Kansas House Advances Spending Bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Members of the Kansas House worked through part of the weekend to approve a bill adding new spending to the more than $16 billion state budgets approved for the state's current fiscal year and the next one beginning in July. House members advanced the measure and sent the bill to the Senate. The bill includes nearly $8 million to provide pay raises for employees in the state's court system, including a 2.5 percent increase for judges. It also restores $12 million in past cuts in the state's higher education system. The Senate expects to debate its own budget legislation next week and the final version will be drafted by negotiators for the two chambers.
Governor Colyer Hopeful about Kansas Funding Bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer says he hopes to sign a bill this week to fix a flaw in a recently enacted education funding law. Colyer issued a statement Saturday after the House approved the measure on a 92-27 vote. The House's vote sends the measure to the Senate, and senators are expected to debate the legislation this week. The law is designed to phase in a $534 million increase in spending on public schools over five years in hopes of meeting a Kansas Supreme Court mandate to boost education funding. The flaw inadvertently lowered the total increase by $80 million. Colyer said the new law gets more dollars into classrooms and requires schools to improve student performance. He also said the state can afford the extra spending without raising taxes.
Sprint and T-Mobile Agree to Combine in All-Stock Deal
NEW YORK (AP) - Two of the country’s largest cell phone service providers, T-Mobile and Sprint, are trying again to merge in a deal that would reduce consumer choices to three major cellphone companies. The proposed deal announced yesterday (SUN) would put T-Mobile's CEO in charge of the combined company with headquarters in Bellevue, Washington. Executives say that Sprint’s base of operations in Overland Park would become a second headquarters for the new, combined company. Sprint has cut about 500 jobs this spring but company executives say the merger will create more jobs and provide more security for Sprint's nearly 6,000 employees in Overland Park. Some Sprint employees say they are skeptical because much of the work performed in Overland Park is also done at T-Mobile's headquarters near Seattle. Eliminating redundant positions is typically one of the ways companies save money in large corporate mergers. The companies say they expect to save $6 billion a year if federal regulators allow the merger.
Tech Giants Apple, Google Oppose Kansas Adoption Bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Tech giants Google and Apple oppose adoption legislation in Kansas that many in the LGBT community consider discriminatory. An organization of more than 80 companies called TechNet sent Kansas legislators a letter calling the measure a "license to discriminate." The organization includes Google and Apple. The bill would prevent the state from denying grants and contracts to faith-based agencies for refusing to place children into homes that don't align with their religious beliefs. Supporters contend the bill isn't designed to discriminate, but to keep faith-based agencies free to uphold their religious beliefs without fear from lawsuits. Backers include the state's Catholic bishops. But TechNet's letter said enacting the legislation would have "dire" economic consequences for Kansas and companies nationwide would avoid a state perceived as unwelcoming toward LGBT people.
Man Struck, Killed by Train in Rural Northeast Kansas
MAPLE HILL, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a Wabaunsee County man was struck by a train and killed while struggling with a trailer that had detached from his pickup truck at a railroad crossing. The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the victim as 58-year-old David Miller, of Maple Hill. The patrol says Miller got out of the truck to try to re-hitch the trailer. He was trying to get back into the pickup when a Union Pacific train came around the curve Friday night. Miller was pronounced dead at the scene. No one aboard the train was hurt.
Suspect in 2015 Kansas City Killing Arrested in Minnesota
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Authorities say a suspect in a 2015 killing in Kansas City has been arrested in Minnesota. The Kansas City Police Department has confirmed that Lakeith Courtney was booked last week into the jail in Hennepin County in Minneapolis. He was charged in 2016 with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Kevin Durham. His body was found in his parked car in November 2015. Durham had been shot several times. Court records say surveillance video, digital pictures, social media posts and rap videos helped Kansas City police identify Courtney as the suspected shooter.
Lawrence May Create City's First Two Bicycle Boulevards
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Lawrence transportation officials are considering creating the city's first bicycle boulevards. The boulevard proposal is one of several bike and pedestrian projects recommended by the city's Transportation Commission. The boulevards would be on sections of 21st Street and Lawrence Avenue. Commission chairwoman Erin Paden the bike boulevards would use streets the already have low car traffic. The project would include traffic diverters, lower speed limits and speed bumps to give bikes priority on the roads and discourage motorists from using the roads to cut through. The 21st Street project would be 1.3 miles long and coast an estimated $247,000. The Lawrence Avenue stretch would be a half-mile long and cost about $103,000. The City Commission will consider the recommendations at an upcoming meeting.
Extensive Photo Exhibit Opens at KC Art Museum
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An extensive photography exhibit spanning 190 years is opening at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The Kansas City Star reports the free exhibit that opens this Saturday displays some of the photographs purchased in recent years with a $10 million grant from the Hall Family Foundation. It includes a rare 1826 image by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, the man credited with inventing photography. It's one of eight known to exist. It also features the work of human surrealist Diane Arbus and contemporary German photographer Thomas Demand. The exhibit of nearly 100 photographs is entitled "The Big Picture: A Transformative Gift from the Hall Family Foundation." It marks the 75th anniversary of the foundation created by Hallmark Cards Inc. founder Joyce C. Hall. The exhibition runs through October 7th.