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Headlines for Saturday, May 8, 2021

Kansas Lawmakers Pass COVID-Related Bills

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas lawmakers passed proposals to ban COVID-19 vaccine passports, limit efforts to track down the close contacts of people with the coronavirus, and provide up to $500 million to businesses that closed or faced pandemic restrictions.  The GOP-controlled legislature approved budget legislation last night (FRI) that included a ban on state agencies from issuing vaccine passports and limit on COVID-19 contact tracing. Lawmakers early this morning (SAT) approved a separate bill that would set aside federal COVID-19 relief funds headed to the state, cities, and counties to compensate small businesses harmed financially by pandemic rules.


Kansas House, Senate Pass Bipartisan Education Spending Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas legislators have approved a bipartisan measure boosting education spending while also making more students eligible for private school scholarships.  The Republican-controlled Senate approved the measure, 35-4.  The GOP-controlled House passed it, 107-9, sending the package of dollars and policy changes to Democratic Governor Laura Kelly, who has indicated that she would support it.  Legislators had to pass the bill to complete the next state budget, and it contained a 5.3% increase in aid to the state's 286 school districts, to $5.2 billion.  It also expands a program that gives tax credits for donation to funds that provide private-school scholarships.


Holton Man Strikes Plea Deal in Controversial Rape Case

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) - A Holton man whose rape case has divided his small northeast Kansas town has struck a plea deal with prosecutors that will likely put him in prison for 10 years.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 26-year-old Jacob C. Ewing pleaded guilty yesterday (FRI) in Jackson County District Court to two counts of aggravated sexual battery.  Jackson County Attorney Shawna Miller said in a news release that both sides agreed to accept the plea agreement a sentence of 10 years in one case and two years, eight months, in the second case.  Both sentences would run concurrently.  Sentencing is scheduled for June 18th.


Missouri Lawmakers Pass Budget without Medicaid Expansion

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have approved a $35 billion budget for next that includes no funding a Medicaid expansion approved by voters.  House and Senate members gave final approval yesterday (FRI) to the spending plan just hours ahead of a constitutional deadline.  The budget increases funding for public schools, universities, hospitals, and nursing homes.  Republicans said it also includes more money for the current Medicaid program, but not to expand coverage to thousands of low-income adults as laid forth in a 2020 constitutional amendment.  Governor Mike Parsons administration siad it will evaluate its legal requirements on the voter-approved Medicaid expansion.

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