Kansas Lawmakers Postpone Override Vote on Medicaid Veto
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have postponed a vote on overriding Republican Governor Sam Brownback's veto of a bill that would have expanded the state's Medicaid program. Supporters of the bill launched an effort Thursday to override the veto in the House shortly after Brownback announced his action. But they realized that one of the bill's supporters wasn't present and pushed to table the discussion indefinitely. The vote was 81-43. The bill would have extended the state's health coverage for the poor, disabled and elderly under former President Barack Obama's signature health care law to cover up to 180,000 more adults. Brownback is a vocal critic of the 2010 Affordable Care Act also known as "Obamacare" and argued that an expansion would result in uncontrollable costs for the state.
Kansas House Passes Regulation on Abortion Information, Font
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion providers may soon be required to give women detailed information about the physician to perform the procedure using Times New Roman font. A bill that the House passed Thursday with an 87 to 37 votes also specifies that the typeface must be black and 12-point. A similar bill hasn't gotten a vote in the Senate. Abortion opponents say women need information about the doctor's credentials to make a decision. Abortion rights supporters say it targets providers. State law already requires that 24 hours before an abortion procedure a woman be given in writing the name of the physician who will perform the procedure. Women also must receive information on abortion risks, the age and characteristics of the fetus and information that may dissuade a woman from having an abortion.
Kansas Senate Advances Budgets with Pension Move
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has decided to short state contributions to public employee pensions under the state's 2018 and 2019 budgets to give lawmakers more options in raising taxes to make the books balance. But senators expect to revisit the pension issue later. They gave first-round approval Wednesday to proposed budgets for the 2018 fiscal year starting in July and the 2019 fiscal year beginning in July 2018. The Senate's voice vote on the single "mega" budget measure for two years advances the measure to a final vote today (THUR). The House is working on its own bill. Senators decreased state contributions to public employee pensions by a total of $330 million over two years. The move lowers the amount of new revenue needed from higher taxes to $545 million for the period.
Kansas House Advances Tougher Amusement Ride Law
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House member whose 10-year-old son died last summer on a water park slide spoke to his colleagues on the subject for the first time Thursday shortly before they voted unanimously to strengthen inspection rules for amusement rides. Representative Scott Schwab's son Caleb died at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. The bill requires annual ride inspections and sets specific qualifications for inspectors. Current law allows parks to conduct their own inspections. Schwab told House members he didn't come to the Legislature to increase regulation or grow government, but sometimes government is needed. He said he wouldn't hold it against anyone who didn't support the bill The measure now faces a final House vote and a Senate vote.
Kansas House Approves Anti-Pornography Resolution
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House has approved a resolution condemning pornography as a public health hazard. The resolution approved Wednesday on a voice vote has no legal effect. The Wichita Eagle reports the resolution warns that pornography treats women and children as objects, reduces the desire to marry, can cause erectile dysfunction and creates a sexually toxic environment. Supporters also said pornography can lead to risky sexual behavior, particularly in adolescents. Opponents of the resolution said they don't support pornography but U.S. citizens have a right to freedom of expression, even if the price of freedom is high.
American Royal Barbecue to Stay at Kansas Speedway This Year
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The American Royal Barbecue contest will return to the Kansas Speedway this year but it's moving to an earlier date. American Royal officials say the barbecue, which attracts more than 50,000 people, is scheduled for Labor Day weekend. It was held in October last year. The national contest moved to the Speedway last year, where it had substantially more room than in previous venues. The Kansas City Star reports organizers hope moving the contest to the holiday weekend will attract even more barbecue fans and cooks. The agreement with the Speedway is for one year. American Royal officials say the venue and the dates may change in coming years, depending on the need for more space and scheduling around Kansas City's sports teams.
Physician's Assistant Banned from Providing Care in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A physician's assistant has been banned from providing medical services in Kansas after pleading guilty to breaking federal law while treating patients. The Kansas attorney general's office reports that a consent judgment was approved Wednesday in Finney County with Joel Erskin, of Garden City. He was sentenced last year to probation after admitting to purchasing cheaper versions of Botox and another drug used cosmetically to prevent wrinkles from Canadian pharmacies. The U.S. attorney's office says the Botox he purchased was misbranded and failed to meet labeling requirements. The Juvederm was adulterated and not approved for U.S. distribution. Through the consent judgment, Erskin is required to pay investigative fees. He also must refund all consumer payments received after June 1 and forgive or cancel accounts receivable as of that date.
