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Headlines for Sunday, January 10, 2021

Washburn, KSU Start Semester Online Due to COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State and Washburn universities will begin the spring semester online as the pandemic rages. The first two weeks will be virtual at Kansas State University, but it isn’t clear when in-person learning will resume at Washburn. Dr. JuliAnn Mazachek, vice president of academic affairs at Washburn, said in a statement that the decision about classes will be reviewed weekly and that “the university will return to face-to-face classes as soon as possible.” Kansas State said in a statement that the goal was to mitigate continued spread of COVID-19. 

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Kansas Legislature Set to Convene amid Partisan Challenges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature is set to convene its annual session Monday with GOP seeking to wrest control of policy from Democratic Governor Laura Kelly.  The session’s 90 days will come amid a partisan dispute over how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and mostly behind-the-scenes political jockeying for the 2022 governor’s race. GOP leaders believe they have a mandate to govern after voters elected more conservatives in last year’s elections. Top Republicans have outlined priorities that include cutting income taxes and putting a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution on the ballot. The governor has promised to push again for Medicaid expansion. 

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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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Republicans Recoil from Missouri Senator Hawley after Siege

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. At least one major donor has turned on Hawley, now calling him a “political opportunist” and urging the Senate to censure him. And one home-state newspaper editorial board declared he has
“blood on his hands.” 

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Olathe Man Charged in 2020 Fatal 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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