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Headlines for Sunday, March 26, 2017

Kansas Lawmakers Considering Lottery Vending Machines

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Lottery players soon might be able to buy tickets from vending machines. The House voted this week in support of the move. Lottery spokeswoman Sally Lunsford says the measure would increase lottery revenue and cut labor costs for retailers, where ticket buyers could bypass clerks and use the self-service machines. She says 37 other states, including Missouri, Colorado and Oklahoma, use the machines. The Kansas lottery has sought the bill for three years. Lunsford says vending machines have increased lottery sales by up to 50 percent in other states. Kansas is counting on $12 million in growth over two years. The money would be used for mental health services. Lottery revenue hit a record last year at $78 million.

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Kansas Judge to Hear Request for Consolidated Murder Hearing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge will hear a prosecutor's bid to have a combined preliminary hearing for four people accused in the Topeka killings of three people. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County District Judge Nancy Parrish will hold a hearing Wednesday on District Attorney Mike Kagay's request. The four defendants, ages 19 to 34, are charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of the victims, ages 19 to 38. Police found the bodies after being dispatched to a home to check the well-being of the occupants. Kagay says in court filings that while the charges against the defendants are connected and warrant just a combined preliminary hearing and not one for each of them, he's not seeking to try the four defendants in a single trial.

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Wichita Police Investigate Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas, are investigating after an 18-year-old and two children were wounded when a handgun one of them perhaps was playing with fired. Police Sargeant Nikki Woodrow says the three victims, including a 12-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy, sustained injuries not considered life-threatening during the shooting about 9 p.m. Friday. The victims' medical statuses were not immediately known Saturday. Police say a 42-year-old man was driving the van when the teenager shot himself in the hand. The 12-year-old was wounded in the leg and the 11-year-old in the hand.

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Kansas Lawmakers Considering Pay Raises for Court Workers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are considering a proposal to increase pay for judges and other state court system workers by as much as 22 percent. The issue arose Friday as the House Appropriations Committee worked on budget legislation. Republican Rep. Sean Tarwater of Stilwell proposed that the panel endorse pay raises proposed by the Kansas Supreme Court. His proposal would increase spending by $22 million annually. The committee expects to vote on his proposal Monday. Tarwater said the judicial branch has been underfunded for years. A study done for the high court last year showed that all jobs in the judicial branch pay below market rates. But Kansas also is facing projected budget shortfalls totaling more than $1 billion through June 2019 and lawmakers are considering big tax increases.

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