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Headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: December 11, 2015

andy lambertDecember 11, 2015

A Topeka city councilman is denying allegations that he physically abused his 12-year-old son. Jonathan Schumm and his wife have been charged with aggravated battery, or the alternative charge of abuse of a child, for incidents that reportedly happened in October. County officials filed a civil action to suspend him as a city councilman, and then to oust him from office because of the charges.

Members of a legislative committee put off approval of an audit of Department of Children and Families, which has been accused of discriminating against same-sex couples in foster care and adoptions. Instead, the Legislative Post Audit Committee on Thursday decided to appoint a subcommittee to develop a comprehensive proposal for the audit. In addition to potential discrimination some committee memebers noted concern about the state’s privatized child support system and regulations concerning the safety of foster kids.

Attorneys on both sides of a dispute over the Kansas Supreme Court’s power concede that legislators whose actions sparked the conflict also have some oversight of the courts. The high court heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit challenging a 2014 law stripping the justices of their power to appoint chief judges for the state’s 31 judicial districts and giving it to local judges.

State lawmakers in charge of making school finance recommendations hear conflicting arguments about whether more money for schools means better student performance. Kansas currently has a block grant funding plan for schools while the state designs a new formula. The committee plans to hold two more meetings before the legislative session begins in January.

The stepmother of a missing Kansas City, Kansas, boy has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse. Her husband is charged with child abuse, aggravated battery and aggravated assault after authorities investigating a domestic disturbance found the remains of a child in a pigsty on the family’s property.

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