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Headlines for Saturday, January 9, 2021

Kansas Prisoners in Next Group to Get Vaccinated

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — COVID-19 ravaged prisons in Kansas are set to be prioritized next for vaccinations. That's frustrating some lawmakers but is encouraging to some inmates' families and activists. The state prison system houses about 8,600 inmates. It's reported 5,320 cases among offenders and an additional 1,076 among staff. Thirteen inmates and four staff members have died. Governor Laura Kelly confirmed Thursday that people in prisons would be part of the next group to be vaccinated after health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Kelly said they're being prioritized based on guidance from doctors and public health experts.

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Red Tape Delays Law to Make Voting Easier in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas law designed to allow voters to cast ballots at any polling place in their county may not be implemented until 2023 because of bureaucratic delays. The law was passed in 2019. People currently just vote at their assigned polling place. The law directed Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab to write the rules and regulations to implement the change. But it included no deadlines. The Wichita Eagle reports that officials in Sedgwick County had hoped to have the new rules in place for the 2020 election cycle. But they’re only now coming up for approval by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Rules and Regulations.

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Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Workers' Comp Law

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld a state law which governs how much money workers who are injured on the job can collect. The court ruled Friday that an amendment to the Kansas Workers Compensation Act was constitutional because it did not alter the requirement that a worker’s impairment be “established by competent medical evidence.” The court said the reference to American Medical Association guidelines does not make the statute unconstitutional because they are merely a guide and only serve as a starting point for any medical opinion. It reversed a 2018 ruling by the Court of Appeals that had found the updated law unconstitutional.

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Newspapers Call on Missouri Senator Hawley to Resign

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Senator Josh Hawley is being scolded and blamed for Wednesday’s riots at the U.S. Capitol. Hawley’s political mentor, former Senator John Danforth, says supporting him was the “worst decision” he’s ever made. The 41-year-old first-term senator has rapidly emerged as one of President Donald Trump’s most loyal backers in Congress, and he staged an Electoral College challenge that became the focus of a violent siege of the Capitol. The Kansas City Star has called on Senator Hawley to resign, saying he has "blood on his hand" for his role in Wednesday's riot.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has also called on Hawley to resign, and at least one major donor has turned on Hawley, now calling him a “political opportunist” and urging the Senate to censure him.

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Olathe Man Charged in Death of Teen Killed in 2020 Crash

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — An Olathe man has been charged with second-degree murder in the traffic crash death last year of a 17-year-old girl. Television station KSHB reports that prosecutors on Thursday charged 42-year-old Eric Hoedl in the August 2nd death of 17-year-old Jade Burkhart. Police say Hoedl was driving a pickup truck that collided with the teen's car at the intersection of South Hedge Lane and West Larkspur Street in Olathe. Officials say Burkhart was about to enter her senior year of high school at the time of the crash. No other details of the crash have been released.

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Proposed Electric Rates for Solar Face Criticism

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Regulators are getting a flood of complaints as the state’s largest electric utility tries to come up with a new plan for recovering the cost of providing solar energy. Evergy was sent back to the drawing board after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled last spring that utilities cannot charges customers who produce some of their own energy more than other customers. From October 15th to December 21st, the Kansas Corporation Commission received more than 1,000 calls, emails and letters. The Wichita Eagle reports that all but about 20 of them opposed the alternative plans that are being considered.

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Lone Kansas Democrat in Congress Calls for Trump's Removal

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The lone Democrat in the Kansas congressional delegation is calling for President Donald Trump’s removal from office. Representative Sharice Davids made her comments in tweets after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and interrupted the certification of Trump’s election loss. Davids called late Wednesday on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to remove Trump from office under the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and make Pence acting president. Davids tweeted that Trump should be impeached over the failed insurrection in Washington but said there wasn't enough time before he leaves office January 20th. She said earlier that Trump had encouraged the mob violence.

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Lawyer: New KCK Lawmaker Reaches Deal to End Court Order

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An attorney says an incoming Kansas lawmaker who has faced a possible attempt to oust him once he took office has reached a legal agreement with a woman accusing him of harassment to end an anti-stalking court order against him. The order entered by a state court judge last month against Representative-elect Aaron Coleman of Kansas City, Kansas, was a key reason for the potential attempt by fellow Democrats to expel the 20-year-old. Attorney Barry Grissom represents the woman who accused Coleman of harassing her last year and sent The Associated Press a statement Wednesday saying the two settled her civil lawsuit that led to the judge’s no-contact restraining order.

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