Kansas Legislature Approves Bill to Keep Guns Out of Hospitals
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas legislators have given final approval to a bill aimed at keeping concealed guns out of state hospitals and other public health facilities. The House approved the measure on a 91-33 vote Thursday evening only hours after the Senate passed it on a 24-16 vote. The measure goes to Republican Governor Sam Brownback. A 2013 law requires public health facilities to allow concealed guns into their buildings starting in July unless the buildings have security such as metal detectors or guards. The bill would grant a permanent exemption to state hospitals, other public hospitals, mental health centers, some nursing homes and the University of Kansas Health System and the university's teaching hospital. Brownback is a strong gun-rights supporter and legislators weren't sure whether he would sign or veto the measure.
Close but No Cigar: Kansas Misses Revenue Estimate for May
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The state missed its revenue mark in May, but not by much. Kansas collected $1.9 million less in taxes than anticipated in May. The Department of Revenue reports that the state took in $441 million in taxes, compared with a projection of $443 million. The shortfall was 0.4 percent. The state saw a small surplus in tax collections in April and the department noted that the state remains on track to meet projections for the current budget year. The state has collected about $5.2 billion in taxes since the fiscal year began in July 2016. Lawmakers are working on proposals to raise taxes to fix the state budget and provide additional funds for public schools. With Thursday's report, the state's budget shortfalls total $889 million through June 2019.
Kansas Lawmakers Resume Negotiations on School Funding Plan
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are hashing out several dozen educational policy issues before wrestling with how much to increase spending on public schools. House and Senate negotiators resumed talks Friday on a plan that would phase in an increase of at least $230 million in funding over two years. But they're also drafting a new per-student formula for distributing the money and disagree on many details. The state spends $4 billion annually on aid to its 286 school districts. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in March that education funding is inadequate. The Senate has called for a $230 million spending increase and the House approved a $285 million increase. Many lawmakers don't think either plan will satisfy the court. Legislators also must draft a plan for raising new revenue.
Tenure for Kansas Teachers Becomes Part of Funding Debate
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A proposal to restore guaranteed tenure for some Kansas public school teachers has become part of legislative talks on education funding. Republican Representative Clay Aurand of Belleville outlined the proposal Friday as the House negotiated with the Senate over a plan to boost spending on public schools. Negotiators said they would review it. Lawmakers are looking at phasing in an increase in spending of at least $230 million over two years in response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in March that education funding is inadequate. Republican legislators stripped teachers of guaranteed tenure in 2014. Teachers have been pushing to get it back. Aurand's proposal would restore tenure to teachers who had it in 2014. They would lose those job protections in 2019 unless lawmakers passed a new tenure law.
Lawmaker: 'Nothing to Be Scared of;' Guns Present in Capitol
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita lawmaker is brushing aside criticism after he tweeted that about two dozen guns were on the House floor during a debate over concealed weapons. The Wichita Eagle reports that Republican Representative John Whitmer sent the tweet in response to Republican Representative Stephanie Clayton. The outspoken opponent of campus carry had tweeted that she was "so scared" because lawmakers were about to take up a gun measure. Whitmer responded with, "Nothing to be scared of, there's at least 25 guns on the floor of the House right now!" Lawmakers ultimately approved a bill to keep concealed guns out of public hospitals and mental health centers. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said Whitmer's tweet was "disgraceful." Whitmer responded that the peaceful debate showed there was nothing to fear.
More Testing Sought in Alleged Rape at KU Dorm
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Prosecutors are seeking more testing as they review the reported rape of a 16-year-old girl at a University of Kansas dorm for basketball players and other male students. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Douglas County District Attorney's office says it's waiting on results from the secondary testing of unspecified evidence. The office is still considering whether to file charges. A report from the university's police department lists five current and former Kansas men's basketball players and two women as witnesses in the rape case. Police found drug paraphernalia during a search of the dorms as part of the rape investigation. Former Jayhawk player Carlton Bragg was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and later entered a diversion agreement.
Woman Sentenced for Stealing from Kansas Group Home
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A woman has been sentenced to 11 months in prison for stealing from children under her care at a Lawrence group home. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 37-year-old Jennifer Silva Guerrero, of Lawrence, also will serve 18 months of probation after she is released from prison and must pay nearly $8,000 in restitution to at least nine of her victims. If she violates the terms of her probation, Guerrero will have to serve more than four years in prison. Douglas County District Attorney spokeswoman Cheryl Wright Kunard says Guerrero was recently convicted of three felony theft charges, two felony forgery charges and one felony charge of making false information. The thefts occurred in 2015 and 2016 at The Villages group home, where she also lived before being fired.
Topeka Man to Have Evaluation Before Trial in Traffic Death
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A 36-year-old Topeka man will undergo a psychiatric evaluation before trial in the 2014 death of an 8-year-old boy in a traffic collision. A Shawnee County District judge on Thursday ordered the evaluation of Marvin Leroy Tibbs III. He is charged with alternate counts of reckless second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter in the death of Trenton Feliciano. Tibbs was giving Feliciano a ride on his moped when it crashed in October 2014. A police report said witnesses reported that Tibbs was speeding and passed a stop sign before colliding with a vehicle. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that it could be two months before the evaluation because of a lack of beds at Larned State Hospital.
