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Headlines for Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kansas Senate to Consider Tax Hikes to Close Budget Gap

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate is considering a plan to raise taxes to close a projected budget shortfall. The Senate is set to debate today (THUR) on a bill to repeal an income tax exemption for more than 330,000 business owners and farmers enacted in 2012. The proposal would replace it with a tax credit against their payrolls. It also would increase the state's sales, cigarette and motor fuels taxes. The state must close a $406 million budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning in July.  Governor Sam Brownback said he isn't drawing clear lines for lawmakers who are split over reversing one of Brownback's major economic initiatives. 


KS Lawmakers Advance Bill to Boost Secretary of State's Power 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House has advanced a bill that would give the secretary of state the power to prosecute election fraud. The chamber gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday. Several lawmakers questioned the necessity of the bill, given the relatively few recorded instances of election fraud. The measure gained 63 votes Wednesday, the minimum needed for it to pass during the final vote expected Thursday. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has told lawmakers that he needs expanded prosecutorial power because, he says, local elections officials are not aggressively pursuing voter fraud violations. 


Construction Begins on Reno County Veterans Memorial

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — After several years of planning, construction is set to begin on the Reno County Veterans Memorial. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Thursday at the site of memorial in South Hutchinson. Committee member Kelly Danyluck says site preparations are expected to be finished in about six weeks. The timetable for installation of the seven memorial walls inscribed with veterans names will depend on future fundraising. Committee Chairman Matt Stiles says if fundraising is successful, the walls may be installed next year. The Hutchinson News reports that planning for the memorial began in 2010.


Northwestern University Student from Overland Park Found Dead in Dormitory 

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a Northwestern University student from Kansas has been found dead in his Evanston campus dormitory.  The university and Cook County medical examiner say 20-year-old Jason Arkin was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon at Evanston Hospital. An autopsy has been scheduled.  Arkin was a third-year student studying engineering. He was from Overland Park. Northwestern Dean of Student Todd Adam sent a note to student asking anyone who needed help to let him know.  Northwestern said in a statement that the cause of Arkin's death isn't yet known. School spokesman Bob Rowley says there was no indication of foul play.


Lawrence Man Again Sentenced to Life in Prison for Wife's Murder

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A Lawrence man has been sentenced for the second time to life in prison without parole in the death of his wife more than 10 years ago. Martin Miller was sentenced Wednesday for the death of 46-year-old Mary Miller at their home in Lawrence in 2004. He was convicted in 2005 but the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that he should get a new trial based on an erroneous jury instruction. Martin was convicted a second time in April. The Lawrence Journal-World reports prosecutors argued that Miller strangled his wife because he was having an affair and wanted to collect $300,000 in life insurance. The defense contended Mary Miller died of natural causes. His attorney said he would file a notice of appeal within 14 days.


Sedgwick County Cancels Contract with Development Group

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Sedgwick County Commission has voted to cancel its funding contract with Wichita's economic development organization. The commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to terminate the agreement with the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, which helps recruit new businesses and jobs to the area and helps current companies expand. The county and the city were giving $300,000 a year for five years to the coalition, but the county is canceling that contract effective January 2016. 


Guthrie Throws 6 Scoreless Innings as Royals Beat Reds 7-1

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jeremy Guthrie pitched six shutout innings as the Kansas City Royals beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-1 on Wednesday night and winning both games in the two-game series. The Royals tied a club record with 24 consecutive scoreless innings, which was set in June, 1976. The team won for the fifth time in their past six games, improving to 26-14. Guthrie (4-2) won his third straight start. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out three. The Royals are off on Thursday then face the St. Louis Cardinals in a three game stand starting Friday night at Kauffman Stadium. 


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