State and Region

Kansas congressman forgives his own loans to campaign

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Freshman Republican Congressman Steve Watkins of Kansas has forgiven $225,100 in loans he made to his 2018 campaign, according to a letter filed with the Federal Election Commission. The Kansas City Star reports Watkins had given his campaign nearly half a million dollars ...

Republicans in Kansas Legislature revive tax relief legislation

TOPEKA — Republican legislators in Kansas revived tax relief legislation Thursday night without assurances that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly would accept a new, smaller plan for helping individuals and businesses who are paying more in state income taxes because of changes in federal tax ...

Kansas conservatives put off fight to overturn abortion-rights ruling

TOPEKA — Abortion opponents are waiting until next year to try to overturn a Kansas Supreme Court decision protecting abortion rights, signaling they may not have enough support yet to push the necessary state constitutional amendment through the Legislature. Top Republicans in the ...

Kansas House fails on second attempt to override governor’s veto of abortion bill

TOPEKA — The Kansas House has voted again to uphold Gov. Laura Kelly's veto of a bill requiring abortion providers to tell patients that a medication abortion can be stopped once it has been started. The vote Thursday in the Republican-controlled House was 83-41 to reconsider a vote ...

Kansas lawmakers approve bill saying child not ‘aggressor’ in abuse cases

Story updated at 3:22 p.m. Thursday TOPEKA — A bill approved by the Kansas Legislature is designed to prevent judges from lowering sentences for child sex offenders if they think the victims were willing participants in the crime. The Kansas Senate on Wednesday approved the bill, which was ...

Kansas collected $81M more in taxes than expected in April

TOPEKA — Kansas is reporting that it collected $81 million more in taxes in April than anticipated even after officials issued a more optimistic fiscal forecast during the month. The state Department of Revenue's report Wednesday came as Republican legislators attempted to revive a tax ...

Kansas lawmaker calls for hearing on anti-discrimination bill before session ends

As the Kansas Legislature returned to the Statehouse to begin its veto session on Wednesday, an openly gay lawmaker called on his colleagues to begin working on a bill that would protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination. Rep. Brandon Woodard, D-Lenexa, who is one of two openly LGBTQ ...

Kansas lawmakers fail to override governor’s abortion ‘reversal’ veto

Story updated at 4:31 p.m. Wednesday TOPEKA — Republican lawmakers in Kansas narrowly failed Wednesday to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's veto of a bill requiring abortion providers to tell patients about a disputed treatment to stop a medication abortion after it's been started. It ...

Kansas governor seeking more money for prisons

TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is seeking $35 million to improve corrections officer salaries and inmate health care and to transfer inmates out of overcrowded state prisons. Kelly on Tuesday submitted an amended budget proposal for the spending year that begins July 1 for lawmakers to ...

Medicaid expansion backers in Kansas may hold budget hostage

Story updated at 8:33 p.m. Wednesday TOPEKA — Advocates for expanding Medicaid in Kansas are looking to block passage of the state's next annual budget to force an expansion plan through the Republican-controlled Legislature over conservative leaders' objections. Legislators reconvened ...

Suspect, father dead following shootings of Kansas sheriff, undersheriff

STERLING — A man suspected in the 2015 disappearance of his girlfriend shot and critically wounded a Kansas undersheriff who attempted to arrest him on a federal firearm charge, then killed his own father and shot a sheriff in the leg before killing himself during a standoff, authorities said ...

Kansas governor nominates Lawrence attorney as appeals court judge amid lawsuit

Story updated at 12:43 p.m. Tuesday TOPEKA — Kansas' governor nominated a new judge Tuesday to the state's second-highest court, despite a lawsuit over whether she has the authority to fill the vacancy after withdrawing her first nominee over his past political tweets. Democratic Gov. Laura ...

Topeka police chief: Washburn players were ‘in wrong place at wrong time’

Topeka — Two Washburn University football players who were shot outside of an off-campus house party hours after one of them was drafted by the New York Giants were “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” authorities said Monday. The shooting early Sunday killed defensive back Dwane ...

Kansas took over 22 struggling nursing homes in 2018

TOPEKA — Kansas lawmakers have tightened the financial requirements for a license to operate nursing homes after state regulators were forced to take over 22 struggling facilities last year. Officials with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services told The Kansas City Star they ...

Federal judge in Kansas charged in DUI case

Kansas City, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas is facing charges after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Johnson County Court records show that 70-year-old Kathryn Vratil was arrested Thursday night. She is charged in Johnson County District Court with driving under ...

Topeka shooting kills Washburn football player, injures Giants’ pick

Story updated at 8:15 p.m. Sunday: Topeka — Washburn University’s joy over one of its own going to the pros quickly shifted to grief this weekend after a shooting killed a current Washburn football player and wounded the former member of the team who was drafted by the New York Giants ...

Study: Kansas juvenile arrests drop as changes get underway

TOPEKA — Fewer juveniles have been arrested and held in the Kansas juvenile justice system while the state has been investing in alternatives to incarceration, according to a recent study. The Pew Charitable Trusts found that the number of juvenile arrests in Kansas fell by 29% between 2015 ...

Kansas Supreme Court upholds abortion rights in state constitution

Story updated at 3:27 p.m. Friday TOPEKA — Kansas' highest court declared for the first time Friday that the state constitution protects abortion rights, a sweeping ruling that blocks a ban on a common second trimester method for ending pregnancies and endangers other restrictions as ...

Kansas Supreme Court to rule on abortion rights protections

TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court is preparing to rule on whether the state constitution protects abortion rights. The court announced that it would issue a decision Friday in a lawsuit filed by two abortion providers in 2015 against a Kansas law banning a common second-trimester ...