Top GOP lawmakers in Kansas stalemated on taxes
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Senate negotiators have rejected the latest offer from House counterparts on a deal to adjust Kansas tax rates and end the annual session.
The top two Republicans at the negotiating table expressed disappointment over where talks were headed. More meetings were likely later Thursday.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and most members of the GOP-dominated Legislature want to cut income taxes further following massive reductions last year. Brownback argues the state must raise additional sales tax revenue to prevent budget problems.
The 6.3% sales tax is set by law to fall to 5.7% in July. GOP lawmakers can't agree on how much of the decrease to cancel.
Legislature OKs some changes to liquor laws
(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com)
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Legislature has approved a bill that makes several changes in alcohol laws.
The bill allows alcohol tastings at events put on by nonprofit groups to support the arts. It also will permit hotels to distribute drink coupons for use on site or at certain licensed clubs, and allows the sale of 64-ounce pitchers of mixed drinks.
The House approved the bill Wednesday, after the Senate approved it last week. It now goes to Gov. Sam Brownback.
Nonprofit groups and hotels who provide alcohol tastings or drink coupons will be required to pay the amount of tax the drinks would have accrued if sold.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the bill also requires that every administrative notice or fine must be settled within 90 days of issuance.
Testimony starts in trial of ex-Kansas officer
(Information in the following story is from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com)
KINGMAN, Kan. (AP) - Prosecutors say a former Kansas police instructor killed his wife because she was divorcing him, then burned down the couple's home in Kingman to hide evidence.
But attorneys for Brett Seacat contend his wife, 34-year-old Vashti Seacat, was depressed and shot herself and set the fire in April 2011. Her husband and two young children escaped the fire.
The attorneys outlined their differing scenarios during opening statements Wednesday in Seacat's trial for first-degree murder.
The Hutchinson News reports the statements were presented after a jury of 5 women and 10 men, including three alternates, was selected.
A coroner couldn't determine whether Vashti Seacat's death was a homicide or suicide.
Brett Seact is a former instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Reno County.
SALINA-LA GANG ARREST
Salina resident accused of LA gang activity
(Information in the following story is from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com)
SALINA, Kan. (AP) - California authorities have arrested a 31-year-old Kansas resident who's accused of helping coordinate gang activities in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Francis Hardiman was in Salina on Wednesday to arrest the woman. Hardiman told The Salina Journal the woman's accused of using cellphones and computers from her Salina home to help coordinate criminal activity of the Surenos street gang in Los Angeles and Mexican Mafia members in the Los Angeles County jail.
The Los Angeles County prosecutor's office said Thursday formal charges hadn't been filed.
Hardiman said it's not uncommon for a gang member in her position to be located far from the prison where gang members are housed.
Salina police say she's being held in the Saline County jail pending extradition, which could take two weeks.
Kan. teacher arrested after threats toward school
MAIZE, Kan. (AP) - A teacher at a suburban Wichita high school was arrested after the district reported he had made criminal threats against the school.
The 39-year-old teacher at Maize High School reportedly made the comments during a soccer game Tuesday night.
The school's principal, Chris Botts, said in an email sent to school parents Wednesday the comments suggested possible violence toward the school. He says the school was searched and there was no indication the threat was valid.
Sedgwick County jail records show the teacher was booked on charges of criminal threat and was held on $250,000 bond.
Maize school administrators said the teacher has been placed on paid leave until the investigation is complete.
Ex-Kan. doctor indictment on firearm, drug charges
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A federal grand jury has formally charged a former Kansas doctor with illegally having a handgun as a convicted felon.
A three-count indictment handed down Wednesday charges Lawrence Simons with unlawful possession of a firearm, ammunition and controlled substances.
Simons was arrested last week on a criminal complaint. Prosecutors say he gave a bondsman a gun as partial payment for bailing him out of jail last month in an unrelated criminal threat case. His attorney has declined to comment on the case.
The 57-year-old Wichita doctor has a 2010 felony conviction for unlawfully distributing prescription drugs. He had surrendered his license to write prescriptions, and could not lawfully possess controlled substances.
The indictment alleges prescription drugs were found at three storage units after Simons stopped making lease payments.
WAL-MART LOT-CHILDREN BOUND
June sentencing in Kan. for dad who bound kids
(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A June sentencing date has been scheduled for a suburban Chicago man who was arrested after 2 of his children were found bound and blindfolded in a Wal-Mart parking lot in eastern Kansas.
Fifty-3-year-old Adolfo Gomez and his wife, Deborah Gomez, of Northlake, Ill., were arrested last June 13 in Lawrence. Police reported finding 2 of their children, ages 5 and 7, bound by their hands and feet in the store parking lot.
Adolfo Gomez pleaded no contest to felony child abuse and child endangerment. The Lawrence Journal-World reports he's scheduled to be sentenced June 19. A plea agreement between prosecutors and Gomez's previous attorney specified a 30-month prison sentence.
Deborah Gomez was sentenced earlier to one year of probation after pleading no contest to child endangerment.
Wichita might fine residents over water use
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita residents and businesses might be required to pay a $1,000 fine a month if they use too much water.
The city staff made that recommendation as part of a water conservation proposal unveiled Wednesday.
The fine would be imposed on those who use 310% more than their average winter water usage.
Public Works official Ben Nelson says surveys and meetings found that water rates and indoor and business water use were residents' top priorities, while outdoor use was the lowest priority.
This recommendation will go before the Wichita City Council June 4.
Wichita is working to respond to low water in Cheney Reservoir, which provides 64% of the city's water. Currently, the reservoir is forecast to go dry in mid-2015.
FORT RILEY-MEMORIAL DAY
Fort Riley to mark Memorial Day
FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) - Leaders of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley will honor fallen soldiers during Memorial Day observances at the northeast Kansas post.
Monday's event starts at 11:40 a.m. It will include the laying of a wreath in honor of the soldiers buried at the cemetery near the main post complex.
Maj. Gen. Paul Funk, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, will be joined at the event by Command Sgt. Maj. Miguel Rivera, the senior enlisted soldier in the division and at Fort Riley.
Military installations across the country, including Fort Riley, will have a 21-gun salute at noon, followed by playing the National Anthem and raising the flag to full staff.
Fort Riley is home to about 18,000 soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division.
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