, brought her to the United States in 2012, with plans to adopt her.

(This story was updated at 3 p.m.)

The latest defections from the Kansas Republican Party — two Johnson County legislators — show politicians in some corners of the state trying to catch up with changes in the voters they need to win over.

In quick succession Wednesday morning, Republican moderates state Sen. Dinah Sykes and state Rep. Stephanie Clayton announced they are changing parties.

They followed the path of moderate Republican state Sen. Barbara Bollier, who declared herself a Democrat earlier this month.

Richard Jones, who spent nearly 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, is getting $1.1 million from the state of Kansas. It’s the first payment made under the state’s new mistaken-conviction statute.

More than 100 local officials from both Kansas and Missouri gathered Saturday morning to discuss ways to combat climate change on the local and regional level. 

'This is by far the largest collection of elected officials that are addressing climate change, climate disruption and global warming that I've seen in my time here," said Brian Alferman, sustainability manager of Johnson County, Kansas. "So I want it to be a part of it and hope that it drives some of the work that I do."

Musical chairs

After years in the Kansas Legislature, it’s natural that Democratic Gov.-elect Laura Kelly would turn to people she’s known there to start filling out key spots in her administration.

For starters, she picked Will Lawrence as her chief of staff. It’s a powerful, right-hand position to a governor. The chief of staff can control access to the governor and play an important role in setting priorities. Lawrence has been chief of staff to Democratic Senate Leader Anthony Hensley.

The Buck O’Neil Bridge just north of downtown is one of more hectic traffic spots in Kansas City, Missouri, and for Shari H, a car accident here in 2012 turned out to be life-changing.

She didn’t have any major injuries, but after days and weeks passed, she realized that her post-accident soreness wasn’t going away.

Leader talk

The newly elected and re-elected folks in the Kansas House got together on Monday to pick their leaders. Republicans, who hold an overwhelming majority, kept Ron Ryckman in the speaker’s chair. But they swapped out moderate Don Hineman for conservative Dan Hawkins.

Democrats replaced the sometimes-combative Jim Ward, who briefly flirted with a run for governor, for the more conciliatory Tom Sawyer.

Thirty years ago, I attended the Nov. 30, 1988, news conference where then-Kansas State athletic director Steve Miller introduced Bill Snyder. At the time, no one envisioned a football coaching career that would ultimately place Snyder in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Perhaps there’d be modest success that Vince Gibson and Jim Dickey enjoyed during their respective tenures with the Wildcats? Sure, that couldn’t be ruled out. But no coach dating back to the first year of the program in 1896 could sustain any degree of consistent success, and Snyder’s first season was difficult, a 1-10 record. That — and K-State football — changed.

Kansas has agreed to cover the cost of drugs to treat Medicaid patients with chronic hepatitis C without subjecting them to a lengthy list of requirements.

A legal settlement, which awaits final court approval, resolves a class action lawsuit alleging the state made it too difficult for hepatitis C patients to receive the potentially life-saving treatments.

If you want to know how a felon buys a gun, think about how a teenager might buy alcohol.

First, find a willing friend or family member, or maybe even a stranger at a liquor store who wants to make a quick buck. Then give this person some cash, tell them your drink of choice, and wait.

If you’re careful, this transaction — called a “straw purchase” — is impossible to detect. Clerks don’t often hassle a person over 21 who walks alone into a liquor store.

A few days after the election, Kansas' next governor is beginning to spell out what she'll do in office. 

On Thursday, governor-elect Laura Kelly said she'd reinstate an executive order to protect LGBTQ state workers from discrimination. The order was first put in place by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2007, but that was rescinded in 2015 by then-Gov. Sam Brownback.

Kansas, a state that went for President Donald Trump by 20 points two years ago, on Tuesday turned one of its four Republican seats in Congress to Democrat.

Democratic newcomer Sharice Davids topped incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder in his quest for a fifth term. She beat the Kansas City-area 3rd Congressional District by roughly 9 percentage points.

Six months ago, very few people in the Kansas 3rd Congressional District even knew Sharice Davids’ name. Now she has made history. Davids is the first openly gay representative in Kansas history. She joins Deb Haaland from New Mexico as the first Native American women in the House.

"We have a chance to reset expectations when people look at Kansas," Davids said to a room full of cheering supporters. "I knew we could do better and we just did."

The day after the 2018 midterm elections, two political science professors join us to talk about who turned out to vote, and how that affected the outcomes. The discussion includes high turnout for young voters, changing rural demographics in Kansas and Missouri, the importance of identity for voters and candidates, and whether Kansas just turned blue as some are claiming, or not. 

Two of the top three campaigns for Kansas governor are relying heavily on a single source of cash: their own money.

The last major campaign reports filed before next week’s election revealed that, in the last three months, Kris Kobach’s running mate accounted for nearly half the money hauled in by the Republican candidate.

Kelly cashes in

Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly raised the most money by a wide margin, pulling in almost $1 million more than Kobach. During the period from July 27 to Oct. 25, Kelly received $2.3 million.

Secretary of Conflict?

It’s a basic conflict baked into most state constitutions: The person who oversees elections also runs for election. So who’s making sure that person, someone with an obvious stake in the outcome of voting, doesn’t somehow fudge the outcome?

Come in and sit down at Anita Parsa’s kitchen table. Help yourself to the chocolate chip cookies and she’ll get you an iced tea. Might as well make yourself comfortable.

Because for the next hour, she’s going to school you on a massive voter-tracking program run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.  

“I like to figure out puzzles,” Parsa says. “I like to crack things, and that’s what this is all about.”

The two top candidates for Kansas governor sparred in a debate over a familiar name: former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

The two distanced themselves from Brownback, who left office earlier this year with sagging approval numbers.

Few issues split Kansas politics like the Obama-era expansion of Medicaid.

Unlike 33 other states, Kansas still hasn't expanded its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.  The decision would pay for the health care of thousands of people who don’t currently meet the program’s stringent eligibility requirements.

Emergency room nurse Nathan Craft and his wife Annie don’t expect anything to be easy as they pull up stakes for the next two years. The RV they remodeled will be tight quarters for them and their two preschool-age kids. And there’s a certain amount of stress in not knowing where they’re going to set down next.

Democrat Sharice Davids walloped incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder in fundraising last quarter.

The Davids campaign says the first-time candidate raised $2.7 million between July and September. In that same period Yoder, running for a fifth term in the Kansas 3rd District, raised almost $1.3 million.

Kansans seeking health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federally run exchange will have the choice of three insurers in 2019.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer said in a statement that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Medica Insurance Co. and Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan will offer 23 separate plans for individuals through HealthCare.gov, the federal government exchange.

Kansas public schools will see $27 million from the U.S. Department of Education to improve literacy for all kids — including those not yet old enough for school.

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