Kansas Governor Vetoes Legislature's Budget Bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has fulfilled his promise to veto a bill that would have increased personal income taxes to help balance the state budget. Brownback vetoed the measure Wednesday during a Statehouse news conference. The bill would have raised more than $1 billion over two years starting in July. It would have increased income tax rates and ended an exemption for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners. The Kansas House pushed back and voted to override the governor's veto almost immediately but the state Senate failed to reach the supermajority of votes required to override the veto. State senators voted 24-16 to overturn the veto, three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed in the 40-member Senate. The bill would have rolled back personal income tax cuts Brownback promoted in 2012 and 2013. Lawmakers will now have to draft a new budget plan.
Medicaid Expansion Clears Kansas House on Final Vote
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House has given final approval to expanding Medicaid, years after many states had already expanded the program. The House on Thursday gave final approval by an 81 to 44 vote. The vote came after a proposal to expand the program was denied votes and floor debate for years. The bill will now move to the Senate for possible consideration. The vote comes as the U.S. Congress considers reforms to the Affordable Care Act, including a possible end to the federal funding for Medicaid expansion. Currently, the federal government funds 94 percent of the cost and will reduce that contribution to 90 percent by 2020. Thirty-one other states, about half with Republican governors, have expanded Medicaid.
Kansas Legislators Advance Governor's Proposals Toward Votes
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are advancing Republican Governor Sam Brownback's proposals to raise cigarette and liquor taxes even though they do not think the measures have much support. The House and Senate tax committees on Thursday forwarded separate bills containing Brownback's tax proposals to their chambers without endorsing them. Some lawmakers said it's likely both chambers would reject the measures to send the governor a message. The committees acted a day after Brownback vetoed a bill increasing income taxes. Each committee's bill also includes Brownback's proposals to raise annual business filing fees and restore personal income taxes on so-called passive earnings such as rent and royalties. His proposals would raise $378 million over two years, starting in July. Kansas is facing projected budget shortfalls totaling nearly $1.1 billion through June 2019.
Kansas House Votes to Restore Guaranteed Teacher Tenure
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House has given final approval to a bill restoring guaranteed teacher tenure. The bill now goes to the Senate. The body passed the bill Wednesday with a 72 to 53 vote. It originally dealt with arbitration but was amended Tuesday to include the tenure measure so that a separate tenure bill wouldn't die in committee. The Education Committee Chairman had refused to hold a vote on the tenure bill, and an upcoming deadline for bills to pass their chamber of origin could have killed it. Supporters argued that the bill guaranteed due process for teachers who are fired. Opponents urged their fellow lawmakers to give local boards and districts control of tenure decisions. Lawmakers voted to remove guaranteed tenure as part of a broader bill in 2014.
Kansas House Advances Bill Aimed at Prevention of Opioid-Related Death
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have advanced a bill that would expand access to drugs that stop opioid overdoses as health care providers and law enforcement officers grapple with a national epidemic. The House gave unanimous first-round approval to the bill Thursday. A final vote of approval would send it to the Senate. The measure would allow first responders to administer the drugs to people experiencing overdose symptoms after taking opioid drugs that include heroin and some prescription drugs. Republican Representative Greg Lakin of Wichita said 47 states allow some type of first responder to administer the drugs. Lakin is a physician who introduced the bill in committee. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says prescription opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999.
Kansas House Votes to Limit Access to Police Records
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A bill limiting public access to records about police officers who have been disciplined or fired will move to the Senate after the House passed it by a wide margin Wednesday. The bill passed 107 to 18. It would exempt police records held at a central registry from the Kansas Open Records Act. That would limit access to the list of registered police officers, records about those who have been fired and complaints against officers. Those records would be treated like personnel and investigatory records. Supporters say the records could still be released by the local law enforcement agencies that produce them. Opponents say those agencies won't release the records if they don't have to, limiting transparency. Under the bill, people could petition a court to open the records.
