Jim McLean | KBIA

Jim McLean

Jim McLean is an editor and reporter for KCUR 89.3. He is the managing director of KCUR's Kansas News Service, a collaboration between KCUR and other public media stations across Kansas. 

Jim was previously news director and Statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio and a managing editor for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He has received awards for journalistic excellence from the Kansas Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

Gov. Laura Kelly said Wednesday she’ll dispatch her lieutenant governor to a dozen small cities across the state in hopes of crafting a plan to aid rural areas.

Kelly created the Office of Rural Prosperity and named Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers to head it in January soon after taking office.

Rogers will travel to 12 rural communities this summer to “listen to Kansans” and develop “long-term, sustainable solutions” to problems that have spurred decades of population decline in all but a handful of the state’s 105 counties.

Battles over a Republican tax cut proposal and Medicaid expansion persisted through the last day of the Kansas Legislature's 2019 session … and remain unresolved. On ​Statehouse Blend Kansas, Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning tells host Jim McLean he plans to address healthcare and tax policy next session, when maybe he'll be Senate President. 

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas wherever you listen to podcasts.


Battles over a Republican tax cut proposal and Medicaid expansion persisted through the last day of the Kansas Legislature's 2019 session … and remain unresolved. Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning says he plans to address healthcare and tax policy next session, when maybe he'll be Senate President. 


Overflowing rivers and reservoirs across Kansas are already producing significant flooding, particularly in the southeast corner of the state.

But, forecasters say, things could get much worse over the next several days as slow-moving thunderstorms develop over central and northeast Kansas.

A deal to clear the way for Medicaid expansion next year that some Kansas lawmakers thought they had brokered in the waning hours of their just-finished legislative session appears to be unraveling.

Instead, the conservative leaders and moderate rank-and-file Republicans find themselves splitting in an intra-party fight.

All Kansas lawmakers really had to do to end the 2019 legislative session was pass a budget. They did that, with gusto. But also without passing Medicaid expansion. On Statehouse Blend Kansas, host Jim McLean talks with freshman Rep. Brandon Woodard about some of the other things left on his to-do list for next year.

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas wherever you listen to podcasts.


All Kansas lawmakers really had to do to end the 2019 legislative session was pass a budget. They did that, with gusto. But also without passing Medicaid expansion. That's one of the items left on freshman Rep. Brandon Woodard's to-do list for next year. 


Supporters of expanding Medicaid in Kansas proved Wednesday they’ve got the votes in the Legislature — if they can get a vote.

But they lacked enough lawmakers on their side to bypass Republican leadership and force that vote.

In a recent national survey, farmers said the biggest threat to their livelihoods wasn’t low commodity prices or global trade policies. It was the rising cost of health insurance.

It’s one of the reasons why state farm bureaus have jumped into the insurance game in Iowa, Tennessee and Nebraska, and are trying to in Kansas.

Things got a little chippy during the final week of the regular legislative session, but Kansas lawmakers came away with a school funding plan and a permanent commerce secretary. On Statehouse Blend Kansas, Sec. David Toland talks with host Jim McLean about moving on to reinvigorating the state's economic development efforts.

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas wherever you listen to podcasts.

 


Things got a little chippy during the final week of the regular legislative session, but Kansas lawmakers came away with a school funding plan and a permanent commerce secretary. And now Sec. David Toland is ready to move on to reinvigorating the state's economic development efforts. 


The stakes run high for 130,000-some low-income Kansans who stand to gain from expanding Medicaid coverage — and for the political players who will decide the contentious issue.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly made expansion a centerpiece of the election that put her in office. Two Republican leaders — Senate President Susan Wagle and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning — could see their elevation to higher office also turn on the issue.

The Kansas Senate has agreed to give school districts raises. The House has not. Instead, negotiators are headed to the bargaining table with a stack of new requirements for reporting how schools spend their money. On Statehouse Blend Kansas, Jim McLean talks with Rep. Kristey Williams, who is leading the charge for more accountability from districts.

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas wherever you listen to podcasts.


The Kansas Senate has agreed to give school districts raises. The House has not. Instead, negotiators are headed to the bargaining table with a stack of new requirements for reporting how schools spend their money. Rep. Kristey Williams is the one leading the charge for more accountability from districts. 


