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.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Much attention is being paid to the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, but equally partisan battles are being waged for control of state courts around the nation.

In states where voters elect Supreme Court judges, millions of dollars are being spent to reshape the courts for years to come. Judicial watchdogs say spending by national groups overwhelmingly favors judges on the right of the political spectrum, and is mostly aimed at maintaining or improving the courts' responses to corporate interests while countering state-level spending by labor unions and other interest groups.

www.bop.gov

A Federal Bureau of Prisons official has been appointed to lead the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Monday that Joseph Norwood is his pick to replace Ray Roberts, who retired in December.

Norwood currently works as a regional director for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and has over 30 years of correctional experience. He will begin his position as the secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections on May 30 if the state Senate confirms the appointment.

Ervins Strauhmanis, flickr Creative Commons

Tax collections in Kansas were less than $2 million short of estimates last month.

The state Department of Revenue on Friday said total tax receipts were $1.7 million below projections. The numbers are a turnaround from February, however, when collections were almost $54 million short, eating up the state's meager $6 million savings account.

Alberto G., flickr Creative Commons

Standardizing testing is on hold in more than a dozen states because of Internet problems at the University of Kansas where the test developer is based.

The university's Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation provides general end-of-year assessments for students in Kansas and Alaska. It also offers testing for students with significant cognitive disabilities in those states and 14 others Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

A Kansas county elections official used close ties to one of the nation's leading advocates of voting restrictions to help secure the top job at a government agency entrusted with making voting more accessible, and then used the federal position to implement an obstacle to voter registration in three states.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / KPR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has until April 8 to act on a school funding plan approved by legislators in hopes of satisfying a recent state Supreme Court order.

The Republican-dominated Legislature delivered the bill to the GOP governor's office Tuesday. The state constitution gives Brownback 10 days to review the measure.

Lawmakers approved the bill last week to give the Supreme Court adequate time to review it.

U.S. Geological Survey

There were three earthquakes centered near the Oklahoma-Kansas border on Monday and Tuesday, one of which was felt in Wichita. The quakes coincide with a recent report from the United States Geological Survey that says parts of Oklahoma, and subsequently Kansas, are as likely to be hit by a damaging earthquake as areas in northern California.

Sean Sandefur

The biggest wildfire in Kansas history is largely contained, although firefighting efforts could be hindered by more gusty winds.

The Kansas Forest Service says crews will patrol areas Monday hit by the wildfire that has burned at least 620 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas since last week.

The service says the fire was 90 percent contained Sunday, and 81 percent contained in Barber County, Kansas, where most of the damage has occurred.

The Kansas Forestry Service

From the AP  

The Kansas Forest Service says a wildfire that crossed into the state from Oklahoma earlier this week is considered the largest in Kansas history and one of the largest ever in the U.S.

The wildfire has burned at least 620 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas.

The service said officials are looking at the damage in Barber County, Kansas, to determine if it meets the threshold for a FEMA disaster declaration, which would provide public assistance for damaged public infrastructure.

Chris, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Senate has passed legislation that would require teachers to vote every three years in order to maintain their local union.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the bill passed the chamber with a 22-18 vote after more than two hours of debate Wednesday.

Pages