Topkea, KS – Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings are in effect for much of eastern Kansas. Matt Wolters is with the National Weather Service in Topeka. He says the high temperatures aren't unusual for this time of year, but the high humidity is out of the ordinary.
"Typically you start to sweat, and then the sweat evaporates off your body and it cools you down," says Wolters. "When you have the high humidity and the temperatures we've been experiencing over the last few days, it makes it difficult to cool down by that way."
Topkea, KS – Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson returned from a trip to Washington D.C. recently, where he and a coalition of governors urged Congress to extend federal payments that help support the Medicaid program.
The joint state/federal health program benefits aged, low-income and disabled Kansans.
Federal stimulus legislation has helped pay a bigger chunk of the program in recent years than usual. State lawmakers have assumed that would be extended, and built the funding into the state budget for this fiscal year.
Topkea, KS – Starting today, texting while driving is illegal in Kansas.
There will be a 6 month warning period before officers start issuing $60 fines.
Captain Art Wilburn with the Kansas Highway Patrol says the law will help improve safety on Kansas roads.
"Folks who are out there texting and driving, their attention is distracted from the roadway and their driving," says Wilburn. "It's not uncommon to see those people involved in accidents where they would run off the road or run into the back of another car."
Topeka, Kan. – Kansas lawmakers return to the statehouse on Monday with the hopes of wrapping up the 2010 session. Legislators worked over the weekend trying to tie up loose ends of the last few important issues.
Legislators burned the midnight oil on Friday with house members working until the wee hours of the morning and during the day on Saturday to approve a budget.
A coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans drafted the plan. It would avoid spending cuts to education and social services, but would require a tax increase of more than $300 million to balance.
Topkea, Kan. – The Kansas Senate today failed to override Gov. Mark Parkinson's veto of an abortion bill. It would have required doctors performing late-term abortions to provide more information to the state. It would have also allowed for more lawsuits against abortion providers.
"Someday, I hope the unborn has a voice in these chambers," Senator Ralph Ostmeyer, a Grinnell Republican, said on the Senate floor following the vote. "I'm disappointed that we don't want to talk about it. We will have a change in Governor. We will get this passed."
Topeka, Kan. – A so-called "Health Care Freedom Amendment" to the Kansas constitution failed today in the House. The amendment is aimed at exempting the state from federal health care laws that would require Kansans to have health insurance.
Supporters have argued it would send a message that they disapprove of the law signed today by President Obama. But they fell nine votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment.
Topeka, Kan. – A special House committee will start hearings on an ethics complaint filed against House Speaker Mike O'Neal. the committee decided not to dismiss the complaint against the Hutchinson Republican.
Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas House Taxation Committee is holding hearings this week to get more information on some tax credits. Lawmakers may consider cutting back or eliminating some credits as a way to raise revenue. Lawmakers yesterday heard how getting rid of a credit for insurance companies could cost the state jobs.