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Headlines for Saturday, October 1, 2016

Democrat Predicts Kansas to Tap Road Funds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — While Republican Governor Sam Brownback is avoiding the issue, a Democratic legislator says Kansas is likely to divert additional funds from highway projects to balance its budget. Brownback declined to say yesterday (FRI) whether he would propose the diversion of highway funds to other government programs during the fiscal year that begins July 1st. It's a move he and other governors have used regularly in the past when faced with budget problems. State Senator Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) said the state isn't likely to have any other choice to fill short-term gaps in the budget. She predicted Brownback will propose tapping sales tax revenues now set aside for transportation projects. Brownback also said a task force he appointed will be releasing proposals Tuesday for improving the state's revenue projections.


Brownback: Fixes for Kansas Revenue Projections to be Released

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says a task force will outline proposals next week for improving the state's revenue projections. Brownback said yesterday (FRI) that the proposals are aimed at addressing problems the state has faced in predicting how much tax revenue it will collect. Brownback appointed the task force earlier this year. Republican legislators slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback's urging, in hopes of stimulating the economy. The state's tax collections have fallen short of expectations 31 of the 44 months since the first round of cuts took effect in January 2013. The state exceeded its tax-collection targets in 23 of the 44 months before the first tax cuts took effect but struggled in 2009 in the Great Recession's aftermath.


Nursing Home Provider Sues Kansas over Medicaid Applications

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A skilled nursing home provider is suing Kansas on behalf of 21 patients who risk being thrown out of its facilities because the state has allegedly not timely processed their Medicaid applications. The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society filed its lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Kansas against Michael Randol, the director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It contends those patients have been unable to pay for their room, board, care and other services because of state's failure to timely comply with federal and state Medicaid laws. A Kansas spokeswoman says the agency cannot comment on pending litigation, but contends the state has significantly reduced the Medicaid application backlog from roughly 10,000 this summer to about 1,500 now.


Kansas Agency Approves Settlement in Boy's 2013 Death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas officials have approved the state's $100,000 share of $412,000 settlement Friday in a federal lawsuit over the death of a 4-year-old northeast Kansas boy. The State Finance Council agreed yesterday (FRI) to pay the money to Naomi Boone, the mother of the late Mekhi Boone. The boy's father, Lee Davis, is serving nearly 20 years for second-degree murder in the boy's 2013 beating death. Naomi Boone has contended that one of the state's foster care contractors placed the child with Davis while aware that he had a history of domestic violence. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, says the state is paying the money because it had an obligation to protect the child. Governor Sam Brownback says TFI Family Services Inc. will pay $312,000.


Sedgwick County Deputy Hospitalized Following Car Chase

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas deputy is hospitalized after flipping his car while chasing a fleeing driver. The Wichita Eagle reports that the pursuit started early yesterday (FRI) after the deputy attempted to pull over a car. A Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor says the deputy overturned his car during the pursuit. The deputy was taken to a Wichita hospital with what was reported to dispatch as serious injuries. The dispatch supervisor says a standoff with the driver ended about four hours later.

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