Kansans slow to embrace health marketplace in Nov.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - New figures show that Kansans remained slow to embrace a federally run online health insurance marketplace in November even though the pace of enrollments in health plans increased.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday that fewer than 1,900 Kansans had chosen health plans through the marketplace at the end of last month - less than 10 percent of those eligible.
However, the enrollment figure as of Nov. 2 was only 371.
The October rollout of the online marketplace under the federal health overhaul was plagued by problems, and in November, the federal agency was working on fixing them.
Kansas declined to operate its own exchange or partner with the federal government. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and many GOP legislators are critics of the health care overhaul.
Kan. senator, foe spar over opposing budget deal
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts has announced he'll vote against a bipartisan budget deal, but the Kansas Republican's primary opponent says Roberts should have spoken up earlier.
Roberts said Wednesday that he doesn't think the deal tackles major fiscal problems and represents only more taxing and spending. The deal was crafted by Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray of Washington.
Roberts's comments came shortly after GOP primary opponent Milton Wolf called on the senator to vote against the package. Wolf began criticizing a possible deal last week, when it was still being negotiated.
Wolf said Roberts hasn't been vocal enough.
But Roberts' executive campaign manager Leroy Towns said Kansans expect their senator to study legislation before criticizing it.
Kan. senator's foe gains conservative endorsement
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A national conservative group has endorsed challenger Milton Wolf in campaign against U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in the Kansas Republican primary.
Wolf received the endorsement from the Senate Conservatives Fund. The political action committee was founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.
Wolf is a Leawood radiologist and is running against Roberts as a tea party candidate. He's criticized Roberts on budget, tax and health care issues and sees the endorsement as helping him build momentum.
Roberts' executive campaign manager Leroy Towns said Wednesday that the endorsement of Wolf isn't surprising, because DeMint's PAC has been endorsing challengers against incumbent GOP senators.
Roberts has the backing of most of Kansas' elected Republican officials and key groups such as Kansans for Life and the Kansas State Rifle Association.
COURTS-DEATH PENALTY APPEAL
Kan. Supreme Court to hear Carr brothers appeals
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in the appeals of two brothers sentenced to death for murders committed in December 2000.
Justices have scheduled two-hour hearings on Tuesday for Jonathan Carr and his brother, Reginald Carr.
The Carr brothers were convicted for killing three men and a woman on Dec. 15, 2000, as the victims knelt side-by-side on a snow-covered soccer field.
The four friends and another woman who was shot in the head but survived were at a Wichita home when two armed intruders forced them to engage in sex with each other, then made them withdraw money from automated teller machines.
Attorneys for the Carrs argue that the convictions should be set aside over numerous issues raised at their trial.
Lawrence commission OKs concealed carry exemption
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Lawrence city commissioners have approved a resolution seeking a four-year exemption from the Kansas concealed carry law, giving officials time to sort out where guns will be allowed in the future.
The 6News in Lawrence reports the commission voted Tuesday to approve an exemption to prohibit concealed carry permit holders from bringing their guns in to any city building until 2018.
A new state law requires municipalities to allow people with concealed carry permits to bring guns into buildings unless adequate security measures are in place. Numerous cities and counties statewide have approved resolutions giving them more time to determine which buildings would get security improvements.
Groups argued to the Lawrence commission that concealed carry permit holders are responsible individuals and should be allowed to protect themselves.
Appeals court upholds prison term for state worker
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld the prison sentence for a former Kansas case manager who defrauded federal and state government programs.
The U.S. District Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected the request by Tya Dejuan Tiller to overturn her sentence of a year and a day in prison and restitution of about $76,000. At sentencing, the judge found the Leavenworth woman had unfairly tarnished the image of other public servants.
Tiller pleaded guilty to fraudulently collecting disability benefits while working at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and later at the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
Investigators also found she had used her state job to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by creating food stamp accounts in the names of others to buy items for herself.
Big blue Kan. Statehouse crane coming down
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A giant blue crane that has been a big part of the renovation of the Kansas Statehouse for more than three years is coming down.
Project Manager Jim Rinner says general contractor JE Dunn Construction expects the crane to be dismantled by the end of the week.
Workers are using an equally large red crane to take down the blue crane.
The towering blue crane was used to carry building materials to the Capitol roof and dome, including massive steel beams used to support scaffolding. The steel beams have been removed, and the scaffolding is coming down.
The $330 million renovation project began in 2001. State officials are planning a ceremony marking its completion to coincide with the Jan. 29 anniversary of Kansas statehood.
OBAMA ADVISER-KEYSTONE XL
New Obama adviser will not work on Keystone XL
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says a new senior adviser to President Barack Obama will recuse himself from deliberations on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
John Podesta, a former chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, has spoken out against the pipeline. Podesta founded the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that opposes the project.
His hiring cheered environmental groups, who oppose the Canada-to-Texas pipeline as a major contributor to global warming.
Some Keystone supporters, including North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, expressed alarm, calling Podesta's inclusion in Obama's inner circle a possible death-knell for the pipeline, which backers say would create jobs and boost North American energy independence.
The White House says Podesta suggested that he not work on Keystone because his views are well-known.
KANSAS SPORTS HALL
KSHOF president steps down
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Ted Hayes, president and CEO of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, is resigning after more than 20 years with the organization.
Tim Daniel, chairman of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, said in a release Wednesday that Hayes submitted his resignation to the Board of Directors earlier this week. Hayes started as the executive director for the Hall of Fame in 1991.
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1961 as a part of the Kansas Centennial celebration.
Bob Hanson, president and CEO of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, says the Sports Hall of Fame wouldn't have lasted without Hayes.
Hayes will stay with the Hall of Fame through the end of the year. The Hall of Fame hasn't announced plans to replace Hayes.
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