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Headlines for Saturday, May 28, 2016

Kansas Democrat Rips GOP on Schools, LGBT Issue

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate's top Democrat is criticizing majority Republicans for not being more generous toward public schools while worrying about accommodating transgender students. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said Friday that lawmakers need to respond to the Kansas Supreme Court's latest order on education funding by boosting aid to poor school districts. He said they should do so on Wednesday before a brief ceremony adjourning their annual session. Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita plans to have her chamber vote on a resolution condemning a federal government directive saying public schools must allow transgender students to use facilities in line with their gender identities.  Hensley said lawmakers should increase education funding rather than "waste taxpayers' dollars on an election year charade over which bathroom students can use."


Kansas Faces Possibility of School Closures

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas again faces a threat that its public schools won't open for the next school year. The threat arises because of a ruling from the state Supreme Court on education funding changes made by the Republican-dominated Legislature earlier this year. The court yesterday (FRI) rejected some of the changes. They revised parts of the state's school finance system but didn't change the overall aid for most of its 286 local districts. The court said the remaining flaws make the system unfair to poor districts, violating the state constitution. Four school districts sued the state over education funding in 2010. That's prompted a series of court rulings. One in February from the Supreme Court directed legislators to make the funding system fairer for poor districts. Legislators enacted their changes in March.


Kansas Court Reverses Decision in Salina Girl's Death

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Court of Appeals has reversed a judge's decision to dismiss a lawsuit against the city of Salina by a family whose 12-year-old daughter died several months after being shocked while playing in a rainstorm. The Salina Journal reports that the court returned the case yesterday (FRI) to Saline County District Court for further deliberations. The appeals court said the matter should not have been decided without a trial. Attorney James Nordstrom, who represents the city of Salina, told the newspaper that he had no comment. Jayden Hicks was 11 when she came into contact with the metal cover of an in-ground electrical junction box while playing with friends in May 2013. The box had been installed without a grounding wire and contained damaged wires. Jayden died that December.


Lawrence Crafts Plan to Comply with Weapons Law

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The city of Lawrence is creating a security plan to comply with a state law allowing people to carry concealed guns. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the city attorney's office has proposed funds in the 2017 budget to install personnel and equipment security at entrances to public buildings in anticipation of the Personal and Family Protection Act's expiration in 2017.  The act, passed in 2013, allowed Lawrence and other cities to ban concealed weapons for four years before complying with a state law that says concealed firearms are allowed in public buildings unless the structures are equipped with security measures.  The security measures are being considered at City Hall, the municipal court, the public library and the police department's investigations and training center.


Wichita Man Accused of Blue Man Group Theft

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a man is charged with stealing props and costumes of the Blue Man Group while the performance artists were in that south-central Kansas city last week. Thirty-three-year-old Freddy Gonzalez-Gonzalez of Wichita was arrested Tuesday and charged two days later with aggravated burglary and felony theft. Police have said the theft involved items worth more than $1,000 from a performance arts center where Blue Man Group was scheduled for two nights of shows. Police say publicly released photos of the suspect on surveillance video were instrumental in Gonzalez's arrest. It was not immediately clear yesterday (FRI) if Gonzalez has an attorney.


Rape Charge Filed Against Johnson County Cab Driver

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 70-year-old cab driver faces charges accusing him of raping a female passenger in Johnson County. The Kansas City Star reports Abdul S. Sayed, of Olathe, is charged in Johnson County District Court with rape and aggravated criminal sodomy. A criminal complaint filed Thursday says the alleged assault occurred December 13th.  The complaint alleges that the victim was "overcome by force of fear" or was unable to give consent to sexual contact because of intoxication. Online court records don't list a lawyer for Sayed, who has a first appearance scheduled for yesterdady (FRI). His bond was set at $500,000. Sayed was a driver for the Atlas Cab Company at the time of the alleged assault. The company said yesterday (FRI) that Sayed was fired about three months ago.


Man Found Guilty in Fatal Shooting of Dodge City Woman

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — A man charged in the 2014 fatal shooting of a Dodge City woman has been found guilty of second-degree murder. Victor Gutierrez Jr. was found guilty Wednesday in the death of 30-year-old Natasha Pruitt. Authorities say Pruitt was found dead in her home on September 22, 2014. Gutierrez was arrested after authorities say he led police on a chase with speeds that reached up to 140 mph through Stafford and Reno counties before he stopped. Gutierrez was sentenced to two years and two months in prison in connection to the police chase.


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