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Top Of The Morning News: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sign near main gate at Ft. Leavenworth, where Sgt. Robert Bales is being held.
J. Schafer
Kansas Public Radio
Sign near main gate at Ft. Leavenworth, where Sgt. Robert Bales is being held.

A lawyer meets with Afghan massacre suspect being held at Ft. Leavenworth, the details of Kansas City’s state of the city speech, the Kansas House passes an overhaul of KPERS & more headlines from KCUR.

High Profile Lawyer Meets With Afghan Massacre Suspect

A team of defense lawyers is expected to spend another day at a Fort Leavenworth prison, interviewing the soldier under arrest in the killing of 16 Afghanistan civilians. New twists to the killing spree have been trickling out of the meetings.  Find out more here.

KC Mayor Promotes Volunteer Project In State Of The City Speech

Kansas City Mayor Sly James delivered his state-of-the-city message yesterday to a crowd at Bartle Hall that included the mayors of five other local communities.  He emphasized a volunteer project to improve reading skills as vital to the city’s future.  Read more here.

Kansas House Passes KPERS Overhaul

The bill would change KPERS to an investment plan offering workers a guaranteed 5 percent return. Lawmakers also added a second option, a 401(k)-style plan, where workers manage their own retirement investments.  Read the full story here.

Missouri House Democrats Propose New Ethics Measure

House Democrats are backing legislation they say would toughen Missouri’s ethics standards  The bill would restore many provisions recently struck down by the State Supreme Court:  They include banning committee-to-committee money transfers and giving theMissouriEthics Commissionthe authority to launch its own investigations.  The High Court struck them down because they were tacked onto another bill that had nothing to do with ethics.  Learn more about the proposed measure here.

Farmers Push To Hire Illegal Immigrants

Feedlots, dairies and other farms are clamoring for more help and traditional recruitment methods – like running help-wanted newspaper ads in eastern Kansas publications – hasn’t been effective. Earlier this year, state Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman, a Republican, stepped into the fray and asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for a waiver that would allow companies to hire undocumented workers. He had no success with that effort.  Learn more about push for a work program for illegal immigrants at the state level here.

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