Kobach Plan for Trump Included Federal Voting Laws Changes
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas official who is vice chairman of President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud drafted a proposal for Trump to change federal voter registration laws. A federal court document unsealed Thursday shows the proposal was part of a strategic homeland security plan prepared by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach was photographed taking the document into a meeting with Trump in November when Trump was president-elect. The portion dealing with federal voter registration laws was not fully visible. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson also unsealed a second document prepared by Kobach and shared inside his office. It contained the text of the proposed changes to federal law. Kobach was forced to turn over the documents as part of a voting-rights lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Brownback Defends Move to Void LGBT Worker Protections
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is defending his decision to scrap an order that barred discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Brownback is in line to be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. The Republican was testifying Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A 2007 executive order applied to hiring and employment decisions by agencies under the Kansas governor's direct control. Brownback says the Democratic governor at that time, Kathleen Sebelius, acted unilaterally on an issue that state lawmakers should have resolved. LGBT-rights groups have decried Brownback's nomination because of his conservative views on issues such as same-sex marriage.
Kansas Leadership Center CEO Launching Campaign for Governor
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas lawmaker who helped establish a non-profit leadership center is running for the Republican nomination for governor next year. Former state Representative Ed O'Malley announced Wednesday that he will launch his campaign with a seven-city tour. The first stop is in Kansas City, Kansas. O'Malley has been president and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita for 10 years. He represented a Johnson County district in the House from 2003 through 2006. He is the 10th announced Republican candidate. The GOP field includes Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer. Governor Sam Brownback is term-limited and has been nominated for an ambassador's post by President Donald Trump. His departure would elevate Colyer to governor.
Kansas Bureau of Investigation Sees Agent Shortage
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Law enforcement agencies are facing a sharp increase in violent crimes in Kansas, as the state Bureau of Investigation deals with a shortage of agents to support local departments. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the bureau provided data on violent-crime rates to the Joint Committee on Kansas Security. The statistics show that the number of reported killings statewide increased by more than 46 percent between 2014 and 2016, the highest level since 2000. The overall violent crime rate climbed more than 15 percent, with increases in rape, robbery and aggravated assault. A bureau official says the number of investigators has dwindled since 2009, leaving agents overwhelmed and forcing the department to shell out more overtime pay to meet demands. Republican Representative Kevin Jones says the bureau needs more resources.
Kansas Literacy Efforts Get a $27 Million Federal Grant
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Education will use a $27 million federal grant to support literacy programs in the state's schools. The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education is one of the largest grants ever received by the agency. The Wichita Eagle reports it will fund the Kansas Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Initiative. It will support literacy programs for students from birth through 12th grade, focusing on English learners and students with disabilities. Districts serving at least 5,000 students may apply individually. Districts serving fewer than 5,000 students may apply as part of a consortium. Eight districts or consortia will be chosen to receive about $1 million a year for three years. The grant also will pay for a program consultant, an administrative assistant and an evaluation team.
Wichita Students Can Get Permission to Kneel During Anthem
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The state's largest school district says students won't be disciplined merely for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance or national anthem. The Wichita Eagle reports that the guidance was issued to principals in the Wichita school district this week after President Donald Trump lashed out at NFL players for not standing during the anthem. The kneeling protests started last year as a statement against the killings of unarmed black men and boys at the hands of police. Gil Alvarez, assistant superintendent of secondary schools, said in an email that students who object to participating "will be excused upon the student's oral or written request." The email says students excused from participation "shall silently remain seated (or kneel in quiet reflection) during the exercise by other students."
Yoder, Jenkins Support Banning 'Bump Stock' Weapon Accessory
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas Representatives Kevin Yoder and Lynn Jenkins say they support a federal ban on "bump stocks," which convert semi-automatic rifles to shoot like fully automatic weapons. The two Kansas Republicans issued statements Thursday supporting a ban on the accessory apparently used by a gunman in Las Vegas Sunday to kill and wound more than 550 people. The proposal to ban the "bump stocks" is gaining support from some Republicans in Congress. Yoder, who is expected to seek re-election in Kansas' 3rd District, says individuals shouldn't be able to easily convert legal firearms into automatic weapons. And Jenkins, who is not running again in the 2nd District, says she still supports gun rights but she believes Congress should close the loophole that allows the use of bump stocks and similar devices.
Family of Man Killed by Topeka Police Wants Answers
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas lawmaker is calling for more communication after Topeka police fatally shot a man during what authorities have described as a struggle. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Democratic Representative John Alcala, of Topeka, says the city needs to "have a little empathy" and provide a liaison to the family of Dominique Tyrell White. The 30-year-old was fatally shot last week. Police say his gun was recovered. White was months out of prison after being prosecuted for burglary and illegal gun possession. Family spokeswoman Heather Joyce says police in Topeka and Lawrence, which is investigating, aren't providing any information. Police also have denied requests from The Topeka Capital-Journal seeking the identity of officers involved and other records. Lawrence police say there's no information to provide while conducting their investigation.
Kansas Police Chase Lasts 2 Hours
SAVANNAH, Kan. (AP) — A motorist driving on four flat tires led police on a two-hour pursuit through several counties in Kansas before his arrest. The News-Press Now reports the chase began early Thursday in Atchison when officers attempted to stop a pickup truck on a warrant with several felony violations. Police say the suspect drove through St. Joseph and toward Savannah. St. Joseph police laid a spike strip that blew out all four tires of the suspect's vehicle. Police say the pursuit ended in Savannah, where the vehicle veered into a ditch. Officers found drugs and three loaded weapons in the vehicle. The suspect was taken to a hospital because officers believe he ingested several grams of methamphetamine prior to the arrest. Police say the suspect will be jailed after his hospital evaluation.