No Charges in Sexual Assault Report at University of Kansas Fraternity
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Douglas County District Attorney will not file charges after a sexual assault allegation prompted the University of Kansas to place the Kappa Sigma fraternity on probation in 2014. District Attorney Charles Branson says his office found no evidence an assault occurred at the fraternity in September 2014. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Lawrence police continue to investigate a second alleged sex crime at the fraternity that was also reported in September 2014. The university placed Kappa Sigma on two years' probation after its investigation in fall 2014. The fraternity completed probation in December 2016. KU officials said the fraternity violated the university's student code sections on sexual harassment, endangering others and organizational responsibility but didn't offer details of the violations.
Suspect in Kansas Bar Shooting Charged with Murder
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the shooting in a bar in Olathe that left one person dead and two injured (all times local):
A 51-year-old man has been charged with murder and attempted murder in a shooting at a suburban Kansas City bar that left one man dead and two others injured. Adam Purinton, of Olathe, was charged Thursday in Johnson County, Kansas. Prosecutors say he opened fire Wednesday night at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe in a shooting that witnesses said had racial overtones. Purinton was arrested early Thursday at an Applebee's Restaurant in Clinton, Missouri. He waived extradition Thursday and was expected to be returned to Kansas.
A 51-year-old man who is suspected of opening fire in a crowded Kansas bar, killing one person and wounding two others, before being arrested in Missouri has waived extradition and will be returned to Kansas. Henry County sheriff's Major Rob Hills said Adam Purinton, of Olathe, waived extradition Thursday during a brief court hearing in that county. Purinton was still in custody in Henry County at 3 p.m. Thursday and it wasn't immediately known when he would be returned to Kansas. Prosecutors say Purinton is suspected of shooting three people Wednesday night at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas. He was taken in to custody early Thursday at an Applebee's Restaurant in Clinton, Missouri, after a bartender reported to police that a customer was saying he had been involved in a shooting.
Authorities have arrested a man suspected of fatally shooting one man and wounding two others at a crowded bar in suburban Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports that the shooting happened around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday as people watched the Kansas-TCU basketball game at Austins Bar and Grill in southern Olathe, Kansas. Emergency medical treatment was provided to all three victims, and one later died at a hospital. Olathe police said in a statement that the suspect was taken into custody around 12:40 a.m. Thursday about 80 miles away in Clinton, Missouri. The name of the suspect and the victims weren't immediately released. After the shooting, a helicopter was used to search for the suspect, while police told residents in the area to shelter in place.
3 Mumps Cases Confirmed at Kansas High School
COLBY, Kan. (AP) — Three Colby High School students have been confirmed with cases of mumps. Thomas County Health Department administrator Emily Strange says the Thomas County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed the first case Monday. The Salina-Journal (http://bit.ly/2kQAmRL ) reports two more cases were confirmed Tuesday. Strange says the departments are working to find where the students contracted the illness. Strange said outbreaks of mumps, a contagious disease caused by a virus, were ongoing in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. In Kansas, five cases were reported in Crawford County earlier this month. A possible case was also reported last week at Great Bend High School. Dr. John Dygert, Thomas County Health Department health officer, says a vaccination is the best way to reduce chances of getting mumps. Most people with mumps recover in a few weeks.
Officer Shoots Suspect in Central Kansas Triple Homicide
NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Central Kansas officials say a man suspected of gunning down three other men in a home before being fatally shot by a police officer knew his victims and targeted them. Harvey County authorities identified the suspect as 33-year-old David Lee Montano of Newton. The shooting victims were found inside a house early Thursday just outside Newton, 25 miles north of Wichita. The victims were 36-year-old Nelton Lemons, 34-year-old Michael Lemons and 36-year-old Jason Stubby, all from Newton. Authorities say officers responding to reports of a shooting found their bodies. They say Montano had fled on foot and confronted officers who pursued him with a shotgun. They say an officer shot Montano and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Authorities did not discuss a motive for the killings.
Searchers Find Body in Lake Believed to Be Missing Gardner Man
BALDWIN CITY, Kan. (AP) _ The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says searchers have recovered what is believed to be the body of an 18-year-old Gardner man who has been missing since Saturday. The office said in a news release a body was found Wednesday afternoon in the Douglas County State Fishing Lake near Baldwin City. Authorities are awaiting confirmation from the coroner but the sheriff's office said in a news release that searchers believe it is the body of Cameron Kirchner. Kirchner has been missing since his boat capsized at the lake Saturday night. A 17-year-old male with Kirchner was able to swim to shore but Kirchner did not resurface. It is not yet clear what caused the boat to capsize. The boat was recovered on Monday.