Grievances generated by policy and personality clashes in a southeast Kansas community have spilled onto the statewide stage in the battle over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s nominee to head the state Department of Commerce.

David Toland often found himself at odds with Virginia Crossland-Macha when he was the CEO of Thrive Allen County, a community health-improvement and economic development organization based in Iola.

As the first Kansas legislative session with Democrat Laura Kelly as governor proceeds, social media has caused a bit of trouble for the new administration. On Statehouse Blend Kansas, Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty and host Jim McLean discuss why Republicans are so quick to pounce on the missteps.

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Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's new administration experienced some social media mishaps this past week, and conservative Republicans pounced. Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty says there's more going on than meets the eye. 


A coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans powered past objections from conservative leaders in the Kansas House Wednesday to approve Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s Medicaid expansion proposal.

Albeit a slightly revised version.

The last season of My Fellow Kansans ended with Democrat Laura Kelly elected as governor. In this episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, she talks with host Jim McLean a few months into her term about how her agenda is faring in the Legislature.

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas wherever you listen to podcasts. 


Just after approving the school funding Gov. Laura Kelly asked for, the Kansas Senate turned around and gave the final okay to a tax relief package she opposes, daring the new governor to issue her first veto. 


This story was updated to include comments from Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. 

Yet another ailing rural hospital once operated by EmpowerHMS, which used to be based in North Kansas City, has closed.

The Horton (Kansas) Community Hospital about 78 miles northwest of Kansas City shut its doors at 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to City Administrator John Calhoon.

Roundtable discussions on Medicaid expansion dominated a short week at the Kansas Statehouse. On the sidelines, host Jim McLean spoke heard diverging views of the costs and benefits from Sara Collins, healthcare economist with the Commonwealth Fund, and Michael Cannon, health policy director for the Cato Institute. 

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas for more dispatches from the legislative session.


Gov. Laura Kelly signed her first bill and school finance got some attention, but roundtable discussions on Medicaid expansion dominated a short week at the Kansas Statehouse. Sara Collins, a healthcare economist with the Commonwealth Fund, and Michael Cannon, health policy director for the Cato Institute, represented diverging views of the costs and benefits. 


Doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital say a change in the distribution of livers across the country could result in Kansans waiting longer for life-saving transplants.

So they’re backing a bill in the Kansas Legislature that would allow residents who donate their organs to specify whether they want them used to benefit Kansas transplant patients.

“The purpose of the Kansas Donor Rights act is to bring the conversation to the forefront,” said Sean Kumer, a liver transplant surgeon at KU.

We've reached the mid-point of the 2019 legislative session, my fellow Kansans. Lawmakers have given some proposals a green light to proceed and thrown up stop signs in front of others. And, talking to host Jim McLean, the new KDOT secretary Julie Lorenz has a smile on her face. 

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas for more dispatches from the legislative session.


Kansas lawmakers have given the green light to a slew of bills to proceed past a mid-session break, while stopping other proposals in their tracks. Meanwhile, new KDOT Secretary Julie Lorenz is looking forward to getting the state highway program back on the road. 


Things were supposed to be different on the Medicaid expansion this year.

Expansion advocates thought Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s election would elevate the issue to center stage. They figured that would all but guarantee that Kansas would join the ranks of expansion states — now numbering 37 plus the District of Columbia.

But so far this legislative session it’s been déjà vu all over again.

Rep. Don Hineman got a new assignment this year to figure out how to sustain rural Kansas. He tells host Jim McLean there's three things it'll take for sure: speedy broadband, more housing, and good health care.

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas for more dispatches from the legislative session. 


Rep. Don Hineman got a new assignment this session to figure out how to sustain rural Kansas. The three things the chairman of the Rural Revitalization Committee says rural communities need most: broadband, housing, and, of course, health care.


The Kansas Legislature is in the meat of its 2019 session. Not quite halfway through, but well into the “getting down to business” part.

As such, there are consequential conversations happening throughout the Statehouse. Some occur in hearing rooms. But far more take place out of public view — in offices, hallways and the many convenient alcoves tucked into the building’s less-trafficked spaces.

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