Kansas Tax Collections $10 Million Short of Expectations in August
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas says its tax collections in August fell $10 million short of expectations and Republican Governor Sam Brownback blames a soft economy. The state Department of Revenue report Thursday marked the fourth consecutive month that Kansas has failed to hit its revenue projections. Tax collections have fallen short 10 of the past 12 months. The state collected $427 million in taxes last month. A fiscal forecast made in April predicted the state would take in more than $437 million. The shortfall is 2.3 percent. Kansas has struggled to balance its budget after GOP lawmakers heeded Brownback's call to slash personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 as an economic stimulus. But Brownback said this week that slumps in agriculture and energy production are to blame for disappointing revenues.
Kansas Reports 23.5 Percent Voter Turnout in August Primary
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas saw 23.5 percent of its registered voters cast ballots in the August 2 primary election. Final election results presented Thursday showed that 411,552 voters cast ballots out of nearly 1.75 million registered. The turnout was slightly below the 24 percent predicted by Secretary of State Kris Kobach but higher than the 23.2 percent in 2012, the last presidential election year. Kobach, Governor Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt met Thursday as the State Board of Canvassers to certify the election results. Turnout exceeded 50 percent in 14 of the state's 105 counties. The top figures were 64.8 percent in Wallace County and 60.3 percent in Greeley County. Five counties saw a turnout of less than 15 percent. The lowest was 12.7 percent in Franklin County.
Kobach: Only 73 Voters in Lawsuit Cast Ballots in Kansas Primary
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Secretary of State Kris Kobach says only 73 of the 17,600 Kansas voters at the center of legal fights over the state's proof of citizenship requirements actually cast ballots in the August primary. Kobach provided the figure Thursday. Voting rights advocates have won temporary court rulings in federal and state courts affirming the right to vote for people who registered at motor vehicle offices but never submitted citizenship papers as required by a 2013 state law championed by Kobach. Election officials in populous counties previously reported only a few such voters. Kobach said the low number suggests that many affected voters have moved to new addresses without registering again.
Kansas Secretary of State Still Advising Candidate Donald Trump
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he's still advising Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Kobach told reporters Thursday, "I am in regular communication with the campaign." Kobach gained national attention before his election as secretary of state in 2010 for helping local and state officials across the nation write tough laws against illegal immigration. He was among Trump's highest-profile early backers in Kansas. Trump advocates building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and forcing Mexico to pay for it. In a fiery speech Wednesday in Phoenix, the GOP nominee promised to curb even legal immigration. Kobach called the speech "historic." Kobach is the state's top election official. He said it's "perfectly appropriate" for him to take a partisan position because voters can hold him accountable for how he oversees elections.
Record Company President Guilty in Kansas Rapper's Death
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City rapper and record company president is guilty in the killing of an aspiring rapper from Olathe. A Johnson County District Court jury on Thursday found 33-year-old Dale "Poppa Willo" Wills guilty of first-degree murder in the September 2015 death of 24-year-old Jurl Carter of Olathe. Prosecutors say Willis, president of Duced Out Records, ordered his brother, James Willis, to shoot Carter after a confrontation outside an Overland Park bar. James Willis is awaiting trial on a murder charge. The Kansas City Star reports Carter, who went by Yunglyfe Carter or Bo Boogy, was driving away when James Willis allegedly fired several shots at his car, hitting Carter four times in the chest. Attorneys for Dale Willis argued that there was no evidence to confirm that Dale Willis ordered the shooting.
18-Year-Old Dead in Wichita Shooting, Accident
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - An 18-year-old is dead after pointing a gun at a Sedgwick County deputy who pulled him over for driving erratically. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says the deputy spotted a possible impaired driver around 1 a.m. Thursday in Wichita and stopped the vehicle. The sheriff says the driver, Caleb Douglas, pointed a handgun at the deputy's face after being asked to step out of his car. Easter says the deputy retreated before firing at least 16 shots at the driver, who drove off but then crashed his car into a house. An autopsy will show whether one of the deputy's bullets killed Douglas, or if he killed himself. The 32-year-old deputy has been a patrol officer for 14 months and has seven years of prior law enforcement experience. Both he and the driver are white.
Kansas Dealing with Shortage of Construction Workers
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —Commercial contractors in Kansas say they are struggling to fill construction jobs. A national trade association, the Associated General Contractors of America, reports that 83 percent of surveyed construction firms say they are facing difficulties filling in hourly craft positions, even though the state lost over 4,000 construction jobs from July 2015 to July 2016. Trade association CEO Stephen Sandherr says the most difficult positions to fill are carpenters, electricians, roofers, plumbers and concrete workers. He says nearly half of firms nationwide have responded to worker shortages by raising base pay rates for craft workers. But Sandherr says shortages are not going to be alleviated any time soon, partially due to the increasing demand for construction work in many other parts of the country.
Mistakenly Released Homicide Suspect Faces New Charges in Missouri
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City homicide suspect who was mistakenly released from jail faces a new felony charge because authorities allege he was in possession of a stolen assault rifle when he was recaptured. The Kansas City Star reports that 26-year-old Malcolm Johnson was charged Thursday with unlawful possession of a firearm. No attorney is listed for him in online court records. Johnson had been jailed in Jackson County in a deadly 2014 shooting before he was mistakenly released in February. Court documents say that when Independence police found him last month, he was passed out in the back of a parked truck with the rifle next to him and ammunition in his pocket. Johnson reportedly lied about his identity before police discovered he was wanted in Raytown for second-degree murder.
Chiefs Beat Packers, 17-7, in Final Pre-Season Game
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs gave their back-up players some time on the field last (THUR) night as they defeated the Green Bay Packers,17-7, in their pre-season finale at Arrowhead Stadium. Starting Quarterbacks Alex Smith and Nick Foles watched from the bench as Tyler Bray started at QB. Bray completed seven passes to lead the Chiefs on two touchdown drives. Four of Kansas City's key players including linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, safety Eric Berry and running back Jamaal Charles also sat out the game. Packers' Rookie quarterback Joe Callahan capped a strong pre-season by throwing for 143 yards and a touchdown in a game featuring almost entirely second- and third-teamers on both sides. The exhibition contest also featured the debut of Green Bay punter Jacob Schum, who was claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay this week to replace veteran Tim Masthay. The Chiefs begin the regular season September 11th when they host the San Diego Chargers.