2 Charged in Missouri Holdup That Led to Officer Being Wounded
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Prosecutors have accused two men of robbing a suburban Kansas City home where police say a responding officer was shot and wounded. Jackson County (Missouri) prosecutors on Thursday charged 28-year-old Joseph Wyatt and 27-year-old Ronar Santiago-Torres with robbery, armed criminal action, burglary and kidnapping. Court documents allege the men forced their way into an Independence man's home and held him at gunpoint before assaulting and robbing him. While trying to escape officers who responded, the suspects drove the victim's car through the closed garage door. Police have said the suspects exchanged gunfire with police, wounding 42-year-old officer Thomas Wagstaff. Wagstaff, a 15-year veteran of the Independence police force, remained hospitalized Thursday. Prosecutors have not filed charges related to the shooting. Online court records don't show whether Wyatt or Santiago-Torres have attorneys.
Environmental Groups Challenge Keystone XL Pipeline Approval
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A coalition of environmental groups is challenging the federal permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline in court because they say additional environmental scrutiny is needed. The Sierra Club joined with several other environmental groups to file the federal lawsuit Thursday in Montana. The proposed pipeline that TransCanada wants to build would carry crude oil through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska where it would connect with an existing Keystone pipeline network that moves crude to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. The environmental groups say the initial environmental review completed in 2014 is inadequate and outdated. The U.S. State Department issued a permit for the project earlier this month, although Nebraska regulators still must review the proposed route there. Officials with the State Department and TransCanada declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Motorist Stranded on Kansas I-70 Accused of Stealing Helper's Vehicle
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A woman is accused of stealing the pickup truck of a volunteer firefighter who had stopped to help her while she was stranded along Interstate 70 in Topeka, Kansas, then leading authorities on a chase. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports 23-year-old Erien Knox is charged with possession of stolen property and felony obstruction. Authorities say a man stopped to help douse a car fire Wednesday morning along westbound I-70 and allowed the stranded female motorist to sit in his pickup truck, which the woman then drove from the scene. A Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman says a trooper spotted the stolen pickup truck a short time later and gave chase before the woman was arrested in Wabaunsee County.
Kansas Man Guilty in Shooting Death of Nebraska Man
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old Kansas man will be sentenced in June in the killing of a Lincoln, Nebraska, man at a Salina motel. The Salina Journal reports DiAntre Lemmie was found guilty Wednesday in Saline County of first-degree murder and five other charges in the April 2016 death of 32-year-old Adonis Loudermilk at the Starlite Motel in Salina. Prosecutors say Loudermilk was shot during a botched robbery committed by Lemmie and a co-defendant, Amber Nicole Craig. Craig pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
Illinois Farmers to Transport Hay to Help Kansas Farmers
FAIRMOUNT, Ill. (AP) - A convoy of trucks from Illinois is headed to Kansas carrying hay to farmers who've lost fields in wildfires that have caused widespread damage. Wildfires have burned more than 650,000 acres in nearly two dozen Kansas counties. Illinois farmer Vern Rohrscheib tells The Champaign News-Gazette it was a conversation topic last week between colleagues and they came up with the idea to take their extra hay to Kansas. His daughter, Lynn Rohrscheib, says they're thankful to help out farmers in any way they can. She says after the wildfires, the cattle that are left behind don't have much to eat. The convoy left this (THUR) morning from central Illinois heading for the Ashland area in Kansas. Earlier this week the group had collected 500 bales of hay, along with donated feed.
KU's Frank Mason III Named AP Player of the Year
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Frank Mason III, who led the University of Kansas to its 13th consecutive Big 12 title, is The Associated Press's Player of the Year. The senior point guard averaged 20.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting 48.7 percent from 3-point range. He received 37 votes Thursday from the same 65-member media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25. Josh Hart of Villanova was second with 16 votes while Caleb Swanigan of Purdue had 9 and Lonzo Ball of UCLA had 3. Mason is the first KU player to win the award. He is the first Big 12 player to win it since Blake Griffin of Oklahoma in 2009.