Man Charged in Wichita City Hall Bomb Threat
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been charged with calling in a bomb threat to the Wichita City Hall last week. The Wichita Eagle reports that 42-year-old Joseph Cavender made his first appearance Wednesday in Sedgwick County District Court on the felony criminal threat charge. He is jailed in Sedgwick County on $50,000 bond. Cavender was arrested Saturday after a Wichita police officer realized the phone number Cavender gave him as a witness to an unrelated disturbance call was the same as the one used to make the threat Friday morning. The threat indicated that a bomb had been placed at the government building. Public defender Mark Rudy said he hadn't had a chance to review the case.
2 Western Kansas Men Sentenced for Hate Crime Attack
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two Kansas men have been sentenced for their roles in a hate crime attack on three Somali men in Dodge City. A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced Omar Cantero Martinez to 26 months. Armando Sotelo was given a time served sentence for the 20 months he has already been in jail. Prosecutors say the two yelled racial slurs at the Somali men, who were sitting on a bench outside an African grocery store in Dodge City. They then attacked them. Martinez used a broken glass bottle to stab one man and slash another man. A third injured man escaped to get help. The men were tried last year on hate crimes charges but the trial ended in a hung jury. They later pleaded guilty to lessser charges.
Wichita Zoo Welcomes Second Western Lowland Gorilla
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Western lowland gorilla has been born at the Sedgwick County Zoo. The Wichita Eagle reports the baby gorilla born Wednesday is the first-born for gorillas Kigali and Matt. The gorilla is looking strong, and has been seen nursing and clinging to its mom. Currently, the gorilla family isn't on display to zoo visitors. The baby gorilla is the second born at the zoo, and the second baby for Matt. Last August, a Western lowland gorilla was born with Barika and Matt.
Kansas Guard Graham Apologizes After Traffic Warrant Arrest
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — KU guard Devonte Graham was arrested on a traffic-related warrant hours after helping the third-ranked Jayhawks to a record-tying 13th consecutive Big 12 Conference title with a win over TCU. The school says Graham was arrested Wednesday night for failing to appear in court last July after being ticketed for driving with an expired license plate. He was free on bond. Graham said Thursday that he was driving an ex-teammate's car and thought the ticket had been paid, leading to what he calls his "inattention" to a notice he received requiring him to appear in court. Graham says he "learned a lesson the hard way," and that he's sorry. KU coach Bill Self says Graham made a mistake. The Jayhawks' next game will take place Saturday at Texas.
Kansas Jayhawks Rout TCU to Clinch Share of Big 12 Title
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — KU's Frank Mason III scored 20 points, Carlton Bragg provided a big lift off the bench and No. 3 Kansas pulled away in the second half to beat TCU 87-68 on Wednesday night and clinch a share of its 13th consecutive Big 12 championship. Devonte Graham added 17 points and seven assists, and Bragg and Josh Jackson scored 15 points apiece, as the Jayhawks (25-3, 13-2) cruised to their NCAA-leading 60th conference title. Their streak dating to coach Bill Self's second season in Lawrence matches the Division I record of the 13 straight league titles UCLA set in the 1960s and '70s. Kansas can clinch the outright title with a victory at Texas on Saturday. TCU's Alex Robinson had 15 points for the Horned Frogs (17-11, 6-9), who have lost four straight and have never won in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas State Drops Game to Oklahoma State, 80-68
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Jawun Evans and Leyton Hammonds led Oklahoma State back from a 14-point first-half deficit to defeat Kansas State 80-68 on Wednesday night. Hammonds finished with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. Evans scored a game-high 21 points, making 11 of 12 free throws, and had nine assists. The Cowboys (19-9, 8-7 Big 12) outscored the Wildcats 42-29 in the second half. Wesley Iwundu led the Wildcats (17-11, 6-9) with 21 points, shooting 14 of 17 from the free-throw line, and collecting nine rebounds. K-State's Dean Wade scored 11 points.