Daily Archives: April 6, 2010

New law will require sex offenders be registered for life

fingerprintTOPEKA – A bill signed into law Tuesday by the governor will require people convicted of certain sex crimes register as sex offenders for life.

“Keeping our communities safe is one of my utmost priorities as governor; therefore, I am glad to sign this legislation that helps keep Kansans informed about people living in their neighborhoods,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson in a written statment. “Sex offenders commit some of the most heinous acts in our society to many times the most vulnerable.”

Kansas law currently requires convicted sex offenders be listed on the registry for 10 years. The bill takes effect July 1.

Under the new law, the following sex crimes would require lifetime registration; the attempt, conspiracy, or criminal solicitation to commit aggravated trafficking, rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child, aggravated criminal sodomy, promoting prostitution if the prostitute is less than 14 years of age, and sexual exploitation of a child.

Kansas has a new state grass

TOPEKA – After several years of lawmakers debating the merits of Little Bluestem, Buffalo and Big Bluestem as the state grass, Kansas now has an official turf.

Tuesday, Gov. Mark Parkinson signed a bill making Little Bluestem the Sunflower state’s official grass.

The grass grows in every Kansas county.

Wichita council approves community development district policy

The hotel at WaterWalk will likely be the first community improvement district

The hotel at WaterWalk will likely be the first community improvement district

WICHITA – Qualified developers will be able to help finance their projects and even pay some ongoing operations costs at their businesses with a special 2 cent sales tax under a new policy approved today by Wichita City Council members.

The policy also allows qualified developers to require special assessment payments from tenants in an approved development to help sweeten their business plans.

Such community development districts, approved by the state last year, would be limited to commercial developments where all property owners agree on the additional sales tax of special assessments.

But some council members are already talking about loosening some of the restrictions they approved to allow the incentives for residential developments in special circumstances when the city’s existing special assessment program doesn’t cover costs in new subdivisions. Council members will debate that and vote on it at another meeting.

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Moran to hold campaign town hall in Wichita Wednesday with Okla. Sen. Tom Coburn

Campaigning on Senate opponent Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s home turf, Rep. Jerry Moran will be taking voters’ questions at a town hall meeting Wednesday in Wichita.

Moran will appear with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a prominent congressional conservative who is endorsing Moran’s bid for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Sam Brownback.

The race is hotly contested between Moran, R-Hays, Tiahrt, R-Goddard and former state Attorney General Robert Londerholm.

Moran’s spotlight on the Coburn endorsement comes a day after Tiahrt, announced he’s gained the support of 23 conservative Republican state legislators in his home district, the 4th.

Moran represents the sprawling 1st district, which stretches from Emporia to the state’s western borders.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the Kansas Masonic Home, 401 S. Seneca, Wichita.

State board grudgingly agrees to seek more time for Sumner County casino proposal

chisholmcreekcasinoAfter a tense showdown with Sumner County casino developers, the state’s casino review board agreed Tuesday to postpone a vote on the project.

Representatives of Chisholm Creek Casino Resort said they would withdraw the project if the board voted today to approve it.

Board members voted to ask the governor for a 60-day extension of their April 19 deadline to act on the proposal.

But they were hostile to the idea.

Board members Jim Bergfalk said developers left them no choice. “I resent it. I resent the way it came about. I resent the timing,” he said.

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23 state lawmakers back Tiahrt for Senate

tiahrt_toddRep. Todd Tiahrt’s campaign today announced that 23 state legislators in his district are endorsing him in his primary struggle against Rep. Jerry Moran for the Republican nomination for Senate.

The announcement came at a news conference today at the Wichita Area Builders Association office, featuring Tiahrt flanked by 14 of the lawmakers, all GOP conservatives.

All represent parts of 4th Congressional District, which Tiahrt, R-Goddard, represents in Congress.

Tiahrt also said he’s garnered endorsements from within the 1st District, which Moran, R-Hays, represents, including Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia and Larry Powell, R-Garden City.

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Commissioners concerned about courts closing Fridays

Sedgwick County commissioners expressed concern this morning about a decision to close courts on some Fridays, saying doing so likely will add to jail overcrowding.

The county is struggling with jail overcrowding at a time commissioners don’t want to raise taxes to pay for a new or expanded facility.

Courts will be closed some Fridays this month — this week, April 16 and 23 — and the first Friday in May per an administrative order by the Kansas Supreme Court.  Commissioner Karl Peterjohn said it was his understanding that judges would continue to work Fridays but would not hear cases.

Commissioner Kelly Parks said that he hoped judges would take advantage of that time to get caught up on any administrative tasks.