Leavenworth Woman Pleads No Contest in Death of Her Mother
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A Leavenworth woman has pleaded no contest to fatally beating her 85-year-old mother with a 3-pound mallet. The Kansas City Star reports that 60-year-old Victoria Smith entered the plea Friday. Authorities say Smith was screaming that she had killed someone when police responded in July 2016 and found her mother, Anna Higgins, dead. She later admitted to being surprised by being awakened by Higgins. The Leavenworth County Attorney says Smith then struck her mother with a flashlight in the doorway to her bedroom, moved her to the living room and proceeded to strike her several more times with the mallet. Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson described the case as a "sad situation all the way around." Sentencing for the second-degree murder charge is set for July 21.
Wichita Man Sentenced to 28+ Years in Girl's Death
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita man was been sentenced to 28 years and six months in prison in the death of his 23-month-old daughter. KSNW-TV reports that 31-year-old Michael Williams was sentenced Thursday for first-degree murder and child abuse. His daughter, Princess Teyonia Williams, died in September 2015. She was left with her father while her mother worked. The police affidavit says the girl suffered massive internal injuries, including a skull and rib fractures.
Judge Delays Trial in Alleged Plot Against Somalis
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has delayed until next year the trial of three Kansas men accused of plotting to attack Somali immigrants in the meatpacking town of Garden City. The trial for Curtis Wayne Allen, Patrick Eugene Stein and Gavin Wayne Wright had been scheduled to begin June 13. But U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren granted on Friday the men's request for a continuance and set the trial to begin February 20. Trial is expected to last four weeks. His written order follows a hearing Wednesday in which defense attorneys asked for more time to review the large amount of evidence. Prosecutors also had not yet turned over to the defense some discovery. The three men are accused of conspiring to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex where Somali immigrants live.
Kansas Researcher: Environmental Activism Must Improve
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — On the day President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of an international accord designed to curb greenhouse gases, the co-founder of a science research organization in Kansas said the environmental activism of the past has failed. The Salina Journal reports Wes Jackson was among about 75 people speaking at the Salina Resistance town hall meeting Thursday. The resistance group consists of area residents speaking against the Trump administration's stances on health care, education and climate change, among others. Jackson says actions taken to protect the environment in the next decade are crucial. 1st District Representative Roger Marshall and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran declined to attend the meeting. U.S. Senator Pat Roberts didn't respond to the invitation. Jackson helped found The Land Institute, a research organization in Saline County developing perennial grain crops and farming methods that preserve soil.
200-Mile Kansas Bike Race Has Grown into Major Event
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — About 2,500 people are expected to take off early Saturday on a 200-mile bicycle race through the Flint Hills. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Dirty Kanza race started 12 years ago go with 36 riders but it has grown into an endurance race that brings in an estimated $2.2 million every spring. The race starts and ends in Emporia. It is named after the crunchy Flint Hills gravel on the route, which makes racers filthy. This year's participants include world champion endurance racer Rebecca Rusch and competitors from 10 countries and 46 states. Riders climb as much as 12,000 feet on the route, often into the constant Kansas winds. Organizer Casey Wood says the race is so difficult only about half the starters finish, and even fewer if it rains.
Woman, 82, Apologizes for Kansas Airport Scuffle
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The husband of an 82-year-old Texas woman accused of scuffling with a Kansas airport security officer says his wife was tired and hadn't taken her bipolar medication. Silas Bryan said Friday that a "little bottle of soap" touched off the confrontation between his wife, Lila Mae Bryan, of Mesquite, and Transportation Security Administration workers at Eisenhower International Airport in Wichita. The Transportation Security Administration says the problem was that the bottle found Wednesday in her carry-on bag was over the 3.4 ounce limit. The TSA says the woman has apologized for walking around an X-ray screening belt and assaulting an officer. She spent nearly two hours in the Sedgwick County jail's booking area before being freed. Police cited her for a misdemeanor, and the city attorney is reviewing whether to prosecute.
Body Found While Wichita Crews Battle House Fire
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Fire crews have found a body while battling a fire at a Wichita home. The Wichita Eagle reports that Deputy Fire Chief Brad Crisp says the body was found Friday afternoon. Crisp says authorities are looking into the cause of death and cause of the fire. Investigators think the body is one of the home's occupants. Crisp says the house is likely a rental property with multiple tenants. He says investigators were working to locate other tenants.
Authorities Search for Slain Kansas City Woman's Missing Car
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a woman's death in Kansas City, Missouri, as a homicide and asking the public for help locating her missing car. Police said in a news release that Ashley Geddes was found dead inside a home Thursday afternoon, just one day before what would have been her 25th birthday. The release says the Kansas City, Missouri, woman's 2014 silver Chrysler 200 is missing. The vehicle has Kansas plates.
