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Headlines for Monday, February 22, 2016

Here's a look at Kansas news headlines from the Associated Press, as compiled by the KPR News Team.

Bernie Sanders Campaigns in Kansas City This Week

Bernie Sanders is coming to Kansas City.  The Democratic candidate for President says he'll be in town for a midday rally on Wednesday.  Sanders campaign officials have not yet announced just WHERE the rally will be held.  The rally would come just 10 days before Kansas holds its caucuses on Saturday, March 5th.


Former Kansas Governor Endorses Clinton for President 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has endorsed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States. Sebelius issued a statement Monday saying Clinton is someone who can build upon progress made by President Barack Obama during his time in office. Sebelius also praised the former U.S. secretary of state for her work on women's issues. Clinton's main opposition for the Democratic nomination is U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sebelius was Kansas governor from 2003 to 2009, and was U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services under Obama from 2009 to 2014. She endorsed then-Senator Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.


Kansas House Rejects Proposal to Call Convention of States 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House has rejected a measure aimed at calling a convention of the states to propose changes in the U.S. constitution. The vote Monday was 77-47 for a resolution pushed by conservative Republicans unhappy with the federal government's reach. But supporters needed a two-thirds majority of 84 votes in the 125-member chamber. Supporters said a convention could propose ideas for lessening the federal government's power. The resolution decried the federal debt. Critics questioned whether a convention's scope could be limited. The U.S. Constitution says Congress must call a convention if it gets applications from two-thirds of the states, or 34. Any proposal approved by such a convention must be ratified by legislators in three-quarters of the states, or 38. Lawmakers in five other states have approved the same resolution.


Kansas Senate Delays Debate on Judicial Impeachment Grounds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has postponed a debate on a measure declaring that state Supreme Court justices can be impeached for attempting to usurp the power of the Legislature or executive branch. On a voice vote Monday, senators removed a list of impeachable offenses from a bill clarifying the Supreme Court's authority to administer the judicial branch. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King promised that his panel would consider a separate bill on impeachment next month. The Senate gave the narrowed bill first-round approval on a voice vote and plans to take final action Tuesday. The state constitution says justices can be impeached and removed for treason, bribery or other "high crimes and misdemeanors." The proposal to spell out other grounds comes after a court ruling against a school funding law.


Kansas Legislators Consider Adding Hunting Rights to State Constitution 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House members have approved a proposal to add a right to fish and hunt and trap wildlife to the state constitution. The measure would add a new section to the constitution's Bill of Rights to preserve hunting and fishing as a preferred way to manage wildlife. The House voted 117-7 in favor of it Monday, sending it to the Senate. Several legislators said it would prevent future legislation from infringing on the right to hunt and fish. They said any future measures seeking to limit the sports would need to prove that a particular animal could become endangered. Kansas would become one of about 20 states that make hunting and fishing a constitutional right if the Senate adopts the measure and voters approve it in the November 8 election.


Kansas Bill Would Let Governor Halt Refugee Resettlement

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill that would let the governor halt refugee resettlement in communities that don't have the law enforcement or health care services to handle the newcomers.  Supporters say the state needs to be cautious about potential threats of terrorism, but critics call the measure anti-Muslim.  Under the bill, which got a hearing last week, a community could request a moratorium on resettlement from the Department for Children and Families and the governor if it were unable to provide services to those arriving.  


Kansas Senate Advances Bill Reducing Penalties for Juvenile Sexting
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has advanced a bill that would lessen the penalties for sexting by middle and high school students in hopes that prosecutors will be willing to combat the practice. Senators gave the measure first-round approval on a voice vote Monday, and a final vote is expected Tuesday. The House approved its own version of the legislation earlier this month. Both bills focus on 12- to 18-year-olds accused of transmitting images of a nude child. Under existing state law, prosecutors are restricted to filing a felony charge that carried a prison sentence up to 11 years and four months and lifetime registration as a sex offender. Both measures make a first offense by someone 18 or younger a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.


Kansas House Approves Measure Outlawing 'Revenge Porn' 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas would make it illegal to distribute images or videos of nude adults without their consent under a bill the state House has overwhelmingly approved. The House's vote Monday was 113-11 in favor of the measure, which is aimed at deterring an online phenomenon known as "revenge porn." The bill goes next to the Senate. The measure would make it a felony to illegally disseminate nude images of an adult. While a first offense typically would be punished by putting the defendant on 18 months' probation, a second conviction within five years could result in up to three years and seven months in prison. It's already illegal to use compromising pictures for blackmail, but it's not against the law to disseminate pictures taken during an intimate relationship without another's consent.


