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Headlines for Sunday, April 19, 2015

Kansas A.G. to Issue Fantasy Sports Opinion
 
 TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Whether fantasy sports leagues are predominantly won by skill or luck is taking on new meaning in Kansas as the state's attorney general investigates their legality. Attorney General Derek Schmidt could determine them to be primarily games of chance, and therefore illegal under the Kansas constitution. The constitution only allows the state to administer games that fit a broad definition of lottery. Players compete in fantasy leagues by drafting digital teams using data from real athletes,and then tracking their performance during real games.Leagues and fantasy sports websites often give cash prizes to the best performing teams. Republican Rep. Mark Kahrs from Wichita has asked the attorney general to weigh in on categorization as a bill defining fantasy sports as legal games of skill moves through the Legislature.

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Woman Touted as Welfare Reform Success Works for State  

 TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A woman that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's administration has frequently held up as a success story in his efforts to connect welfare recipients with jobs is a temporary state employee.  The Republican governor mentioned Valerie Cahill, of Kansas City, Kansas, in his State of the State address. She also spoke at the signing ceremony of a bill creating additional restrictions on those receiving cash assistance. Cahill is listed on the state employee database as an employee of the agency that crafted the welfare reforms and administers the job training program. A Department for Children and Families spokeswoman said in an email to The Wichita Eagle that Cahill is a full-time temporary employee of the department working in a program helping needy families with energy expenses.  

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KU Students Turn Airstream into Mobile Classroom  
 
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ University of Kansas architecture students have transformed a blighted camping vehicle into a classroom on wheels. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the renovated 1972 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht is called the KU Mobile Collaboratory. It features storage carts that can be pulled out of their spots along the edge and unfolded into tables. Benches double as storage and countertops fold down to hold displays or up to get out of the way.  The School of Architecture, Design and Planning hopes to establish borrowing procedures so researchers and faculty can tow it around the state for public-interest projects. Possible uses for it include science lab, a dining room, an elementary classroom, a conference space and art gallery.  
    
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Kansas Approves $1 Billion in Bonds for Pension System  
 
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill authorizing $1 billion in bonds to bolster Kansas' pension system for teachers and government workers.  The bill that Brownback signed Wednesday will give the pension system an infusion of cash and narrow a gap in funding for pension benefits. The state expects to earn more from investing the new funds than it would pay on the bonds. But some lawmakers have expressed concerns that it could be risky and the votes to pass it in the Legislature were relatively close.  Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly from Topeka has said she believes that the state made the move in order to lower its annual pension payments as it faces budget shortfalls of nearly $600 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1.  

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Kansas State Lab Reports Increase in Rabies Cases  

 MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas State University laboratory that conducts rabies testing is reporting a spike in positive results. Diagnostician Rolan Davis says there were 28 positive rabies cases from January through March of this year, up from 10 positives for the same three months in 2014.  The school said this week in a news release that 23 of the cases involve rabies in a skunk, the animal most associated with carrying the virus in Kansas. There also were three cases in cats, one in a bovine and one in a fox.  Davis says the increase isn't a cause for alarm but urged people to be aware in case they come across an infected animal. Officials at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory say vaccinating pets is the best protection against rabies.

 

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