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Regional Headlines for Sunday, February 2, 2014


KS Woman Charged in Lawrence Death Returns

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 19-year-old woman charged with killing a Lawrence businessman has been brought back to Douglas County from Florida where she was taken into custody.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson told The Lawrence Journal-World that Sarah Gonzales McLinn was turned over to the sheriff's office and booked into Douglas County Jail on Saturday.

McLinn is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Harold Sasko, whose body was found on January 17th at the home they shared. Branson says McLinn will appear before District Judge Paula Martin in Douglas County District Court on Monday.

McLinn's being held on a $1 million bond.

Lawrence police who went to Florida to talk to McLinn after her January 25th arrest at Everglades National Park drove her back to Lawrence.


KS Lawmakers Seek to Sever State From Health Act

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some conservative Kansas lawmakers are pushing to let the state join a compact seeking independence from the Affordable Care Act.

Representative Brett Hildabrand introduced the measure in the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs last week to make Kansas a member of the Health Care Compact.

The Wichita Eagle reports eight states, including Missouri and Oklahoma, already have approved joining the compact, which seeks independence from the federal health care law.

The Shawnee Republican says he got the idea from an email conversation with Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican, and Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Congress must give permission for the states to suspend federal health care laws. Hildrabrand thinks that could happen if Republicans regain control of the U.S. Senate in November.


Kansas Files Brief Supporting Hobby Lobby

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is supporting Hobby Lobby in its fight to challenge the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers cover emergency contraceptives.

The Wichita Eagle reports the Kansas Attorney General's Office filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Hobby Lobby Incorporated, an Oklahoma-based arts and crafts retail chain. Hobby Lobby's founder and CEO David Green objects to the regulation based on his religious principles.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says in a statement that the issue is religious liberty. He says the Constitution protects businesses that want to base policies on religious teachings.

The Supreme Court is expected to argue the case in March, with a decision expected by summer.


Wyandotte County Jury Awards $917K in KGS Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Wyandotte County jury has awarded four former Kansas Gas Service employees more than $900,000 after deciding they were discriminated against based on age when they were fired for sharing emailed porn.

The Kansas City Star reports the case began when KGS discovered pornographic materials had been shared in the company email system. Ten workers were fired among 52 employees who received the emailed obscene materials.

The four men, all older than 40, said they were disciplined more harshly than others who received the emailed porn. The jury said the four men received unequal enforcement of discipline for a first offense. The $917,035 award was for lost income and emotional distress.

A Kansas Gas Service spokeswoman says the utility's "disappointed in the verdict" and evaluating what to do next.

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