Kansas Senate Rejects Plan to Hike Income Taxes
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has rejected a plan that would fix the state budget by rolling back past income tax cuts. The vote Wednesday was 22-18 against the measure. The bill would have raised more than $1 billion over two years to close projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2019. But Democrats and some moderate Republicans questioned whether the tax increases would have been large enough to also boost spending on public schools. The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the state's education funding is inadequate. The bill would have increased income tax rates and ended an exemption for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners. Republican Governor Sam Brownback promoted the exemption and cuts in rates in 2012 as pro-growth policies but lawmakers later soured on his polices.
Kansas Lawmakers Disagree on Next Step on Taxes
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators disagree about their next step after the Senate rejected a plan for fixing the state budget with a big income tax increase. The Senate voted 22-18 on Wednesday against a bill that would have rolled back past income tax cuts championed by Republican Governor Sam Brownback. It would have raised more than $1 billion over two years. Senate Vice President and Emporia Republican Jeff Longbine said lawmakers must consider smaller proposals and work toward a plan that Brownback would sign rather than toward a bigger tax hike with veto-proof support. Several Democrats rejected the idea and said a plan must provide additional funds for public schools. Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2017 and the state Supreme Court has said education funding is inadequate.
Judge Orders Kansas Official to Disclose Plan Taken to Trump
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has told Kansas's top elections official to disclose proposed changes to federal voting laws that he took to a meeting with President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson says she reviewed the materials and found no error in the magistrate's earlier ruling that required Secretary of State Kris Kobach to turn over the documents. Robinson ordered Kobach to produce them by Friday to the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring voters to provide proof of U.S. citizenship when voting. An Associated Press photo of that November meeting showed Kobach holding a paper outlining homeland security issues. The order also requires him to produce a related internal document about proposed changes to the National Voter Registration Act.
KU Police Finish Probe of Alleged Rape at Athletes' Dorm
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas police have completed their investigation of a reported rape at a dorm for basketball players and other male students and sent their findings to the county prosecutor's office. Douglas County District Attorney spokeswoman Cheryl Wright Kunard said Wednesday that that office received the investigation but hadn't decided whether to file any charges. She says the office won't name any persons of interest. A report from the university's police department lists five current and former Kansas men's basketball players and two women as witnesses. Police found drug paraphernalia during a search of the dorms as part of the rape investigation. Former Jayhawk player Carlton Bragg was charged in Lawrence Municipal Court with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and later entered a diversion agreement .
Kansas House Committee Approves Foster Care Task Force
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are looking to more closely oversee the state's privatized foster care system and the contractors that run it amid questions about how the state monitors the program. The House Children and Seniors Committee passed a bill Tuesday that would create a foster care task force to study the system and make recommendations. A three-part audit says the Kansas Department for Children and Families and the contractors that run foster care don't do enough to ensure children are placed in appropriate homes. The final part of the audit published last month said some parts of the state don't have enough homes for the children awaiting placement. The vote comes a day after a Kansas man was sentenced to life in prison for abusing and killing his son.
Report: Kansas, Texas Lead Nation on Abortion Restrictions
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A research group that supports abortion rights says more than half of women of reproductive age live in states with unneeded restrictions on abortion facilities. The analysis released Tuesday by the Guttmacher Institute comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year striking down a widely replicated Texas law on abortion clinics. The court held the regulations were medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman's right to an abortion. That ruling prompted Guttmacher to look at laws it says are not based in science. Abortion opponents say such restrictions protect women's health. Guttmacher analyzed laws that mandate standards for abortion providers, require waiting periods and ban abortions after 20 weeks. It found Kansas and Texas have the most such restrictions, followed by Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Outside Drinking Bill Moves Forward for Kansas Cities
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A measure that would allow Kansas municipalities to establish areas where alcohol can be consumed outside of bars and restaurants has moved closer to becoming law. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a Senate committee has approved a bill that would permit cities and counties in Kansas to designate zones where liquor or beer could be consumed if it's in a specially marked container. The bill requires an applicant apply annually and pay a $100 fee. The zones would likely be in areas where bars and restaurants are clustered, and alcohol would only be allowed off a participating seller's property if the drink is marked with a special logo. Current law says festivals and events may apply for permits for similar zones, but those permits have a three-day maximum limit.
Report: US Farmers Forecast to Harvest Smaller Wheat Crop
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Agriculture Department is forecasting a far smaller U.S. winter wheat crop than a year ago. Its National Agricultural Statistics Service on Wednesday predicted the 2017 crop would be down 25 percent to 1.25 billion bushels. Its forecast average wheat yield of 48.8 bushels per acre is down 6.5 bushels from last year's record yield. The outlook is down even more for the nation's hard red winter wheat. The agency forecast hard red wheat production would be down 32 percent from a year ago to 737 million bushels. Hard red is the type of wheat most commonly grown in Kansas. Kansas farmers are expected to harvest 289.8 million bushels this year with average yields of 42 bushels per acre. That compares to the 467.4 million bushels cut last year.
