Kansas Lawmakers Take New Run at $1.2B Tax Plan
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are taking another run at passing a plan for raising income taxes to fix the state budget and provide additional state funds for public schools. House and Senate negotiators agreed Tuesday on a plan that would raise $1.2 billion over two years by increasing income tax rates and ending an exemption for 330,000-plus farmers and business owners. It's similar to a plan the House rejected last week. The Senate planned to consider the new plan first, possibly Tuesday night. The newest plan would roll back most of the past income tax cuts enacted in 2012 and 2013 at Republican Governor Sam Brownback's urging. Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2019, and the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in March that education funding is inadequate.
Kansas Lawmakers OK New Abortion Rule with Printing Requirement
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have approved a new requirement that abortion providers give women information about their doctors' histories and provide it in print in a specific type style on white paper. The bill goes to Republican Governor Sam Brownback after the Senate approved it on a 25-15 vote Tuesday. The House passed the measure last week. Brownback is a strong abortion opponent. The bill would require that abortion providers give women information about the physician at least 24 hours beforehand. The information would include the doctor's credentials, malpractice insurance, hospital privileges and disciplinary record. It would have to be printed in 12-point Times New Roman type. Bill supporters say women need the information to make informed decisions. Critics say the bill is meant to discourage women from having abortions.
GOP Leader Says Talks Delaying Debate on Concealed Guns Bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas legislative leader says negotiations between the National Rifle Association and the University of Kansas Health System are delaying debate on a bill aimed at keeping concealed guns out of public hospitals. Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said Tuesday that GOP leaders are waiting to see whether the talks result in a compromise before the Senate considers the bill. A 2013 law requires public health facilities to allow concealed guns into their buildings starting in July unless the buildings have security such as metal detectors or guards. The Senate's measure would grant a permanent exemption to state hospitals, other public hospitals, mental health centers, some nursing homes, the KU health system and the university's teaching hospital in Kansas City, Kansas. Gun-rights advocates want to narrow the bill.
Kansas Lawmakers Reject Restrictions on Schools' Lobbying
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has rejected a proposal to restrict lobbying of the Legislature by public school districts as it debates a bill that would increase the state's spending on education. Republican Senator Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha offered the proposal as amendment to a bill that would phase in an increase in education funding of about $230 million over two years. The Senate voted 23-17 against his proposal. It would have prevented school districts or school officials from using state dollars to lobby the Legislature. Pyle said state dollars should be used in the classroom. Critics said the proposal was an attempt to micromanage school districts. The plan to boost education funding is a response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in March that current spending is inadequate.
Another Body Found Near Kansas City Recreation Trail
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say the death of a 31-year-old man near a walking and biking trail is being investigated as a homicide. The body of Chase Hardin was found Monday morning along the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail in south Kansas City. The discovery comes less than two weeks after police said they were investigating similarities between four other homicides along another trail that stretches from south Kansas City to Olathe. All the victims were male, ages 54 to 67. Three were walking their dogs. The Kansas City Star reports that the FBI has joined the investigation into those deaths. Police said no evidence exists to link the four deaths and that there is no evidence Monday's death is related to the four earlier deaths.
2 Small Earthquakes Recorded in South-Central Kansas During Holiday Weekend
BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) - The U.S. Geological Survey says two more earthquakes were recorded in Kansas during the Memorial Day weekend, bringing the total to nine earthquakes in May. The agency says an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.5 was recorded Sunday about 10 miles west of Belle Plaine in Sumner County. That came a day after a 2.6-magnitude earthquake was recorded 8 miles west of Belle Plaine. Another earthquake, with a 2.6 magnitude, was reported Thursday 10 miles west of the small town about 25 miles south of Wichita. The Hays Post reports other earthquakes have been reported in Jewell and Harper counties in May. The state recorded 13 earthquakes in April and 11 in March, with a vast majority occurring in south-central Kansas.
