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Kansas and regional news

Kansas legislators take up measures targeting Kansas Judiciary
February 21, 2015
As the mid-point of the legislative session approaches, Kansas lawmakers will turn their focus to measures that could bring big changes to the Kansas court system. Two constitutional amendments have already advanced that would change the way Supreme Court justices are chosen. Another would lower the mandatory retirement age for judges, automatically removing several sitting judges from the bench. By Peter Hancock
Immigration efforts designed to protect Kansans, Kobach says; attorney says hundreds in Lawrence would be hurt
February 21, 2015
An anti-immigrant bill pending in the Kansas legislature renouncing President Barack Obama’s recent executive orders easing deportation policies against select groups of undocumented immigrants would affect hundreds of local families, Lawrence immigration attorney Blanca Marin de Stevanov said Friday. Kansas’s Senate Bill 166, referred to as the “Rule of Law Restoration Act,” introduced earlier this month by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, argues the executive orders were illegal because they violated the separation of powers described in Articles I and II of the U.S. Constitution. By Caitlin Doornbos
Kansas House panel passes strict reform to school wage talks
03:59 p.m., February 20, 2015 Updated 10:21 p.m.
Kansas school boards would have the power to tell teachers that are not members of unions to “take it or leave it” in salary negotiations under a bill endorsed by a state House panel Friday.
Appeals court upholds Lawrence man’s murder conviction
01:47 p.m., February 20, 2015 Updated 10:21 p.m.
Christopher Belone, of Lawrence, was convicted of beating his girlfriend Linda Begay to death in 2006. His first conviction was overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court, but after a new trial he was convicted a second time of unintentional second degree murder. The Kansas Court of Appeals on Friday upheld the second conviction. By Peter Hancock
Bill restricting sex ed moved forward by Kansas House panel
12:42 p.m., February 20, 2015 Updated 10:15 p.m.
Debate in the Kansas House over requiring public schools to get parents’ consent to teach sex education is likely to be tense, just as it was before a committee approved the measure, the panel’s chairman said Friday.
Kansas Senate approves proposed ban on abortion procedure
08:43 a.m., February 20, 2015 Updated 10:05 p.m.
A national group’s push to outlaw an abortion procedure and redefine is as “dismemberment” advanced Friday in Kansas, with the state Senate’s approval of what could become the nation’s first ban of the practice.
Kansas plan to change tag notifications postponed
08:11 a.m., February 20, 2015 Updated 10:05 p.m.
State officials say they will indefinitely postpone plans to change the way Kansas motorists are notified when vehicle tags need to be renewed.
Public can comment online about Kansas education standards
08:09 a.m., February 20, 2015 Updated 10:11 p.m.
Kansas education officials have created an online tool to allow the public to comment about math, reading and writing standards.
Kansas bills aim to stall EPA’s Clean Power Plan
February 19, 2015
A Kansas Senate committee is considering two bills that would delay implementing a federal program aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants. One bill is supported by the Kansas Corporation Commission, while another was authored by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity. By Peter Hancock
Kansas anti-immigrant bill puts Democrats’ focus on Latino voters
05:47 p.m., February 19, 2015 Updated 10:11 p.m.
Kansas Democrats strongly denounced a proposal by Secretary of State Kris Kobach aimed at blocking President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration policy. The party said it plans to start registering and mobilizing Hispanic and Latino voters, something leaders admit they failed to do in the 2014 elections. By Peter Hancock
Crackdown on Kansas scrap metal theft gains Senate approval
02:53 p.m., February 19, 2015 Updated 10:09 p.m.
Penalties for scrap metal theft in Kansas would rise significantly under a bill given first round approval by the state Senate Wednesday.
4 Kansas tribes to split $1.7 million for housing needs
February 19, 2015
Federal officials say four American Indian tribes in northeast Kansas will split $1.7 million in funds for affordable housing.
Kansas Senate endorses ban on specific abortion procedure
08:30 a.m., February 19, 2015 Updated 08:07 a.m.
A proposed ban on a procedure used in 8 percent of the abortions in Kansas advanced Thursday in the state Senate after supporters heatedly responded to a member who suggested they were ignoring good science and trying to inflame public opinion for political gain.
Kansas changing notification for vehicle tag renewals
08:29 a.m., February 19, 2015 Updated 10:07 p.m.
The state of Kansas plans to change the way it notifies motorists that they need to renew vehicle tags.
Tonganoxie police looking for second vehicle in fiery crash that left 21-year-old dead
01:51 a.m., February 19, 2015 Updated 10:07 p.m.
A 21-year-old Tonganoxie man was found dead inside a burning pickup truck early Thursday morning near Tonganoxie.
Washburn water symposium to feature local artist
February 18, 2015
On Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka will host a symposium about the water issues today’s Kansans face.
Kansas House panel won’t reconsider Regents enhancements that lawmaker dubbed ‘absurd’
06:23 p.m., February 18, 2015 Updated 10:12 p.m.
The full House Appropriations Committee refused on Wednesday to consider funding enhancements at the state’s Regents institutions, including Kansas University’s request for money to establish a Drug and Vaccine Discovery Institute. But the panel did reinstate $1.5 million that Gov. Sam Brownback had proposed eliminating to reward school districts for graduating students with industry-recognized certificates. By Peter Hancock
Kansas attorney general appeals school finance ruling
05:07 p.m., February 18, 2015 Updated 08:27 a.m.
Kansas filed a widely expected appeal Wednesday of a ruling that found the state isn’t spending enough money on its public schools to provide a suitable education.
Kansas judge files suit challenging 2014 judiciary changes
04:59 p.m., February 18, 2015 Updated 10:04 p.m.
Judge Larry T. Solomon of Kingman County filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a law that changes the way chief judges in the district courts are selected. The suit, which is backed by the New York-based Brennan Center for Justice, alleges lawmakers were retaliating against the Kansas Supreme Court for its decision in a school finance case. By Peter Hancock