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The Kansas Supreme Court plans to hear arguments Dec. 10 on the validity of a law that is at the heart of a dispute over funding for the judiciary. The court set a schedule Thursday for reviewing the state's appeal of a Shawnee County judge's ruling striking down the 2014 law.

The law stripped the Supreme Court of its power to appoint the chief judges in the state's 31 judicial districts and gave that authority to district judges. The state supreme court noted in its order Thursday that the current terms of the chief judges it previously appointed expire at the end of this year.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Gay rights advocates are criticizing Gov. Sam Brownback for speaking at a conference sponsored by an organization that seeks to promote marriage as between a man and a woman.

Brownback, a Republican, participated in a panel Wednesday at the World Congress of Families conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Human Rights Campaign criticized Brownback for speaking at the conference and says WCF is a hate group for its efforts against gay rights.

ethanolpics, flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Agriculture Department has awarded Kansas $1.3 million in matching funds for a program to increase the availability of ethanol blended fuels for motorists.

The Kansas Corn Growers Association said in a news release Wednesday that Kansas is one of 21 states to receive funding from the U.S. Agriculture Department to expand infrastructure.

The funds will allow a coalition called the Kansas Better Blends Initiative to begin a substantial effort to help Kansas fuel retailers offer their customers choices for higher ethanol blends.

Health officials have concerns about a proposal under consideration by the Sedgwick County Commission to ask about the immigration status of people seeking immunizations and disease screenings at the county health department clinics.

Officials fear such a move would jeopardize the health of the entire community.

Jeremy Mikkola, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas schoolchildren are faring worse on a test known as the nation's report card.

The state's performance dip follows a national trend of falling scores on the National Assessment of Educational progress or NAEP.

The scores were released Wednesday.

They show that the math scores of Kansas fourth and eighth graders slipped over the last two years, which is similar to what happened with students nationally.

Allan Ajifo, flickr Creative Commons

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office wants the county to commit to reducing the number of jail inmates who are seriously mentally ill.

The office will ask the county commissioners to commit to the reduction during a meeting today.

Mike Brouwer is re-entry director for the sheriff's office, he says the request is part of a national initiative and coincides with recent developments on a potential county jail expansion and a mental health crisis intervention center project.

Neil Conway, flickr Creative Commons

A federal lawsuit that's part of a push by advocacy groups claims Dodge City imprisons people who can't afford to pay bond fees.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Kansas City by Washington-based Equal Justice Under Law on behalf of Lawrence J. Martinez. The lawsuit says Dodge City seeks to jail poor residents who "cannot pay an arbitrary amount of money."

The federal government says rates will increase by more than 16 percent for Kansas residents who buy middle-of-the-road "silver" health coverage plans through its online marketplace.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report Monday showing that the increase in Kansas is higher than the average for 38 states in which consumers rely on the federal exchange. The average change in those states is a 7.5 percent increase.

Silver plans pay 70 percent of costs on average.


A federal judge in Oklahoma will handle the lawsuit filed by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline over the indefinite suspension of his law license related to his investigation of abortion clinics.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten ordered removal of the case from federal court in Kansas, where it was filed. The case was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission, flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas laboratory responsible for testing for contamination in the event of an accident at the state's only nuclear power plant hasn't been staffed for several weeks after its final two employees left in September.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says an Iowa lab is testing routine samples from the Wolf Creek nuclear plant, and that Kansas has several other agencies that would respond if there were an emergency.