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Wed December 12, 2012
Top Morning News 12.12.12
Finances of KanCare begin to get worked out; Americans live longer, but are worse off; Judge says Boeing case should go to trial; KS BOE rejects JROTC as PE.
Kansas Finance Council Reviewing Requests
A special council of Kansas officials is weighing a request for funds to implement the state's new system for administering Medicaid services.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is asking the State Finance Council to approve funds for the billing system for KanCare, the state's revised Medicaid program. KDHE officials have not said how much they're seeking. The Finance Council is scheduled to consider the request at a meeting Wednesday.
The panel is made up of Gov. Sam Brownback and top leaders of the state House and Senate. Also on the agenda is a request for money to give raises to selected state employees. The goal is to bring their pay closer to that of people doing similar jobs in the private sector.
Americans Living Longer, Quality Of Life Declining
The 2012 edition of America's Health Rankings says medical advances are helping people live longer, but preventable illnesses and unhealthy behaviors are undermining the quality of that longer lifespan.
Kansas House Will Retain Key Committee Leaders
The new speaker of the Kansas House is retaining the chairmen of the chamber's powerful Appropriations, Taxation and Judiciary committees.
Incoming House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, announced committee leadership appointments late Tuesday. Members of the chamber's GOP majority chose Merrick as speaker last week.
Merrick kept Lance Kinzer, of Olathe, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Kinzer had run against Merrick for speaker. Marc Rhoades of Newton is remaining as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and Richard Carlson of St. Marys will continue to head the Taxation Committee.
All House committee chairmen and chairwomen are Republicans, in line with the GOP's 92-33 majority. They'll take over when lawmakers convene their 2013 session in mid-January.
Judge: Trial Necessary Over Boeing Division Sale
A federal judge has ruled a trial is necessary to decide claims brought in a lawsuit by two unions arising from Boeing's 2005 sale of its commercial aircraft operations in Kansas and Oklahoma.
The lawsuit was brought by the International Association of Machinists and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. In a 49-page decision Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Monti Belot rejected requests by both sides for summary judgment, although he did side with Boeing on some minor claims.
Among issues to be decided is the meaning of "layoffs" as it relates to early retirement and retiree health care benefits stemming from the sale. Belot ruled that the question of whether Boeing breached its collective bargaining agreements should be decided through trial.
Kansas Board Rejects Giving PE Credit For JROTC
Kansas schools will continue to decide individually whether to allow students to knock out a physical education requirement by participating in junior ROTC.
On Tuesday, the Kansas Board of Education rejected a new rule that would have given students one PE credit for completing two years of JROTC. Kansas students are required to earn one physical education credit to graduate.