Kansas lawmakers leave pot, tax, budget issues to 2nd half
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are leaving their first big votes on the state's next annual budget, cutting income taxes and the medical use of marijuana to the second half of their annual session. The Senate hit the Legislature's annual “turnaround” deadline Thursday with a debate on 20 bills touching on a wide range of topics. The House completed its first-half work Wednesday. Most bills had to clear their chamber of origin Thursday to be considered further. But some big proposals didn't face the turnaround deadline, including tax cuts and legalizing medical marijuana and sports betting. Budget legislation also is exempt from the deadline.
Kansas man charged in Sedalia man's death
SEDALIA, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas man is charged with second-degree murder in a shooting death during the weekend in Sedalia. Daniel Fernandez, of Kansas City, Kansas, is accused of killing Robert Fox Jr. on Saturday. Sedalia police say detectives established Fox owed money to someone in Kansas City, Kansas, stemming from illegal activity. On Saturday, Fox and others were inside a car when an altercation occurred and he was shot in the chest. He got out of the vehicle before it drove off and was found dead on the street. Fernandez also is charged with armed criminal action, second-degree kidnapping and unlawful use of a weapon.
PASSING AROUND GUNS FATALITY-SENTENCE
Man who fatally shot cousin while showing off guns sentenced
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man who accidentally shot and killed his cousin while showing off guns has been sentenced to three years in prison. Martin David Ruiz Jr. was sentenced Wednesday in the death of 24-year-old Anthony Martinez. He pleaded guilty in December to involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors said several people were drinking alcohol in the backyard of a home on June 30, 2018, when Ruiz took a gun out of a bag of weapons and it went off when he pulled back the slide,, hitting Martinez. Prosecutors argued Ruiz was acting recklessly when he mixed alcohol with firearms.
Man pleads guilty to attacking Leavenworth police officer
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A 36-year-old man has admitted to attacking a Leavenworth police officer. Anthony Dunkle pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony battery of a law enforcement officer, making a criminal threat and interference with a law enforcement officer. Prosecutors said Dunkle approached an officer who was sitting in a police car with the window down last April and began punching him. Dunkle apparently was angry with the officer over an earlier incident that led to his arrest. The officer had a cut on his face and scrapes on his hand after the confrontation.
Hearing for suspect in college player's death rescheduled
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The suspect in the fatal shooting of a Kansas college football player and the wounding of current New York Giants cornerback Corey Ballentine will get a new competency hearing. A hearing to determine if Francisco Alejandro Mendez is competent to stand trial on first-degree murder charges was delayed Thursday after a doctor said Mendez had not been truthful or cooperated with his evaluation. After Mendez said he would cooperate, a new hearing was scheduled for March 9. Mendez faces 12 charges after the shooting last year that killed Dwane Simmons and wounded Corey Ballentine, just hours after Ballentine was drafted by the Giants.
POLICE SHOOTING LAWSUIT-WICHITA
Court sides with family of man shot by police in Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that jurors should be allowed to decide whether a white police officer in Kansas used excessive force nearly eight years ago when he fatally shot a black man as he was lying face down in a parking lot. The Wichita Eagle reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit in Denver found Wednesday that a reasonable jury could conclude that by the time then-Wichita Officer Aaron Chaffee fired his final shots, Marquez Smart was on the ground with his arms stretched out. The decision reversed a 2018 ruling dismissing the suit.
Kansas struggles with details of legalizing sports betting
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers who want to legalize betting on sports events and allow online sales of lottery tickets are struggling to agree on the details. They also face criticism that they're too generous to companies already managing casinos for the state. The state Senate gave first-round approval Wednesday to a sports betting bill less than month after the Kansas City Chiefs' victory in professional football's Super Bowl highlighted how many Kansas fans placed wagers on the team out of state or illegally. Senators hoped to take a final vote on the measure later Wednesday to determine whether it passes and goes to the House.
Kansas Senate approves bill to allow on-farm raw milk sales