Panel OKs rival tax plan
TOPEKA (AP) — A Kansas House committee has approved a plan from its Republican chairman to cut sales and income taxes.
The proposal approved Tuesday by the Taxation Committee rejects key elements of GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for following up on individual income tax cuts enacted last year.
The proposal from Chairman and St. Marys Republican Richard Carlson allows the state sales tax to fall to 5.7 percent in July, as scheduled by state law...
Panel considers bill to eliminate state college savings plan
TOPEKA (AP) — A program that helps some poor Kansans save for college could be eliminated under a bill currently being considered by a House committee.
The program allows up to 1,200 state residents each year to receive up to a $600 yearly state match for contributions to the Kansas’ 529 college savings plan. The program is open only to households at 200 percent or below the federal poverty level, or with incomes roughly below $47,100 a year f...
Company protests Air Force contract
WICHITA (AP) — Airplane maker Beechcraft said Friday it will formally protest an Air Force decision to award a competitor a contract worth more than $427 million, claiming the decision puts an estimated 1,400 jobs in Kansas and other states in jeopardy.
The announcement is the latest development in a bitter, high-stakes competition that has taken nearly three years with legal challenges from both sides. The contract could be worth as much as $...
Strip club legislation dies
TOPEKA (AP) — Legislation banning alcohol, total nudity and semi-nude lap dances inside Kansas clubs was rejected Friday by a state House committee, a setback for advocates who’d hoped a new crop of conservative lawmakers would enact tough statewide regulations on sexually oriented businesses.
The Federal and State Affairs Committee first narrowed the proposed “Community Defense Act,” limiting it to preventing new sexually oriented businesses ...
Legislators debate innovative schools bill
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas lawmakers on Thursday continued debating legislation aimed at creating 10 innovative school districts that would be exempt from many state rules and regulations in exchange for improving student achievement.
The House gave first-round approval to its bill Thursday after debate over exempting the 10 districts from many laws governing teacher contract negotiations and due process. Senators approved a similar version on a 3...
Panel passes abortion measure
TOPEKA (AP) — Sweeping legislation cleared a Kansas House committee Thursday that would bar public schools from having any relationship with abortion providers or their informational materials and would block even indirect subsidies for abortions.
The bill approved by the Federal and State Affairs Committee doesn’t contain changes as dramatic as a new Arkansas law that nearly bans abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy, but abortion rights ...
Council wants support for problem gamblers
TOPEKA (AP) — The head of the National Council on Problem Gambling on Thursday urged Kansas to increase its support for programs that help residents with gambling addictions, saying the state has an ethical and financial responsibility to do more.
Keith Whyte said that not all of the money from a state fund established in 2007 is making it to addiction programs. He said only 10 percent of the funds earmarked for addiction programs were being ...
Nation’s wealth regains its peak
WASHINGTON (AP) — It took 5 1/2 years.
Surging stock prices and steady home-price increases have finally allowed Americans to regain the $16 trillion in wealth they lost to the Great Recession. The gains are helping support the economy and could lead to further spending and growth.
The recovered wealth — most of it from higher stock prices — has been flowing mainly to richer Americans. By contrast, middle class wealth is mostly in the form of ...
House panel passes concealed-carry bill
TOPEKA (AP) — Public schools and state colleges in Kansas could designate workers to carry concealed guns even if such weapons are banned inside their buildings for others under a bill that a legislative committee approved Tuesday.
The Kansas measure approved by the House Federal and State Affairs Committee also would require the state, cities, counties and townships to allow concealed guns in their buildings unless they have electronic equipm...
State to take over SEK nature center
GALENA (AP) — Supporters of the Southeast Kansas Nature Center in Galena say the state’s decision to take over operation of the center will help ensure its survival and draw tourists to the area.
The Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism said Tuesday that it will begin operating the nature center after agreements are signed with the center’s board and the Galena City Council officially approves them. The state is already advertising for a director ...
