Kansas, Missouri Rallies Against Trump Draw Thousands
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Thousands of protesters, mostly women, gathered in Missouri's two biggest cities and the capital city of Kansas in disapproval of Donald Trump's inauguration as U.S. president. Packing a park across from Kansas City's landmark Union Station, the throng Saturday was urged by organizers to be vigilant about the new Trump administration's policies and not let their activism wane. As a 31-year-old working in HIV prevention, Jonathon Antle said he turned out for that rally in support of women's rights, equality and gay rights. He says Trump "scares me," citing what he calls the president's "unpredictability, and his childishness with Twitter." Even in Republican-leaning Kansas, which Trump handily carried in the presidential race, at least 2,000 people turned out for a rally at the Statehouse in Topeka. Thousands also turned out for a Saturday march in St. Louis and in Wichita.
Voting Rights Advocates Seek to Rein in Kansas Election Laws
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas lawmakers are expected to debate aspects of the state's election laws this year as Democrats push to reverse some of the stricter measures enacted at the urging of Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Democrats want to repeal the law that requires people to show proof-of-citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, to register to vote. They also want to allow same-day registration so people can register when they go to the polls to vote. Meanwhile, Kobach is seeking authority to create separate voter registration lists - one for people who can vote in any election and another for only federal races. Representative Keith Esau, the Republican from Olathe who chairs the House Elections Committee, said elections are running smoothly as they are, with strong turnout.
Death Penalty Possible for Suspects in Triple Homicide
NEWTON, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas prosecutor says the death penalty "is on the table" in the case of two people who investigators say fled to Mexico as suspects in a triple homicide last October. Harvey County prosecutors have charged 35-year-old Jereme Nelson and 31-year-old Myrta Rangel each with one count of capital murder and three counts of first-degree murder. Nelson and Rangel were arrested earlier this month in Mexico and were returned to the U.S., where they remain jailed in California and await extradition to Kansas. Authorities have said the bodies of 33-year-old Travis Street and 37-year-old Angela May Graevs, both of Moundridge, and 52-year-old Richard Prouty of Newton, were found October 30 outside a rural home near Moundridge. An 18-month-old child was found unharmed. It's unclear if Nelson and Rangel have attorneys.
Man Charged in Kansas City, Kansas Shooting Death
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Prosecutors have charged a man in connection with a shooting death last summer in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that 34-year-old Maurice Wayne Hall was charged Friday in Wyandotte County with one count of first-degree murder. He was arrested Wednesday. Authorities allege Hall shot and killed Tyrone Wilson on July 25. Court records suggest that Wilson was shot while talking to people outside a building. Online court records don't show whether Hall has an attorney. Hall's bond is set at $250,000.
Some Kansas GOP Lawmakers Look to Cut School Funding
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Some top Republican legislators in Kansas are looking to cut aid to public schools significantly in order to close a shortfall in the state's current budget by June 30. Their goal is to avoid the accounting moves proposed by Governor Sam Brownback and used in the past to cover budget holes. Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Carolyn McGinn said Friday that she's working on a bill to cut spending to close the projected $342 million shortfall in the state's current budget. The Sedgwick Republican said she hopes to have it drafted next week. She said her proposal is likely to reduce aid to public schools by between $90 million and $125 million. Senate Majority Leader and Overland Park Republican Jim Denning suggested that schools could withstand a $200 million cut.
Kansas Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Law Ending Tenure
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge from the state's largest teachers union to a 2014 law ending guaranteed tenure in the state's public schools. The court ruled unanimously Friday that lawmakers didn't practice logrolling when they passed the bill. Logrolling is the practice of including several topics in one bill, and the state constitution prohibits legislative bills from having more than one subject. The Kansas National Education Association filed a lawsuit claiming that the portion of the bill ending tenure violated the rule because the full measure dealt with both spending and general education policy. The court said they were sufficiently related to remain in the same bill. The decision upheld a Shawnee County judge's ruling that the law did not violate the one-subject rule.
Report Says Little Industrial Space for Lawrence Job Growth
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A recent report from a real estate agency says a lack of industrial inventory in Lawrence is hurting the city's prospective job growth. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Colliers International presented the market report Thursday, saying there are only 14 vacant industrial spaces in the city. According to the report the year-end industrial vacancy rate for 2016 was 2.3 percent, making it difficult for potential businesses to take shape and existing businesses to expand. Panelist Tim Cowden says the lack of already built space in Lawrence makes the city less competitive with other areas. The report also lists some positives about the city that boosts economy such as its schools, parks and neighborhoods.