Report: Quarter of Kansas Wheat in Poor, Very Poor Condition
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The latest government update shows a quarter of the winter wheat crop in Kansas is in poor to very poor condition. The National Agricultural Statistics Service on Tuesday reported that 30 percent of the state's wheat is rated in fair condition. About 38 percent is in good and 7 percent in excellent condition. Wheat coloring is at 39 percent. The agency says that hail in northwestern Kansas has damaged some wheat and recently planted spring crops. The southern half of the state was mostly dry this past week while areas in the north got up to two inches of rain. About 82 percent of the state's corn crop has now been planted statewide. Soybean planting is at the 41 percent mark. Sorghum seeding is 11 percent complete.
Kansas City Opens Airport Terminal Project to Bidding
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, says he's opening up for bidding the proposed construction of a single terminal at Kansas City International Airport. Sly James publicly announced the action Tuesday, saying more firms have expressed interest in competing for the project. He says bids would be accepted for the next three weeks. Kansas City-based engineering company Burns & McDonnell has submitted a proposal to design, build and privately finance the new terminal, with exclusive rights to the project. City leaders would like to put the project up for voter approval in November. The city says it's seeking proposals calling for a 750,000-square-foot terminal with 35 gates but expandable to 42, and a parking garage with at least 6,500 spaces. The city would retain ownership and operation of the airport.
Autopsy: Toddler Electrocuted at Kansas Carnival by Fencing
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An autopsy report concludes that a toddler fatally injured at a carnival in Wichita, Kansas, died accidentally after grabbing an electrically charged fence. The report cited Tuesday by the Wichita Eagle says 15-month-old Pressley Bartonek of Conway Springs was diagnosed as being brain dead five days after being shocked May 12. According to the report, the toddler was at a small carnival on a parking lot when she grabbed metal fencing and became unresponsive by the time her father freed her hands. The report says that a test by an electrical company showed about 300 votes coming from the fence. The carnival operator, Evans United Shows based in Plattsburg, Missouri, has not publicly commented about the matter. Wichita police are investigating.
Young Giraffe from Kansas City Zoo Dies After Neck Injury in Pennsylvania
SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Officials say a young giraffe recently brought to an eastern Pennsylvania zoo has died after injuring his neck during aggressive behavior. Six-year-old Ernie, a Masai giraffe, was brought to Lehigh Valley Zoo from Kansas City last week along with his 16-year-old father, Murphy. Ernie arrived Friday after an 18-hour trip in a special trailer, and officials said Murphy showed affection after Ernie's arrival. But they said Ernie later became aggressive and the animals were separated. Officials said the animals were allowed to spend some time together Saturday and were separated again for the night, but Ernie again became very aggressive, injured his neck in the stall, and died at about 1 p.m. Sunday. Zoo officials said they are "heartbroken" and an investigation will involve the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Kansas Grain Elevators Scrambling as Wheat Harvest Nears
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Grain elevators across Kansas are feverishly working to move last year's grain out to make room for the new winter wheat crop as another harvest nears. Kansas Grain and Feed Association executive director Tom Tunnell says there is still a storage issue, particularly in southwest Kansas. The activity at elevators comes amid a wheat crop that has begun ripening. The Kansas harvest typically begins in the state's southernmost counties and moves northward as the wheat ripens. Cutting could begin late next week in south-central Kansas with harvest expected to be in full swing by the second week of June. Farmers are grappling with damp weather, crop diseases and low prices. Farmers report that prices are $1 to $1.50 a bushel below what they need to break-even.
Kansas Law Requires Universities, Colleges to Give Free Tuition to Foster Kids
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas law waives tuition at state universities and colleges for foster kids, but requires the schools to cover the entire cost without state aid. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Kansas Foster Child Education Assistance Act enacted in 2006 waives tuition and fees at state universities, tech schools, community colleges and Washburn University for students who were in foster care. But the state requires schools to pay for those students without providing any money for that purpose. Wichita Area Technical College President Sheree Utash says the law is a big liability because the school pays for the students' tuition and fees with scholarship money. It's waived $138,000 since 2010. College admissions mentor Jennifer Fry says the law levels the playing field for foster kids.
