Judge Fines Kansas Secretary of State for Misleading Court
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has fined Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach $1,000 for misleading the court about the contents of materials he was photographed taking into a November meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump. The ruling Friday by U.S. Magistrate Judge James O'Hara also requires Kobach to submit to a deposition by the American Civil Liberties Union about that document as well as a separate draft amendment to the National Voter Registration Act. The ruling stops short of ordering the materials be made public as the ACLU had requested. But O'Hara says they would become a judicial record if attorneys file them as exhibits in a motion. The parties would then face a tougher standard to meet to keep them secret. Kobach did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
New Kansas Law Forms Task Force to Review Child Welfare
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law a measure that creates an independent task force to review the state's child welfare system. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the measure was in response to the deaths of a number of children who had been in state custody. It also followed a series of audit reports that were critical of the Kansas Department for Children and Families' management of the state foster care system. The measure calls for a 19-member panel to examine all aspects of the state's child welfare system. The task force will include lawmakers, people involved in family court services and social welfare, and law enforcement. The group will file a progress report at the 2018 legislative session's start, with a final report due in January 2019.
Syngenta to Appeal $218M Verdict in Seed Case
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta says it will appeal a Kansas federal jury's awarding of nearly $218 million to Kansas farmers who sued the company over its introduction of a genetically modified corn seed variety. Syngenta says in a statement that it is "disappointed" by Friday's verdict after a three-week trial in Kansas City, Kansas. That case involves four Kansas farmers representing more than 7,000 growers in the state. Another trial involving about 60,000 cases begins next month in Minnesota. The lawsuits allege Syngenta introduced the seed variety to the U.S. market before China approved it for imports, wrecking an increasingly important export market for U.S. corn and causing price drops. The Kansas trial was the first test case. It and the Minnesota trial will provide guidance for how the complex web of litigation in state and federal courts could be resolved.
Kansas Appeals Court Upholds Commune Leader's Convictions
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the convictions for murder and other charges against the leader and self-proclaimed seer of a Kansas commune which lived off the life insurance payouts of its dead members. The state's highest court affirmed on Friday the convictions against Daniel U. Perez. Perez was also convicted of fraud for lying on life insurance applications along with numerous counts of rape and other sexual assault charges involving young girls who had been living at the commune with their mothers. Although Perez was charged with only one murder count for the 2003 death of Hughes, several members who carried hefty life insurance policies also died. Perez was charged in 2011 when a woman who had been 12 at the time told authorities the drowning was staged.
Kansas GOP Event Promoted with 'Olathe Lives Matter!' Slogan
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A GOP leader in a largely white Kansas City suburb says the party "didn't mean anything" by promoting a picnic with the slogan "Olathe Lives Matter!" and a rainbow font. The Kansas City Star reports Olathe Republican Party chairman David Lightner says each year the party attempts to include a humorous line in its invitations and is sorry "if it was taken the wrong way." He says, "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter." Olathe is more than 80 percent white. Lightner also added that the use of rainbow font wasn't intended to be a reference to the LGBT rights movement. The Faith and Freedom Picnic is scheduled for Saturday. Among the speakers is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is running for governor.
Kansas Man Injured After High-Speed Chase
WILSON, Kan. (AP) — A central Kansas man who allegedly led law enforcement on a high-speed chase has been injured after his vehicle crashed. The Salina Journal reports that the 47-year-old was transported to Wesley Medical Center following the Thursday crash just south of Wilson. A hospital spokesman says the man was in serious condition as of Thursday afternoon. A Kansas Highway Patrol report states that the man was being pursued by law enforcement when he attempted to turn into a field entrance at a high rate of speed, causing his vehicle to roll several times. Ellsworth County Sheriff Murray Marston says the county deputy was investigating a parked car when the car took off at high speeds and crossed into Russell County.