House measure aims to boost KPERS fund
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas would issue $1.5 billion in bonds to improve the short-term financial health of its pension system for teachers and government workers under a bill receiving first-round approval Tuesday in the state House.
The measure would allow the state to inject a big dose of new dollars into the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System so that its assets would cover more of its long-term obligations to provide retirement benefits to...
Total identity theft case comes to close
WICHITA (AP) — For almost 12 years, a Houston elementary school teacher and an illegal immigrant living in Topeka have engaged in a tug of war to claim the identity of Candida L. Gutierrez in a case that has put a face on the growing crime of total identity theft in the United States.
On Monday, the real Candida L. Gutierrez saw her identity thief, Benita Cardona-Gonzalez, for the first time. Their encounter came inside a federal courtroom in ...
Two face dog fighting charges
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal authorities in Kansas said Monday that they have broken up a dog fighting operation that included training pit bulls to fight in Kansas, Missouri and Texas by chaining the dogs to treadmills for hours at a time and using live chickens as bait.
Pete Davis Jr., 38, and Melvin L. Robinson, 41, both of Kansas City, Kan., were charged in a federal complaint in the U.S. District Court for Kansas with one count of tran...
Panel advances anti-abortion bill
TOPEKA (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee approved legislation on Friday to block tax breaks for abortion providers and bar public schools from using sex education instruction from abortion providers.
The Public Health and Welfare Committee approved the bill after a brief hearing. Legislators made no changes to the bill, which cleared the House on Wednesday on a 92-31 vote.
“I thought the House did good work on the bill,” said Sen. Mary Pilcher-...
Lawmakers to study corporate farming
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lawmakers decided Friday that they need more information before making changes to the Kansas corporate farming law.
The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources will have a judicial council review the corporate farming statute. The Senate Committee on Natural Resources, meanwhile, called for an interim committee to review the law before the 2014 legislative session.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has be...
KCK agrees to address sewer problem
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., has reached an agreement to address pollution in stormwater and the overflow of untreated raw sewage that has reached the Missouri and Kansas rivers, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday.
A settlement filed Thursday in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., requires the Unified Government to improve its operation and maintenance programs and ...
Immigration hearing draws emotional response
TOPEKA (AP) — An emotional crowd gathered for a House committee hearing on a measure that seeks to repeal in-state tuition for Kansas students without legal residency.
The measure under consideration in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee would repeal the nearly 10-year-old statute that allows students who graduate from Kansas high schools and have lived in Kansas for at least three years to pay in-state tuition at state universities...
Beechcraft sues over lost contract
WICHITA (AP) — Aircraft manufacturer Beechcraft announced Thursday that it has filed a lawsuit to contest the U.S. Air Force's decision to award a contract for a light air support plane to Sierra Nevada Corp.
The suit, filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., is the latest development in a bitter, high-stakes competition that has taken nearly three years with legal challenges from both sides.
The contract for 20 planes fo...
House passes tax cuts
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas House approved a bill Thursday overhauling the state’s tax system, setting up talks with the Senate over cutting personal income tax rates and canceling a sales tax decrease to stabilize the budget.
The Republican-controlled House’s vote was 82-39 on a measure that would mandate small reductions in individual income tax rates in each year that overall state revenues grow by more than 2 percent. The bill also would allo...
Sales, income tax bill advances
TOPEKA (AP) — Proposed cuts in Kansas’ sales and income taxes advanced Wednesday in the state House, but members stripped out a key provision of the legislation aimed at stabilizing the state budget.
The House gave initial approval to the bill on an 82-37 vote, with only majority Republicans supporting it. The tally suggested that GOP leaders will have enough votes to pass the measure on final action, which is scheduled for Thursday. Passage t...
Senate debates budget after House approves it
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas House gave final approval Wednesday to the chamber’s version of a $14 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes a 4 percent cut to higher education.
The 68-55 vote sent the bill to the Senate. The Kansas Senate began debating its version of the budget bill later in the day.
The Senate was making minor changes to its proposal, which would cover the years that start July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014. The b...
Eisenhower family wants new design of memorial in D.C.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The future of a planned memorial honoring Dwight D. Eisenhower was thrown into doubt Tuesday as lawmakers questioned the project’s design and cost and the 34th president’s family called again for the memorial project to be redesigned.
A House panel hosted a hearing on the 14-year-old project, which is planned for a site on the National Mall near the National Air and Space Museum. Planners could lose that space, though, withou...
House measure further restricts abortion
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas House members on Tuesday gave first-round approval to sweeping new restrictions on abortion after refusing to add exceptions that would allow victims of incest or rape — including children who are raped — to get late-term abortions.
The measure builds upon the state’s current ban on most abortions starting in the 22nd week of pregnancy by barring abortion providers from receiving tax breaks and prohibiting public schools f...
Kansas House advances budget
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas House gave first-round approval on Tuesday to a proposed $14 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, fending off a series of amendments aimed at public broadcasting funding.
The roll call vote of 71-51 advances the bill to final House action set for Wednesday, which is the same day that the Senate is scheduled to debate its version of the budget.
Under the House two-year budget proposal, the state ...
Block of union paycheck deductions passes
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Senate approved legislation Thursday prohibiting public employee unions from deducting money from members’ paychecks to help finance political activities over objections that the bill targets traditional Democratic supporters.
The vote was 24-16 and sends the bill back to the House to consider changes made by the Republican-led Senate. The House approved the measure earlier in the legislative session, but senators remo...
Kansas House approves gun rights measures
TOPEKA (AP) — A proposal to let school districts and state colleges designate employees who can carry concealed weapons, and another to expand the number of public buildings where concealed weapons are permitted, passed the Kansas House with broad support Thursday.
Another measure declaring that the federal government cannot regulate firearms manufactured, sold and kept in Kansas also was approved, though lawmakers readily acknowledged such a ...
Kansas Senate passes revised tax bill
TOPEKA (AP) — Legislation cutting Kansas’ personal income tax rates cleared the state Senate on Thursday, but Republicans in both chambers remained split over GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to offset such reductions by canceling a promised decrease in the sales tax.
The Senate’s 25-14 vote sends the tax bill to the House, which is working on its own measure. Brownback hopes to follow up on massive income tax cuts enacted last year by cuttin...
House OKs gun measures
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas House on Wednesday advanced three gun measures, including one that could allow people to carry concealed weapons into some government buildings and another that is meant to bar federal authorities from confiscating firearms made in the state.
One bill would require local governments to either take additional steps to make public buildings secure or allow people to carry concealed weapons inside. Much of Wednesday’s deb...
Kansas Senate passes tax bill
TOPEKA (AP) — The Republican-dominated Kansas Senate rewrote tax legislation before giving it first-round approval Wednesday night, keeping GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposals for cutting income tax rates further but scrapping part of his plan for revenue-raising offsets to stabilize the budget.
Senators advanced the measure on a voice vote after nearly five hours of debate. A second, final vote is set for Thursday, when approval would send the...
Argentine cardinal becomes pope
VATICAN CITY (AP) — From “the end of the earth,” the Catholic Church found a surprising new leader Wednesday, a pioneer pope from Argentina who took the name Francis, a pastor rather than a manager to resurrect a church and faith in crisis. He is the first pontiff from the New World and the first non-European since the Middle Ages.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires who has spent nearly his entire career in Argentin...