State and Region

USDA research relocation expected to bring 550 jobs to Kansas City area

Story updated at 2:19 p.m. Thursday TOPEKA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that it will relocate two research agencies' headquarters to the Kansas City area, delighting Kansas and Missouri officials but intensifying critics' fears that research will suffer and be less ...

Kansas education officials vote to launch anti-vaping campaign

TOPEKA — Kansas officials want to put the brakes on vaping in public schools as usage soars. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Kansas State Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to launch an anti-vaping campaign. Officials say local school boards need to amend student codes ...

Kansas Democrats hope move away from caucuses boosts presidential primary participation

TOPEKA — Kansas Democrats plan to have voters rank candidates rather than pick only one in a presidential primary set for May 2020. The party is moving away from its more traditional caucuses, trying ranked-choice voting and allowing mail ballots to boost participation, State Chairwoman ...

Gov. Kelly taps KU vice provost for administration secretary

Topeka — Gov. Laura Kelly has nominated a University of Kansas vice provost, DeAngela Burns-Wallace, for secretary of administration. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kelly announced her pick Friday. Burns-Wallace will replace Duane Goossen, who is retiring after serving in the ...

State: Rhododendrons bought at Kansas Walmarts should be destroyed

TOPEKA — The state is asking anyone who bought a rhododendron plant at Walmart stores in Kansas since April to destroy them. The Kansas Department of Agriculture reported Friday that confirmed cases of the Sudden Oak Death disease have been found in rhododendrons sold at 60 Walmarts in ...

Top GOP lawmakers hold up nearly $10M for Kansas prisons

TOPEKA — Top Republican legislators on Wednesday blocked nearly $10 million that Kansas corrections officials argue they need to deal with prison overcrowding and said lawmakers might reject Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's choice to be the prison system's next leader. The actions by Republican ...

Lawrence chamber says effects of tariffs on Mexico will likely be harmful

If the United States imposes tariffs on Mexican imports next week, the Lawrence chamber of commerce does not know how exactly it will affect the local economy, but it will likely be harmful. “Unfortunately, we may learn that the hard way if these tariffs are sustained or ramp up as the ...

Man suing Topeka after falling through gap in bridge

Topeka — A man is suing the city of Topeka for nearly $2.78 million in damages for injuries he suffered when he fell through a gap in a highway bridge in the same place four people have plunged through since 2001, including a 14-year-old boy who died. The lawsuit filed Monday contends Trong ...

Kansas GOP leaders say new food assistance policy breaks state law

TOPEKA — Top Republican legislators on Tuesday accused Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration of breaking Kansas law with a new policy that makes it easier for adults who are not working to keep receiving food assistance. Kansas House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins demanded in a letter ...

Kansas collected $77M more in taxes in May than anticipated

TOPEKA — Kansas reports it collected $77 million more in taxes than expected in May. The state Department of Revenue said Monday that Kansas collected $563 million in taxes last month when it anticipated $486 million. The surplus was 15.9%. Tax collections for the budget year that began in ...

Kansas commission reduces insurance rates for some state employees

Story updated at 5:21 p.m. Monday TOPEKA — A Kansas commission voted Monday to give state employees a break on health insurance rates after they endured years of significant increases. The Kansas Employees Health Care Commission voted unanimously to either reduce state employees' rates 6% ...

Newspaper: Ex-Kansas commerce chief linked to data transfer

TOPEKA — A former state commerce secretary whose conduct is being reviewed by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation participated in transferring state data to a private company with ties to him while in office, according to a newspaper report. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that it used ...

Kansas’ next prison chief rebuked by judge in Idaho lawsuit

Wichita — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s choice to be the next head of the state prison system was criticized by an Idaho judge earlier this year for giving “disingenuous” testimony as a top corrections official there in a lawsuit over access to execution records. Kelly’s office has said ...

Brownback to be honored with Gandhi award for work as religious freedom envoy

WASHINGTON — Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will be honored for his work as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. The Kansas City Star reports that the Hindu American Foundation plans to give Brownback its Mahatma Gandhi Award for Advancing Pluralism. The ...

Governor views 30-plus miles of Kansas tornado damage

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly took a flight tour Thursday over the path of an EF-4 tornado that left nearly 32 miles of destruction in Douglas and Leavenworth counties. Kelly described feeling “incredibly overwhelmed” seeing the devastation in full from the air. “It just keeps going on and ...

Kansas Senate confirms Kelly nominee to Court of Appeals

TOPEKA — The Kansas Senate has confirmed Gov. Laura Kelly's nomination of a Kansas City-area attorney to the state's second-highest court. The vote Wednesday was 37-1 for Sarah Warner of Lenexa to be Court of Appeals judge. The Democratic governor submitted Warner's name to the ...