Kansas and regional news

Kansas State Board of Education to vote on allowing ‘innovative’ districts to hire unlicensed teachers
05:05 p.m., April 14, 2015 Updated 10:11 p.m.
The Kansas State Board of Education on Thursday will vote on whether to allow designated school districts to hire unlicensed individuals for teaching positions. By Elliot Hughes
Kansas urges dismissal of federal lawsuit over gay marriage
03:46 p.m., April 14, 2015 Updated 10:09 p.m.
Kansas argues in a new court filing that same-sex couples’ ability to obtain marriage licenses in many counties should prompt a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by gay and lesbian couples.
Anthem subsidiaries face lawsuit in Kansas over data breach
April 13, 2015
A former candidate for Kansas governor said Monday that he and other attorneys who are suing two subsidiaries of Anthem Inc. can show that individuals were harmed after hackers breached the health insurer’s computer networks.
Drought takes toll on winter wheat in western Kansas
04:37 p.m., April 13, 2015 Updated 10:26 p.m.
Rains which swept through parts of Kansas this weekend missed vast stretches of parched winter wheat crops in western Kansas.
Kansas government agency slams ‘left’ in Facebook post on welfare reform
03:41 p.m., April 13, 2015 Updated 08:37 p.m.
The Kansas Department of Children and Families was criticized by Democrats on Monday for a post on its Facebook page saying “the left” had mocked the state and impeded progress on welfare reform. The agency said the comment was appropriate.
Rural residents may have little recourse for gun noise
April 12, 2015
Alan Miller, who lives near Vinland, says the once-peaceful area known for its large homes and rural setting now sounds like a “war zone” when his neighbor starts shooting his high-powered rifles and other guns. But there may be little that he or the county can do, because the state of Kansas has largely pre-empted local governments from enacting ordinances restricting gun use. By Peter Hancock
Kansas ponders new protections for campus religious groups
April 12, 2015
Kansas legislators could enact new legal protections for faith-based groups on state college campuses, even though the state already has a religious objections law.
Meet the Journal-World’s 2015 Academic All-Star team
April 12, 2015
Since 1997, the Lawrence Journal-World has invited principals and counselors from public and private schools in the area to nominate their most industrious soon-to-be-graduating students for the annual Academic All-Star team.
Role of a lifetime: Retired KU professor revives one-man William Allen White play
April 11, 2015
When “The Sage of Emporia” premiered in March 1981, its star, Jack Wright, had to spend four hours in the makeup chair in order to convincingly portray a 74-year-old William Allen White. Fast-forward a couple of decades, Wright jokes, and the process takes about four minutes.
FBI: Topeka man plotted suicide bomb attack at Fort Riley
12:16 p.m., April 10, 2015 Updated 10:33 p.m.
A 20-year-old man accused of planning a suicide attack at Fort Riley was arrested Friday while trying to arm what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb near the Kansas military base as part of a plot to support the Islamic State group, federal prosecutors said.
Kansas AG asks top state court to void Wichita pot ordinance
April 10, 2015
Kansas’ attorney general asked the state’s top court Thursday to nullify a new voter-approved ordinance in the state’s largest city that lessens criminal penalties for marijuana possession because it conflicts with state law.
Roberts: US Senate committee to consider food stamps reform
11:51 a.m., April 8, 2015 Updated 10:17 p.m.
The idea of funding the federal food stamps program through block grants to the states has failed to gain traction in annual budget fights since the 1990s, but it has not gone away and may get a hearing in a U.S. Senate panel, Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas said.
Wichita seeks ruling on legality of marijuana initiative
09:14 a.m., April 8, 2015 Updated 10:17 p.m.
A day after Wichita voters approved a ballot measure that would reduce the penalties for small amounts of marijuana, the city asked a court to rule on the legality of the proposed changes, which had already drawn a warning from the state attorney general.
Kansas governor signs nation’s 1st ban on abortion procedure
11:43 a.m., April 7, 2015 Updated 10:21 p.m.
Kansas became the first state Tuesday to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus.
Lawrence school district expects to repay $672,000 in state aid
05:56 p.m., April 6, 2015 Updated 10:06 p.m.
The Lawrence school district has already received more state aid for its capital outlay and local option budgets than it’s entitled to receive under the new “block grant” school funding bill. Superintendent Rick Doll says that will result in a hiring freeze for classified employees this year and possibly fewer teachers in classrooms next year. By Peter Hancock
Kansas AG asks federal court to strike down labor rules for home health workers
03:23 p.m., April 6, 2015 Updated 10:04 p.m.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking a federal appeals court to strike down U.S. Department of Labor rules that say many home health workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. The Brownback administration says such a rule would threaten services for people who receive home and community based services through the state’s Medicaid program. By Peter Hancock
Kansas quietly passed religious objections law 2 years ago
03:08 p.m., April 6, 2015 Updated 10:06 p.m.
Religious objections measures in Arkansas and Indiana that prompted national criticism are similar to a law Kansas quietly enacted two years ago with the state’s leading gay-rights group officially neutral.
Kansas senator proposes bill on school transfer students
08:48 a.m., April 6, 2015 Updated 10:04 p.m.
A Kansas state senator is proposing a bill intended to ensure that school districts can’t remove current students who live outside their boundaries.
Pro-business lobby groups wielding big influence in Legislature, Democrats say
April 5, 2015
On issues like school finance, health care and reducing the power of labor unions, Democrats say pro-business lobby groups are wielding tremendous influence over the Kansas Legislature this year. Republicans say they’re winning the legislative battles because the voters who elected them prefer GOP policies. By Peter Hancock