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KCUR Morning Newscast 12-09-08

By Maria Carter


Kansas City, MO – A backlog of child support and paternity cases in Missouri could take seven years to resolve, according to a new state audit. Marshall Griffin reports.

The audit cites various reasons for the backlog, including staff turnovers and heavier workloads. Audit Department spokeswoman Samantha Brewer says recommendations include improved training for case workers.

"They need to establish time frames for scheduled hearings," says Brewer. "And perhaps a workload analysis in order to ensure that all the duties and activities are established and identified."

The Department of Social Services says it has nearly doubled the number of officers hearing paternity and child support cases. But a DSS spokesperson disagreed that the backlog would necessarily take seven years to work through.

University of Kansas Chancellor Robert Hemenway has announced that he'll retire at the end of June. Kansas Public Radio's Joseph DiNitto reports.

The Chair of Kansas' Republican Party will step down early next year to run for state office. Kris Kobach says his chief interest is in becoming Secretary of State in Kansas in the 2010 elections, but attorney general also intrigues him:

According to Kobach: "I'm not ruling it out, no, and I haven't made a final decision on Secretary of State. Its just that a number of people have urged me to consider it and I do think it does make sense for a number of reasons because out electoral process is so important."

Many Kansas conservatives feel not enough is being done to prevent illegal immigrants from voting, and have urged Kobach to become the state's chief election officer. He is a constitutional law professor at UMKC.

The Director of National Labs with the Department of Homeland Security in Washington says the new national biosecurity research facility in Kansas will benefit the entire animal science industry in the area. Johnson County is home to some 130 animal health companies. Kansas officials made what's known as "the animal- science corridor" one of the mainstays of their proposal to D-H-S. And Jamie Johnson, who runs the national labs program, says it worked.

"One of the things we hope to do is recruit scientists and researchers who will come to an area with multiple opportunities areas .not just the NBAf but opportunities to do research in a variety of other areas," says Johnson.

D-H-S won't officially name Kansas as the selected site until January. Many ranchers and community activists are concerned the new facility is unsafe.

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