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Headlines for Friday, March 31, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Lawmakers Postpone Vote on Medicaid Veto 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  Kansas legislators have postponed a vote on overriding Governor Sam Brownback's veto of a bill that would have expanded the state's Medicaid program. Supporters of the bill launched an effort Thursday to override the veto in the House shortly after Brownback announced his veto. But they realized that one of the bill's supporters wasn't present and pushed to table the discussion. The vote was 81-43. The bill would have extended the state's health coverage for the poor, disabled and elderly under former President Obama's signature health care law to cover up to 180,000 more adults. Brownback is a vocal critic of the 2010 Affordable Care Act also known as "Obamacare" and argued that an expansion would result in uncontrollable costs for the state.

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Kansas House Advances Tougher Amusement Ride Law 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House member whose 10-year-old son died last summer on a water park slide spoke to his colleagues on the subject for the first time Thursday shortly before they voted unanimously to strengthen inspection rules for amusement rides. Representative Scott Schwab's son Caleb died at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. The bill requires annual ride inspections and sets specific qualifications for inspectors. Current law allows parks to conduct their own inspections. Schwab told House members he didn't come to the Legislature to increase regulation or grow government, but sometimes government is needed. He said he wouldn't hold it against anyone who didn't support the bill. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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Kansas House Passes Regulation on Abortion Information

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion providers may soon be required to give women detailed information about the physician to perform the procedure using Times New Roman font. A bill that the House passed Thursday with an 87 to 37 votes also specifies that the typeface must be black and 12-point. A similar bill hasn't gotten a vote in the Senate. Abortion opponents say women need information about the doctor's credentials to make a decision. Abortion rights supporters say it targets providers. State law already requires that 24 hours before an abortion procedure a woman be given in writing the name of the physician who will perform the procedure. Women also must receive information on abortion risks, the age and characteristics of the fetus and information that may dissuade a woman from having an abortion.

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Political Committees Help GOP Candidate in Kansas House Race 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Campaign finance reports show political committees and groups have heavily bolstered Republican Ron Estes's campaign coffers in the race for a congressional seat the GOP has held for two decades in south-central Kansas. Democrat James Thompson has raised more from individuals in the race for the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Libertarian Chris Rockhold did not file a report. Estes brought in about $312,000 for the nation's first congressional election since President Donald Trump's victory. Nearly $190,000 came from individuals, and the rest came from political committees and groups. Thompson raised nearly $254,000, with more than $248,000 coming from individual contributions. Estes has spent more, and both campaigns head into the final stretch before April 11 election with close to the same amount of cash on hand.

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New Kansas Law Will Allow Pre-Ordering of Fireworks

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — This Fourth of July, Kansas residents will be able to buy their fireworks before going to a fireworks stand. A new state policy will allow nonprofit groups to sell fireworks without operating a stand. People who pre-order and prepay for the fireworks through the nonprofits would then go to a licensed stand to pick them up during fireworks season from July 25 to July 5, unless a local ordinance allows different dates. Kansas Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen reinterpreted state regulations at the request of a state lawmaker. Spokesman Kevin Doel says the requirement to run a stand prevented many organizations from raising money through fireworks sales. Doel says the new policy doesn't override any city or county regulations of fireworks sales, which are often more restrictive than state policy.

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Kansas Farmers Plan to Plant More Soybeans, Corn This Spring
 
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report shows Kansas growers are planning to plant more soybeans and corn this spring. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that soybean acreage in Kansas is expected to be up 23 percent compared to last year with 5 million acres planted. The state's farmers are also planning to plant 5.2 million acres into corn, an increase of 2 percent from a year ago. Sorghum acreage is expected to be down 19 percent with just 2.5 million acres expected to be planted this year. Kansas growers last fall seeded 7.5 million acres into winter wheat for harvest this year. That is down 12 percent compared to the previous year.

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Men Charged in Officer-Involved Shooting Appear in Court 

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Four men charged after a home invasion left an Independence police officer critically injured will each be held on $500,000 bond. The Kansas City Star reports the suspects said little a brief court hearing Friday. A judge entered not guilty pleas for them, which is routine in criminal cases. Officer Thomas Wagstaff remained in critical condition Friday after he was shot Wednesday while responding to a home in Independence. Prosecutors allege two suspects, Ronar Santiago-Torres and Joseph Wyatt, broke into the home to gain access to a safe. They fled and Wagstaff was shot in the ensuing confrontation. Prosecutors say Wagstaff was accidentally shot by another officer but the investigation is continuing. Two other men are charged with taking Santiago-Torres and Wyatt to the home to commit the crime.

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KU's Frank Mason III is AP Player of the Year

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) _ Frank Mason III, who led Kansas to its 13th consecutive Big 12 title, is The Associated Press' Player of the Year. The senior point guard averaged 20.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting 48.7 percent from 3-point range. He received 37 votes Thursday from the same 65-member media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25. Josh Hart of Villanova was second with 16 votes while Caleb Swanigan of Purdue had nine and Lonzo Ball of UCLA had three. Mason is the first Kansas player to win the award. He is the first Big 12 player to win it since Blake Griffin of Oklahoma in 2009.
 
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Kansas Man Admits to Killing 7-Year-Old Found Near Pigs 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has pleaded guilty in the killing of his 7-year-old son whose remains were found near the family's pigs. The Kansas City Star reports that 46-year-old Michael Jones admitted Friday to one count of first-degree murder in the death of Adrian Jones. The boy's remains were found in November 2015 after authorities responded to a domestic disturbance and learned that he was missing. Former Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman declined to discuss reports that the child's remains were fed to pigs, but said the boy's remains were found near swine on the family's Kansas City, Kansas, property. Adrian's stepmother, Heather Jones, was sentenced previously to life in prison in the killing. She said she felt helpless to protect the child or herself from her abusive husband.

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Service Planned for Kansas Police Dog Killed in Gunfire Exchange

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities from across Kansas are expected in Wichita, Kansas, to remember a police dog killed during an exchange of gunfire in which a suspect was killed. A memorial service for the 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, named Rooster, was planned for today (FRI). Police dog handlers from across the state to attend. The shooting happened March 18 at a mobile home park on Wichita's south side. Officers responding to a domestic disturbance surrounded a home before 25-year-old Kevin Perry walked out with a gun in his waistband. Rooster was sent after the suspect to stop him from re-entering the home. That's when gunfire was exchanged, striking both the dog and the man. Wichita police spokeswoman Nikki Woodrow says authorities believe the suspect shot the dog, but an investigation continues.

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Kansas Prosecutor Clears Officer over 2015 Shooting Incident 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett has cleared a Wichita police officer of wrongdoing in the 2015 fatal shooting that began with a traffic stop. The announcement Friday comes in the shooting of 26-year-old Nicholas Garner in Wichita. KWCH-TV reports that after struggling with the officer for control of the vehicle, Garner drove in circles around Sam's Club gas pumps. Garner hit the officer's parked patrol car and another parked car while dragging the officer. He then tried to drive into the wrong way into traffic, hitting another car head-on. The district attorney's report says that's when the officer gathered himself and shot three times, killing Garner. A Crown Royal whiskey bag was found at the scene filled with methamphetamine.

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Homicide Under Investigation in KCK

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a man was killed in Kansas City, Kansas. Police said in a news release that officers responding to a shooting Thursday night found 34-year-old Shelton Estell, of Kansas City, Kansas, dead in a street from an apparent gunshot wound. Anyone with information is urged to call a tips hotline.

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