United Denies Telling Kansas City Woman to Urinate in a Cup
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — United Airlines is denying that its staff told a Missouri woman to urinate in a cup rather than leave her seat to use the restroom on a flight from Houston. Nichole Harper told KCTV that she had a sudden urge to urinate because of her overactive bladder on the flight last month to Kansas City, Missouri. She says a flight attendant told her she wasn't allowed to stand up because the pilot was expecting turbulence. Harper responded by saying she was going to need a cup. She says flight crew reprimanded her after she filled two cups. Harper says it happened less than 30 minutes into the flight. United says it was during descent. United said in a statement it has reached out to Harper to "better understand what occurred."
Kansas City Shooting Victim Calls 911 After 3 Shot to Death
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A man is under arrest after a shooting victim summoned police to a Kansas home where three bodies were found. Kansas City, Kansas, police say the surviving victim was struck in the head and shot in the back late Tuesday at the home. Officers later found two men and a woman who had been shot to death there. Police say officers found the suspect about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the shooting scene. He was taken into custody but no charges have been filed. Officer Patrick McCallop says the suspect and victims knew each other, but he did not elaborate. Police on Wednesday identified those killed as 47-year-olds Bernadette Gosserand and Vincent Rocha, and 26-year-old Jeremy Rocha.
Topeka Man Jailed in Homicide
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities have arrested a man in a Topeka homicide. Police said in a news release that the 40-year-old suspect was booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree murder and a weapons violation. The release says the victim was suffering from head trauma when officers responded Tuesday night to a disturbance call. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries. The victim's name wasn't immediately released. The homicide is the 12th of the year in Topeka.
KC Chiefs' Linebacker Greene Charged in New Jersey Shooting
ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - A linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs has been charged in connection with a shooting in New Jersey. A grand jury indicted Khaseem Greene for weapon possession on Tuesday in a December shooting in Elizabeth, where Greene is from. The Kansas City Chiefs released the linebacker on Tuesday. Greene signed with the team in January. He was a star player at Rutgers University. A criminal complaint says Greene was seen on camera handing a gun to another man who fired into a crowd. His co-defendant was charged with aggravated assault, but the extent of the victim's injuries wasn't immediately known. Greene last played a game in 2014 for the Chicago Bears, who drafted him in 2013.
Woman Rushing to Catch Bus Struck, Killed in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say a car has struck and killed a woman as she rushed to catch a bus in Kansas City. KMBC-TV reports that the 39-year-old woman was not in a crosswalk when she was hit Tuesday morning. She had been rushing for a RideKC bus on a street between two apartment buildings. Police say the driver of the car stayed at the scene.
Topeka Man Admits to Lying Before Motel Shootout, Fire
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A man has pleaded guilty to lying about the whereabouts of a robbery suspect who later killed himself during a shootout that injured three federal agents at a Kansas motel. The U.S. attorney's office says 37-year-old Quentin Kirk Lawton, of Topeka, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of making a false statement to a federal officer. He admitted that he denied having seen 28-year-old fugitive Orlando Collins last year at the Country Club Motel in Topeka. However, surveillance cameras showed Lawton left the motel shortly before fugitive task force members tried to contact Collins at the hotel. Authorities say Collins shot two U.S. Marshals and an FBI agent. He started a fire that caused $350,000 in damage and his body was found when the fire was extinguished.
Kansas Mother, Son Accused in Killing, Still at Large
BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — A southeast Kansas mother and son still being sought for questioning in the killing of a 64-year-old man now are charged in the death. The Joplin Globe reports that Cherokee County prosecutors have charged 55-year-old Diana Bohlander and 21-year-old Ty Bohlander with first-degree murder in the April death of James McFarland. Investigators have said McFarland's body was found April 30 along a road near Baxter Springs, and that Diana Bohlander is believed to have had a romantic relationship with him. Authorities say they believe McFarland and the Bohlanders were homeless, and the three of them were last seen in mid-April at a campground in Pawnee, Oklahoma. A cause of McFarland's death has not been released.
Moustakas Homers in 12th to Lead Royals to 7-6 Win Over Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Mike Moustakas homered in the 12th inning, and the Kansas City Royals came back from a four-run deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6 on Tuesday night. Moustakas connected against Diego Moreno (0-1), the eighth Tampa Bay pitcher, on a 1-2 pitch with one out. Moreno was promoted from Triple-A Durham before the game. Kansas City right-hander Jakob Junis (1-0), recalled from Triple-A Omaha, worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the 11th. Kelvin Herrera got three outs for his fifth save. Salvador Perez had a two-run homer for the Royals. The All-Star catcher went 3 for 4 and walked twice.