Most Kansas Lawmakers Benefit from Tax Cuts
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A tax exemption enabling business owners to pay no state tax on business income has benefitted most state lawmakers or their spouses. The Wichita Eagle reports nearly 70 percent of lawmakers or their spouses own a business or property that allows them to benefit from the tax exemption. Governor Sam Brownback and his wife, Mary, also benefit from the law, which was passed in 2012 at the governor's urging. Brownback would not discuss his family's taxes when asked at the Capitol last month. The law exempts the owners of limited liability companies, S-corporations, limited partnerships, family farms and sole proprietorships from paying state income tax on their non-wage, business income. The law also extends to other sources of pass-through income, such as rents, royalties and trusts.
Lawmakers Want Greater Oversight in Kansas Budget Process
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback is refusing to say how he'll keep Kansas' budget balanced and some GOP lawmakers say they want more input and more aggressive oversight in the budget planning process. Some even want to challenge the governor's longstanding control over annual spending blueprints. Senate President Susan Wagle outlined a proposal to give lawmakers a bigger role as internal documents from state agencies showed how they might reduce spending. Some agencies' potential cuts would eliminate programs that keep state prisons from becoming over-crowded or hinder efforts to collect taxes. Kansas has struggled to hit revenue targets and balance its budget since legislators slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback's urging as an economic stimulus. Monthly tax collections have fallen short of expectations 71 percent of the time since.
Kansas Deputy Kidnapped, Sexually Assaulted
OLATHE, Kansas (AP) - The Johnson County Sheriff's Office say it's still investigating after one of its deputies was kidnapped and sexually assaulted Friday night. The deputy was reportedly abducted from a parking lot as she headed into her job at the county detention center in Olathe. The Sheriff's Office says the deputy, who has been on the job for about six months, did not know her abductors and was not in uniform at the time of the kidnapping. The deputy was released about two hours later in Lee's Summit, Missouri.
National Weather Service: 8 Tornadoes Touched Down in Kansas Last Week
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - We now know just how many tornadoes touched down in Kansas last week: eight.
Damage surveys indicate eight tornadoes hit in Kansas on Thursday. One of the them was an EF-3. No injuries were reported. Officials are still gathering information about tornadoes reported in southeast Kansas last week, so the number could change. The strongest of Thursday's tornadoes touched down in Saline County and stayed on the ground for more than six miles, with peak winds of 140 miles an hour. This twister was as wide as one and half football fields.
Rulings Make Kansas Voter Registration Easier as Deadline Nears
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Recent court decisions have made it a lot easier to vote in Kansas, but time is running out for people to register. Prospective voters must be registered by October 18 for the November 8 general election. At issue is the state law requiring potential voters to show proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers, when registering. The law drew court challenges, and after three temporary court orders - two from federal appeals courts and one from a Kansas judge - Secretary of State Kris Kobach has agreed to fully register some people who otherwise would not be able to vote. Under the rulings, people who register at motor vehicle offices and those who register using a federal form - instead of the state form - will be fully registered for all federal, state and local races this year without providing documents showing citizenship. You can check to see if you are on the official voter rolls by going to the secretary of state's website.
KBOR Will Review Campus Concealed Carry Rules
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - State-run universities in Kansas must begin allowing concealed weapons onto campuses next July. University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little told the University Senate that there are high-security labs and other campus areas where shooting a gun would be dangerous. But she says the state's attorney general has told the school it can't make any exceptions to the new law allowing concealed carry of firearms on all state college and university campuses.
Driver Swerved to Miss Deer; Almost Hit Train
AUGUSTA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a Kansas driver had to flee from an approaching train after he swerved to avoid two deer and became stuck on a stretch of railroad tracks. The Highway Patrol says the 18-year-old driver initially attempted to drive his car down the tracks Sunday night. But he became high-centered about two miles northeast of Augusta and wasn't able to continue. He didtched his car and fled from the oncoming train
Corn Disease, Weather Affect Crop Yields in Kansas
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ A corn disease new to the heartland is infecting Kansas crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the bacterial leaf streak in a swath that goes from Pratt County to Edwards County in late August. Farmers say the disease probably contributed to this year's decline in corn yield, but weather was also a factor. It's unknown how the disease entered the U.S. It's been found in about a dozen states, including Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma.
Judge: Lawsuit Against Wichita Police Can Proceed
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge says a widow can proceed with a $5 million lawsuit accusing Wichita police of wrongdoing when they shot and wounded her husband. The lawsuit filed by Michlle Richard says injuries her husband, Stacy Richard, sustained in the shooting led to his suicide months later. The lawsuit names officers, the police department and the city as defendants. U.S. District Court Judge Eric Melgren recently found that Mrs. Richard made a "plausible claim" that the shooting — which her husband survived — led to his eventual death. Melgren says she laid out a sufficient legal claim that police used excessive force. The Wichita Eagle reports the city sought to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the shooting was justified because officers believed he was pointing a weapon at them.
Authorities Investigate Arson of DEA Vehicle in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are investigating after a fire was set in a vehicle belonging to the Drug Enforcement Administration in Wichita. KSNW-TV reports that the fire happened early Thursday in sport utility vehicle that was parked in a lot next to building that houses DEA offices in Wichita. A DEA official says a surveillance video shows two people approaching the vehicle before it was set on fire. The agency is working to identify the people. Besides the DEA, Wichita police and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating.
Menninger Reunion Draws Hundreds to Topeka
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — More than 300 people attended a reunion of former employees of the Menninger Clinic in Topeka. The clinic, a driving force for mental health care, opened in Topeka in 1925. The clinic aligned with Baylor College of Medicine and moved to Houston in 2012. Alison Beebe, a registered nurse, worked for Menninger for 20 years and was on the committee that put together the reunion. She told The Topeka Capital-Journal that a 2015 informal reunion drew more than 200. So the group decided a more formal, organized reunion was in order. She says more than 300 people attended a dinner Saturday night. More, including relatives of founder C.F. Menninger, attended a variety of events throughout the weekend.
Osage Gardens Recalls Micro Greens in Kansas, Colorado
NEW CASTLE, Colo. (AP) — Osage Gardens is recalling two-ounce packages of Micro Greens after a routine sampling by the FDA found salmonella bacteria in the product. The company based in New Castle distributes the product through Whole Foods stores in Colorado and Kansas. No illnesses have been reported. The company and the FDA are continuing to investigate. Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.
Kansas City Bidding for Big 12 Title Game
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — As the Big 12 considers expanding by as many as four schools, conference officials are also considering where to go as the Big 12 brings back its title game in football. Kansas City, Missouri has put in its bid to host the game. The Kansas City Star reports that city sports officials say they put together a solid bid for the game and want the event for the benefit of businesses in the community and college football fans. Big 12 officials are not disclosing what other cities are in the running. They are slated to meet next week, with expansion expected to be among the items on the agenda.