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Thu October 25, 2012
Top Morning News 10.25.12
Ethics complaint against Jan Pauls dismissed; Democratic leaders expected to unveil jobs proposal Thursday at events across state; Feds ease Medicare restrictions.
Ethics Complaint Against Kansas Lawmaker Dismissed
The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission has dismissed a complaint against a conservative Democratic House member.
The commission concluded Wednesday that Representative Jan Pauls of Hutchinson didn't intend to violate the law when she failed to list a rental property she owns on annual financial disclosure forms.
Pauls filed a new form with the secretary of state's office in July after questions were raised. She said she and her husband lost money on the duplex they rented out.
The ethics complaint against Pauls was filed in July by Ryon Carey, of Lindsborg, a tax accountant and chair of the Kansas Democratic LGBT Caucus, which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.
Gay rights supporters have criticized Pauls because of her strong backing of legislation that critics say would nullify local anti-discrimination ordinances concerning gays and lesbians.
KS Democratic Leaders To Outline Jobs Proposal
Democratic leaders in the Kansas Legislature are preparing to outline what they describe as a proposal for creating jobs.
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley and House Minority Leader Paul Davis scheduled news conferences Thursday at labor union offices in Wichita, Kansas City, and Topeka. They expect to be joined by other Democratic lawmakers.
Their offices declined to give details about the plan except to say Democrats will pursue it during next year's legislative session.
The proposal comes less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election.
Governor Sam Brownback and fellow Republicans are touting massive income tax cuts enacted this year as a way to create new jobs. Democrats contend the reductions will lead to big budget cuts.
Feds Agree To Ease Medicare Restrictions
Federal health officials have agreed to rewrite the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual to make it clear that services like home health care, and outpatient therapy are covered-whether the patient's condition is expect to improve, or not.
Pipeline Will Boost Republican, Platte River Flows
Four natural resource districts are joining forces for a project to increase water flows to the Republican and Platte Rivers, both crucial to Nebraska farmers and subject to water-usage agreements with Kansas and other states.
District officials have agreed to buy a farm south of North Platte and retire approximately 15,800 acres from production. Doing so will allow them to save water that would otherwise be used for irrigation, and ship it down to the rivers when it's needed to make sure Nebraska stays in compliance with interstate water agreements.
The districts are expected to split the $83 million cost to buy the property and make upgrades to help ship the water. Officials estimate that they'll need 17 miles of pipeline to transport water to both rivers.