Kansas Legislature Wraps Up Business
TOPEKO, Kan. (AP) —The Kansas Legislature has finished its business for the year except for a brief adjournment ceremony June 26th. Lawmakers' annual session lasted 113 days. It was the longest in state history. The previous record was 107 days in 2002. Deep disagreements among majority Republicans about raising taxes to erase a budget deficit kept lawmakers in session long past the 90 days traditionally scheduled by their leaders. Each extra day of session cost taxpayers a total of $40,000. The Senate adjourned at 5:23 p.m. yesterday (FRI), and the House followed about an hour later.
Earthquakes in Kansas, Oklahoma Prompt Fracking Meeting
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Environmental groups from Kansas and Oklahoma are hosting a public event this weekend that aimed at raising awareness about earthquakes and a hydraulic fracturing process commonly known as fracking. The Sierra Club chapters from the two states have scheduled the meeting today (SAT) at the Medford Civic Center in Medford, Oklahoma. Both states have seen a rise in earthquake activity. On tap for the event is the screening of the film, "Groundswell Rising," and a discussion with Todd Halihan, hydrogeology professor at Oklahoma State University. Fracking is the practice of injecting high-pressure water, sand and chemicals into oil- or gas-bearing rock to increase the flow. Injection wells are used to store waste water from that process, and push waste fluids deep underground. The environmental groups have been pushing for a moratorium on injection wells in the states.
Fort Riley Says Goodbye to Kiowa Helicopters
FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — Fort Riley troops stood in formation yesterday (FRI) as a fleet of Kiowa helicopters flew overhead in a symbolic tribute to the retiring aircraft. Unlike the heavily armored Apache helicopters, Kiowas are intended to be flown so low they've been outfitted with wire cutters in front of the cockpit in case the helicopter encounters power lines. Chief Warrant Officer Tim Riordan told the Manhattan Mercury that he's grown to love the Kiowa. But he said advances in drone technology and the need to trim costs have led the Army to replace the Kiowa with a combination of Apache helicopters and Shadow unmanned aerial systems. Riordan and other pilots will fly the unit's Kiowas to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, where the helicopters will be stored.
Judge May Release Couple in Money Laundering Case
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge says he is inclined to release pending trial a couple accused of laundering millions of dollars for a Mexican cartel drug at a small Kansas bank. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten told George and Agatha Enns of Meade, Kansas during a detention hearing he would free them on a $50,000 bond each if updated information they provide about their assets appears to be satisfactory. An indictment alleges that between 2011 and 2014, the couple deposited more than $6.8 million into their account at Plains State Bank. The government contends the couple is hiding assets that they could use to flee. But a defense attorney says if it weren't for their 10 family members the couple wouldn't even have had the money to retain legal counsel.
Kansas High Court Rules for Student Injured in Crash
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that an insurance company should cover a student who was in a private vehicle when he was injured in a crash on the way to a soccer match. The ruling stems from a 2006 accident in which Jesus Rodriguez was seriously injured while traveling in a pickup to the first soccer match of his high school season. Rodriguez filed a claim under the Kansas State High School Activities Association's Mutual of Omaha insurance policy. Mutual of Omaha denied the claim. In a ruling released yesterday (FRI), the high court reversed an appeals court decision and held that private vehicle transportation to a school soccer match during which a student is injured qualifies as "covered travel." The case returns to the district court in Kansas City.