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Archive for Thursday, December 2, 2004

State briefs

December 2, 2004

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A.G. opinion on drugs could take months

Topeka -- It may be several months before the state Attorney General's Office produces a legal opinion on a new drug importation program for Kansans.

"Opinions of this nature and magnitude take quite a bit of time," Whitney Watson, spokesman for Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, said Wednesday.

The legal opinion was requested by House Speaker Doug Mays, a Republican from Topeka.

Mays said the I-SaveRx program announced by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was illegal and dangerous. Sebelius has said the program was safe, legal and could save Kansans 25 percent to 50 percent on prescription drugs.

The program uses a Canada-based clearinghouse to fill Kansans' prescriptions. Kansas is one of four states in the drug alliance, along with Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin.


Court to consider excessive force issue

Topeka -- The Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday took under advisement a case on whether to allow a lawsuit to go forward in which a drug offender alleged Lawrence Police used excessive force in searching his body.

The court heard arguments in the case of Shawn McCormick, who was sentenced in 2000 after pleading no contest to drug and assault charges in Lawrence. A decision from the court is not expected for several months.

The dispute is over his 1999 arrest. McCormick alleged law officers kicked him and used a vacuum cleaner nozzle on his genitals and buttocks. Police have denied any wrongdoing.

McCormick filed a civil lawsuit in 2002, suing the officers for damages in excess of $75,000.

The city said McCormick failed to file the lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations. A district court dismissed the case. Lawrence attorney Gerald Cooley, representing the city, asked the state Supreme Court to uphold that decision.

But McCormick's attorney, Theodore Lickteig of Overland Park, said for his allegations, the law allows a three-year statute of limitations.


Gas pipe blamed for school explosion

Wichita -- An uncapped natural gas pipe was responsible for last week's explosion at a middle school, the fire department said Wednesday.

The explosion caused more than $4 million in damage, mostly to the new science lab addition that was under construction at Marshall Middle School. School was not in session that day because of Thanksgiving.

One of three openings of a T-shaped fitting apparently was left uncapped when the pipes were changed for a pressure test, Fire Capt. Steve Griner said, and gas ran for more than an hour into an area above the ceiling tiles between the first and second floors.

"It appears to be an oversight," Griner said.

Investigators could not determine what ignited the gas, causing a severe explosion that knocked down a wall on two floors of the addition and sent debris flying into neighboring houses.

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