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Kansas news digest

News from alternative media around Kansas for February 22, 2010.

Proponents of bill want to force ‘charity’

(Kansas Liberty) “Kansas hospitals say they have been stepping up to the plate and helping individuals with their health bills, but left-wing organizations say the goodwill assistance needs to be required by law.”

Senate kills attempt to abolish death penalty

(Kansas Liberty) “The Kansas Senate deliberated today for several hours on whether to repeal the state’s death penalty. Much of the debate focused on how legislators’ religion played into their decision to either support or oppose the legislation and whether the families of victims sought the death penalty for offenders.”

Unelected SOS to make crucial appointment in 2010

(Kansas Liberty) “Because of the timing of former Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh’s resignation, the person Gov. Mark Parkinson appoints to replace Thornburgh will have the ability to make an appointment of his own, in addition to serving on the state’s three-member canvassing board.”

Kansas Senator Tom Holland Announces Democratic Bid For Governor

(State of the State KS) “Kansas Senator Tom Holland (D) announced his bid to become the next Governor of Kansas on Wednesday.”

Water Conservation Raises Concern of Stockpiling for Financial Gain

(State of the State KS) “A water conservation effort raised concerns over hording of water for financial gain when other businesses around the state could put the water to use.”

Tea Party Activists Vet Candidates at Winter Rally

(State of the State KS) “Republican and Libertarian candidates campaign for votes with Tea Party activists on Saturday in Wichita.”

Texting ban passes Senate

(Kansas Health Institute News Service) “TOPEKA – The Kansas Senate has approved a ban on sending text messages and e-mails while driving. The Senate approved Senate Bill 351 by a margin of 34-6 after making the penalty for a first-time offense a $100 fine. Use of a hands-free cellular telephone while driving would not be an offense and e-mailing or texting would be allowed in emergencies.”

Child welfare hearings rescheduled

(Kansas Health Institute News Service) “TOPEKA – Blame it on the blizzard. The chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee said he had to reschedule a series of hearings on child welfare issues because he couldn’t reach the featured speakers, both of whom work in Washington, D.C.”

Bankers see bleak job prospects for Kansans

(Kansas Reporter) “TOPEKA, Kan. – Prospects for Kansas’ and the Midwest’s struggling economies took a turn for the worse in February on bleaker jobs prospsects, according to a monthly survey of bank executives. The Rural Mainstreet Index, an economic barometer for small town economies in 11 Midwestern states, dropped to 36.6 in February from 41.1 in January, primarily because of an expected drop in new job opportunities, reports Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, one of the creators of of the monthly survey.”

Kansas needs stronger plan for tax breaks, audit finds

(Kansas Reporter) “TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas needs a stronger system for determining when to grant tax breaks to a wide variety of charities, public service groups, business development organizations and others, say two state audits released Wednesday.”

Audit: Redrawing court districts would save millions

(Kansas Reporter) “TOPEKA, Kan. – Crunching Kansas’ 31 state judicial districts into 13 potentially would save the state about $6.2 million annually, legislative auditors told the Kansas House Appropriations Committee Tuesday.”

Smoking Ban Advocate Says Some Claims Just Smoke

(Kansas Watchdog) “Opponents to a statewide total smoking ban say anti-tobacco advocates are playing a little loose with their facts. They have an unlikely ally in Michael Siegel, a medical doctor and professor of community health sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health. He’s a long-standing anti-tobacco advocate, a proponent of smoking bans and a strong critic of bad science.”

Schools for Fair Funding Proceeds with Lawsuit; Permits No-notice Meetings

(Kansas Watchdog) “NEWTON – Schools for Fair Funding (SFFF) voted today to proceed with a lawsuit seeking an increase in state education funding. Today’s meeting was the first since the Kansas Supreme Court’s rejection last week of the group’s petition to reopen the Montoy case mandating increased funding for K-12 public education. The group also made several changes to its bylaws, including one that allows an expanded board of directors to hold unannounced meetings.”

Kansas Supreme Court Justice asks Ethics Commission for opinion

(Kansas Watchdog) “TOPEKA – On Wednesday Kansas Supreme Court Justice Carol Beier asked the Ethics Commission whether the retention election for the position of Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court was governed by the Kansas Campaign Finance Act. One member of the commission commented about the irony of a Supreme Court justice asking for an opinion in a legal matter.”

Government payrolls show continuing, long-term growth as private sector jobs decline

(Kansas Watchdog) “Kansas continues to lose private sector jobs as it adds more taxpayer-funded government jobs, a trend mirrored at the national level. The private sector lost 57,900 jobs between December 2007 and December 2009 while government added 3,200 jobs in Kansas according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Local government grew the most over the two years, adding 2,000 jobs for a total of 182,900 jobs in the state, followed closely by the federal government which added 1,900 jobs for a total of 26,000. State government jobs decreased by 700 to 53,100 jobs.”

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