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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Government
1:33 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Kansas House Panel Passes Budget Requiring Tax Increases

Credit Stephen Koranda

A Kansas panel has endorsed a $6.4 billion-dollar budget that will not balance without tax increases.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the plan on Tuesday.

The budget would fall about $133 million dollars short if the Legislature does not increase taxes on alcohol and cigarettes as Governor Sam Brownback has recommended.

Representative Virgil Peck said that he would not support a budget that increases spending without having secured the revenues to pay for it.

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Government
1:28 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Move To Restrict Collective Bargaining

State Senator Julia Lynn
Credit http://kslegislature.org

The Senate Commerce Committee is considering a proposal to restrict collective bargaining between public employees and state and local government agencies.

Chairwoman Julia Lynn says the Committee will debate the measure during its meeting today. Lynn believes the Republican-dominated panel supports the bill.

The measure would limit contract talks between government agencies and unions to minimum pay for workers.

Employers could determine other issues themselves, including how workers are evaluated.

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Education
1:50 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Slowing Enrollment In Kansas Schools Shows Economic Recovery

Credit tanakawho, flickr Creative Commons

The number of students who enrolled in the Kansas higher education system dropped slightly in 2014, especially among older, non-traditional students which officials say indicates economic recovery.

The overall enrollment at Kansas public institutions, including community colleges and technical schools, fell 2.5 percent from the 2012-2013 academic year to the following one.

The Kansas Board of Regents met last week to discuss enrollment at the state's schools.

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Agriculture
1:43 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

US Ag Secretary Touts Moves To Boost Rural Economies

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Credit wikipedia.org

U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke in Wichita on Monday to about 470 people attending the National Farmers Union convention. Vilsak said The Agriculture Department aims to implement the new farm bill in ways that boost rural economies, while complementing production agriculture.

The department's Economic Research Service data shows that 2010 to 2013 marks the first period with an estimated population loss for rural America as a whole.

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Government
1:25 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Kansas Records Law Doesn’t Cover Officials’ Private Emails

Credit Maria Elena, flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers have shown little interest in allowing public scrutiny of officials' private emails about government business, despite recent scrutiny of Hillary Rodham Clinton's communications and a case involving the governor's office.

The Kansas Open Records Act doesn't specifically cover emails or other communications with private accounts or devices, even if they involve government business.

Democratic legislators introduced proposals in both chambers of the Legislature to allow scrutiny of such communications.

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Health
12:58 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Bird Flu Detected In Northeast Kansas

Credit wikipedia.org

Bird flu has been detected in a backyard flock of chickens and ducks in northeast Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture said in a news release late Friday that the discovery was made in Leavenworth County.

Backyard poultry owners in the county are urged to contact the department.

Additionally, parts of Cherokee and Crawford counties in the southeast part of the state are under surveillance after a confirmed case of the H5N2 strain of bird flu was found just across the state line in Jasper County, Missouri, this month.

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Government
12:38 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Bills Easing Restrictions On Marijuana Stalls In KS Legislature

Credit Rusty Blazenhoff / Flickr

Bills easing the state's restrictions on marijuana are moving deeper into the Kansas Legislature, but they're now facing an uncertain future.

The Kansas House decided to delay action on two marijuana bills in late February.

One would decrease penalties for an offender's first two possession convictions.

The other allows some seizure patients to receive treatments from marijuana-based medicines.

Representative John Rubin of Shawnee sponsored the bill on marijuana sentencing.

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Health
5:21 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

Officials: Listeriosis In Ice Cream Not Cause Of 3 Deaths, May Be Factor

Listeria monocytogenes
Credit wikipedia.org

A food borne illness linked to some Blue Bell ice cream products might have been a contributing factor in the deaths of three hospital patients in Kansas, but it was not likely the only cause of death. KMUW's Aileen Leblanc reports...

A food borne illness linked to some Blue Bell ice cream products might have been a contributing factor in the deaths of three hospital patients in Kansas, health officials said Saturday.

But listeriosis didn’t cause the deaths, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Sara Belfry.

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Government
1:34 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

House Committee Reviewing Bill Stiffening Scrap Metal Theft Penalties

Credit Tom Woodward, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas House Judiciary Committee is reviewing a bill to significantly increase penalties for scrap metal theft.

The committee had a hearing yesterday on a bill to make damaging a building or other structure to steal scrap a felony punishable by up to 19 months in jail for a first offense.

Farm and law enforcement groups say scrap thieves often do thousands of dollars in damage when removing precious metals.

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Education
1:19 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

UPDATE: Kansas House Panel Approves GOP Leaders' School Funding Plan

Credit Paradox 56, flickr Creative Commons

Updated Story:

A Kansas House committee has approved a plan from top Republican lawmakers to overhaul how the state distributes aid to public schools.

The House Appropriations Committee's voice vote Tuesday sends the plan to the full House for a debate that could occur later this week.

The committee voted despite bipartisan criticism that it is moving too quickly. GOP leaders unveiled the plan only last week.

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