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Commentary
12:04 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Crowson Cartoon: To Pete

Government
9:42 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Some Say House Bill 2453 Protects Religious Freedom; Others Say It OK's LGBT Discrimination

Kansas' Federal and State Affairs Committee is considering a bill on Tuesday that would protect individuals, groups, and businesses that refuse to recognize same-sex unions.

The measure--House Bill 2453--would also protect those who refuse to provide benefits to gay couples for religious reasons.

Kansas added a ban against gay marriage to the state constitution in 2005. Voters approved the bill by a 70 percent margin.

But recently, federal judges struck down similar bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

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Government
9:30 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Kansas Unemployment Rate Drops Below 5 Percent

The Department of Labor's latest report says the Kansas economy continued to improve at the end of 2013; the state's unemployment rate dipped below 5 percent for the first time since 2008.

Labor Secretary Lana Gordon says Kansas gained 10,000 nonfarm jobs in 2013.

Nine of the 11 major industry sectors posted job gains last year, topped by professional and business services.

Declines of 100 jobs were reported in government employment and 800 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector.

Commentary
5:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

An Alternate History For Kansas Day

Credit Wikimedia Commons

One nice thing about teaching Kansas history is that it is easy to draw a state map: just create a rectangle with one corner nibbled off.

This map could have been very different, however.

Our story begins in 1854, with the creation of the massive Territory of Kansas that extended from Missouri to the Continental Divide. With Utah on its western border, territorial Kansas included both Pike’s Peak and Bent’s Fort.

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Government
9:37 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Landowners To Receive Legal Protection For Preserving Lesser Prairie Chicken Habitat

The federal government is offering legal protections for landowners who help protect the lesser prairie chicken.

The protections should ease land-owner and energy industry concerns that they would not be able to operate in the bird's habitat if the prairie grouse is listed as a threatened species.

Those who take steps to preserve habitat will receive a letter guaranteeing they will not be fined or prosecuted if lesser prairie chickens are found dead on their property.

The decision would affect the plains of Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Oklahoma.

Government
9:31 am
Mon January 27, 2014

State Lawmakers Considering Proposal To Protect Those Who Don't Recognize Same-Sex Unions

Despite several more states legalizing gay marriage recently, Kansas lawmakers are considering a proposal that would protect individuals, groups, and businesses that refuse to recognize same-sex unions or to provide benefits to gay couples, for religious reasons.

State Representative Charles Macheers says the bill will protect religious freedom.

Governor Brownback is receptive to the idea, but says he hasn't yet studied the proposal enough to offer a formal endorsement.

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Business
9:25 am
Mon January 27, 2014

New Zealand Signs $127M Contract With Beechcraft For Military Pilot Training

New Zealand has signed a $127 million dollar contract with Wichita's Beechcraft corporation, for military pilot training.

Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman says the contract includes 11 Beechcraft T-6C turboprop planes. Plus, ground simulators and training systems that will be implemented in classrooms and on computers.

Trainee pilots will begin using the new system in 2016.

New Zealand has a defense force of about 14,000.

Government
9:22 am
Mon January 27, 2014

State Senator Looking To Make Paid Surrogacies Illegal

State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook is pushing a measure that would make it illegal to pay women to be surrogate mothers.

The proposal would also void existing surrogacy contracts.

The Public Health and Welfare Committee met yesterday to begin two days of hearings on the her proposal.

The bill is patterned after a law in the District of Columbia. Pilcher-Cook is concerned that Kansas has no laws dealing with surrogacy contracts; she worries that women are being exploited.

Commentary
5:00 am
Mon January 27, 2014

'UnAmericans' Is Masterful And Messy

Named by the National Book Foundation as one of five authors under 35 to watch, Molly Antopol has distinguished herself as master of the short story in her debut collection The UnAmericans: Stories.

Antopol’s stories are mostly of American immigrants relocating for political reasons, but are not familiar tropes of an immigrant story. The humanity and vulnerability show how the universal dynamics of family and romantic love are equally nurturing, distancing, tender and messy.

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Crime and Courts
9:48 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Committee Chairman Urges Chief Justice To Make Courts More Efficient

The Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee's chairman is promoting a series of measures aimed at making the courts more efficient in response to a budget-focused address by the state Supreme Court's chief justice.

Independence Republican Jeff King sent Chief Justice Lawton Nuss a letter Thursday, a day after Nuss gave the annual State of the Judiciary address. Nuss warned that the courts need another $8.3 million for the fiscal year beginning in July to avoid employee furloughs.

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