News

Deborah Shaar

A team from the Federal Aviation Administration was in Wichita Thursday to go over a plan to shift weather reporting from trained observers on the ground to air traffic controllers at Eisenhower National Airport.

About 20 local aviation leaders attended the closed-door meeting inside the terminal at Eisenhower airport. Media were not allowed to hear the presentation.

Kathleen Ann, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would lessen penalties for first and second-time marijuana possession.

The vote Wednesday was 38-1.

The measure would reduce the punishment for first-time misdemeanor possession to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, rather than the current year in jail and $2,500 fine. A second possession conviction would no longer be a felony, so an offender wouldn't be sent to prison.

The measure goes next to the House, which passed a similar proposal last year.

Michael B. / flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers yesterday heard from supporters and opponents of a bill that would consolidate school districts. The bill would set a minimum size for districts, and those that are too small would merge.

The goal is combining administrations to create more efficient organizations. Republican Rep. John Bradford told skeptics of the bill that it wouldn’t result in schools closing.

Jordan Kirtley

A study released last month by Wichita State University found that Kansas’s sales tax pushes shoppers across state and county lines in order to save money on food. Kansas is one of only 14 states that includes groceries in the state sales tax.

J. Stephen Conn, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas House Wednesday advanced a bill changing the way state Supreme Court justices are selected. However, the measure came up short of the 2/3 majority it would ultimately need to pass during a final vote Thursday.

Critics of the current system say it isn’t democratic enough, because the nominees for the court are screened and selected by a commission. Republican Rep. James Todd is one of the supporters of changing the system.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

The QuikTrip store at 13th and Oliver in northeast Wichita is expected to close for good Thursday night. It follows the Walmart Neighborhood Market that closed nearby last week. One city official is assessing the area and seeking input on what's next for the property.

Center for Economic Development and Business Research

A university study projects the number of Kansans older than 65 will double in the next 50 years and outnumber children for the first time in state history.

The forecast released Wednesday by Wichita State University's Center for Economic Development and Business Research also projects a 21.8 percent increase between 2014 and 2064 as the Kansas population reaches more than 3.5 million people. That is slower than the growth rate for the nation.

Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

A lobbying campaign being waged by highway contractors has Kansas lawmakers on the defensive.

Billboards put up by the contractors accuse Gov. Sam Brownback and lawmakers of committing “highway robbery” by diverting more than a billion dollars from the transportation department to plug holes in the state budget.

Sen. Jeff Melcher fired back at a Statehouse hearing today Wednesday. The Leawood Republican called the charges a “gross misrepresentation of reality.”

Richard Ross

A new bill aimed at reforming juvenile justice has been introduced in the Kansas Statehouse. Advocates of the bill say it will keep low-risk youth offenders out of prison while saving the state money.

According to the advocacy group Kansans United for Youth Justice, 35 percent of young people locked up in the state are there for misdemeanors only, something that’s not done for adult offenders.

Kansas legislators are among those in several states considering measures to prohibit local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

One bill would ban so-called sanctuary cities. The other would also withdraw state funding from cities that don't cooperate with immigration officials.

Pages