Kan. House rejects Senate GOP leaders' tax plan
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas House has overwhelmingly rejected a new tax plan drafted by top Senate Republicans to impose a lower sales tax on food but keep the tax on all other items at 6.3%.
The vote Friday was 109-5 against the measure. The Senate had approved it Thursday evening on a 24-15 vote.
The measure would have lowered the state sales tax on groceries to 4.95% in January.
The 6.3% sales tax is scheduled to drop to 5.7% in July.
Gov. Sam Brownback wants to cancel most or all of the decrease to stabilize the budget while Kansas cuts individual income taxes.
The House adjourned until Tuesday, guaranteeing that the Legislature's annual session will last at least 95 days, five more than the state constitution specifies.
FEDERAL EDUCATION CUTS
Federal cuts affect poorest Kansas schools
(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com)
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - School districts in Kansas face the loss of about $7.2 million this coming school year in federal funding that's reserved for the highest-poverty schools.
In a letter notifying school districts of the cuts Thursday, the Kansas State Department of Education described the loss in Title I funding as "major." The department said 5% was cut because of the required federal budget cuts, and two-tenths of a percent was cut because of a smaller allocation from Congress.
Title I funding pays for teaching and services at high-poverty schools, including extra math and reading teachers who help struggling students. The money also pays for after-school programs.
Tammy Austin, executive director of administration for the Topeka school district, said the cuts were equivalent to 13 teachers' salaries and benefits in her district.
Cessna lays off salaried workers; numbers unclear
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Cessna Aircraft says it has laid off some salaried workers but the company declined to say how many people lost their jobs.
The company announced the layoffs Thursday. The move came a month after Cessna offered a voluntary retirement program for hourly and salaried workers.
The cuts did not affect hourly employees represented by the Machinists union. Union officials say they don't expect any layoffs of their workers in the near future.
Cessna said last month that it would cut production this year because of weak demand for its light jet products.
Plan suggests toll lanes on K-10 in eastern Kansas
(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A long-range plan for the state's highways suggests that Kansas Highway 10 between Lawrence and Johnson County become a partial toll road.
The Kansas Department of Transportation said Thursday that the highway should be widened in the next 20 years to six lanes.
The plan would add high occupancy toll lanes, or HOT lanes, in each direction. The HOT lanes would be free for mass transit vehicles and carpool lanes. But single-occupant vehicles would have to pay a toll.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports the recommendation is part of the Five County Regional Transportation Study. That's a project by the transportation department, the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Office and the Mid-America Regional Council.
The report identifies projects for future years, after the current state roads program ends in 2020.
CRASH-2 CHILDREN DIE
2nd child dies after crash in southern Kansas
PRESTON, Kan. (AP) - A second child has died from injuries suffered in a one-car accident in south-central Kansas.
The highway patrol says 5-year-old Navaeh Smallwood of Turon died Thursday after being hospitalized since Monday's accident on Kansas 61 about a mile north of Preston.
Another child, 2-year-old Craigjohn Vanzandt of Turon died at the accident scene.
The patrol says 27-year-old Ginny Coates of Turon lost control of her vehicle, which went off the road and came back on the highway before rolling three times and coming to rest on its wheels.
Coates and 6-year-old Jessica Coates of Turon were treated and released after the accident.
The Pratt Tribune reports no one was wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.
KANOPOLIS LAKE DREDGING
Dredging prepares Kanopolis Lake for holiday
MARQUETTE, Kan. (AP) - Visitors to Kanopolis State Park this weekend should have an easier time using their boats after a weeklong dredging operation.
The central Kansas lake is about 8 feet below its normal depth, causing problems for boat access at ramps.
Park staff worked nearly all week to dredge near the ramp at Langley Point, the only usable boat ramp.
Park manager Rick Martin says the last time similar dredging was done at the park was in 2006.
Martin says the lake is so low because no water is coming from Smoky Hill River.
KAKE-TV reports that despite the low water, 70% of the lakes sites that can be reserved have been claimed for the weekend. And all rental cabins are taken.
Kan. museum showcases Apollo engine restoration
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Visitors to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center will be able to watch the restoration of rusted pieces of Apollo-era rocket engines that helped boost astronauts to the moon.
The Apollo F-1 conservation project debuts Friday at the Hutchinson museum.
Bezos Expeditions F-1 Recovery Project, which fished the engines out of the Atlantic in March, commissioned the restoration work.
Visitors can follow its progress from the museum's new observation gallery, a glassed-in viewing area overlooking its SpaceWorks division. Tours begin in the museum's Apollo Gallery.
The National Institute for Aviation Research recently scanned 4 of the artifacts to help create a 3-D model to help in disassembly and reconstruction of the components.
Groundbreaking planned for Kan. biodefense lab
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for next week for the central utilities plant at a new, national biodefense lab in Manhattan.
Officials planning to attend the May 28 ceremony include Gov. Sam Brownback, U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, U.S. Reps. Tim Huelskamp and Lynn Jenkins and Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz.
The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will research dangerous animal diseases and ways of protecting the nation's food supply. The Kansas facility will replace an aging research center on Plum Island, N.Y.
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