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Kansas officials quash Shawnee Mission teacher contract

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Labor has ordered the Shawnee Mission School District to stop enforcing its labor contract with teachers after finding the district wrongly imposed a three-year contract that wasn't negotiated. Television station KMBC reports that the state Labor Department issued the ruling Friday, saying the three-year contract was not a good-faith negotiation and was done to interfere with the teachers' rights. The teachers union and school district have typically had year-to-year deals. District officials maintained the contract was a good deal, with district spokesman David Smith saying the average wage and benefit increase to teachers over the three years was about 11%.


Kansas Highway Patrol: 1 killed in Interstate 70 crash

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Kansas, say one person has died in a crash on Interstate 70 just west of Interstate 435. The Kansas Highway Patrol tells the Kansas City Star that the crash happened around 5:30 a.m. Saturday when a sport utility vehicle rear-ended a disabled semitrailer on I-70. Authorities say the crash killed the driver of the SUV. The victim's name has not yet been released. The Kansas Turnpike Authority is investigating the crash, which shut down a portion of the interstate Saturday morning.


Police: Low meth prices prompt Wichita property crime drop

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita police official says a significant drop in methamphetamine prices led to a nearly a 20% decline in burglary last year. The Wichita Eagle reports that the theft of guns and other items from inside vehicles also was down from 2018 to 2019. Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Jose Salcido says meth now sells for $2,400 per pound, which is the lowest price in 20 years. A 2018 Kansas Bureau of Investigation report shows that the street value of meth was $13,000 to $15,000 for a pound in 2014. Police also attribute the crime decline to public education campaigns focusing on crime prevention.


Democrats sue over Kansas delay in start of 'vote anywhere'

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas and national Democratic Party groups have sued the Republican official who oversees the state's elections. The lawsuit filed Friday accuses Kansas Secretary Scott Schwab of violating voters' rights by delaying implementation of a law designed to make voting on Election Day more convenient. The lawsuit was filed in state district court in Topeka. Schwab says his office will need another year to draft regulations needed for counties to take advantage of a 2019 state “vote anywhere” law. The law permits counties to allow voters to cast their ballots at any polling place within their borders on Election Day.


Kansas leader decries attempts to tie abortion, Medicaid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top Republican lawmaker in Kansas is disputing a key talking point for GOP colleagues who are blocking a bipartisan plan to expand the state's Medicaid program. Abortion opponents argue that expansion could lead to taxpayer funding of elective abortions. Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning sent an email to senators Friday decrying what he called “inaccurate verbal and written statements” used to justify opposition among abortion opponents to Medicaid expansion. They're trying to block expansion until a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution saying it does not “secure” a right to abortion gets on the ballot.


Reports: Jail altercation in Kansas sparked by mealtime rule

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Reports show an altercation at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility lasted two minutes from the time the first punch was thrown to when inmates began following orders and the situation was deemed “controlled.” Twenty inmates were involved and five officers were injured. Documents obtained by The Associated Press obtained through an open records request portray a large disturbance on Feb. 4 which unexpectedly erupted, but which was quickly contained without any inmates injured and without damage to the facility. It was sparked by when guards tried to cuff inmates who refused to leave the chow hall until they had finished eating.


Kansas Supreme Court denies request to withdraw murder pleas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has rejected a man's motion to withdraw guilty pleas in a Topeka homicide case. Thirty-year-old Coty Ryland Newman pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the October 2010 shooting death of 20-year-old Matthew Mitchell and to attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of Treshawn Wynne, then 17 on the campus of Topeka West High School. The court on Friday upheld a 2014 decision to reject Newman's attempt to withdraw his pleas. The court did overturn a 2014 order requiring lifetime post-release supervision for Newman after he completes his prison sentence.


Man sued over Iowa sexual arousal study ran Kansas facility

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A child psychologist who was formerly the top administrator at a state hospital in Kansas is facing a federal lawsuit in Iowa involving sexual arousal experiments on residents at a state care center for people with intellectual disabilities. Jerry Rea conducted similar research in Kansas while running the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services says its initial investigation of sexual arousal research in Kansas suggests ethics guidelines and proper protocols were followed. Six former employees filed the federal lawsuit Monday, alleging they were fired or forced to resign because they questioned Rea's activities.