Kansas and regional news

Kansas attorney general fires back after New Mexico A.G. predicts NCAA upsets
March 18, 2015
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt fired back at New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas after Balderas picked upsets of two Kansas schools in the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament.
28 people test positive for tuberculosis at Kansas school
11:19 a.m., March 18, 2015 Updated 08:42 p.m.
More than two dozen cases of tuberculosis have been detected at an eastern Kansas high school after widespread screening, state and county health officials announced Wednesday.
Kansas House panel cancels meeting on green energy mandate
08:51 a.m., March 18, 2015 Updated 08:40 p.m.
A Kansas House panel has canceled a debate a bill to freeze renewable energy mandates for utility companies.
Kansas lawmakers move to change bargaining, civil service
08:43 a.m., March 18, 2015 Updated 08:42 p.m.
Republican legislators in Kansas were moving ahead Wednesday with bills to shrink the state’s civil service and restrict public employee unions, saying the measures would modernize government and make it operate more like private industry.
House moves to protect judiciary in budget bill
04:39 p.m., March 17, 2015 Updated 10:11 p.m.
A budget bill advanced by a House committee includes funding for the judicial branch. Some lawmakers had wanted to put the judicial budget in a separate bill that could include policy changes affecting the judiciary. By Peter Hancock
House budget includes funding for K-State architecture building
04:00 p.m., March 17, 2015 Updated 10:20 p.m.
Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning and Design is housed in a building that school officials say is dilapidated and obsolete. A budget bill advanced by a House committee would authorize $60 million in bonds to renovate and expand Seaton Hall. But the money to repay those bonds could come at the expense of other state universities that also have long lists of deferred maintenance projects. By Peter Hancock
Supreme Court asked again to review school finance ruling
02:53 p.m., March 17, 2015 Updated 10:17 p.m.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is again asking the state Supreme Court to review a three-judge district court panel’s decision that held current funding of public schools unconstitutional. The appeal comes one day after the Legislature passed a bill repealing the current funding formula and replacing it with a system of block grants to schools. By Peter Hancock
Kansas House panel passes budget requiring tax increases
12:17 p.m., March 17, 2015 Updated 10:19 p.m.
A House budget panel endorsed a $6.4 billion budget plan Tuesday that doesn’t balance without tax increases.
Researcher: Avian flu found in Kansas no threat to humans
March 17, 2015
A Kansas State University researcher says a strain of avian influenza found in Kansas is no threat to humans.
Kansas closer to allowing concealed carry with no permit
11:52 a.m., March 17, 2015 Updated 10:22 p.m.
Kansas gun owners were a step closer Tuesday to being able to carry concealed firearms without obtaining a state permit after a legislative committee approved a bill ending the requirement.
Kansas Senate passes Brownback’s school funding overhaul
05:49 p.m., March 16, 2015 Updated 10:37 p.m.
The Kansas Senate gave final passage to a bill overhauling the way Kansas funds its public schools, sending it to Gov. Sam Brownback for his signature, even though a three-judge district court panel has suggested it may try to block the bill from taking effect. Action in the Senate came a little more than one week after the bill was first unveiled to the public. It repeals the school finance system that has been in place since 1992, replacing it for two years with block grants to each of the state’s 286 school districts. By Peter Hancock
Lawmaker suggests school finance case could affect judicial budget
03:04 p.m., March 16, 2015 Updated 10:23 p.m.
Rep. Jerry Lunn, R-Overland Park, said during a committee hearing that the budget for state courts could be cut if the courts order the Legislature to spend more money on public schools. By Peter Hancock
Kansas panel moves to give fantasy sports legal protections
12:18 p.m., March 16, 2015 Updated 10:20 p.m.
A bill that would keep fantasy sports leagues legal amid a dispute with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission has moved forward by a state legislative panel.
Kansas Senate panel considers cutting green energy incentive
12:17 p.m., March 16, 2015 Updated 10:20 p.m.
Kansas companies that produce energy from wind, solar or other renewable resources would lose their property tax exemption under a bill discussed by a Senate panel Monday.
McLinn trial: Jury selection begins in CiCi’s Pizza owner slaying case
11:30 a.m., March 16, 2015 Updated 10:23 p.m.
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson and defense attorney Carl Cornwell began jury selection Monday morning in the first-degree murder trial of Sarah Gonzales McLinn, 20, of Lawrence. By Caitlin Doornbos
Kansas records law doesn’t cover officials’ private emails
10:18 a.m., March 16, 2015 Updated 10:24 p.m.
Kansas legislators have shown little interest in allowing public scrutiny of officials’ private emails about government business, despite scrutiny of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s past communications and another incident involving Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director.
Kansas workers’ comp changes raise lawsuit fears
March 16, 2015
A change to the state system for paying medical bills and lost wages for injured workers in Kansas has some fearing big lawsuits and others looking forward to cost savings.
Bills lessening marijuana restrictions stall in Kansas House
March 16, 2015
As the state prepares for a potential legal fight with the city of Wichita over its ballot initiative that would lessen marijuana penalties, proposals in the Kansas Legislature similarly easing marijuana restrictions have advanced further than before.
Kansas Senate to decide path on school finance overhaul
07:42 p.m., March 15, 2015 Updated 01:19 p.m.
The Kansas Senate is expected to decide Monday how it wants to deal with a bill overhauling the state’s school finance system. Senators could simply vote to concur with the House bill, which would cut off the possibility for any amendments. But a three-judge district court panel has already indicated it could step in to block the legislation. By Peter Hancock