Kansas governor signs technical abortion changes
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed abortion legislation addressing legal issues raised in state and federal lawsuits filed by abortion providers.
Brownback announced his action Friday. The changes take effect next week.
Abortion opponents have said the bill makes minor changes in existing laws without setting new policy. Planned Parenthood remained neutral on it.
The bill revises a requirement that the home pages of abortion providers' websites link to a state health department site about pregnancy and fetal development. Providers would no longer have to post a statement that the state's information is accurate and objective.
The measure also revises language in Kansas laws on medical emergencies in which abortion restrictions are waived.
Brownback said the bill affirms, in his words, "the sanctity of human life at all stages."
Governor lets SE Kansas casino bill become law
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Gov. Sam Brownback is allowing a bill aimed at luring a state-owned casino to southeast Kansas to become law without his signature.
Brownback announced the decision Friday, his deadline for acting. Brownback said he has reservations about state-owned casinos but noted that southeast Kansas residents strongly support the bill.
The bill decreases the investment required by Kansas law for a casino in either Cherokee or Crawford county to $50 million, instead of the current $225 million.
The bill also cuts the fee prospective developers are required to pay to $5.5 million from $25 million.
A 2007 law authorized a casino owned by the Kansas Lottery to be built and operated by a private developer. But local officials have argued the current investment requirement is too high to attract interest.
Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say a Kansas City-area man has been charged with 18 felony counts in connection with about a dozen recent random highway shootings that have wounded three people.
Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said at a news conference Friday that 27-year-old Mohammed Whitaker of Grandview is charged with two counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and injuring a person, seven counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and nine counts of armed criminal action.
At least six of the shootings occurred near Grandview. The Kansas City suburb is home to an area known as the Grandview Triangle, where three interstates and U.S. 50 intersect. One shooting occurred in Leawood, Kansas.
The last confirmed shooting believed to be connected to the case was reported April 6.
None of victims' wounds was considered life-threatening.
US delays review of Keystone XL pipeline
WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline before deciding whether to issue a permit.
That could push a decision about the controversial oil pipeline until after the midterm elections in November.
The State Department is citing a recent decision by a Nebraska judge that overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline's path through the state. The State Department says that created uncertainty and ongoing litigation.
The government is not saying how much longer the review will take. But it says the process isn't starting over.
The pipeline has become a politically fraught issue. Republicans criticize President Barack Obama for taking too long to decide. The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the border between the U.S. and Canada.
MICHELLE OBAMA-TOPEKA VISIT
Kansas speech by Michelle Obama draws complaints
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas high school senior has launched a petition drive urging school officials to rethink their decision to have first lady Michelle Obama speak at graduation next month in Topeka.
Taylor Gifford started the drive Thursday evening after concerns were raised by students and parents that Obama's visit would alter graduation plans, including limiting seating for family and friends.
The school district announced Thursday that the first lady would speak at a ceremony May 17, the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision that made school segregation unconstitutional.
Topeka school officials plan to combine graduation ceremonies and hold them in an 8,000-seat arena.
Gifford says Friday she's excited about Obama speaking, but hopes concerns about the ceremony can be addressed.
Spokeswoman: Sebelius not considering US Senate
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A spokeswoman says departing U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is not considering running for the U.S. Senate.
HHS spokeswoman Dori Salcido said in an email to The Associated Press that Sebelius is continuing her work at the federal agency and isn't considering a Senate campaign.
Sebelius announced April 11 that she was stepping down as HHS secretary. President Barack Obama immediately nominated White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace her.
The New York Times reported this week that Sebelius was considering a run for the Senate seat now held by Kansas Republican Pat Roberts. Sebelius is a former two-term Kansas governor.
But Democrats in Kansas are skeptical. State Chairwoman Joan Wagnon said Sebelius has not contacted her or party officials about a run.
Change of venue sought in girl's shocking death
(Information in the following story is from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com)
SALINA, Kan. (AP) - A company being sued in the electrocution death of a 12-year-old Salina girl wants the trial moved to another county.
Devonheir, doing business as Hope Electrical Products, has asked a judge to move the trial in a lawsuit filed by the parents of Jayden Hicks to Ottawa County. The company argues it cannot get a fair trial in Saline County.
Jayden Hicks died in December, months after she fell onto an electrical box while playing with friends in the rain in downtown Salina.
The Salina Journal reports her parents are seeking $10.5 million in damages from Hope Electrical and the city. They claim the city-owned electrical junction box wasn't properly grounded.
2 boys in protective custody after wandering alone
(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com)
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Two young children have been taken into protective custody after they were found wandering around outside a Wichita home.
The Wichita Eagle reports a police officer saw the boys, ages 3 and 4, just after 4 p.m. Thursday, with the older boy naked from the waist down.
No adults were at the home at the time, but police Lt. Dan East said a 30-year-old woman arrived later. Preliminary police reports didn't describe the woman's relationship with the children.
The boys were checked out at Wesley Medical Center before being taken by police to the Wichita Children's Home.
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