Podcasts summarize news from the Kansas Legislature, school access and abortion rights


Audio Astra reviews recent audio reports on Kansas news, including podcasts and radio reports. Eric Thomas directs the Kansas Scholastic Press Association and teaches visual journalism and photojournalism at the University of Kansas.

LGBTQ lawmakers challenge anti-trans bill

April 4, 2022

Kansas Reflector staff deliver legislative roundup

April 11, 2022

Consider vetoing waiver efforts

April 19, 2022

A harrowing podcast

Chilling in the Statehouse, April 11, 2022

Sometimes, while walking through the computer lab at the University of Kansas, I hear my own voice coming from a computer where a student is sitting. My voice is used in a series of videos I recorded for software for students to learn.

I am not only surprised by the disembodied nature of my own being, but also by the fact that I play at twice the speed, like the voices of old cartoon characters “Chipmunks”.

At first, I was offended that students listened to me at lightning speed because I thought I had done a quick and tidy job providing software shortcuts and techniques. But listening back to these lectures over the shoulders of my students, I can hear that the lessons are much better delivered on a moderate fast-forward, especially if you have more than four things to do that day.

I say this as a kind of excuse for what I’m about to suggest. Many podcasts about the state of Kansas, especially in the political sphere, can be listened to at lightning speed. I’ve experienced a lot this way and it masks some of the slow reading of the copy, pauses during discussions, and verbal hiccups.

If you want to hear all the political news but not gobble up so much of your morning commute, this is the way.

News has been essential for the past few weeks, and podcasts are even better than usual at delivering the news. In recent Kansas Reflector podcasts, Sherman Smith and Tim Charpentier used audio clips from the floor of the state legislature to allow listeners to hear the actual proceedings. Rather than bringing a single state legislator to the studio and interviewing them at length, these episodes give a sense of back-and-forth arguments. It’s a great reading service.

Some of the speeches sound like acid screeds against the opposing side, with all sorts of questioning of motives and finger pointing. But other clips, like Kansas Sen. John Doll’s this week, show how state lawmakers often come to the microphone without a clear idea of ​​what they want to say.

Some of the speeches sound like acid screeds against the opposing side, with all sorts of questioning of motives and finger pointing. But other excerpts, like that of Senator John Doll of Kansas (at 10:18 a.m. here) this week show how state lawmakers often come to the mic not having a clear idea of ​​what they want to say.

Two political roundtables in the past few weeks have also clarified the political game in Topeka. The always talkative “Relax in the Statehouse” welcomes John Hanna from the Associated Press. Hanna gives a history lesson on how former Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts have left current Republicans, even when the state is loaded with money, hesitant to grant tax cuts – or at least that is their proclaimed fear.

The recent Kansas Reflector Roundtable is a concise study guide for anyone who hasn’t kept up with Kansas legislative news.

“Open Borders” for Kansas Schools

Kansas City today, April 20, 2022

On Kansas City Today this week, Suzanne Perez sits down with Stephen Koranda Kansas News Service to talk about a bill that would allow students enroll in public schools outside their district of residence.

Would this legislation help or hurt students in need?

Perez points out that conservatives say the legislation would help students from failing schools transfer to schools with better academic resources.

Opponents, Perez says, counter that those most likely to benefit from this bill are students who can provide their own transportation, since the bill provides no bus transportation to potentially distant schools. Could low-income students travel to schools miles away?

The school employees I know are thrilled to cross the finish line at the end of this school year. Passing this bill would crush them with massive legislative change over the summer. This bill, it would seem, would not change the reality of education for the most students who need it most.

The end of abortion rights in Kansas and Missouri?

Kansas City today, April 18, 2022

On Monday’s episode of Kansas City Today, Dylan Lysen of the Kansas News Service and Tessa Weinberg of the Missouri Independent outline the reproductive rights movement in each state. The most newsworthy proposal for Kansans is actually in Missouri: a proposal to allow lawsuits against people who help Missouri women obtain abortions in another state.

Because Missouri has only one operating abortion clinic in St. Louis — while Kansas has four clinics — many abortions for Missouri women are performed in Kansas.

The Kansas Supreme Court reinforced this dynamic when it ruled that abortion is a protected right in the state. The sinister path taken by Missouri’s bill — and abortion restrictions in other states as well — allows for private lawsuits to limit abortions. Lysen and Weinberg describe how this would affect women traveling across the Missouri-Kansas state line.

When Kansans need help, they call 911. But first responders don’t always get the help they need.

Updated, April 11, 2022

This interview with Douglas County Sheriff Jay Armbrister and Ed Klumpp of the Kansas Peace Officers Association reveals a grave injustice for Kansans who work as first responders. Workers’ compensation insurance does not cover PTSD for this group.

Of course, the coverage of this fact and the momentum of the legislation is tied to the recent realization that mental health and physical health cannot be easily separated. Since the pandemic, we are more aware of the vulnerability of our mental health. It is particularly vicious that we do not extend coverage to first responders who show up when we have the most acute and severe outward physical symptoms, such as car accidents and heart attacks.

What did we miss? E-mail [email protected] to let us know about a Kansas-based audio program that would be of interest to Audio Astra readers.


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