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
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.

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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Government
9:29 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Kobach Backs Bill To Exclude Lesser Prairie Chicken From Federal Protection

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is backing a bill that would exclude the lesser prairie chicken from federal protection.

Kobach told the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Thursday that the bill would likely lead to a legal battle that pits state rights against federal law.

Transportation
11:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Kansas Byways Program Looking For Input For New Bicycle And Pedestrian Plan

Kansas Byways Program wants bikers and walkers in the state to share their ideas for the program's new Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

The plan is to enhance bicycling and pedestrian opportunities for each of the state's 11 scenic and historic byways.

A consulting team led by RDG Planning & Design, Omaha, and CFS Engineers, Topeka is developing the plan.

More information on the survey and planning process can be found at: www.rdgusa.com/crp/kansasbyways.

Government
10:54 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Gov. Brownback Wants To Use Extra $430K To Hire More State Inspectors

Governor Sam Brownback wants to spend an extra $430 thousand dollars to hire more state inspectors. They'll oversee the accuracy of thousands of scales and product scanners.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Weights and Measures licenses private companies and technicians to install and service scales. State inspectors then "spot-check" a fraction of the work.

Brownback says it boosted compliance rates when he initiated the program more than 20 years ago as the state's agriculture secretary.

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Crime and Courts
12:37 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Federal Judge Will Not Split Up Suit By 11 Former Military Academy Cadets

A federal judge has denied a Kansas military academy's request to split up a lawsuit brought by 11 former cadets alleging the school fostered a climate of abuse.

Attorneys for St. John's Military School in Salina had argued that each ex-cadet's claims were unique and that jurors in a single trial could get confused. But on Friday, U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum ruled that all the ex-cadets allege the school failed to protect them from abuse by other students. He says the claims involve common questions of law and fact.

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Crime and Courts
10:02 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Authorities Confused With As To Why A Man Drove His Truck Through A Mid-Continent Airport Fence

Authorities are still trying to determine why a man drove his truck through a fence and onto a taxiway at Mid-continent.

Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. David Mattingly says the man then drove onto an airport taxiway and approached a private jet before security personnel stopped him.

Mattingly says the 26-year-old man from Marlow, Oklahoma, was talking to himself when he was stopped. A handgun was found in this truck.

The man was jailed on suspicion of criminal trespass and criminal damage to property.

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