Kan. lawmakers' talks on taxes at standstill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Negotiations among Kansas legislators on tax issues are stalled amid bickering between Republican leaders in the House and Senate.
Senators and House negotiators had no meetings Monday.
House GOP leaders complained that Republican senators have not responded to their compromise proposal to drop the 6.3% state sales tax to 6%. The tax is now scheduled to drop to 5.7% in July, but the Senate has approved Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to cancel the decline.
Senate Republican leaders wanted to finish work on budget issues before resolving the tax question.
Brownback and GOP leaders in the Republican-dominated Legislature want to follow last year's reductions in in personal income taxes with more cuts. But they also need revenue to stabilize the budget.
No sign of when Kan. budget talks will resume
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Negotiators for the Kansas House and Senate still haven't decided when they'll resume talks aimed at reconciling differences between the two chambers on budget issues.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades of Newton was meeting privately Monday with other GOP House leaders.
Lawmakers are working on proposed budgets of roughly $14.5 billion for each of the next two fiscal years, beginning in July. Talks broke off Friday.
The two chambers disagree over funding for state universities, community colleges and technical colleges. Both are at odds with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's recommendations.
Brownback wants to hold higher education funding flat for two years.
The House proposes a 4% cut during the next fiscal year. Senators are seeking to phase in a 2% cut over two years.
Appeals court rejects Kan. ex-doctor's claims
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A federal appeals court has scathingly brushed off the claims of a former Kansas doctor as "bitter whining."
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday that Lawrence Simons' appeal of his sentence for illegally distributing prescription drugs was nothing more than a "conclusory diatribe."
The appeals panel says the 57-year-old Wichita man considers himself a victim - of overzealous police, his attorney's incompetence, an unresponsive justice system and unfair laws.
Simons was sentenced in 2010 to two years in prison followed by three years' probation.
The court says he seems to think a doctor's "promiscuous distribution" of very potent controlled substances is noble, not criminal.
The 10th Circuit decision is Simons' latest setback. Earlier this month, he was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.
BEEFED UP CATTLE
Drought accelerates use of drugs to beef up cattle
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Cattle feeders in the U.S. are coping with smaller herds and high corn costs in part by using more growth-inducing drugs designed to bulk up animals and get more beef from each carcass.
Accelerated use of the drugs, known as "beta-agonists," is defended by producers who say they are essential to withstanding the drought. Their pharmaceutical creators insist the additives are safe.
Their use is drawing new scrutiny both at home and abroad. Russia and other key markets have banned them. Some domestic producers worry about the potential effects on tenderness and flavor.
In February, Russia joined the European Union and China in banning beef raised on the additives.
The United States blames politics for the export bans. But some U.S. consumer groups are taking notice.
Kan. House preparing to consider gun-rights bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A favorable Kansas House vote is all supporters need for final legislative approval of restrictions on the use of state tax dollars for promoting or opposing gun-control measures.
The bill also would prohibit using state tax dollars to lobby local, state or federal officials on the issue.
The House planned to debate the measure Tuesday. The Senate approved it last week.
The measure is backed by the National Rifle Association.
The House's vote will come less than a month after a new state law took effect that says the federal government has no power to regulate firearms, ammunition and accessories manufactured, sold and kept only in Kansas.
SPERM DONOR-CHILD SUPPORT
New judge sought in Topeka sperm donor case
(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com )
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Topeka sperm donor being sued by the state for child support wants a different judge.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that William Marotta's attorney filed a motion Friday asking Judge Mary E. Mattivi to disqualify herself from the case. The filing doesn't include a reason for the request, and state statute doesn't require Marotta to give one.
Marotta says he signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities when he answered a sperm donor ad from a lesbian couple on Craigslist. A child was born in 2009. But issues arose when the women split up and the birth mother sought state health insurance for the child.
Because no doctor was involved in the artificial insemination, the state sought to hold Marotta financially responsible for the child.
CHILD ABUSE DEATH-TRIAL
Salina man's trial moved to Riley County
(Information in the following story is from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com )
SALINA, Kan. (AP) - The trial of a Salina man charged in the abuse death of a toddler will be moved to Riley County.
Antonio M. Brown is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the October 2011 death of his girlfriend's 14-month-old son, Clayden Lee Urbanek.
Saline County District Court Administrator Todd Heitschmidt said Monday that county officials were notified late last week of the trial's new location.
The Salina Journal reports Judge Rene Young granted Brown a change of venue after his case and a plea he previously entered received intense media coverage. The trial is expected to start Sept. 25.
Brown had pleaded no contest in the case but Young later allowed him to withdraw the plea after finding the Brown's attorney gave him inaccurate advice.
Jury selection begins in ex-deputy's murder trial
KINGMAN, Kan. (AP) - Jury selection has begun in the trial of a former sheriff's deputy accused of killing his wife and torching their house.
KAKE-TV reports that more than 15% of Kingman's population is expected to be called for the jury pool for Brett Seacat's trial, which began Monday in Kingman. The 37-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated arson and child endangerment.
He is accused in the April 2011 shooting death of Vashti Seacat, who had filed for divorce 16 days earlier. Her body was found in the burned home along with a pistol. The defense contends she set the fire and committed suicide.
Seacat was an instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center at the time. He is also is a former Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy.
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