Associated Press

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2:09 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Kobach Says He Is Preparing To Prosecute Election Fraud

Credit US Dept. of Justice [Public domain] / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says his office would immediately begin to prepare election fraud prosecutions if Governor Sam Brownback signs a bill giving him the power to prosecute.

Kobach has sought that authority since taking office in 2011.

The state House approved the bill 67-55, and sent the bill to the governor.

The secretary of state is currently Kansas' chief elections official, but must refer cases to county and federal prosecutors to pursue criminal charges.

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4:29 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Gov. Brownback Says He's Not Drawing Clear Lines On Taxes

Governor Sam Brownback says he will not draw clear lines on what he'll accept from the Kansas Legislature, which is considering rolling back one of his major economic initiatives.

Lawmakers are working to close a projected budget deficit of $406 million dollars for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st.

The House Taxation Committee was working on a plan to raise the state's sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent.

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4:14 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

House Approves Bill Upping Secretary Of State's Power

Credit US Dept. of Justice [Public domain] / Wikimedia Commons

The House has approved a bill that would give Kansas' secretary of state the power to prosecute election fraud.

The chamber's 67-55 vote Thursday sends the measure to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has sought prosecutorial authority on election fraud cases since taking office in 2011. He has also authored state laws requiring voters to present photo ID.

The bill would also stiffen penalties for election fraud crimes and allow organizations to reward voters with gifts worth less than $3.

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Crime and Courts
1:29 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

4 Of 5 Hutchinson Teenagers Plead Not Guilty In Alleged Plot

Hutchinson High School

Four of five teenagers accused of conspiring to carry out a shooting at Hutchison High School have pleaded not guilty in juvenile court.

Three of the suspects denied the charges in court yesterday, while a fourth suspect previously denied the charges in writing.

The fifth suspect is scheduled for a court hearing today.

All five are charged with solicitation to commit first-degree murder and criminal threat. They were arrested in April after Hutchinson High School officials were alerted to postings on Facebook that threatened a mass murder at the school.

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3:47 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Kansas Attorney General Appoints New Civil Litigation Chief

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has picked a former state Bar Association president to lead the division in Schmidt's office that handles civil lawsuits.

Schmidt announced Monday that Dennis Depew has been appointed deputy attorney general.

Depew is from Neodesha in southeast Kansas and has had a private law practice for more than 30 years. He served as the Kansas Bar Association's president in 2013 and 2014.

He also serves on Neodesha's board of education. He was a member of the board from 1985 to 1999 and was re-elected again in 2009.

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3:27 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Kansas Governor, Leaders Meet Amid Work On Tax Proposals

Credit Stephen Koranda

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has met with top GOP leaders as the Kansas Legislature continues its discussions about raising taxes to erase a state budget shortfall.

Brownback had a private session Tuesday morning with Senate President Susan Wagle, House Speaker Ray Merrick and the majority leaders in both chambers.

Their gathering came before the Senate tax committee convened to discuss revenue-raising proposals.

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12:09 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Large, $4.7M Bulk Solids Research Plant Opens In Salina

Credit Don Johnson, flickr Creative Commons

A new $4.7 million research center in Salina is designed to help industry and businesses find the best methods to handle bulk solids such as sugar, salt and chemicals for manufacturing and production.

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11:47 am
Mon May 18, 2015

Youth Group Urges The Kansas State Fair To Ban Smoking

Credit SmartSign, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas State Fair is being asked to consider banning smoking throughout the fair grounds.

A Reno County youth group called Communities That Care has discussed its research and ideas on a smoking ban with the state fair board twice; the board will consider their request tomorrow.

Smoking is currently not allowed in the fair buildings or in the grandstand seating area.

The youth group wants the fair board to expand that ban to the entire grounds, saying it would create a healthier environment for fairgoers.

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10:52 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Kansas Senate Rejects Measure To Allow Stronger Beer In Grocery Stores

Credit Mike Mozart, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Senate has rejected a measure to allow supermarkets and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer.

The Senate voted 26-11 yesterday against adding the proposal to a bill on alcohol regulations. The Senate later approved the bill on a 31-5 vote.

Supermarkets and convenience stores in Kansas now can sell only beer with 3.2 percent alcohol. Stronger alcoholic drinks can only be sold in the state's roughly 750 individually-owned liquor stores.

The issue of expanding alcohol sales has generated fierce lobbying efforts on both sides.

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2:42 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Kansas Supreme Court To Decide Legality Of Wichita's Marijuana Ordinance

Credit Katheirne Hitt, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Supreme Court says it will decide the legality of a voter-approved ordinance in Wichita lessening criminal penalties for marijuana possession.

The court ruled Wednesday that it will retain jurisdiction under its authority to hear issues of sufficient public concern.

It kept in place a stay of district court proceedings.

It also noted that Wichita has already agreed that enactment of the ordinance should be put on hold until the courts rule.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt contends the ordinance is void because it conflicts with state law.

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