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Stephen Koranda Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The Kansas House has endorsed a plan that would require some potential voters to prove their US citizenship before the November election. The bill moves ahead a requirement for people to prove citizenship when registering to vote for the first time in Kansas. That law is currently set to take effect in January 2013. The House bill would move it to June of this year. Ann Mah ("maw"), a Topeka Democrat, says the change would stop some people from registering in time for the primary and the November election. Supporters of the bill have argued that it’s needed to help stop voter fraud. They...

KPR Web Operations Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

State Senator Bob Marshall, Fort Scott, speaking with KPR's J. Schafer. (Photo by Janet Campbell)One hundred and forty years ago... inside a small cabin in north-central Kansas... the following words were first written-down: "Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam." Those words -- and a few other lines -- would later become the LYRICS to the official state song of Kansas. This week, the Kansas Senate passed a resolution celebrating the old cabin where those words were first committed to paper. KPR's J. Schafer spoke with a co-sponsor of the resolution, state Senator Bob Marshall, of Fort...

KPR Web Operations Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Douglas County prosecutors are investigating pending or past cases involving two suspended Lawrence police officers suspected of dismissing speeding tickets in exchange for Kansas basketball tickets. Also on Tuesday, city officials confirmed they are investigating whether other police officers were involved in dismissing the tickets. City officials say the person whose traffic tickets were fixed is serving a federal prison sentence related to a broader Kansas ticket scandal. The two officers were suspended earlier this month after an FBI investigation. Douglas County...

KPR Web Operations Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

 GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — Wildlife officials say a snowy owl found shot to death last week at the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area near Great Bend probably was shot by a poacher.  The owl was alive when it was found last Thursday but had a serious injury to a wing. Veterinarians at the Great Bend Raptor Center amputated the bird's wing but it died the next day.  The Wichita Eagle reports that snowy owls are not an endangered species, but shooting one is a federal violation.  The owl is one of more than a hundred that have been spotted this year in Kansas. In a normal year, only one or two snowy...

KPR Web Operations Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

KS GOP Income Tax Plan Hikes Rates for Poorest  TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Revenue estimates for the House Republican income tax plan show that the lowest income earners would be the only bracket that would see their tax rates go up. The estimates show the plan would cost Kansas more than $850 million over the next five years, possibly creating budget issues in future years. The figures were obtained today (WED) by The Associated Press from a legislative source who wasn't authorized to release the information publicly. House Republican leaders developed the plan as an alternative...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Sen. Jean Schodorf (R-Wichita) chairs the Senate Education Committee. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)A Senate committee is considering Governor Sam Brownback’s plan to overhaul education funding. Brownback’s proposal would simplify the formula and include some additional money aimed at helping rural school districts. But some opponents say the plan doesn’t do enough to reverse funding cuts from recent years. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, there could be a lot of work ahead on the bill.   Friday of this week is a deadline for most bills to pass at least one chamber of the Legislature or be...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Photo from sxc.hu Kansas House members say the state should have the right to join an interstate compact to fight federal rules for health care programs. The House passed a bill arguing for the change yesterday (TUE). It's a protest from the Republican-dominated Legislature against health care policies pushed by President Barack Obama. The bill says states should run programs like Medicaid and Medicare as they see fit. Representative John Rubin, a Republican from Shawnee, supported the bill. Opponents of the legislation said it is largely symbolic, because Congress would have to approve a...

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

  LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) _ An English runner has won the annual Shrove Tuesday trans-Atlantic pancake race, beating the winner of the southwest Kansas leg of the race by 10 seconds. Eighteen-year-old Devon Byrnes of Olney, England, covered the course in 58.5 seconds to beat 19-year-old Kaela Krueger, who won the leg of the race in Liberal six hours later. Women clad in aprons and head scarves run the course with a pancake in their pan, flipping it at the beginning and end of the race. Shrove Tuesday, widely known in Britain as Pancake Day, is traditionally the last day for merrymaking before...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

  A proposal in the Kansas Legislature would give a new commission the authority to create charter schools in Kansas that aren't under the control of local education officials.  Under current law, local school boards control the creation of such schools.  The bill under consideration would give that power to a new commission under the Kansas Board of Education. Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, says the new charter schools wouldn’t be supervised by local school boards. Supporters of the legislation say creating more charter schools in Kansas would provide more...

