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Headlines for Saturday, April 4, 2020

Governor: Kansas Could Run Out of Protective Gear Next Week

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly says Kansas could run out of personal protective equipment for medical personnel and others dealing directly with the coronavirus pandemic by the middle of next week. Kelly issued her warning Friday as the state saw its largest spike in COVID-19-related deaths. Kelly says Kansas received a shipment of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves late Thursday night but still has six requests for more equipment yet to be filled by the federal government. She said the current supply will last until Tuesday. Coronavirus-related deaths jumped by five Friday to 18.


Missouri Governor Issues Stay-at-Home Order

COLUMBIA, Mo. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) — Missouri Governor Mike Parson has issued a statewide stay-at-home order starting Monday, meaning Missouri will join about 40 other states that require residents to avoid going out except for essential purposes. The Republican governor’s order came Friday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri topped 2,000. The number of infections in the state has risen eight-fold in the past 10 days. Nineteen people have died of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. The majority of Missouri residents are already living under stay-at-home orders issued by local leaders, including most of the Kansas City and St. Louis areas, Springfield and Columbia


Kansas Governor Signs 10-Year Transportation Plan

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has signed legislation to launch a new, 10-year transportation program she and other officials see as a $10 billion stimulus to counter the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. The program will use use existing funds to pay for $1 billion a year in projects, with projects designated every two years. The measure Kelly signed Friday allows the state to expedite $300 million worth of big projects with a fast-track, designing-while-building process. The program commits $85 million over 10 years to improving the infrastructure for broadband service. The legislation also allows the state to build three toll roads.


KU Med Students Graduate Early to Help with Pandemic

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — More than 50 University of Kansas medical students are graduating early to participate in a program that will deploy them throughout the state to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The University of Kansas Medical Center said in a news release that the program will allow seniors to serve in areas of “critical need” before their residencies start in July at various locations throughout the country. Students from all three of the medical school’s campuses, in Kansas City, Salina, and Wichita, have volunteered.


Kansas Court: No Solar, Windmill Price Discrimination

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled utilities cannot charge customers who produce some of their own energy more than other customers. The decision Friday strikes down a proposed rate design by Westar and Kansas Gas and Electric, finding it constitutes price discrimination against residential customers who use solar panels or windmills to generate some or all of their electricity. It notes lawmakers codified into state law the goal of incentivizing renewable energy production by private parties.


Court Bans Enforcement of Kansas 'Ag-Gag' Law

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked enforcement of provisions in a Kansas law that ban the secret filming at slaughterhouses and other livestock facilities. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil issued a permanent injunction Friday after finding in January that the state’s “Ag-Gag” law unconstitutionally criminalized free speech. The Kansas law was enacted in 1990. It had made it a crime or anyone to take a picture or video at animal facilities without the owner’s consent or to enter them under false pretenses.


Kansas' Review of Cellphone GPS Data Raises Privacy Concerns

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is facing questions over the state's monitoring of GPS data gleaned from people's cellphones about how residents have cut down on travel during the coronavirus pandemic. But Kelly on Thursday defended the state Department of Health and Environment's use of the data. She called its compilation “harmless” to individuals and said it helps the state focus efforts to promote social distancing where they're needed most. The public-interest law firm Kansas Justice Institute is demanding that Kelly provide more information about how the information is collected and used. Unacast said in a statement Thursday that its data "never shows individuals’ behavior.”


2 More Charged in KC Entertainment Area Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two more suspects have been charged in the fatal shooting of a teenager in a Kansas City entertainment district. The Jackson County prosecutors announced Thursday that 18-year-old Lavont Carter and 20-year-old Christien Woody, both of Kansas City, Kansas, are charged with second-degree murder and three other charges. Three other people are already charged in the February death of 17-year-old Devin Harris. Four other people were injured in the shooting in the Westport district. Investigators said Carter and Woody were with other people in a vehicle from which shots were fired.


Overland Park Police Investigating Body Found near I-435

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Police in Overland Park are asking for witnesses to come forward after a body was found last week along Interstate 435. The Kansas City Star reports police believe the person died after being hit by a vehicle on March 26th. Officer John Lacy says the person apparently was hit in the westbound lanes of the interstate under the Roe Avenue bridge. The victim’s identity has not been released.


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