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Headlines for Saturday, January 21, 2017

Man Accused of KCK Shooting Death

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a man in connection with a shooting death last summer in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that 34-year-old Maurice Wayne Hall was charged Friday in Wyandotte County with one count of first-degree murder. He was arrested Wednesday. Authorities allege Hall shot and killed Tyrone Wilson on July 25. Court records suggest that Wilson was shot while talking to people outside a building. Online court records don't show whether Hall has an attorney. Hall's bond is set at $250,000.


Some Kansas GOP Lawmakers Looking to Cut School Funding

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some top Republican legislators in Kansas are looking to cut aid to public schools significantly to close a shortfall in the state's current budget by June 30th. Their goal is to avoid the accounting moves proposed by GOP Gov. Sam Brownback and used in the past to cover budget holes. Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Carolyn McGinn said yesterday (FRI) that she's working on a bill to cut spending to close the projected $342 million shortfall in the state's current budget. The Sedgwick Republican said she hopes to have it drafted next week. She said her proposal is likely to reduce aid to public schools by between $90 million and $125 million. Senate Majority Leader and Overland Park Republican Jim Denning suggested that schools could withstand a $200 million cut.


Kansas Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Law Ending Tenure

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge from the state's largest teachers union to a 2014 law ending guaranteed tenure in the state's public schools. The court ruled unanimously Friday that lawmakers didn't practice logrolling when they passed the bill. Logrolling is the practice of including several topics in one bill, and the state constitution prohibits legislative bills from having more than one subject. The Kansas National Education Association filed a lawsuit claiming that the portion of the bill ending tenure violated the rule because the full measure dealt with both spending and general education policy. The court said they were sufficiently related to remain in the same bill. The decision upheld a Shawnee County judge's ruling that the law did not violate the one-subject rule.


Report: Lawrence Industrial Space Limiting Lawrence Job Growth

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A recent report from a real estate agency says a lack of industrial inventory in Lawrence is hurting the city's prospective job growth. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Colliers International presented the market report Thursday, saying there are only 14 vacant industrial spaces in the city. According to the report the year-end industrial vacancy rate for 2016 was 2.3 percent, making it difficult for potential businesses to take shape and existing businesses to expand. Panelist Tim Cowden says the lack of already built space in Lawrence makes the city less competitive with other areas. The report also lists some positives about the city that boosts economy such as its schools, parks and neighborhoods.


Brownback Plan: K-12 Funding Trails Inflation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Under the recommended budget by Gov. Sam Brownback, per-pupil state financial aid to Kansas public schools would trail inflation in the current fiscal year and following two fiscal years. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Kansas Association of School Boards says appropriations between 2009 and 2019 would result in an increase of about $200 million over that time period. KASB says the 0.5 percent annual rise was not enough to cover inflation, student enrollment growth or changing educational needs. Brownback has urged legislators to develop a K-12 school finance formula relying on student outcomes. He says the state should measure success by student achievement and not by dollars spent.


GOP Lawmakers Attempt to Repeal Kansas Business Tax Break

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A push in Kansas to end an income tax break championed by Gov. Sam Brownback is being led by fellow Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature. A state House committee was having a hearing Thursday on a bill that would repeal a 2012 policy that benefited more than 330,000 farmers and business owners. Its Republican chairman backs the bill, and the measure has bipartisan support. The state faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $1.1 billion through July 2019. It has struggled to balance its budget since Republican legislators slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback's urging in an effort to stimulate the economy. Kansas is one of several states that include Indiana and Oklahoma where budget woes are severe enough that legislators are reconsidering past tax cuts.


Federal Officials Fault KanCare Program

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas risks losing federal money if it doesn't improve its privatized Medicaid program. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a letter dated last Friday that the program, known as KanCare, is "substantively out of compliance." Issues cited include a failure to adequately oversee the companies that the state contracts to provide managed care for the health care program that covers the poor. The letter gave the state until February 17 to submit a corrective plan for the program, which has an annual cost of about $3.4 billion. The letter said that failing to address the issues could lead to "financial sanctions." Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer said in a statement Thursday that the federal agency's letter was a politically-motivated "parting shot" from the outgoing Obama administration.


Cab driver Charged After Iowa Crash Kills SE Kansas Man

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines cab driver has been charged with vehicular homicide for a crash that killed one Kansas man and injured another. Authorities say 29-year-old Mohamed Diriye also is charged with second-offense operating while intoxicated. Online court records don't list an attorney who could comment for him. The crash occurred Thursday, when the cab ran off a road into a ravine. The Polk County Sheriff's Office says 49-year-old Shawn Koltiska, of Augusta, Kansas, died in the crash. Another passenger was injured: 48-year-old Joseph Foster, of Garden Plain, Kansas. He was taken to a hospital. Diriye was treated and released. inter-storm round to hit already-icy US midsection


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