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

(AP) — The Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane brought in $21.6 million in gambling revenue through January. The Kansas Lottery says the total includes several "soft openings" and a demonstration for state regulators before the casino officially opened in late December. The casino near Mulvane expects to open a five-table poker room soon, and will expand to 2,000 slot machines, 45 tables and a 12-table poker room when its permanent casino opens in January 2013. The Lottery says the Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway in Wyandotte County, which opened February 3, brought in just over $6.8...

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Officials in Emporia are looking forward to the benefits of the designation of the city's downtown as a historic district.  The nomination was approved by the Kansas Historical Society on a vote of 11-0 at a weekend meeting.  The Emporia Gazette reports that owners of buildings and businesses worked with community groups for more than three years on the project.  Casey Woods, executive director of the group Emporia Main Street, says designation of the downtown historic district brings access to new tax credits and other incentives for maintaining and renovating buildings...

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A foundation started by actor Brad Pitt after flooding in New Orleans will help renovate a closed Kansas City school into affordable housing and a community center.  City officials and architects announced the $14 million project for the 103-year-old Bancroft School on Monday.  Pitt, a native of Missouri, founded the Make It Right Foundation to help bring affordable housing back to New Orleans after the 2007 floods. BNIM Architects of Kansas City was one of the firms chosen to help with that project.  The Kansas City Star reports that the project is only the second...

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

============================ Health Care Compact Legislation Advances in Kansas House TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A bill permitting Kansas to join an interstate compact to end federal rules for health care programs has received first-round approval in the state House. The measure advanced on an unrecorded 80-37 vote Tuesday. The bill is expected to pass on final action Wednesday and go to the Senate. It's a protest from the Republican-dominated Legislature against health care policies championed by Democratic President Barack Obama. Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas have already...

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Plans to put a cap on state spending -- and phase-out the income tax -- are commanding a lot of attention at the Kansas Statehouse. Governor Sam Brownback is pushing one plan. House Republicans prefer another. Meanwhile, a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats in the Senate could stand in the way of either plan becoming law. Jim McLean of the KHI News Service has been looking into arguments for and against the tax plans.    

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 20th, 2012

  MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Kansas in April to speak at Kansas State University. The university said Monday the former two-term Iowa governor will deliver the spring Landon Lecture on April 10 at 10:30 am in McCain Auditorium. Vilsack became USDA secretary in January 2009. Kansas State officials note that the Department of Agriculture funds the university's Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition Programs. Click here for more information on the Landon...

Bryan Thompson Monday, February 20th, 2012

The Hall Family Foundation has donated 10.5-million dollars to support an initiative to win National Cancer Institute designation for the University of Kansas Cancer Center.  More from Kansas Public Radio’s Bryan Thompson.    

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 20th, 2012

Photo courtesy of J. Stephen ConnThe small southwest Kansas town of Ulysses is being featured on CNN.  Unlike many small towns in Kansas, the county seat of Grant County has been booming in recent years.  The town has seen an influx of immigrants from south of the U.S. border.  In its report, CNN says most home-grown locals have been excited by -- and welcoming of -- the new residents.  They're spending money, buying homes and filling schools with kids.  Click here to...

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 20th, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — On the surface, Edward Maher and his wife appeared to enjoy a comfortable middle-class life. They had homes in quiet neighborhoods, drove late-model cars and took occasional weekend trips. They raised two sons.  But beneath that veneer lay a darker past.  Maher was an international fugitive.  He was wanted in Britain on allegations that he stole a fortune worth $1.5 million back in 1993, while working as a security guard for an armored truck company.  When he was captured in rural Missouri, the suspect dubbed "Fast Eddie" by the British media had managed to evade...

Stephen Koranda Monday, February 20th, 2012

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House committee has postponed its vote on a bill aimed at preventing the state from subsidizing abortions even indirectly through tax credits or deductions.  Chairman Steve Brunk said he cancelled Monday's meeting of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee to give members more time to draft possible amendments. Brunk, a Bel Aire Republican, expects a vote next week. The committee's approval would send the bill to the full House. The bill also rewrites the state's informed consent law, requiring doctors to provide certain information before terminating a...

KPR Web Operations Monday, February 20th, 2012

  WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita State University researcher says people fib more while texting.  Assistant professor David Xu is lead author of a study that will appear in the March edition of the Journal of Business Ethics. The paper compares the levels of deceit people use in a variety of media, from text messages to face-to-face interactions.  For the study, 170 students from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia were promised cash awards of up to $50 for performing mock stock transactions.  Students designated as "buyers" were given inside knowledge that...

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