Kansas Man Dies in ATV Accident While Farming
MUSCOTAH, Kan. (AP) — Atchison County authorities say a man died after an ATV he was riding rolled over and landed on top of him. Sheriff Jack Laurie says in a news release that 64-year-old Michael Bodenhausen died in the accident Monday on a farm north of Muscotah in northeast Kansas. Laurie says Bodenhausen was spraying thistles from the ATV when it rolled over. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police ID Victim of Suspected Missouri Road-Rage Shooting
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City, Missouri, police have identified a man shot and killed during a suspected road-rage confrontation last week. Police say 19-year-old Christopher Hutson of Lee's Summit died after the shooting about 4:15 p.m. Thursday, when a female occupant in Hutson's vehicle was grazed by a bullet. Police say a man in another vehicle began yelling at the victims through their car window, insisting they were driving too slow. Authorities say that when the man pulled up to pass them, the victim sped up and pulled up next to the suspect and started arguing. That's when Hutson was fatally shot in the head, and a woman in the car was grazed by a bullet. The suspect then fled the scene, and he remained at large Tuesday.
Police Search for Young Liberty Woman Missing for a Month
LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Police are asking for the public's help in locating an 18-year-old from Liberty who has not been seen for nearly a month. The family of Desirea Ferris last heard from her on May 1. She told her sister she was going to a friend's house but never arrived. The Kansas City Star reports that all communication stopped with Ferris after she posted on Facebook at 3 a.m. May 2. The family has hired a private investigator, conducted searches and distributed flyers. Liberty police Captain Andy Hedrick says leads have directed investigators to Kansas City. Ferris is white, 5 feet, 1 inch, 101 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. She may be wearing a fuzzy pink jacket and a cream crop top. She was last known to have a tan purse.
Wichita State's Innovation Campus Construction Moving Quickly
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University's new Innovation Campus is expanding rapidly this summer. University president John Bardo said the project is moving faster than supporters envisioned when the new campus was announced in August 2014. The campus will be on 120 acres of a former golf course on the eastern edge of Wichita State's main campus. It will include facilities for the university and private individuals to conduct research and pursue creative ideas. This summer's projects include a partnership building, which will house companies that will work with university students and faculty. Also planned are a hotel, two multi-tenant buildings and completion of a major street, pond improvements and sidewalks.
PGA to Sponsor Kansas City Man's Urban Golf Course
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man who just wanted to build some putting greens for kids in his inner-city neighborhood is attracting attention from the PGA. Chris Harris says he didn't know much about golf when he decided to build nine holes of putting greens in a neighborhood where kids have few activities provided for them. The Kansas City Star reports that the project has attracted support from Midwest Section PGA and some major firms in the Kansas City region. Now, plans are for a larger course that will require Harris to knock down his house and two others he owns in the neighborhood. Brad Demo, executive director and CEO of Midwest PGA, says his organization likely will start with programming and equipment support and may eventually help raise money.
Tigers Rally to Beat Royals 10-7
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez each drove in three runs as the Detroit Tigers came from behind to beat the Kansas City Royals 10-7 on Monday night. The Tigers scored four runs in the eighth, highlighted by Cabrera's two-run single. Cabrera, who reached base four times, walked with the bases loaded in a six-run Detroit fifth inning. Joakim Soria (2-2), who is 0-for-3 in save situations, retired none of the five batters he faced in the eighth and four scored. He allowed three singles, walked two and allowed a run on a wild pitch. Martinez hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Mike Minor to give the Tigers a 6-3 lead. Kansas City's Whit Merrifield homered, tripled and doubled in his first three at-bats, but flied out to end the seventh.