Teachers object to changing law
TOPEKA (AP) — The largest teachers’ union in Kansas is warning of a “war” on educators as the Republican-dominated Legislature considers a proposal that would narrow contract negotiations between teachers and public school districts.
The proposal, which is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday, would reduce the number of issues that teachers’ groups could negotiate with local school boards. For example, teachers would still be able to negotiate su...
Court orders mediation in school suit
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas’ highest court ordered meditation Friday in an education funding lawsuit and stayed a lower court’s ruling directing legislators to increase spending on public schools.
Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the state Supreme Court last month to order mediation and to put on hold a ruling by a three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court that required the state to boost annual spending on school ...
‘Celebrate Freedom Week’ bill passes
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas House backed a bill Friday that would require schools to devote a week in mid-September each year to focus on teaching students about the country’s founding.
The “Celebrate Freedom Week” measure, one of several pending bills sponsored by conservative Republicans that would affect school curriculums, passed on a 95-25 vote. It would require the State Board of Education to develop rules and regulations for public schoo...
House approves Court of Appeals change
TOPEKA (AP) — The governor and lawmakers would have more power over state Court of Appeals appointments under a measure approved Friday by the Kansas House, and supporters hoped the move would help them enact even more sweeping changes.
The House voted 73-50 in favor of a bill providing for Court of Appeals judges to be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, eliminating an attorney-led nominating commission from the selection p...
Pope Benedict XVI steps down
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI left the Catholic Church in unprecedented limbo Thursday as he became the first pope in 600 years to resign, capping a tearful day of farewells that included an extraordinary pledge of obedience to his successor.
As bells tolled, two Swiss Guards standing at attention at the papal palace in Castel Gandolfo shut the thick wooden doors shortly after 8 p.m., symbolically closing out a papacy whose l...
KU students make honor roll
LAWRENCE — More than 4,450 undergraduate students at the University of Kansas earned honor roll distinction for the fall semester.
The students, from KU’s Lawrence campus and the schools of Allied Health and Nursing in Kansas City, Kan., represent 97 of 105 Kansas counties, 41 other states and 39 other countries.
The honor roll comprises undergraduates who meet requirements in the College of Liberal Arts and Science...
Obama, lawmakers to meet as cuts kick in
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House conceded Wednesday that efforts to avoid automatic budget cuts are unlikely to succeed before they kick in and is initiating new talks with congressional leaders to confront seemingly intractable tax-and-spend issues.
President Barack Obama will meet at the White House Friday with House and Senate leaders of both parties on the same day the cuts, known in Washington-speak as a “sequester,” take effect. This wo...
Tycoon plans to send couple to Mars
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s a road trip that could test the best of marriages: Mars.
A tycoon announced plans Wednesday to send a middle-aged couple on a privately built spaceship to slingshot around the red planet and come back home, hopefully with their bodies and marriage in one piece after 501 days of no-escape togetherness in a cramped capsule half the size of an RV.
Under the audacious but bare-bones plan, the spacecraft would blast off less ...
Pope leaves legacy of teacher who returned church to roots
VATICAN CITY (AP) — On Monday, April 4, 2005, a priest walked up to the Renaissance palazzo housing the Vatican’s doctrine department and asked the doorman to call the official in charge: It was the first day of business after Pope John Paul II had died, and the cleric wanted to get back to work.
The office’s No. 2, Archbishop Angelo Amato, answered the phone and was stunned. This was no ordinary priest. It was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, his b...
Man faces charges for firing at rescuers
OLATHE (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man has been charged with setting fire to his roommate’s home and then attempting to kill the emergency workers who rescued him.
William J. Outhet Jr., 58, faces one count each of arson and attempted first-degree murder in Johnson County District Court, The Kansas City Star reported. During a hearing Monday, his bond was set at $1 million. Conditions of being freed include that he “follow mental health reco...