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Headlines for Saturday, April 8, 2017

Kansas Expands Access to Drugs that Stop Opioid Overdoses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — First responders and bystanders in Kansas will soon be able to administer life-saving drugs that stop the effects of opioid drug overdoses. Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill yesterday (FRI) allowing first responders to administer drugs like naloxone, called "opioid antagonists." The drugs stop fatal symptoms of prescription drug and heroin overdoses. The law also allows pharmacists to give people the drug without a prescription. The Legislature passed the measure unanimously. Forty-seven other states have similar laws to help combat a national addiction crisis. Kansas hasn't seen the spike in overdose deaths some other states have, but the health department says prescription drug overdoses rose 28 percent and heroin overdoses rose 71 percent between 2013 and 2015. Brownback says the law is a "good step toward saving lives in Kansas."


Kansas to Give Parents More Say in Children's Critical Care

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is taking steps to give parents of critically ill or disabled children more control over medical decisions about whether those children receive care to prolong their lives. Supporters of a bill signed into law yesterday (FRI) by Republican Governor Sam Brownback hope it becomes a model for other states. The new law takes effect July 1st. The law will prevent hospitals and physicians from instituting do-not-resuscitate orders or similar directives if one of the child's parents objects. A parent will be able to go to court to prevent a violation of the law. Health care providers also will be required if parents ask to disclose their policies on when treatment is considered futile. The law was prompted by cases in multiple states, including Missouri and North Carolina.


Kansas Legislature Passes Waterslide Oversight Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have agreed to strengthen the state's lax oversight of amusement park rides after a legislator's son was killed on a waterslide last year. The state Senate approved the bill yesterday (FRI) on 35-2 vote. The plan now heads to the governor. Representative Scott Schwab's 10-year-old son Caleb died last summer on a water slide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. Schwab didn't comment on the bill giving an emotional speech in support of the legislation last week on the House floor. Under the bill, amusement park rides would be required to be inspected by a qualified inspector each year. Current law requires inspections but allows amusement park owners do the checks themselves.


Bill Allows Heavier Trucks Hauling Ag Loads on Some Kansas Roads

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Heavier trucks apparently will be allowed on some Kansas roads but only if they are hauling agricultural loads. The Kansas Legislature this week approved a bill that would allow six-axle semitrailer-tractor vehicle combinations with a gross weight of up to 90,000 pounds on some Kansas roads, if they are hauling farm commodities or livestock. The bill awaiting Governor Sam Brownback's signature. The Hutchinson News reports that under the legislation, the state transportation department will issue special vehicle permits for vehicle combinations with a gross weight between 85,500 pounds and 90,000 pounds. The trucks cannot drive on interstates. Currently, the weight limit is 85,500 pounds. The new rules would take effect July 1st.


Kansas Grocers to Become One-Stop-Shop for Food, Regular Beer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Grocery and convenience stores could start stocking full-strength beer in two years under a bill passed this week by the Legislature. The Senate passed the bill 27-11 yesterday (FRI). The House passed it 80-45 on Thursday. Under the bill, grocery and convenience stores could sell beer with up to 6 percent alcohol by volume, while liquor stores could sell more non-alcoholic products, like mixers, shot glasses, lottery tickets and tobacco products. Some lawmakers were concerned that large grocery chains stocking full-strength beer could put small liquor stores out of business. The bill is a compromise between the two industries and their associations after a years-long effort to get wine, liquor and full-strength beer into grocery and convenience stores. The bill still needs Governor Sam Brownback's signature.


Texas Senator Cruz to Campaign for GOP in Kansas Congressional Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz plans to come to Wichita to campaign for Republican candidate Ron Estes ahead of a special congressional election. The Estes campaign announced that Cruz would appear with the candidate during a Monday afternoon rally at Yingling Aviation. The special election is Tuesday in the 4th Congressional District of south-central Kansas. Estes is the state treasurer and he's running to replace Mike Pompeo after Pompeo's appointment as CIA director. The Democratic candidate is civil rights attorney James Thompson. Flight simulator instructor Chris Rockhold is running as a Libertarian. Cruz won the state's presidential caucuses last year. Estes initially backed Florida Senator Marco Rubio but is a longtime Republican activist. Thompson spokesman Chris Pumpelly said the last-minute Cruz visit is a sign Republicans are panicking about the race.


Two Kansans Charged with Killing Golden Eagle

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two Kansas men have been charged with shooting and killing a golden eagle. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall announced yesterday (FRI) that 22-year-old Michael Dusin of Phillipsburg and 22-year-old Elijah Kuhlman of Sharon Springs are charged with violating the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Court documents say the two men were driving in Wallace County when they saw what they later described as a large, black bird. Prosecutors say Dusin shot the bird and left it on the ground. A Kansas wildlife investigator found the dead eagle's body in December and two shotgun shells in the road. Tests on the eagle's remains found it contained 41 metal pellets. If convicted, Dusin and Kuhlman face up to a year in federal prison and a fine up to $100,000.


Injured Bald Eagle Discovered Near Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A bald eagle is receiving care at a local raptor center after being discovered injured at Lake Afton. The Wichita Eagle reports that 911 dispatchers called a team of Sedgwick County sheriff's deputies and Ken Lockwood of the Eagle Valley Raptor Center to rescue the bird Thursday. County firefighters also arrived at the scene to help. The roughly 3-year-old eagle was found emaciated and unable to fly. Lockwood took the eagle to the raptor center in Cheney, where it will be fed and receive veterinary care to determine whether it is ill or suffering from internal injuries. The bird's rehabilitation is expected to take about two months. Lockwood says the eagle will then likely be released in the same area at Lake Afton where it was found.


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