Man Sentenced for Kansas City Girl's Drive-By Shooting Death
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A second man has been sentenced in the fatal shooting a 6-year-old girl in Kansas City. The Jackson County prosecutor's office says 21-year-old Howard Chase was ordered Friday to serve two life sentences plus 30 years. He was convicted in April of second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action in the October 2014 death of Angel Hooper. Angel was shot in the head as she held her father's hand while leaving a 7-Eleven convenience store in south Kansas City. Jackson County (Missouri) Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has said the shots from a passing car were intended for someone else. A second man, Leandre Smith, was sentenced earlier this year to 23 years in prison after pleading guilty in the killing.
Missouri Health Chief Pledges Crackdown on Abortion Law
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's only current abortion provider says it was unaware until recently that it was required under a 38-year-old law to report to the state any complications from the procedures. The acknowledgement Thursday by the Reproductive Health Services arm of St. Louis' Planned Parenthood came a day after Missouri's health chief, Randall Williams, pledged stricter enforcement of the law. Williams, in an emailed statement to media outlets, suggested that previous administrations have been lax in enforcing the 1979 law that mandates abortion-related complications be reported to the state within 45 days. It was not immediately clear Thursday whether such requirements also relate to other medical procedures. Williams' criticisms comes amid an expected proliferation of abortion services across the state by Planned Parenthood affiliates, given a federal judge's recent rulings allowing it.
St. Louis Couple Donates $2 Million to K-State
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ A St. Louis couple, along with financial service firm Edward Jones, has donated $2 million to Kansas State University. K-State officials say the donation from Doug and Vicki Hill and Edward Jones will be used to hire faculty and promote growth for the National Strategic Selling Institute in the College of Business Administration. Doug Hill is a K-State alumnus and senior partner and former managing partner at Edward Jones. He said he and his wife want the donation to help the National Strategic Selling Institute become a full major degree program at the university. The donation is part of a fundraising campaign led by the Kansas State Foundation, which has a goal of $1.4 billion of private donations for the university.
Man Dies in Work-Related Incident at Osage City Plant
OSAGE CITY, Kan. (AP) - Osage City officials say a 53-year-old Topeka man died in a work-related accident at a plastic plant. Police chief Fred Nech says Ruben Guadlaupe Chavira died early Wednesday at the Orbis Plastic plant. Nech says officers found Chavira pinned against other equipment by a forklift he had been operating. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Chavira, a press operator and backup grinder, was employed by the company since 2014. Orbis, OSHA and the coroner's office will investigate the death.
ACLU Calls Kansas School District Policy "Unconstitutional"
SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas has condemned a school district's new guidelines that prevent those making public comments at board meetings from speaking about specific district employees or students, calling it "unconstitutional." The Kansas City Star reports Shawnee Mission School Board President Sara Goodburn received a letter Tuesday from ACLU of Kansas legal director Doug Bonney criticizing Goodburn for reprimanding a parent who used a board member's name while asking about a specific conflict-of-interest issue in May. Goodburn has since admitted she incorrectly interrupted the parent, as the member is not a district employee. Bonney says the First Amendment protects the public's right to "call out or praise" all public servants, including teachers and other school staff. He says the district hasn't yet responded to his letter.
Man Jailed in Deadly Shooting of His Roommate in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a 21-year-old man in the deadly shooting of his roommate during a Wichita party. Wichita Police Lieutenant Jason Stephens says 18-year-old Joseph Seabolt died at a hospital where he was driven early Thursday. Stephens says Seabolt was shot in the lower abdomen during a birthday celebration that spanned two duplexes. Seabolt and his roommate lived in one of the duplexes. His roommate is jailed in Sedgwick County on suspicion of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and discharge of a firearm at an occupied dwelling.
Kansas Man Gets Max Sentence for Pot Possession in Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Kansas man is on his way to a Wyoming prison after being sentenced with the maximum penalty for felony marijuana possession. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports 35-year-old Haywood T. Madison was sentenced to three to five years in prison. He is accused of being in possession of 71 pounds of marijuana last year in Wyoming. Charging documents state a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper stopped Madison's vehicle in November 2016 for going 94 mph in a posted 75 mph zone. A drug-sniffing dog was brought in and 71 pounds of marijuana, 100 electronic-cigarette cartridges loaded with THC oil, three plastic containers of about 7.5 grams of marijuana and six cellphones were found. Police say the marijuana and oil had an estimated street value of $290,000.
K-State Grants WR Transfer Request, Snyder Apologizes
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University has granted a scholarship release to Corey Sutton after 24 hours of intense criticism over coach Bill Snyder's refusal of the wide receiver's request. Snyder and athletic director Gene Taylor said Friday that Sutton has been granted a full release and will be permitted to transfer to any schools he requested. Sutton had supplied the school with a list of 35 schools, none of them in the Big 12 or future opponents of the Wildcats. Sutton announced his desire to transfer last month, claiming Snyder and position coach Andre Coleman did not follow through on playing time promises. The native of Charlotte, North Carolina, then took his plea to Twitter, calling Snyder a "slave master" in a series of social media posts. Sutton appeared in 10 games as a freshman last season, catching four passes for 54 yards.