Kansas Regents OK University Tuition Increases
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' governing board of the state's universities has signed off on requests to raise tuition higher than first proposed by many of the campuses. The Kansas Board of Regents' Wednesday in Topeka came weeks after Republican Governor Sam Brownback cut higher education spending by 4 percent. That was one percent more than the state's universities had expected. Many of the campuses responded by pushing their tuition requests upward. The University of Kansas' tuition will rise by 5 percent. That's one percent higher than the school sought last month. The state's other universities' tuition boosts range from 4.9 percent at Emporia State to 6 percent at Fort Hays State. Only the University of Kansas' medical center and Wichita State didn't increase their rate requests. They will remain at 5 percent. See #MyKPR's Stephen Koranda's report on this issue here.
Kansas Deputy Sheriff Found Guilty of Vehicular Manslaughter
EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas sheriff's deputy has been found guilty of vehicular manslaughter for a 2012 crash that killed a 59-year-old Madison man. KVOE Radio reports Lyon County deputy Tyler Pettigrew initially was charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery and using a wireless device to write, send or receive a written communication while driving. Pettigrew was in his personal vehicle when he rear-ended a pickup truck driven by Michael Argabright in Lyon County in October 2012, then crossed the center line and struck a vehicle driven by Mark Harrison of Madison. Harrison was killed in the crash. The 27-year-old has been suspended since his arrest in November. A jury returned the verdict Wednesday. Pettigrew is scheduled to be sentenced August 1.
New Medicaid Cuts Threaten Rural Kansas Hospitals, Patients and Providers
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Health care analysts say Governor Sam Brownback's decision to cut money for Medicaid health coverage for the needy, disabled and elderly will add to the problems some hospitals are facing. The Wichita Eagle reports that the 4 percent budget-balancing Medicaid reimbursement cut takes effect July 1. Health care providers already had been raising concerns that the state's decision to not expand Medicaid was harming them. Currently, Kansans who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but don't make enough money to qualify for federal subsidies, fall into a coverage gap. When patients are uninsured and can't pay, the hospitals get stuck with the cost. Cindy Samuelson, of the Kansas Hospital Association, says the budget is being balanced "on the shoulders of providers and patients around the state."
Kansas Begins to Register People Without Proof of Citizenship
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas secretary of state's office has instructed county officials to put on election rolls the thousands of people who registered at motor vehicle offices without providing proof of U.S. citizenship, but only allow them to vote for federal offices. The guidelines were issued after the 10th Circuit U.S. District Court of appeals ordered Kansas to begin adding more than 18,000 voters whose registrations had been cancelled or suspended. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson's order strikes a blow to a Kansas law that since January 2013 has required voters to provide proof of citizenship. About 44 percent of Kansas voters register when getting their driver's licenses under the federal "motor-voter law."
Kansas Exempts Some Planned Parenthood Providers from Medicaid Block
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas is abandoning a plan to block 11 people who have provided services such as cancer screenings to Planned Parenthood from continued participation in its Medicaid program, though it still will press to cut those funds from the organization's affiliates. A lawyer for the state announced the move in a letter filed with a Kansas City, Kansas federal judge weighing a request by two Planned Parenthood affiliates to block the state's plans to halt Medicaid reimbursements. That cutoff could come as early as July 7. Arguments over the lawsuit by the providers, and Planned Parenthood affiliates for Kansas and Mid-Missouri as well as another for the St. Louis region were heard last week. Federal courts have blocked attempts to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in other states.
Kansas Board of Education Ignores President's Transgender Decree
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Members of the Kansas Board of Education have unanimously voted to ignore a federal directive that all public schools allow transgender students to use restrooms that match their gender identity. What remains unclear is whether or not the 10-0 vote will endanger over $479 million in federal aid, or about 10 percent of the state's education budget. Kansas education officials noted that only one transgender student filed a complaint for alleged discrimination with the Office of Civil Rights in 2015. Board members cited the low rate of incidents as proof that districts already have adequate regulations in place. Board members said local school districts should set their own policies instead of the federal government. See #MyKPR's Stephen Koranda's story on this issue.
