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Headlines for Sunday, May 4, 2014


KPR-News-Summary2 Killed in Crash Near Pratt

PRATT, Kan. (AP) — Two people have been killed in a two-vehicle accident in south-central Kansas.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reports the accident occurred Friday about north of Pratt when a Chevrolet Avalanche crossed the center line and struck a car headed in the other direction on Kansas Highway 61.

The patrol says the two people killed in the car were identified as 75-year-old Ronald J. Werner and 73-year-old Kathleen L. Werner. The patrol says both victims, who were from Halstead, were wearing seatbelts.


Kansas Bill Sheds Light on Law Enforcement Records

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Supporters say a bill heading to Governor Sam Brownback's desk will give Kansas residents more information about law enforcement activities and bring the state in line with openness in other states.

The measure would make affidavits used to support arrest warrants and search warrants available to the public, including the media, upon request, ending the practice of keeping the documents sealed from review.

Legislators gave strong support to the bill late Friday as they ended the 2014 session.

Representative John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican who sponsored the bill, says law enforcement should be held to the same level of accountability and transparency that is expected from every other governmental agency.

The Kansas Press Association fought for the changes to no avail for several decades to open access to the records.


KS House Rejects Bill Exempting Private Health Clubs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House of Representatives has rejected a bill that would have exempted private-sector health clubs from property taxes.

The Wichita Eagle reports that a House-Senate conference committee had earlier removed the proposed tax break from a bill that passed the Senate, but supporters in the House made a last-ditch effort to restore it in a floor vote. They lost on a vote of 16-108.

Representative Tom Sawyer, a Wichita Democrat, argued the measure was needed because dozens of health clubs have gone out of business facing what he said was unfair competition from YMCAs.

Emporia Republican Representative Don Hill countered that all kinds of small businesses fail for various reasons and health clubs are no different.


Green Energy Rule for Kansas Utilities Survives

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have preserved a requirement that utilities rely on wind and other renewable resources to generate some of their electricity.

That's despite months of lobbying by conservative groups for its repeal.

The groups are promising to return to the Statehouse next year to renew their campaign against a law mandating that utilities have renewable resources cover 20 percent of their peak generating capacities by 2020.

Lawmakers on both sides of the issue expect another debate.

Critics of the green-energy mandate could get a bill repealing it through the Senate this year but not the House.

They were pursuing a new proposal Friday as lawmakers were wrapping up their business for the year. But the House voted 63-60 to block debates in either chamber.

Legislators adjourned early Saturday.


Kansas Lawmakers Wrap Session Up

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have finished their business for the year and ended their shortest annual session in 40 years.

The House adjourned at 2:06 a.m. Saturday. The Senate followed at 2:13 a.m.

The only remaining scheduled business is a brief, formal adjournment ceremony May 30th.

Lawmakers left the Statehouse after giving final approval to budget legislation. It was the 79th day of their session.

It was the shortest annual session since 1974, when lawmakers met for only 64 days. At the time, the state constitution specified 60-day sessions in even-numbered years.

The constitution now calls for a 90-day sessions but allows them to run longer. The sessions in 2012 and 2013 lasted 99 days, and the sessions in 1991 and 2002 exceeded 100 days.

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