Kansas Lawmakers End 2018 Session
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators boosted funding this year for public schools and increased spending in other parts of the state budget they saw as neglected. They also supported faith-based adoption agencies that cite religious reasons for not placing children in LGBT homes. Lawmakers adjourned their annual session Friday. The state is set to phase in a $534 million increase in spending on public schools over five years in response to a Kansas Supreme Court mandate to boost education funding. Other parts of the budget also saw extra money and state employees will get a pay raise. The adoption legislation would prevent faith-based agencies from being barred from providing adoption or foster care services for the state because the agencies won't place children in homes that violate their "sincerely held" religious beliefs.
Wichita Mother, Boyfriend Arrested after Toddler Hospitalized
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a mother and her boyfriend are behind bars after officers discovered the woman's 2-year-old son critically injured. Police say officer were sent to the boy's home Friday night, where they found the boy not breathing. The child was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Police say a preliminary investigation revealed the boy had sustained substantial injuries to his face and head. The boy's 22-year-old mother and her 25-year-old boyfriend have beenarrested and jailed on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder. Police continue to investigate.
Many Kansas Prison, State Hospital Doctors Lack Medical Licenses
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Several doctors at Kansas state hospitals and prisons are treating patients despite not passing required state or national medical exams. The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services says 19 doctors at Larned and Osawatomie have so-called institutional licenses that allow them to work at the hospitals. The Kansas City Star reports Corizon Health says one of nine medical doctors and four of nine psychiatric doctors have institutional licenses at Kansas prisons. Kansas aging Secretary Tim Keck says the doctors provide a valuable service in Kansas, which has a severe shortage of psychiatrists. But Rick Cagan, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Kansas, said the institutional licenses at state facilities means Kansans who need the most help often are served by doctors who, at least on paper, are less qualified.
Kansans Dispose of Over 8 Tons of Unused Medicines
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal report says Kansans safely disposed of more than 8 tons of unused or unwanted medicines during a special collection event. The Drug Enforcement Administration says Kansas officers collected 17,230 pounds of medicines at 112 locations during last Saturday's National Drug Take-Back Day. That was the largest single collection day in Kansas since the program began in 2010. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office says Kansans have safely destroyed 148,298 pounds of medications in 15 collection days since 2010. Law enforcement agencies turn over the drugs they collect to the DEA, which safely destroys the medications. Unused prescriptions can be turned any time of the year at many local law enforcement locations and some other locations.
Shawnee Mission Plans Meeting to Discuss Walkout Complaints
SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Shawnee Mission School District officials are planning a public meeting to discuss concerns about how some administrators reacted during last month's National School Walkout Day. The district scheduled a meeting for Monday evening to discuss an investigation into complaints that some administrators blocked the students' free speech during a walkout on April 20th. The Kansas City Star reports the district's investigation came after the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas threatened legal action against Shawnee Mission North and Hocker Grove Middle School. High school students said they were given a script for their 17-minute walkout and an associate principal took cameras away from student journalists. At the middle school, students complained their event was cut short because officials had not approved language about gun control or gun violence.
S&P Upgrades Kansas Credit Outlook
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A major financial rating agency has upgraded its credit outlook for Kansas following months of better-than-expected monthly tax collections. S&P Global Ratings said Friday that it was changing its outlook to "stable" from "negative" while reaffirming its rating of AA- for the state's debt. The state's tax collections have exceeded expectations for 11 consecutive months, including by $66 million in April. It's the longest streak of monthly revenue surpluses since at least 1989. S&P's statement said the state's better-than-expected revenues will help it stabilize its budget through June 2019. But it added that the state's ability to manage the budget with higher spending will be an important future credit factor. Republican Governor Jeff Colyer said the S&P
announcement shows that the state is moving in the right direction.
