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Kansas is reporting that its tax collections last month were $2.6 million more than expected, giving state officials a small dose of good news in dealing with ongoing budget problems.

The Department of Revenue reported Monday that the state collected $584.3 million in taxes in April, when the official projection was $581.7 million. The surplus was 0.5 percent.

wikipedia.org

The nomination of President Barack Obama's choice to serve as Army secretary remains blocked by a Kansas senator over administration efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer detainees to the U.S.

Eric Fanning, who has held several jobs in the Pentagon, would be the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service if confirmed. But Republican Sen. Pat Roberts placed a hold on the nomination last year and refused to relent on Thursday despite pleas from the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Dave Schumaker, flickr Creative Commons

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake was measured in Oklahoma on Wednesday.

The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded at 4.1 magnitude earthquake near Luther.

The quake struck at 10:44 a.m. Wednesday about seven miles northeast of Luther, about 30 miles north of Oklahoma City.

No injuries or damage are reported, but the USGS website shows the temblor was felt in Wichita, Kansas, about 135 miles north of Luther.

The USGS also recorded a 2.8 magnitude quake at 6:31 a.m. near Harrah, about 25 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

wichita.va.gov

A government review shows a Veterans Affairs regional office in Kansas listed erroneous medical conditions for three dozen patients who filed appeals after having their claims rejected.

In a report released Tuesday, the VA's inspector general's office says management instructed staff at the Wichita facility to enter the same "placeholder" diagnostic code for a specific bone infection on 36 appeal claims. None of the patients had the listed condition.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

The American Civil Liberties Union is calling the voting system in Kansas "chaos," citing the state's proof of citizenship requirement

A national credit rating service says there's at least a 50-50 chance it could lower Kansas' AA credit rating later this year, depending on how the Legislature handles the state's current budget crisis.

The Kansas City Star reports Standard and Poor's Rating Services said Monday it had placed Kansas on a "credit watch" because of the state's budget shortfall and concerns about Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal for filling the gap.

http://www.accesskansas.org / KBI

A divided Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the lifetime registration for sex offenders does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

The ruling Friday comes in the case of Henry Petersen-Beard, who was convicted at age 19 of raping a 13-year-old girl. He had challenged the lifetime registration requirement as unconstitutional under the Kansas Bill of Rights and the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In an opinion written by Judge Caleb Stegall the court found the registration requirement was not a form of punishment.

Phil Cauthon for the KHI News Service

Two separate Kansas legislative committees have approved proposals from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to provide an additional $17 million to the state's two mental hospitals.

The decisions Thursday by the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee mean both chambers will consider the spending as part of broader budget legislation next week.

The extra funds will provide pay raises and offset lost federal funds over the next 15 months.

Zach Werner, flickr Creative Commons

Missouri lawmakers appear uninterested in Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal to reduce the business "border war" between the two states.

Brownback last week offered to lessen his state's efforts to lure jobs away from the Missouri side of the Kansas City metropolitan area if Missouri's lawmakers would in turn weaken a law they approved in 2014 addressing the issue.

Alex Starr, flickr Creative Commons

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a law signed by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback last week satisfies the state's constitutional duty to provide equitable funding to public schools.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Schmidt filed a brief with the state Supreme Court on Friday urging it to withdraw its threat to close the state's schools.

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