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Headlines for Saturday, May 23, 2015

Brownback Signs Bill Regulating Uber

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed a compromise on regulations that ride-hailing company Uber says will allow it to stay in the state.Brownback signed the bill yesterday (FRI) in a ceremony on the Capitol grounds. The Legislature approved the measure Tuesday.Uber announced earlier this month that it had ceased operations in Kansas after the Legislature overrode the governor's veto on an earlier regulations package the company opposed. Uber's Kansas general manager, Kenny Tsai, said in a statement the company looks forward to contributing to state's economy. Under the new law, Uber and other ride-hailing companies are allowed to do their own private background checks on subcontracted drivers, but they also can be sued by the attorney general if drivers are found to have criminal backgrounds.


County Budgets Hurt by Steep Drop in Oil, Gas Valuations

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Residents in energy producing counties may be paying more property taxes or face cuts in local government services in the wake of the cheaper gasoline prices at the pump. This is the time of year when county commissions across Kansas begin their budgeting process for next year. Those which heavily depend on taxes from oil and gas production in their counties are facing some difficult decisions in the coming weeks. Hardest hit are energy rich counties located in western Kansas, along with some counties bordering the Oklahoma border.In Morton County, 70 percent of the county's tax valuation is based on oil and gas. Officials there expect their tax valuation to fall by one-third next year. Meanwhile, Ellis County officials are scrambling to close an anticipated $2 million budget shortfall.


Bird Flu Affect Midwest Egg Prices

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Egg prices surged to a record on Friday, a month after bird flu was first detected in the chicken flock in Iowa, the nation's leading egg producer. Midwest large eggs reached $2.32 a dozen. Rick Brown, a senior vice president for Urner Barry, a commodity market analyst says that's a 95 percent increase in the month since bird flu first hit Iowa chickens. He says the previous record was $2.27 set on December 4. Eggs used to make ice cream, mayonnaise and other processed foods set a record Friday of $2.13 a dozen, up 238 percent from the selling price of April 22, around the date Iowa's first chicken farm tested positive. More than 21 million of Iowa's egg-laying hens have been killed.


Kansas City Art Collection Nets $2 Million at Chicago Auction

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — More than 30 American paintings collected by a Kansas City couple was sold this week for more than $2 million at an auction in Chicago. One painting called "Discussion," depicting a laborer and a union representative, by Thomas Hart Benton was bought Wednesday for over $1 million.Its presale estimate was as high as $400,000. The Kansas City Star reports Colleen Thielen, director of collections for Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, says the buyer is a private collector. The collection was amassed by Richard M. and Carol Levin, both of whom are deceased. It had featured other pieces by Benton, who taught at the Kansas City Art Institute, as well as pieces by John Steuart Curry and Charles Burchfield.

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