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Headlines for Saturday, January 2, 2016

Kansas Lawmakers Approve Contract for Software

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have approved a six-month contract with a software company that was criticized for technical delays last year. The Legislative Coordinating Council this week approved a $293,488 contract for Propylon, a Dublin-based technology firm with a U.S. office in Lawrence. The company will perform technical support and upgrades for the Legislature's custom software. The Wichita Eagle reports legislative leaders complained during the last session that software problems slowed down the legislative process and delayed votes. The contract was under review since July. The state has paid Proplyon about $16 million since 2005 to construct and maintain the Kansas Legislative Information System and Services portal. It is used for writing, researching and publishing bills. The new contract, which lasts through June, includes measures to ensure greater accountability.


Kansas Bioscience Authority to Go Private

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bioscience Authority says it will become a private entity this year. The Olathe-based authority was established in 2004 to attract bioscience technology to Kansas, using both state and private funds. The Lawrence Journal-World reports it has been criticized in recent years for the types of investments it made. Some lawmakers also said it wasn't appropriate to use state funds for private equity investments. Last year, lawmakers cut the authority's state appropriation to $13 million for each of the next two years, rather than $35 million and $75 million the KBA was expecting. The authority said Thursday its board of directors voted Dec. 18 to become a private entity. President Duane Cantrell will be replaced by Kevin Lockett, the current chief financial officer and chief operating officer.


Panel OKs Dropping Medicaid for Some Hepatitis C Patients

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas legislative panel is recommending that hepatitis C patients who drink alcohol or stop using their medications should lose Medicaid coverage. The KanCare Oversight Committee also recommended this week that the state health department use step therapy, which requires Medicaid patients to try cheaper treatments first and receive more expensive treatments only if the other medicines fail. State law currently forbids that practice. The Wichita Eagle reports that Senator Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, suggested the proposals. Republicans on the panel said the state shouldn't have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on someone with hepatitis C who doesn't follow doctor's orders. The two Democrats on the committee voted against the hepatitis C proposal, with one calling it a "death sentence" for some patients.


Appeals Panel Sides with Tax Board on Dodge City Casino

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Court of Appeals panel has ruled that a Dodge City casino doesn't have to pay the state's "use tax" on electronic gaming machines it operates for the Kansas Lottery. The three-judge appeals panel agreed with a state Board of Tax Appeals decision that said the Kansas Department of Revenue was wrong in collecting $801,588 in compensating use tax from the Boot Hill Casino and Resort in Dodge City. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the tax was from the casino's purchase of out-of-state vendors' electronic gaming machines on behalf of the Kansas Lottery, the state agency that oversees operations at three state-owned casinos. The Court of Appeals panel said the casino isn't obligated to pay the tax because it doesn't own the equipment but manages them for the lottery.


Man Charged in KC Shooting Rampage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 25-year-old Kansas City man is charged with second-degree murder and 14 other felonies after a home invasion and shooting rampage that left one person dead, another injured and bullet holes in vehicles and houses near the crime scene. Vincent Jackson is charged with killing 17-year-old Gabriel Avila on Wednesday. Jackson County prosecutors say Jackson and several others forced their way into a Kansas City home occupied by one adult and seven children, aged six to 15. Jackson allegedly beat some of the children and fired shots with an AK-47 inside the home and at vehicles and other homes. Avila was inside one of the vehicles that was hit by gunfire. Jackson is being held in Jackson County jail. Online court documents do not indicate he has an attorney.


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