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
11:00 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Kansas Begins To Distribute Withheld Tax Refunds

The state is now distributing tax refunds that were frozen for two weeks at the end of the last fiscal year.

With the new fiscal year beginning July 1, the Kansas Department of Revenue sent just more than 19,000 refunds to the Kansas Department of Administration for payment.

Jeannine Koranda is spokeswoman for the revenue department, she says most Kansans who didn’t get their refunds should have received them by now or will receive them soon.

Government
10:48 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Kansas Judge Rejects Injunction Against Voter Citizenship Law

A Kansas judge has cleared the way for Secretary of State Kris Kobach to use a dual voting system to enforce the state’s proof-of-citizenship for new voters.

On Friday, Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis denied the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop Kobach from implementing a new policy.

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Health
12:13 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Two Measles Cases Discovered In Wichita Area

State health officials say two cases of measles in the Wichita area are linked to a recent outbreak in the bistate Kansas City metropolitan area.

The Sedgwick County cases reported Thursday involve an unvaccinated adult and an infant who is too young to be vaccinated. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the state has now had five cases of measles this year.

Officials did not disclose the relationship between the Wichita-area cases and those in Johnson County, Kansas, and nearby Clay County, Missouri.

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Environment
11:44 am
Fri July 11, 2014

EPA: Clean Water Act Won't Tighten Farm Regulations

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency insists efforts to clarify her agency’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act won’t result in tighter farm regulations.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told the Kansas City Agribusiness Council on Thursday that misinformation coming out of Washington has caused confusion about the initiative.

Agriculture groups and farm-state politicians, including Gov. Brownback, have claimed the EPA’s efforts represent a power grab by a government seeking to assert more control over private property.

Environment
11:33 am
Fri July 11, 2014

State Agencies To Develop Lesser Prairie Chicken Breeding Program

Gov. Sam Brownback has directed two state agencies to develop a program for breeding lesser prairie chickens after the federal government listed the bird as a threatened species.

Brownback said Thursday that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will draft a plan for a program.

The governor said the federal government must sign off on a breeding program, and he’ll seek its consent.

Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said the program would round up wild prairie chickens, breed them and release them.

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Government
11:22 am
Fri July 11, 2014

ACLU And Kobach Head To Court Over Voter Citizenship Law

The American Civil Liberties Union and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach are heading to court again in their battle over Kobach’s attempts to enforce a proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters.

The ACLU hopes a Shawnee County judge will use Friday’s hearing to review its request for a temporary injunction to keep Kobach from imposing a new policy for the state’s Aug. 5 primary elections.

Kobach has said that Kansas residents who register with a national form will be allowed to complete full ballots, but only their votes in congressional races will be counted.

Health
1:01 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Inspector General Outlines Wichita VA Problems

The Office of Inspector General for the Veterans Affairs Department has released its recommendations for improvements at the six community-based outpatient clinics across Kansas that are overseen by the Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita.

The recommendations are based in part on a site visit to the Parsons clinic in May along with other data gathered for VA outpatient facilities in Hays, Salina, Hutchinson, Parsons, Dodge City and Liberal.

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Community
12:29 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

State Delays Rollout Of Anti-Fraud Computer System

The state has again delayed implementation of a new computer system designed to prevent fraud and improve efficiency in applications for social services.

The state said Tuesday no firm date is set to take the $135 million computer system online. The Kansas Eligibility and Enforcement System was originally to go live by Oct. 1 of last year.

Sara Belfry, spokeswoman for the state’s health department, said a pilot program test last month persuaded the department to delay the rollout again.

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Education
12:17 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

KBOE Proposes $459M Budget Increase

The Kansas State Board of Education is proposing a $459 million increase in state spending on public schools, though the board’s approval Tuesday of budget recommendations was mostly a symbolic statement of support for education.

The board’s proposals would phase in over two years an increase of about 13 percent in aid to public schools beginning in July 2015, but funding the full amount would require the state to reconsider personal income tax cuts enacted by Governor Sam Brownback and Republican lawmakers.

Health
12:31 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Praeger: Smokers Should Check Insurance For Smoking Cessation Plan Coverage

Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger is urging Kansans who smoke or chew tobacco to check if their insurance plans cover programs to help them quit.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced in May that insurance companies and employer group health plans must cover counseling and other programs that help people quit smoking.

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