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This Hour: Latest Kansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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MEDICAID EXPANSION

New law prevents expansion of Medicaid in Kansas

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas is not going to expand its Medicaid program anytime soon in line with the federal health care overhaul.

But advocates aren't giving up on the idea.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved still plans to pursue the issue. Spokeswoman Katrina McGivern said the group has prepared to work on educating legislators about the benefits of expanding Medicaid. The program provides health coverage for the poor and disabled.

Republican Governor Sam Brownback and many GOP legislators are vocal critics of the 2010 federal health care law.

Lawmakers last year included a ban on expanding Medicaid in budget legislation, but it expires in July 2015. The GOP-dominated Legislature passed a bill earlier this month extending the ban indefinitely

Brownback signed it this week.

KU MEDICAL BUILDING

Brownback to attend KU Medical Center event

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Governor Sam Brownback and other officials are expected to gather at the KU Medical Center to applaud budget enhancements that include $25 million in bonds for building a proposed $75 million health education building.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Fred Logan are also expected to attend the event Monday at the medical center. A bill passed by the Legislature includes $25 million in state-backed bonding authority for a new building.

KU officials say a new health education building is needed in part to train more doctors. With the new building, KU will increase the class size by 25 to 200 students.

The university has identified $15 million in internal funds for the project, but needs $40 million more.

SCHOOL FUNDING FIGHT

Kansas school funding measure awaits signature

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A deadline is approaching for Governor Sam Brownback to make a decision on whether he will sign a bill increasing spending for Kansas public schools, despite building pressure from opponents and supporters of the measure.

Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling March 7th giving legislators until July 1st to restore funding for two school finance provisions that give more state aid to poor districts.

Legislators finished work on the bill April 6th then recessed until late April. The measure increases spending by more than $129 million, funds separate programs at state colleges and universities and makes changes in education policy, including teacher employment rights.

The Republican governor has kept his intentions to himself, despite making statements during stops at state universities touting investments in research and other programs.

OBAMA VISIT-TOPEKA

Topeka to give 6 tickets for first lady's speech

(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Topeka school district is allotting up to six tickets each to graduating seniors whose commencement next month will feature Michelle Obama.

Topeka Unified School District 501 spokesman Ron Harbaugh says graduating seniors will receive up to six tickets each for the joint commencement ceremony scheduled for May 17th, the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's watershed ruling in Brown versus Topeka Board of Education.

The ceremony will include all five of the district's high schools, Highland Park High, Topeka High, Topeka West, Capital City and Hope Street Academy.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports about 1,300 people will be on the floor of the Kansas Expocentre and nearly 6,500 seats will be available in the regular stands.

OFFICER-SUPERVISION

Kansas judge to rule on supervision

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com)

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) - A Butler County judge is expected to decide if a former Augusta police officer convicted of a sex crime will be subject to lifetime post-release supervision.

The Wichita Eagle reports that 45-year-old Jerry Ballinger was ordered to 59 days of house arrest, 60 months' probation and sex offender treatment when he was sentenced April 7th on one count of attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

The judge is expected to rule Monday on whether Ballinger will also have to submit to post-release supervision for the rest of his life.

Ballinger was a longtime Augusta police department employee.

Kansas law requires certain sex offenders be supervised in the community for the remainder of their lives after serving the incarceration portion of their sentences.

PROM BY REMOTE

Kansas students attend prom via robot

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Two Lawrence students danced with friends at their prom thanks to a couple robots.

The Lawrence Journal World reports Olivia Ledezma attended the Lawrence Virtual High School prom last Saturday while she was in California. She got to the prom by using a telepresence robot, which is essentially an iPad on wheels.

Ledezma and one other student, who was in Michigan at the time, used the robots on loan from Lawrence Public Schools. Each robot has a foot-long wheel at its base with an adjustable pole holding an iPad. The students on the other end controlled the robot through an iPad application.

Monte Westfall, assistant principal of Lawrence Virtual Schools, says both students were out on the dance floor, and it was as though they were really there.

WICHITA-NBC WORLD SERIES

Wichita putting NBC World Series board in place

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita officials have been working to put a board of directors in place to take over operation of the National Baseball Congress World Series.

Wichita announced earlier they will take their tournament back from current operators, the Wingnuts independent league baseball team. This year's tournament, the 80th World Series, runs July 25th through August 9th. Profits generated by the tournament will go toward youth baseball programs.

The board, which will run the new nonprofit NBC Baseball Foundation, will have authority to appoint new management for the tournament, negotiate a long-term agreement with an outside management group or negotiate a temporary agreement while longer-term management is sought.

City Manager Robert Layton told the Wichita Eagle the board appointments could be on a May council meeting agenda.

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