Split Contines Between Judges & Topeka

October 9, 2015 - Leave a Response

(AP) – Four judges challenging the Legislature’s move to defund the state judiciary’s budget are undeterred by a plea from the Kansas attorney general urging restraint.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Friday he was grateful the judges voluntarily dismissed on Thursday their case in federal court, an urged them not to file a new lawsuit. A court has already blocked the law until the Legislature reconvenes.

But the attorney representing the judges responded his clients don’t trust the Legislature and still plan to sue in state court over state constitutional issues. He urged Schmidt to file a court brief agreeing the law is unconstitutional.

Legislation passed this year nullifies the judicial branch’s budget if a 2014 law stripping the Kansas Supreme Court of its ability to appoint chief judges is struck down.

Shawnee Mission Says Kansas School Financing Plan Hurting Schools

October 9, 2015 - Leave a Response

. (AP) – The Shawnee Mission School District, which is blocked from joining a school finance lawsuit, has filed a brief in the case calling the state’s funding policy “crippling.”

The Kansas City Star reports (http://bit.ly/1L3INgc ) the Kansas Supreme Court last month affirmed a lower court ruling that Shawnee Mission could not intervene in the school finance lawsuit against the state brought by the Kansas City, Kansas, Wichita, Dodge City and Hutchinson districts.

The district was told it could file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, Gannon v. Kansas. The district’s brief released Thursday says underfunding of the state’s school finance system “has led to a crippling loss of teachers,” foreign language program, neighborhood schools and property values.

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in November on whether Kansas schools are equitably funded.

Push for Medical Marijuana Vote in Missouri in 2016

October 8, 2015 - Leave a Response

A 60-year old registered nurse from Missouri says the state ought to permit medical marijuana because she has seen it work.

Delores Halbin told KMBC TV Thursday she supports the plan to put a medical marijuana law on the 20116 Missouri ballot.

“It’s not a narcotic, it’s not an opiate…and it works,”Halbin said.

She says her husband suffers from a severe case of glaucoma.

Regular treatments did not help him much according to his wife.

When he started smoking marijuana, his wife said, the effect were almost immediate.

“He did not have to lay face down into a pillow,” said Halbin.

She says he was able to get up take walks and “have a life”.

Today advocates of medical marijuana filed petitions to put the issue to a statewide vote in 2016.

The group, New Approach Missouri, will have to gather the signatures of about 160,00 registered Missouri voters from across the state. The petitions need to be turned in by early May of 2016.

The plan is supported by the group, Show-Me Cannibus.

Earlier the group backed another proposal calling for complete legalization of the drug in Missouri.

Amber Iris Langston, a Show- me Cannibus member, says that remains a goal, but the group saw polling numbers indicating more support for a medical marijuana plan.

“We didn’t want to wait another year to help those patients,” she said

Kansas Starts School Year Short 300 Teachers

October 8, 2015 - Leave a Response

(AP) – Kansas had more than 300 vacant teaching positions at the beginning of this school year.
Officials from the Kansas Department of Education said the numbers showing there were 317 vacant teaching positions in early September are from the first stage of a study the department is conducting to determine why some districts can’t fill certain positions.
The Wichita Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/1hssIWS ) the state Department of Education previously administered a survey for the U.S. Department of Education on teacher demographics. But this year the state started conducting its own deeper survey.
School districts reported their vacant teaching positions as of Sept. 1, and in February will tell the district whether they filled those positions and if not, what factors were responsible.
The Wichita school district had the most vacancies with 64.

Kansas to Issue Same Sex Couples Birth Certificates on Case-by-Case Basis

October 8, 2015 - Leave a Response

AP) – The state of Kansas will issue birth certificates to two same-sex couples but will continue to study similar requests on a case-by-case basis.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the birth certificates in the two cases will list both members of the same-sex couples as parents of their children.
The two couples were part of pending lawsuits in state and federal court. They argued the state’s refusal to issue the birth certificates violated a recent Supreme Court ruling that states must recognize same-sex marriages.
Department spokeswoman Sara Belfry told The Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/1OnU0Mu ) the department decided to issue the birth certificates in the two cases after reviewing applicable law and existing court orders.
But she says the state’s general policy has not changed.


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