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Headlines for Monday, December 9, 2019


Kansas Democratic Governor, GOP Lawmakers Keep Clashing over Taxes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Republican legislators are headed toward another confrontation over tax cuts. The GOP isn't giving up on reducing income taxes and Kelly has other priorities. Top GOP lawmakers plan to push next year for cuts for individuals and businesses that are paying more in state income taxes because of changes in federal tax laws in 2017.  Kelly vetoed two bills to do that earlier this year. Kelly is wary of reducing income taxes even after a more optimistic state fiscal forecast last month. A tax-study council she appointed is focused on sales and property tax cuts.


Kansas GOP Lawmaker Facing Probe Changes Voter Registration

A Kansas congressman being investigated for registering to vote at a UPS store has changed his registration to list a Topeka apartment complex as his residence. Republican Rep. Steve Watkins is still listing the UPS store in southwest Topeka as his mailing address after naming an apartment complex about 2 miles to the north as his residence in a new registration form dated Friday. The local sheriff's department is investigating whether Watkins broke state election laws by listing the UPS store as his residence in late August. A Watkins spokesman has said listing the UPS store as his residence was a mistake. 


Kansas Lawmakers Seeking Federal Offices Free to Raise Money

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers who are running for federal office are free to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists despite a state rule limiting such contributions during the legislative session. The state limit doesn't apply to federal elections. So state Senate President Susan Wagle, Senator Barbara Bollier and state Representative Troy Waymaster are all free to raise money for their Congressional campaigns. Wagle, a Republican, and Bollier, a Democrat, are both running for U.S. Senate. Waymaster is a Republican running for Congress. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, said the lawmakers running for federal office should voluntarily refrain from raising lobbyist cash during the session.


Kansas Sheriff's Deputy Accused of Stalking Co-Worker

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office jail deputy has been arrested after being accused of stalking a co-worker. The sheriff's office says in a news release that Shawn McGonnigil was arrested Friday and has been placed on administrative leave. He has been with the  department for about six years. The release did not offer details about who McGonnigil is accused of stalking or how he reportedly did so. The sheriff's office says its Professional Standards Unit is also investigating the allegations against McGonnigil. A phone number for McGonnigil could not be found Saturday.


K-State Will Play in Liberty Bowl on New Years Eve Day

The Kansas State Wildcats, coached by first-year head coach Chris Klieman, will take an 8-4 record to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, on Tuesday, December 31 against a 9-2 Navy team. The 2:45 pm game will be televised on ESPN.  Klieman is one of only eight "first year" coaches to make it to a bowl game this year.  (Read how the Wildcats became college football contenders in this report from KPR's Greg Echlin.) Go Wildcats! #EMAW  


University of Kansas Researcher Charged with Theft

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A University of Kansas researcher is charged with receiving illegal discounts and not paying sales taxes. The Kansas Attorney General's office says 37-year-old Liuqi Gu, of Lawrence, was charged Thursday with four felonies and two misdemeanors. Prosecutors allege he claimed purchases he made from Thermo-Fisher Scientific were for the university so he could receive discounts. He also allegedly used confidential information from the university to avoid paying thousands of dollars in sales taxes.


Lansing Inmate - in Prison Since 1994 - Dies in Custody

LANSING, Kan. (AP) — A 44-year-old man who has been in prison for murder since 1994 was found dead Saturday inside the Lansing Correctional Facility. The Kansas Department of Corrections said the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is looking into the death of Joshua Kaiser. Kaiser was paroled last year for a 1993 carjacking and killing in Topeka, but was still serving a sentence for another crime. He was expected to be released in 2021. Kaiser and another man robbed 33-year-old Tim Riley of his car, forced him into the trunk at gunpoint. They then drove him to another area, where he was fatally shot.


Wichita Police Arrest Man in Shooting Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say they've arrested a man suspected in the fatal shooting death of another man earlier this week. Police say 25-year-old Chevy Jones, of Wichita, was arrested Friday evening in the Tuesday death of 31-year-old Robert Junior, also of Wichita. Police say Jones was arrested after a brief dust-up when officers spotted him in a car and tried to stop him. Police say Jones instead rammed his car into a police cruiser, causing minor injuries to a police lieutenant. Police say Jones then fled on foot. He was arrested a short time later, and police say he was carrying a handgun.


Deaths of 2 Men from Junction City Considered Murder-Suicide

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say the deaths of two men from Junction City are being investigated as a murder-suicide. Geary County authorities say the bodies of 27-year-old Zachary Lima and 24-year-old Christopher Young were found late Thursday near Milford Lake Dam in Junction City. Geary County Sheriff's Deputy David Gilbert said investigators believe Lima forced his way into a home and took 24-year-old Christopher Young out of the house before the men's bodies were found. No further information was released.


