State and Region

Wichita State University president dies after illness

WICHITA — Wichita State University has announced the death of its president after an illness. The university said in a news release that 70-year-old John William Bardo died Tuesday at Wesley Medical Center. He was admitted to the hospital in late November suffering from a chronic lung ...

Conservatives seek to put strings on new Kansas school funds

TOPEKA — If Kansas' highest court is going to force state lawmakers to boost public education funding again, some conservative Republicans want something in return, including a say in how the extra money is spent and a voucher program to allow bullied kids to switch to private schools. A ...

New Medicaid expansion plan in Kansas dilutes ‘poison pill’

TOPEKA — A "poison pill" in Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's plan for expanding Medicaid aimed at reassuring wary Republican legislators wouldn't actually end the expansion if the federal government backed off its promises to cover most of the cost. Kelly has said her proposal is based on an ...

Kansas Supreme Court announces cases it will hear at special session in Lawrence

Appeals of a Wyandotte County murder case and a Topeka civil case are on the agenda for the Kansas Supreme Court’s upcoming special session in Lawrence, the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration announced Monday. The session is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. April 1 at the Lied ...

Kansas congressional delegation pushing military honor for Bob Dole

TOPEKA — Members of the Kansas delegation to Congress say former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole should be promoted from captain to colonel in the Army. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the U.S. Senate last week passed legislation that would promote the 95-year-old Dole, who was badly wounded in World ...

Several Lawrence-area lawmakers disappointed with slow-moving Legislature

As the second half of the Kansas Legislature’s 2019 session began last week, several Lawrence-area lawmakers told the Journal-World they thought the governing body should have made more progress by now on important legislation. “There has not been a great deal accomplished, in my ...

State could relax rules for rural ambulance drivers

Norton — A shortage of trained medical personnel has left many rural county ambulance services having to delay hospital transfers to ensure they have enough staff for emergencies. For example, in Norton County in northwest Kansas, the county’s 5,400 residents are served by six full-time ...

Death investigations are ‘falling through the cracks,’ Kansas fire marshal says

Topeka — The Kansas fire marshal says investigations of fatal fires are too often “falling through the cracks,” and he wants lawmakers to do something about it. Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen on Thursday proposed a reform plan. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Jorgensen identified ...

Doctor gets life sentence in patient’s overdose death

Wichita — A Kansas doctor has been sentenced to life in prison for unlawfully prescribing medication blamed for an overdose death. Steven R. Henson was immediately taken into custody following Friday’s hearing. There was an audible gasp in the packed courtroom when U.S. District Judge J. ...

Kansas governor concedes pension proposal unlikely to pass

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly is acknowledging that her proposal to reduce Kansas' annual contributions to its public pension system probably won't pass the Republican-controlled Legislature this year. But Kelly said Friday that the state "absolutely" must revise its schedule of ...

Kansas GOP leader compares tax plan to returning a billfold

TOPEKA — A top Republican in the Kansas House brushed aside criticism Friday that an income tax relief plan nearing final passage risks repeating a tax-cutting experiment that failed a few years ago, suggesting the new proposal is akin to finding and returning "a billfold filled with ...

Kansas Medicaid expansion push hasn’t cracked GOP roadblock

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and other advocates have ramped up a campaign for her proposal to expand Medicaid in Kansas after conservative lawmakers showed they currently hold enough power to block it. Kelly held a news conference Thursday with four business leaders and kicked off a ...

Kansas ordered to pay $48M to ex-pizza magnate Gene Bicknell

TOPEKA — A judge has ordered Kansas to pay $48 million to settle a long-running legal fight with former pizza magnate Gene Bicknell. Bicknell once owned the most Pizza Hut franchises in the nation. His legal fight with Kansas centered on whether the Pittsburg native lived in Kansas or in ...

Kansas governor meets unexpected resistance to schools plan

TOPEKA — Kansas' new Democratic governor is meeting unexpected resistance to her plan for boosting public education funding from local school districts that believe her proposal wouldn't supply enough new money. Gov. Laura Kelly touts her proposed increase of roughly $90 million a year as a ...

Settlement reportedly reached in KC-area students’ free speech case

Overland Park — A civil rights group says it has struck a settlement deal with the Shawnee Mission School District in a federal lawsuit alleging violations of the free speech and press rights of students. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas announced Tuesday in a news release that ...

Study: Medicaid expansion in Kansas would cost $47.4M in first year

TOPEKA — A new study says expanding Medicaid in Kansas would have a net cost of $47.4 million in the first year. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the nonprofit Kansas Health Institute estimated in the study released Tuesday that an additional 130,000 low-income adults and children ...

Jury acquits former Kansas lawmaker in fraud case

WICHITA — Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell was found not guilty Monday on nearly all charges of taking campaign funds for his personal use. A federal jury acquitted O'Donnell on 21 counts of wire fraud, but deadlocked on two counts of wire fraud and three counts of money ...

Kansas City steamboat museum might move to Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — The founder of the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City is supporting legislation that would move the attraction to Jefferson City. The current museum houses a collection from a steamboat David Hawley helped excavate in 1987 from a field in Kansas. Hawley testified ...