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Headlines for Saturday, July 3, 2021

Kansas Collected 9% Tax Surplus in 2021 Budget Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is reporting that its tax collections for its just-concluded 2021 budget year were 9.3% more than anticipated. That left the state with its healthiest cash reserves in more than 25 years as the national economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. The report yesterday (FRI) from the state Department of Revenue said the state collected $8.9 billion in general tax revenues for the budget year that ended Wednesday. That was $758 million more than it expected even after state officials and university economists issued a new, more optimistic fiscal forecast in mid-April. The state begun its 2022 budget year Thursday with cash reserves of $1.9 billion or more.


Kansas Sees Another COVID Surge from Delta Variant

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has experienced another surge in new COVID-19 cases from the faster-spreading delta variant heading into the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The state Department of Health and Environment reported yesterday (FRI) that another 75 delta variant cases had been identified in Kansas since Wednesday for an increase of 26.5% to 358. Since Monday, the number of delta variant cases has grown by 136 or 61%. The state also has seen the average number of total new COVID-19 cases rise since June 23rd. Meanwhile, the department reported yesterday (FRI) that 39% of the state’s 2.9 million residents were fully vaccinated and 44.4% had received at least one of two required shots.


Three More Shigella Cases Traced to Sedgwick County Water Park

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Three more people have tested positive for the Shigella bacteria, linked to a Sedgwick County water park.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Sedgwick County Health Department are continuing to investigate an outbreak of water-related illnesses linked to the Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard.  This makes six people who were at the Splash Park June 11th who have tested positive for the Shigella bacteria.  Several more individuals have tested positive for norovirus, sapovirus, and a type of E. coli.  Health officials are investigating whether those illnesses are also linked to Tanganyika's Splash Park.  The Splash Park has been closed since June 19th.


Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Convictions in KCK Triple Murder

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the first-degree murder convictions of man sentenced to 150 years in prison over a triple homicide in Kansas City, Kansas, duplex. The high court yesterday (FRI) unanimously rejected arguments from an attorney for MonDale Le’on Douglas that the judge gave flawed instructions to the jury in his trial and that a new trial was warranted because a prosecutor appeared during closing arguments to express a personal opinion that Douglas was the killer. 31-year-old Douglas was convicted of the fatal April 2018 shootings of 51-year-old Edward Rawlins, 46-year-old David Rawlins and 40-year-old Addrin Coats.


Group Launches Ad Campaign to Pressure Senator Moran on Infrastructure

WASHINGTON (AP) — A dark money group founded by former Vice President Mike Pence’s ex-chief of staff plans to launch an ad campaign next week to pressure Kansas Senator Jerry Moran into dropping his support for a bipartisan infrastructure plan. The Kansas Republican stands for re-election in 2022 and is one of 21 senators who signed on last week to the $973 billion package negotiated with President Joe Biden. The Kansas City Star reports that the campaign from The Coalition to Protect American Workers is expected to feature television spots in the Wichita and Topeka markets. The anti-tax group was formed in March by former Pence chief of staff Marc Short.


Pilot Suffers Minor Injuries in Crash Landing near Wichita

BEL AIRE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a pilot suffered only minor injuries when he was forced to make a crash landing near the Wichita suburb of Bel Aire. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says the single-engine plane was flying from Nebraska to Kansas when it suffered a mechanical failure. Officials say the pilot — described as a Wichita man in his 30s — was trying to reach Jabara Airport in Wichita, but was forced to put the plane down in a field just northeast of the city. Officials say the rough landing destroyed the plane, but left the pilot with only minor injuries that were treated at the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.


US Supreme Court Ruling Could Help Kansas Defend Voting Laws

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowing the Civil Rights-era federal Voting Rights Act could help Kansas defend election measures enacted by Republican state legislators. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the assessment of Thursday's decision came from both Republican state Attorney General Derek Schmidt and veteran election-law attorney Mark Johnson. The new state laws took effect Thursday and are being challenged in separate lawsuits in federal and state courts. Kansas now limits the number of absentee ballots people can deliver to election officials for others and bars out-of-state groups from mailing absentee ballot applications to voters. Supporters say the changes prevent fraud, while critics argue that they limit help for voters.


Arrest Made in June Fatal Double Shooting in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita have arrested a man suspected of pulling the trigger in a double shooting last month that killed one man and injured another. Television station KAKE reports that officers arrested 39-year-old Jermall Campbell on Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree murder, aggravated battery, criminal possession of a firearm and gambling. He is being held on $1 million bond. Police say Campbell was still at the scene of the June 20th shooting inside a home when officers arrived and found 47-year-old Deandre Freeman shot to death. Police say a 53-year-old man also had been shot and was taken to a hospital. His condition was not immediately known Thursday. Police have said five men were at the home when a disturbance broke out and Campbell fired several shots.


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