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TOPEKA — Republican legislators are pushing a change in the Kansas Constitution on education funding to end a pending lawsuit. The measure would add a provision to the constitution declaring that the Legislature has the exclusive power to determine how much money is spent on schools. By John Hanna.
TOPEKA — A proposal to give the governor and legislators more power over appointments to Kansas' appellate courts cleared the state Senate on Wednesday, demonstrating the increased clout of conservative Republicans. The vote was 28-12 on a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution, one vote more than the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The measure goes next to the House, but it's not clear that backers can find enough votes to get the proposal on the ballot for the August 2014 primary election. By Political Writer John Hanna.
WICHITA — Struggling plane maker Hawker Beechcraft released employment numbers Wednesday that showed its work force in Kansas has fallen below the level required to receive the full amount of incentives from state and local governments. The Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer — which makes general aviation and military trainers — said it had 3,372 employees in Kansas as of Dec. 31 and is currently trying to fill more than 65 open positions in Wichita. The company employs more than 5,400 people worldwide. By Roxana Hegeman.
KANSAS CITY — A longtime Kansas City-area lawyer who recently began withdrawing from criminal cases pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to launder the drug money of an undercover agent posing as a marijuana dealer. Through pleas entered in Kansas federal court, Ronald Partee admitted that he and the operators of a credit counseling service agreed to funnel drug money through Kansas bank accounts. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a five-year prison term, though a sentencing hearing hasn't been set.
KANSAS COURTS-GUN LIABILITY
TOPEKA — The state Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on the fate of a lawsuit seeking to hold a southeast Kansas gun shop liable for selling a firearm later used by a convicted felon to kill his son. The question before the justices was whether to reinstate a negligence case filed against Baxter Springs Gun and Pawn Shop. The case involves the 2003 murder-suicide of Russell Graham of Baxter Springs, who used a shotgun bought by his grandmother to shoot himself and his son. Graham was initially denied the sale of the gun by the shop owners. By John Milburn.
KANSAS COURTS-GUN LIABILITY
TOPEKA — The state Supreme heard arguments Wednesday on whether a lawsuit should be reinstated to determine if a southeast Kansas gun shop may be held liable for selling a firearm that was later used by a convicted felon to kill his son. The case involves the 2003 murder-suicide of Russell Graham of Baxter Springs, a convicted felon who used a shotgun bought by his grandmother to shoot himself and his son. Graham was initially denied the sale of the gun by the shop owners. By John Milburn.
SOCIAL MEDIA BILL
TOPEKA — Two Kansas lawmakers are seeking support for a measure that would limit employers' access to job applicants' social media accounts. Rep. Gail Finney and Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, both Democrats, back measures that aim to protect job seekers from employers who want access to user names and passwords to look through their social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter, The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday.
ST. LOUIS — Some drought-starved Midwestern rivers that had been near record low levels were on the verge of flooding Wednesday, after storms dumped up to 3 inches of rain on some parts of the region. Forecasters said rivers would see a dramatic, if temporary, rise over the next few days, with some waterways expected to swell by as much as 15 feet. Even the Mississippi River is expected to rise by up to 10 feet in areas between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill. Although the Mississippi will remain far below flood stage, several smaller rivers are expected to spill over their banks. By Jim Salter.
— PLAYER BEATEN-HEARING — A preliminary hearing resumes Thursday afternoon for two suspects in the death of a Tabor College football player.
— SEDGWICK COUNTY-INVESTMENTS PLAN — Officials of Sedgwick County and the city of Wichita plan to mail a community survey about future community and infrastructure investments to 25,000 randomly selected registered voters.
— HISTORIC HOTEL-REGISTER — A Kansas hotel that dates back more than century has been taken off the National Register of Historic Places because of recent renovations.
— ESCAPED INMATE-CUSTODY — Authorities have apprehended a 25-year-old inmate who escaped from a north-central Kansas jail over the weekend.
— BKC--T25-TEXAS-KANSAS ST. Wednesday night's game at Manhattan. By Sports Writer Dave Skretta. With hometown lead on losing team.
The AP-Kansas City