Kansas House Rejects Ethnic Studies Curriculum Bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House members gave initial approval Monday to creating an ethnic studies curriculum for grades 7-12, but rejected the bill on a final vote. The measure was part of a larger bill to mandate teaching financial literacy in public schools. Legislators ultimately voted 43-81 against the bill. The bill called for the state to develop a curriculum and materials on the experiences of African, Asian, Latino and Native Americans. The curriculum would have been optional for districts. Republican Representative Don Hineman, of Dighton, opposed the bill because he said it would strip authority of school boards. Other critics said the ethnic studies measure should be debated separately from financial literacy. Another House bill that would encourage teaching ethnic studies is scheduled for debate on Tuesday.


Kansas Measure Aims for Change in Forfeiture Laws  

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A bill in the Kansas Legislature would change the current forfeiture law and require that a person has to be convicted of a crime before the state can take their property.  The state's current forfeiture law does not require a person to be convicted of a crime before law enforcement can take property they believe was used in a crime.  A forfeiture case is civil, not criminal, and law enforcement must prove by a preponderance of evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt that the seized property was used in a crime.  The new measure would require individuals be convicted of a crime before they can have their property taken.  Several law enforcement agencies oppose the measure because forfeitures provide police agencies with needed funding.  


Stagnant Redevelopment at Topeka Racetrack Causes Bond Debt 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka racetrack's redevelopment project hasn't made efforts toward completion in the past several years, prompting one senator to say the state has been "duped." The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that longstanding frustrations have drawn new attention as some lawmakers have grown weary of STAR bonds, the economic development tool used to finance Heartland Park's redevelopment. The city of Topeka issued a $10.4 million STAR bond for the improvements in 2006. Through the bonds, cities and counties fund projects by borrowing from anticipated sales tax revenue. The city serviced debt from the racetrack's bond of more than $629,000 in the past year and $5.6 million since 2006. Republican state Senator Julia Lynn, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said the oversight of the state's financial loss to a stagnant project is vital so that lawmakers don't get "duped" again.


Kansas Police Chief: "System Broke Down" in Alleged Abuse Case

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas police chief investigating a child torture case involving three adopted Peruvian children is alleging that ``somewhere, some time, the system broke down.''  The Wichita Eagle reports that North Newton police chief Randy Jordan says he's trying to find out what happened. He says state welfare officials received around a dozen reports before the adoptive parents, Jim and Paige Nachtigal, were charged last week with three counts each of child abuse. But Jordan says none were forwarded to his department for further investigation. Some of the reports were from 2014.  State welfare officials have declined to discuss the specifics of the case.  Jordan says one possible source of information in the case will be post-adoptions reports. It wasn't immediately clear if the Nachtigals have an attorney.


2 Seriously Injured When Truck Sideswipes Tour Bus Near KC 

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) — Two people are seriously injured and eight others received minor injuries after a tractor-trailer sideswiped a tour bus that had pulled to the side of Interstate 70 east of Kansas City with a flat tire. The Kansas City Star reports the bus carrying the driver and nine passengers was headed from St. Louis to Overland Park, Kansas, on Monday when the driver felt a tire was flat and pulled over. Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman Collin Stosberg says the semitrailer veered out of its lane around 10:45 am and struck the bus, pushing it down an embankment. The uninjured truck driver was cited for careless and imprudent driving. One of the bus passengers was in critical condition Monday afternoon at an Independence hospital and one was in serious condition.


Former Kansas Magistrate Judge Pleads to Federal Charges 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former state district magistrate judge in southeast Kansas has pleaded guilty to charges accusing him of embezzling about $24,000. The office of the U.S. Attorney for Kansas says in a release that Bill W. Lyerla of Galena pleaded guilty Monday to six counts of wire fraud. Lyerla was a magistrate judge for the state's Eleventh Judicial District from 1991 until he resigned in 2014. The prosecutor's office says Lyerla admitted that he embezzled the money from the Kansas District Magistrate Judges Association while he was that organization's elected treasurer. He faces up to 30 years in prison when he's sentenced in July. He could also be fined up to $1 million on each count.


Kansas Sees Decline in Number of Adult Education Participants 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Adult education in Kansas is mirroring a nationwide trend as the lowest number of people in five years enrolled in the state's programs in 2015. The Kansas Board of Regents annual report on adult education says more than 7,100 Kansas residents participated in adult education in 2015. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that more than 9,000 participated in 2010. Susan Fish, the Regents' director of adult education, says the program's target participants include more than 225,000 adults who don't have a high school education and more than 57,000 with limited proficiency in English. She says this target population has declined over the years nationally and in Kansas, as many adults who lack high school diplomas age.


Ex-Church Worker Settles Suit Against KC-St. Joe Diocese

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A former Kansas City church worker who said she was fired after her same-sex marriage was publicized settled her lawsuit with the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese. The Kansas City Star reports the amount awarded to Colleen Simon, a former food pantry coordinator, wasn't released. Simon alleged her supervisors said her marriage wasn't an issue. But she was fired two weeks after The Star wrote about her marriage.  


