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Headlines for Saturday, March 11, 2016

Kansas DA: Missouri Has Right to Prosecute Alleged Murderer First

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor says a man accused of killing four people in that state likely will be tried in Missouri first for killing a fifth person because that's where he's in custody. Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman says as long as Missouri prosecutors are actively pursuing charges against Pablo Serrano-Vitorino, they have a right to keep him. Serrano-Vitorino is accused of fatally shooting four men at a home in Kansas City, Kansas, on Monday night and then killing a man in Missouri on Tuesday. A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says investigators have no indication that the gun they think was used in the shootings is stolen. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced on Thursday that Serrano-Vitorino would be tried in Missouri first.


Officer Fatally Shoots Man Holding Weapon on Kansas Highway

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A law enforcement officer shot and killed a man after he got out of a vehicle and raised a firearm along an interstate in Kansas. Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet says officers received a report yesterday (FRI) afternoon of a man sitting in a pickup with a gun sticking out the window. Herzet told The Wichita Eagle the weapon appeared to be a rifle with a scope. He says officers blocked traffic along U.S. 54 near Rosalia and used a public address system to communicate with the man from a distance. Herzet says the man got out of the vehicle and raised the weapon, which is when an officer shot and killed him. Herzet wouldn't provide the man's name or age but said he had lived in the county previously.


Budget Restrictions to University of Kansas Could Hurt Credit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A credit rating agency says a restriction that lawmakers placed on the University of Kansas could affect the university's credit. The Legislature placed a provision in the budget, signed by Governor Sam Brownback last week, restricting the university from spending beyond its approved budget without permission from lawmakers. The Wichita Eagle reports the measure was a response to the university's decision to go out of state for a $327 million bond issue in January to avoid the need for legislative approval. Moody's Investor Services said this week that the restrictions limit "the university's flexibility to manage its budget on a real-time basis." Moody's has not changed the university's credit rating. Moody's gave the university a negative outlook in December, citing its decision to finance large-scale construction through bonds.


Proposals Would Change Funding for School Districts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A school funding proposal in the Kansas Senate would reduce funding for most of the state's school districts, while a bill introduced in the Kansas House would increase funding for a majority of districts. Senator Ty Masterson, the Senate's budget chairman, said this week his proposal would shift money already allocated for K-12 districts to poorer districts. The Legislative Research Department says it would cause a funding decline for 189 school districts, with increases for 37 districts. Meanwhile, a bill introduced in the House yesterday (FRI) by Representative Ron Ryckman, an Olathe Republican, would give districts $39 million more in funding for the next school year. The Wichita Eagle reports that would increase funding for 162 districts and reduce funding for 79 districts. Another 45 districts would have flat funding.


Kansas State Fair Announces 3 Main-Stage Concerts

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State Fair officials have announced the first round of main stage acts for the 2016 event. The Wichita Eagle reports that the acts announced this week include Suzy Bogguss, Lynryd Skynyrd and Jake Owen. The first of the concerts will have several classic country acts, including Bogguss, Billy Dean, Restless Heart, Richie McDonald of Lonestar. That show is September 13th. Classic rock band Lynryd Skynyrd, known for its hit "Sweet Home Alabama," will perform September 16th. Country singer Jake Owen will perform with opening act Old Dominion on September 17th. Owen has five Number One hits, including "Alone with You" and "Barefoot Blue Jean Night." Tickets for the concerts go on sale May 6th. The fair will operate September 9th to 18th on Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.


Citigroup Briefs Kansas Officials on Selling Tobacco Funds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A major U.S. bank has given a presentation to Kansas finance officials on securitizing the state's future tobacco settlement money. The presentation by Citigroup has raised concerns among child advocates who say selling the future settlement payments to raise cash for the budget deficit would hurt the state's early childhood system. A copy of the 26-page Citigroup presentation, provided to The Topeka Capital-Journal by Kansas Action for Children, said Citigroup, "pioneered the tobacco bond market" and shows which states have securitized. Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley on Thursday said the meeting with Citigroup last October was attended by officials with the Kansas Development Finance Authority and Brownback's budget director. She says there's no deal or pending legislation to sell tobacco settlement money.


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