Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

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Agriculture
3:08 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Proposal To Hike Agricultural Land Taxes Spawns Backlash From Kansas Farmers

State Sen. Jeff Melcher
Credit http://www.kslegislature.org/

A suburban lawmaker's proposal that would dramatically increase property taxes on Kansas agricultural land has spawned strong rural backlash and nagging fears that pieces of it will pop up in legislation to close a state budget shortfall.

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Government
12:37 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

New Proposal Would Grant Kobach Prosecutorial Powers Over Election Fraud Cases

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

The Senate has also advanced Secretary of State Kris Kobach's proposal to give his office the power to prosecute election fraud cases.

But debate on the measure exposed a split among Republicans who control the Legislature.

The Senate gave the bill first-round approval on a voice vote.

It's expected to pass in a final vote today and go to the House.

Kobach says county prosecutors are usually too busy to pursue election fraud cases.

But critics say there's not enough election fraud to justify such a move.

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Education
12:26 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Kansas Bill Penalizing Profane School Materials Moves Ahead

Credit Robert S. Digby, flickr Creative Commons

Teachers no longer would be exempt from criminal charges for showing students materials deemed to be harmful to minors under a bill given first-round approval in the Kansas Senate.

Teachers could be charged for any materials thought to be too sexual or too profane for minors.

Republican Senator Forrest Knox of Altoona said he supported the bill.

Knox says teachers should not be protected from showing materials that would draw penalties in other contexts.

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Politics
11:38 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Seek To Boost Campaign Contribution Limits

Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers want to boost their campaign contribution limits to keep pace with a boom in outside election ads.

The House Elections Committee unanimously endorsed a bill last week that would at least double contribution limits to campaigns for state offices. Lawmakers from both major parties said the move is necessary after an election cycle in which outside groups vastly outspent official campaigns.

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Community
11:31 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Kansas Sees Push To Make Catfish A State Symbol

Credit Ryan Somma, flickr Creative Commons

Despite past opposition, some Kansas residents want the channel catfish to become a state symbol.

Supporters of the fish say it has a long history in Kansas and remains one of the most popular species in the state's waters.

Bills to designate it as a state symbol have been introduced in Senate and House Committees. It was nominated by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison.

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Education
1:27 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

New Online Tool Allows Public To Comment On KS Education Standards

Credit alamosbasement, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas education officials have created an online tool to allow the public to comment about math, reading and writing standards.

The tool, called "Join the Conversation!" will be available online until Oct. 30th.

People will be able to read about the standards and make suggestions on moving a standard to another grade level, creating a new standard or rewriting a specific standard.

Kansas based its standards in part on the Common Core state standards, which have faced criticism in recent years.

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Government
1:05 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Kansas Senate Passes Bill Stiffening Scrap Theft Penalties

Credit Tom Woodward, flickr Creative Commons

Penalties for Kansas scrap theft would rise significantly under a bill passed unanimously by the state Senate.

Senators said during debate on Thursday that scrap thieves often cause thousands of dollars in damage by removing metal components from equipment.

The bill would make scrap theft a level-six felony, putting repeat offenders behind bars. It also would create a scrap database to help authorities track down offenders and punish dealers trading in stolen goods.

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Crime and Courts
4:28 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Louie The Clown Recovered

Detective Lang and Louie the Clown
Credit WPD I Facebook

An organ-playing clown lost for nearly a decade was found and was presented to citizens Thursday by the Wichita Police Department. KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc reports...

Louie is an animated ceramic close-to-life-size clown, who played a Wurlitzer organ at the old Joyland theme park in Wichita for many years.

The clown represented happy days and nightmarish memories for children of all ages.

Joyland closed in 2004, and in 2005 or 2006, Louie went missing.

On Thursday, Louie was brought back to the people who missed and didn't miss him.

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Education
12:48 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Kansas Files Appeal Over Education Funding Ruling

The state of Kansas has filed an appeal of the ruling that found the state isn't spending enough money on its public schools.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced the filing on Wednesday.

The Shawnee County District Court panel declared in its December ruling that the current funding is "inadequate from any rational perspective of the evidence."

The panel said the evidence suggests base state aid should increase to at least $4,654 per student - which would amount to about $548 million dollars per year.

Government
12:47 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Proposals Advance To Change How Kansas Picks Highest Court

Credit J. Stephen Conn, flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas House committee approved rival proposals for changing how state Supreme Court justices are selected.

Justices would be elected under one proposal clearing the Judiciary Committee. Under the other plan, the governor would appoint the justices directly, subject to Senate confirmation.

Currently, a lawyer-led commission screens applicants for Supreme Court vacancies and names three finalists. The governor must pick one, with no role for lawmakers.

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