Center for LGBT Community Becoming Reality in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A new center aimed at creating a safe space for the LGBT community is in the first stages of becoming a reality.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Capital City Equality Center received 501(c)(3) status, designating it as a public charity. The center will provide a place for people to meet, share experiences and support one another.  Organizers began working on the project in May 2015.  The center may provide resources for people to find jobs, for groups to host meetings or for businesses and organizations to gain awareness of the issues the LGBT community faces through programming. The organization might also open a clothing and food bank. Stephanie Mott, the center's board president, says she hopes that establishing a safe space will reduce self-harm and suicides.  


Police Investigate Fatal Shooting in North Wichita  

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Police are investigating after a man was fatally shot in northern Wichita.  The Wichita Eagle reports that police received a report around 5 am Sunday of shots fired. Wichita Sergeant Joe Kennedy says responding officers found a 26-year-old man lying in the street. Emergency workers pronounced him dead at the scene.  No other information was immediately available.  


70-Year-Old Man Dies in Wichita Apartment Fire  

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say one person has died in a fire that was contained to a single unit of a seven-floor Wichita apartment building.  Wichita fire marshal Brad Crisp said a resident called Sunday afternoon to report that his apartment at Shadyway Plaza Towers was on fire. The Wichita Eagle reports that a 70-year-old man was found dead inside the apartment. Another person who was found suffering from smoke inhalation is in stable condition at a Wichita hospital. The fire was contained to the living room space of the one-bedroom apartment. Shadyway Plaza Towers has 20 apartments on each of its seven floors.  The cause of the fire is under investigation. No other information was immediately available, including the name of the victim.  


Wichita Police: Former Cowboys Running Back Hit 3 with Car 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has been arrested after hitting three people with a car and breaking into a home. Police Lieutenant James Espinoza said Monday that after Randle was ordered to leave a housewarming party early Sunday, he hit the two owners and another man as he backed out of the driveway. None of them was seriously injured. Espinoza says Randle then returned and broke through the front door. Espinoza says Randle was in possession of marijuana when he was arrested. Randle is jailed on $100,000 bond on suspicion of aggravated battery, drug possession and criminal damage to property. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney. The Cowboys released Randle last fall.


Nebraska Again Pumping Water into Republican River  

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Millions of gallons of water are being pumped into the Republican River again this year to ensure that Nebraska farms in the area can continue operating while Kansas gets the water it is entitled to.  The Omaha World-Herald reports this is the third year in a row that Nebraska pumped groundwater into the river to satisfy its obligations under its compact with Kansas and Colorado.  But the amount of water being pumped into the river this year is about 60 percent less than past years because the three states reached a new agreement on managing the river's water.  The use of the river's water is governed by an agreement that says Nebraska gets 49 percent of the river's water, Kansas receives 40 percent and Colorado gets 11 percent.  


Low-Level Offenders in Wichita Get Chance for Clean Record, Fresh Start  

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Lawyers and volunteers will team up in March to help people in Wichita qualify to wipe their criminal records clean.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Clean Slate Day on March 4th will be free for many in the community for whom the fee is prohibitive. Local real estate agent Colby Sandlian has chipped in to pay the fees, while defense lawyers are donating their time and Volunteer Kansas is providing additional support.  When Sandlian was inspired to help low-level offenders get their records clean after attending a presentation about criminal justice reform by Koch Industries in September. He made a $10,000 commitment to put that plan in motion.  Clean Slate Day is part of the Wichita Bar Association's 100th Anniversary.  


Police Investigate Armed Robbery at Wichita Home

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a 65-year-old man was tied up by two other men during a residential robbery in west Wichita. According to Wichita Police Department Sergeant Joe Kennedy, the robbery happened shortly after 9:30 am Sunday. Police say the man reported that two suspects pointed a handgun at him and told him to sit down before both suspects tied him up. Police say the suspects went through the home, took two safes and $100, and then left. The man was able to untie himself and call police. Kennedy said the man was not injured. An investigation is ongoing.


Villanova Starts 3rd Week at No. 1; KU Stays at No. 2 

Villanova remains No. 1 in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll, holding its comfortable lead over the University of Kansas. The Wildcats (24-3) received 45 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel on Monday for its third week on top of the poll. Kansas (23-4) was No. 1 on 20 ballots to hold second. Villanova will have its toughest test yet as the top-ranked team when the Wildcats travel to No. 5 Xavier on Wednesday. Oklahoma and Virginia are tied for third and are followed in the top 10 by Xavier, Michigan State, North Carolina, Iowa, Arizona and Maryland.


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