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Headlines for Sunday, January 1, 2017

Two GOP Leaders Call for Quick Repeal of Kansas Income Tax Break

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two new Republican leaders in the Kansas Legislature want to move quickly to repeal an income tax break for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners. The policy under fire was championed by Republican Governor Sam Brownback and passed by lawmakers in 2012. House Taxation Committee Chairman Steven Johnson (R-Assaria) says he hopes a bill to repeal the break can be passed within weeks of lawmakers convening on January 9th. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning (R-Overland Park) also would like to see a quick repeal to help address the state's budget problems. Repeal is expected to raise about $260 million a year.

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Kansas Supreme Court to Hear Casino Project Arguments

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments in a lawsuit involving a southeast Kansas casino in January. Oral arguments in the lawsuit over the Kansas Crossing Casino are scheduled to be held before the state Supreme Court on January 25. The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports the casino was awarded the Southeast Zone license, for the final of four state-owned casinos by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission in July of 2015. Cherokee County and investors in Castle Rock Casino sued, claiming the Kansas Gaming Facility Review Board didn't follow state law when it chose Kansas Crossing over the much larger Castle Rock project.

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Kansas Agency Revokes More Officers' Licenses

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An independent state agency has more than quadrupled the number of law enforcement officer's licenses it has revoked each year since 2011. The Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training has increased the number of actions it takes from about eight a year to about 35 a year. The Wichita Eagle reports that last year the agency took action against one in about every 200 officers employed in the state. In one case, an officer issued a traffic ticket but then took it back after the offender contacted his wife about an affair the officer was having. In another, a sheriff was convicted of distributing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school. Officials say the increase in disciplinary actions can be in part attributed to more funding.

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Kansas Appeals Court: PTSD-Affected Investigator Entitled to Benefits

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas appeals panel says a former detective with post-traumatic stress disorder is entitled to disability benefits. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the case involved Paul Hudson, a former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after four years investigating hundreds of cases involving sex crimes against children. He was diagnosed with PTSD after retiring. In 2012, Hudson applied for disability through the Kansas Police and Firemen's Retirement System, a division of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. But KPERS denied the claim. An administrative law judge later upheld KPERS' decision, but Hudson then appealed to Shawnee County District Court, which reversed KPERS' decision. KPERS then sought the review by the appeals court, which ruled unanimously in Hudson's favor on Friday.

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Mentally Ill Kansas Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Killing

GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing another patient at a mental health facility three days after he was discharged from a state psychiatric hospital. The Hutchinson News reports that 31-year-old Brandon Brown, of Haviland, was sentenced Wednesday in Kiowa County District Court for second-degree murder. He pleaded no contest in October in a case that prompted a state inquiry. Prosecutors say Brown beat Jerry Martinez so severely in May 2015 at a residential care facility that the 61-year-old died the next month. Brown had spent a week at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Osawatomie after fighting with residents at the Haviland Care Center near Wichita. The fatal beating happened after he was discharged from Osawatomie into the care of the Haviland facility.

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