Lawrence School District Considers Suing E-Cigarette Maker Juul

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Another Kansas school district is considering suing a leading e-cigarette maker. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the school board will consider Monday whether to join legal action against Juul. The potential litigation would seek to recoup money the district says it has spent on education, enforcement and monitoring to minimize vaping. Several other districts in the Kansas City area already have sued. The lawsuits argue Juul's marketing has targeted teenagers who are not legally allowed to use tobacco products. Juul has said it doesn't market to youth and its products are meant to be an alternative to smoking.  


Kansas City Woman Hit, Killed While Walking Across Street

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City woman has died after being hit by a car while crossing a street. Police say 63-year-old Carrie Davis was walking across a street a block north of the Kansas City VA Medical Center when she was hit. She was taken to an area hospital, and police were notified Friday that she had died from her injuries. The driver, who remained at the scene of the crash, was questioned by police. No charges have been filed in the case.


State AGs Look to Head Off T-Mobile-Sprint Deal in Court

NEW YORK (AP) — T-Mobile is about to face 14 state attorneys general in court in defense of its attempt to buy Sprint for $26.5 billion. T-Mobile has already notched approvals from key federal regulators. Starting Monday, it must also convince a federal judge that the state attempt to block the deal is misguided. A combined T-Mobile-Sprint company would become a fiercer competitor to the larger Verizon and AT&T. But the states argue that having one fewer mobile carrier would cost Americans billions of dollars in higher wireless phone bills. The trial in U.S. District Court in New York is expected to last several weeks.


Some Lawrence Officials Say Bus Service Should be Free

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Some Lawrence leaders say the city should consider eliminating bus fares in the wake of a drop in ridership. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that annual ridership dropped from 3.13 million trips in 2017 to 2.97 million in 2018, or by about 5.3%. Ridership is on pace to drop another 5.6% from 2018 to 2019. That amounts to about 1,000 fewer trips for every day the bus operates. The city and the University of Kansas coordinate their bus service.


Southeast Kansas Judge Accused of Unprofessional Conduct in Courthouse

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A foul-mouthed Kansas judge accused of bigotry and racism is facing complaints that his conduct violates the central judicial canons of independence, integrity and impartiality. The Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct will next week consider whether Montgomery County Judge F. William Cullins performs his duties with sufficient competence and diligence that he can continue on the bench. One former clerk was so disgusted with his obscene outbursts at courthouse employees that he kept a "swear journal" that will be presented as evidence. According to the commission's pretrial order, Cullins acknowledges that he needs "a more effective management style."


Elections Chief Resigns in Kansas County Beset with Problems

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The top elections official has resigned in a populous Kansas county plagued in two recent elections with delays in reporting results. The Kansas secretary of state's office announced Thursday that Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker stepped down, but Metsker didn't give a reason in his resignation letter. Metsker had been commissioner since February 2016 and was appointed by former Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Johnson County is the state's most populous county and saw delays in reporting election results in November 2016 and August 2018. But a spokeswoman for current Secretary of State Scott Schwab said those problems were not why Metsker resigned.  


Kansas Man Who Wanted Son to Be Tough Sentenced in His Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 29-year-old Wichita man who said he wanted his 6-month-old son to be tough has been sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison in the boy’s death. Dorl Gwyn was sentenced Friday for second-degree murder in the April 2018 death of Jazz Gwyn at their home in Wichita. KAKE-TV reports Dori Gwyn told police he was shadowboxing with his son because he wanted to make him a tough kid. Jazz Gwyn's mother took the boy to the emergency room because he had stopped breathing. An autopsy showed Jazz suffered several injuries including a laceration to his heart, rib fractures, bruising and head injuries.


Kansas City Police End Written Miranda Warning for Suspects

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Missouri, no longer will give suspects a written warning of their right to remain silent. Public radio station KCUR-FM reports that police will instead verbally remind suspects of their rights as part of a push to fight violent crime. The Miranda warning also informs suspects of their right against self-incrimination and right to an attorney. Consultants had advised that written warnings could deter suspects from talking to police. Police reports say at least 134 people have been murdered in Kansas City so far this year, up from about 121 at this time last year.


Sheriff: 2-Year-Old Boy Dies After Vehicle Backs over Him

BENTLEY, Kan. (AP) — A 2-year-old boy died after a vehicle backed over him at a Sedgwick County home. Sheriff's deputies say the boy was injured Sunday afternoon at a home near Bentley, in northwest Sedgwick County. He died at Wesley Medical center. The Wichita Eagle reports Sheriff’s Capt. Keith Allen said the death remains under investigation. 


Missouri Attorney General Backs High School Football Prayer

CAMERON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's Republican attorney general is defending a local high school football coach who is under fire for allegedly leading students in prayer. The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint against the Cameron R-1 School District. The national association of atheists and agnostics claims that the coach violated the U.S. Constitution by leading students in prayer before and after games. Attorney General Eric Schmitt says the First Amendment protects students' right to pray.


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.

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