KCMO Leaders ask Missouri Governor to Veto Gun Bill
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City leaders are calling on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to veto a wide-ranging gun bill that would establish a "stand your ground" law and eliminate the need for a permit to carry a concealed firearm. The Kansas City Star reports Mayor Sly James, Police Chief Daryl Forte and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker sent a letter to Nixon saying that the bill would put citizens in danger and invite more gun violence on the streets. The bill also lowers the penalty for carrying a concealed weapon where it's not allowed and allows invited guests in a home to use deadly force on intruders. The measure was approved on the final day of the 2016 legislative session. Nixon has until mid-July to decide whether to veto the legislation.
Kansas Detective Suspended on Suspicion of Perjury
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Prosecutors say a suspended Kansas sheriff's detective who is charged with three counts of felony perjury worked on more than 600 cases. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Shawnee County District Attorney's Office has found that 40-year-old Detective Erin Thompson handled a variety of cases from traffic infractions to homicide. The newspaper obtained the list of 612 cases after filing an open records request. Matt Patterson, a senior assistant Shawnee County district attorney, says the office has an ethical obligation to notify those who currently have or have had cases involving Thompson. She was charged in May after an investigation into inconsistencies on investigative reports. An affidavit accuses her of repeatedly reporting that she talked with people she had never contacted.
Prosecutors: Kansas Roofing Company Preyed on Illegal Workers; Forced them to Pay Kickbacks
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The owners of a Kansas roofing company are accused of forcing workers who are in the U.S. illegally to pay kickbacks by threatening to turn them into immigration agents if they didn't. A 17-count federal indictment unsealed Tuesday in Kansas City, Kansas, accuses Century Roofing owners Tommy Frank Keaton and Graziano Cornolo of profiting from kickbacks since at least 2009. Prosecutors say workers who were in the country illegally were paid in cash to complete roofing projects in the Kansas City area in Kansas and Missouri, then were forced to give some of the money back. Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says no attorneys had entered an appearance for either defendant.
3 Face Charges in Wichita Bank Robbery
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say three Wichita men have been charged in the robbery of a local bank. Authorities say federal bank robbery and firearms charges were filed Tuesday against 34-year-old Raishat McGill, 29-year-old Andre Bryant and 25-year-old Elijah Shelton. Authorities say two armed men entered Carson Bank around 10:30 a.m., demanding money from employees inside. They forced two employees to open a vault. The two men left with cash and drove away with another man who had stayed in the car. Officers soon located the car and the men fled on foot until law enforcement caught them. A Wichita police spokeswoman says officers recovered the money and two weapons.
Conservation Group Buys Kansas Prairie Chicken Habitat
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A conservation group has finalized the purchase of about 30,000 acres of lesser prairie chicken habitat in southwest Kansas. The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies said Monday in a news release that its acquisition of the Sunview Ranch in Hamilton County is a significant conservation development. The ranch is located in a sand sagebrush area which covers portions of Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma that once contained the highest density of lesser prairie chickens in the country. The group says the property is one of the largest remaining contiguous tracks of sand sagebrush prairie in the region. Funding comes from voluntary contributions from "industry partners" enrolled in the lesser prairie chicken conservation plan.
Authorities Identify Missouri Woman Who Died in County Transport Van
PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities have released the name of a Missouri woman who died as law enforcement officers were transporting her in a van after she was arrested. The Kansas City Star reports that Platte County authorities identified the woman as 50-year-old Emma Lewis of Platte City. She experienced medical distress during a five-minute trip in a Platte County sheriff's office transport van. She had been arrested on suspicion of violating a court order and assaulting a law enforcement officer. Efforts to revive her were unsuccessful. The Clay County sheriff's office is investigating the death.
KC Royals Hold on to Beat Cleveland, 3-2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning as the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 on Tuesday night. The Royals' Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless eighth inning for Kansas City after starter Chris Young gave up two runs in four and a half innings before reliever Dillon Gee took over. Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless eighth inning for Kansas City, then proceeded to handle the ninth with closers Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis resting after having each pitched the last three days. Unable to find a way to score against the Indians' Josh Tomlin most of the night, the Royals finally took the lead when Cleveland's Bryan Shaw gave up a single to Eric Hosmer before Perez slammed a fastball 402 feet into the fountains behind left-center field.