Man Charged in Deaths of 2 Kansas City-Area Women
HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man connected to two Kansas City-area females who disappeared about 10 years apart has been charged with murder in their deaths. Kylr Yust was charged Thursday with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of abandoning a corpse in the deaths of 17-year-old Kara Kopetsky of Belton and 21-year-old Jessica Runions of Raymore. He is being held on $1 million bond. Yust had long been a suspect in the two deaths. Runions was seen leaving a gathering with Yust before she disappeared in September 2016. Kopetsky had filed a protection order against Yust in April 2007, a month before she went missing after walking out of Belton High School. The remains of Kopetsky and Runions were found in April in a rural area near Belton.
Kansas Teen Expected to Be Charged As Adult in Shooting
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 17-year-old is expected to be tried in adult court rather than juvenile court in connection to the shooting death of a man at a fast food restaurant. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the teenager was arrested July 4 in connection to the June 26 shooting death of 18-year-old Justice Mitchell. Authorities say he was trying to buy marijuana from Mitchell. The suspect currently is charged with felony first-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery in juvenile court. Shawnee County District Court Judge Joseph Johnson ruled Wednesday that the district attorney's office has five days to file adult charges. Johnson says the teenager's actions show he desires to be treated as an adult. Johnson says he doesn't believe the juvenile system will be able to help the suspect.
Officers Fatally Shoot Man in Southwest Kansas
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 29-year-old suspect has died after being shot by an officer following an officer-involved shooting in southwest Kansas. Garden City officials say in a news release that deputies were called Thursday to a rural area and a deputy encountered a person armed with a knife. Police say the suspect was wanted by Garden City police and the sheriff's office asked Garden City officers to transport the suspect on those charges. Undersheriff John Andrews says the suspect became aggressive during a standoff with law enforcement. When he advanced toward officers in a threatening manner, officers shot the man. The suspect's name was not released. The KBI is investigating the incident. Garden City police and the Finney County Sheriff's Office are also conducting internal investigations.
Wichita to Require Signs Warning of Dangerous Dogs
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An increase in dog bite reports has prompted Wichita officials to add a provision to the city's animal control ordinance requiring owners of dangerous dogs to have warning signs on their homes. Police Captain Michael Allred runs the Wichita Animal Control Department. He tells The Wichita Eagle that a dog could be deemed potentially dangerous if it bites someone and leaves a mark, or if it kills a domestic animal. The changes also lower the standards for what qualifies as a dangerous dog. Previously, a dog was deemed dangerous if it bit someone and significant injury. The city had more than 1,080 dog-bite reports in 2016, up from less than 1,000 in 2015. Allred says animal control officers won't classify low-risk canines as potentially dangerous.
Kansas City Man Sentenced to 4 Life Terms in Fatal Shooting
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A 30-year-old man was sentenced to four life sentences without parole for a shooting that killed a Kansas City man and paralyzed a 10-year-old boy. Jackson County authorities say Dontae Jefferson was sentenced Wednesday for first-degree murder and other charges in the 2014 shooting at a gas station. The shooting killed Ka'Vyea Curry and struck his son, Ka'Vyea Tyson-Curry, in the spine. An unrelated 5-year-old in the car wasn't harmed. The Kansas City Star reports that video shows Curry, his son and the other boy buying candy and juice before returning to the car. Prosecutors say Jefferson shot Curry as he got into his car. In September, Jefferson was charged with rape, burglary and two counts of sexual abuse in an August attack inside the Jackson County Detention Center.
Fleeing Kansas Driver Charged in Double Fatal Wreck
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A 20-year-old driver has been charged with killing two passengers in a crash while fleeing from police in Kansas City, Kansas. Zackery Smith was charged Wednesday in Wyandotte County with two counts of felony first-degree murder. Police say the crash happened Monday as officers were pursuing suspects from a reported shoplifting at a Cabela's sporting goods store. The victims were identified as 27-year-old Jason Edwards, of Kansas City, and 23-year-old Amber Bledsoe, of Prairie Village. Smith and the driver of the pickup truck he's accused of hitting were taken to hospitals. Smith was booked into jail Wednesday after he was released. Bond is set at $50,000.
Man Who Killed Kansas Detective Sentenced for Carjacking
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The man who killed a Kansas City, Kansas, police detective last year was sentenced to more time in prison for crimes he committed in another county the same day. The Kansas City Star reports 30-year-old Curtis Ayers was sentenced Thursday to 19 years and five months for carjacking and robbery. Ayers is already serving a life sentence for the shooting death of Detective Brad Lancaster on May 19, 2016, near the Kansas Speedway. After the shooting, Ayers fled and committed several other crimes, including entering a home in Basehor in Leavenworth County and stealing a man's car at gunpoint. He was arrested later that day in Kansas City, Missouri, after a police officer shot Ayers while he was trying another carjacking.
Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Denounces Player's Profanity Directed at Fans
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid denounced cornerback Marcus Peters's direction of profanities at fans during Monday night's game against Washington, saying "we can't go in that direction." Reid says the situation, which was caught on camera, has "been addressed." But he declined to say Wednesday what kind of punishment, if any, was meted out and refused to take questions. Peters was burned for a pair of touchdowns by the Redskins during the Chiefs' 29-20 victory. After the game, he spoke for about 50 seconds in another profanity-filled exchange with reporters. He called his performance "hella week" before saying he was going to "go get loaded" and leaving the locker room. Peters drew the ire of some fans for sitting during the national anthem again. He stood for a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.