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Headlines for Saturday, February 27, 2021

Kansas Supreme Court Suspends Judge

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — A foul-mouthed Kansas judge accused of bigotry who cursed at courthouse employees so often that a trial clerk kept a “swear journal” documenting his obscene outbursts has been suspended from the bench for one year. The Kansas Supreme Court yesterday (FRI) called Montgomery County Judge F. William Cullins’ behavior “quite troubling” while meting out a harsher punishment than was recommended by a disciplinary panel. The court says Cullins shows bias and the appearance of bias in his remarks and that his coarse language sullies the judiciary. The ruling is effective immediately, but the court said it would consider waiving the remaining suspension after 60 days if he enters into an approved plan for training and counseling.

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Trump Endorses Senator Moran

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Kansas Senator Jerry Moran for reelection in 2022. Trump's early backing makes it unlikely the two-term Republican will face a serious challenge in the GOP primary. Trump’s endorsement Thursday evening came less than two weeks after Moran voted with most Republican senators to acquit Trump on an impeachment charge of inciting the January 6th insurrection in Washington. But Moran had voted to certify the results and the Clay County Republican Party censured him earlier this month. That suggested that Moran might face an August 2022 primary challenge. But a former GOP state chairman said yesterday (FRI) that Trump's endorsement could head off a challenge.

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Kansas Plan Would Add $450 Million COVID Funds to Unemployment System

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kansas have advanced a new proposal to put $450 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government into the state’s unemployment program to help cover losses from fraudulent claims. GOP members of the House Commerce Committee included the measure yesterday (FRI) in a bill aimed at overhauling the unemployment system. The committee approved the bill on a voice vote, sending it to the full House for debate, possibly as early as next week. GOP lawmakers are worried that employers, which pay taxes to finance unemployment benefits, will be on the hook to cover fraudulent claims. Some Democrats were wary of the proposal to set aside federal dollars.

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Teenager Arrested in Fatal Newton Stabbing

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 16-year-old boy is in custody after a man was stabbed to death in Newton. Police say they teenager was stopped Thursday night because he was driving erratically. City spokeswoman Erin McDaniel said in a statement that the teenager told the officer he and been in a fight and stabbed someone. Officers later found a 27-year-old man suffering from stab wounds. The man died at a Wichita hospital. Police say they also found a bloody knife in the teenager's car. Police did not say how the boy and man knew each other, or what led to the fight.

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Pedestrian Killed on Wichita Street

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a woman has died after being hit by a vehicle as she walked along a street in southwest Wichita. Television station KAKE reports that the crash happened early Friday morning along South West Street. Police say the woman was in her 30s and was walking in the roadway when she was hit. Police have not released her name. Investigators say the driver was going to work at the time of the crash and didn't see the woman. Officials say the driver is cooperating with police.

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Shawnee Student with Gun Arrested at High School

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Police in the Kansas City suburb of Shawnee say a high school student found with a handgun in his backpack at school has been arrested. The Shawnee Police Department said in a news release that the gun and other contraband were found by Shawnee Mission Northwest High School staff Thursday morning in a search of the student's backpack. Principal Lisa Gruman said in a note to parents that the search was conducted and gun found during an investigation involving an unrelated matter. Police confiscated the gun and arrested the student, who is under 18 and whose name was not released.

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Governor's Aide: GOP Plan May Slow Kansas Emergency Response

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top aide to Democratic Governor Laura Kelly warned Republican legislators Thursday that a proposal to curb the power of the governor and other Kansas officials could seriously hamper the state’s response to future public health emergencies. Kelly's chief of staff Will Lawrence also urged legislators to extend a state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawrence objected to key portions of a bill from the state Senate’s top Republicans that would rewrite the state’s emergency management laws. He said the oversight by the attorney general and the Legislature required by the bill could delay a response to an emergency. Republicans were skeptical of that argument.

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