Returning Kansas Lawmakers Face Deadlines on Budget, Schools
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers return to Topeka facing pressing deadlines to find a budget fix and write a new law for funding public schools. The Republican-controlled Legislature ends its annual spring break tomorrow (MON) with the year's biggest issues far from resolved. Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $889 million through June 2019, and legislators expect to increase taxes. They've focused on rolling back past income tax cuts championed by Republican Governor Sam Brownback. He vetoed an income-tax bill in February and lawmakers have struggled to find consensus since then. Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court has ruled that education funding is inadequate. GOP leaders hope lawmakers can finish their work by mid-May but it could drag into June, as it did in 2015.
AT&T Dropping Phone Program for Low-Income Kansans
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — AT&T says it will withdraw from a Kansas program that subsidizes landline telephone service for low-income residents. The Lawrence Journal-World reports most AT&T customers who participate in the Kansas Lifeline Service Program will no longer receive the subsidies after May 31st. However, the company will offer the discounts in some, mostly rural areas that the Federal Communications Commission has designated as high-cost areas with little broadband service. The Kansas Lifeline Service Program offers up to $17 a month for local phone service to people who receive public assistance or meet income-eligibility guidelines. AT&T officials said customers served by the program have mostly moved to other carriers, particularly wireless services, for phone and internet access. The company says it now has just 6 percent of Lifeline subscribers in Kansas.
Suspects in Plot Against Garden City Somalis Seek Trial Delay
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Three western Kansas men accused of plotting to attack Somali immigrants in Garden City are asking for a delay in their federal trial. Attorneys for Curtis Wayne Allen, Patrick Eugene Stein, and Gavin Wayne Wright jointly filed the motion Friday. Federal prosecutors joined in the request. The Hutchinson News reports U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren did not immediately act on the motion. The trial is currently scheduled to begin June 13th. The three men, all members of a small regional militia group, are accused of conspiring to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex where about 120 Somali immigrants live in Garden City. The motion notes the case is complex, one of the defendants was recently appointed a new attorney, and there is a large amount of evidence to be reviewed.
Elderly Wichita Man Stabbed to Death at Home
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say an 86-year-old man was stabbed to death in his home and investigators are looking for a pickup truck they believe was stolen from his home. Police found Otto Meyer dead at his home Friday afternoon. Police spokeswoman Nichelle Woodrow says he was stabbed several times. Woodrow says police don't think the man was a random victim but no other information was released. The pickup is a 1989 extended cab Chevrolet with a long bed. It is maroon on top and silver on the bottom, with a license plate number 320 JWN.
Leavenworth Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Mother's Death
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A Leavenworth woman has pleaded not guilty to in the death of her mother. Victoria Smith entered the plea Friday and will go to trial July 17th. She is charged with first-degree murder in the July 2016 death of her 85-year-old mother, Anna Higgins. The Leavenworth Times reports Higgins died at Smith's home. A probable cause statement alleges Smith told police she hit her mother with a hammer. Police said they went to Smith's home after receiving several 911 calls. Smith remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail.