Kansas Hospitals Buckle amid COVID Surge
MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Hospitals across Kansas are buckling as coronavirus cases swell, leading many schools to scale back in-person learning and one county to intensify plans for a possible field hospital. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment added 5,939 cases to the state’s pandemic tally since Wednesday, bringing the total to 134,533. That brought the state’s seven-day average of new cases to 2,718, just shy of the record but nearly four times higher than it was a month ago. The number of COVID-19 related deaths also rose by 84 to 1,410. Governor Laura Kelly told local officials and legislators during a call Friday that health care workers are burned out.
COVID-19 Spurs Kansas Legislature to Plan Tech Upgrade
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Legislature plans to spend about $3 million on technology upgrades. Its leaders are hoping that people will be able to watch committee hearings and other functions even if they can’t leave their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the upgrades are designed to ensure that legislative committee rooms and even conference spaces are outfitted with audiovisual equipment to broadcast events to the public. The move comes as top lawmakers are starting to consider exactly how the Legislature will conduct business after it convenes its next annual session in January. The upgrades will include better support for meetings conducted with video conferencing.
Investigation of Kansas GOP Lawmaker Referred to AG's Office
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The results of an investigation into a Republican lawmaker has been referred by the local district attorney to to the Kansas attorney general’s office to assess whether to take any further action over a plot to cover up their role in a false ad against a mayoral candidate in the state’s largest city. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a news release Friday that he has been in consultation with the attorney general’s office concerning state Rep Michael Capps. Wichita City Council member James Clendenin was interviewed again and the district attorney’s office plans to release information on him next week. Michael O’Donnell resigned last week from the Sedgwick County Commission after Bennett concluded there was sufficient evidence to begin ouster proceedings.
Kansas Court Upholds 2 Convictions with Warrantless Blood Tests
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that results from warrantless blood tests were admissible in two cases of driving under the influence, even though the statute that had authorized them was later found to be unconstitutional. The state’s highest court said in separate decisions issued Friday that the “good faith exception” allows admission of unlawfully obtained evidence if the arresting officer had no reason to think the statute he had relied on would be declared unconstitutional after the arrest.
Wyandotte County Prosecutor Resigns from Federal Commission
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Wyandotte County Prosecutor Mark Dupree has resigned from a federal commission created by President Donald Trump to study law enforcement issues. Dupree said in a letter sent Thursday to U.S. Attorney General William Barr that he wanted to leave the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. He said he was initially excited to be appointed to the group but now believes it has a political agenda and was trying to erode the discretion of local prosecutors. Dupree was appointed a year ago to the commission's working group on reentry programs for criminal offenders.
Three People Killed in Collision in Southern Kansas
ATTICA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says three people died in a collision in southern Kansas. The crash happened Thursday evening on U.S. 160 between Attica and Sharon in Harper County. The patrol says a car driven by 48-year-old Johnathon Goulding crossed the center line and crashed head-on into another vehicle. Goulding and a passenger in his car, 19-year-old Haylee Goulding, died. They were from Las Vegas. The driver of the second car, 60-year-old Connie Randle of Medicine Lodge, also was killed.
Kansas Guide Sentenced for Federal Hunting Violations
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Kansas hunting guide is losing his hunting privileges for three years for violating federal migratory bird protections. U.S. Attorney for Kansas Stephen McAllister says in a news release that 35-year-old Zachary White, of Ellinwood, pleaded guilty Thursday in Wichita's federal courthouse to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. White admitted that in 2015, he and another man acted as waterfowl guides in Barton County to a party of 13 hunters who killed 31 white-fronted geese, violating a daily bag limit of two per person. White and the other guide were co-owners and operators of Prairie Thunder Outfitters.