Kansas House Rejects Tax Cuts on Tie Vote
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have narrowly rejected a bill cutting income taxes because some lawmakers worried that it would create future budget problems. The vote Friday in the House was 59-59 on a bill that would save taxpayers an estimated $78 million during the state's next budget year that begins in July. The measure was a response to changes in federal tax laws last year that would force some individuals and corporations to pay more to the state. Many Republicans argued that the state should return the unanticipated "windfall." But GOP legislators were split. Critics argued that the bill could lead to budget shortfalls as early as next year. Legislators earlier increased public school funding to meet a court mandate and added money to other parts of the budget.
Man Gets Life Sentence in Olathe Bar Shooting
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who fatally shot an Indian national and wounded two other men in an apparent hate crime has been sentenced to life in prison. Adam Purinton was sentenced Friday for premeditated first-degree murder in the February 2017 death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla. Kuchibhotla's friend, Alok Madasani, was wounded. Another man, Ian Grillot, was shot when he tried to intervene. Witnesses said Purinton, who is white, yelled "get out of my country" before firing at the two tech workers from India who had stopped for a drink at Austin's Bar and Grill in Olathe. Purinton was also given two sentences of about 14 years for the wounding the two men. He wouldn't be eligible for parole for 77.5 years. Purinton still faces hate crime charges in federal court.
Sedgwick County Commissioner Indicted on Financial Crimes
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal indictment charges Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell with financial crimes related to campaign funds. The indictment unsealed Friday includes five counts of wire fraud, five counts of bank fraud and two counts of money laundering. The 33-year-old Wichita man was issued a summons to appear May 9th in court. O'Donnell did not respond to phone and email messages, and court records do not indicate an attorney. Prosecutors allege O'Donnell put campaign money into his personal bank account and filed false reports with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. O'Donnell was elected to the Kansas State Senate in 2012 for a term that ended in January 2017. He did not run for re-election and instead was elected to the Sedgwick County Commission for a term set to expire in 2020.
Police Searching for Suspect in Kansas, Multi-state Robbery Spree
VERGENNES, Vt. (AP) — Police in Vermont are searching for a Texas man who they say committed robberies in several states. The Warren County Sheriff's Office in Lake George, New York, tells a Vermont television station that 46-year-old Mark Triolo, of Lewisville, Texas, robbed Small City Market in Vergennes, Vermont, on Tuesday after robbing a gas station near Lake George the previous day. Police say Triolo is also a suspect in bank robberies in Kansas and Tennessee. Authorities say Triolo is armed and dangerous. Investigators believe he is driving a stolen Kia Sorento with the Texas license plate DH5-L669. Police say anyone who sees Triolo should call 911.
Judge Orders AG to Pay for Mexico Investigation for Man Accused of Killing 4 in KCK
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis judge will allow lawyers for a man accused of a two-state murder spree to send an investigator to Mexico to research the man's childhood and background, and he has ordered the Missouri attorney general's office to pay most of the cost. Pablo Serrano-Vitorino goes to trial in October in the March 2016 death of a Montgomery County, Missouri, man. He also is accused of killing four men in Kansas City, Kansas. He could face the death penalty in the Missouri case. Serrano-Vitorino is a Mexican nationally who was in the U.S. illegally when the killings occurred.The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Judge Steven Ohmer has ruled that the attorney general's office must pay up to $40,000 of the estimated $59,000 price for the investigation in Mexico.
Police Believe Missing Maize Woman is Dead
MAIZE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say they believe a 30-year-old Maize woman who disappeared last year is likely dead. Maize police Detective Jeff Piper said Friday investigators think 31-year-old Kendra Nystrom was the victim of foul play. She disappeared May 4th, 2017, while walking away from her parents' home. She walked away with her dog but left behind her cellphone, wallet, car and clothing. Piper says after months of searching, investigators believe she didn't disappear voluntarily and she is likely dead. Investigators throughout Sedgwick County have followed up on numerous leads and reports of sightings in the last year, to no avail. Piper and Nystom's mother, Judith Nystrom, asked the public for help in determining what happened to her.