Headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: February 4, 2016

andy lambertFebruary 4, 2016
A Topeka man accused of trying to set off what he thought was a bomb outside Fort Riley has changed his plea to guilty. John Booker pleaded guilty to two counts and prosecutors agreed to drop a third charge of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group. Prosecutors are recommending that Booker get 30 years in prison.
Kansas lawmakers are pledging support for a bill to open up emails sent by public employees about government business. The bill would apply to employees who conduct government business on private email accounts. Governor Sam Brownback’s budget director used a private account last year to email lobbyists a budget draft before lawmakers saw it.
Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow teachers to be prosecuted for presenting material perceived as harmful to minors. The bill passed the Senate last year and is now before a House committee. It stems from a 2014 controversy in the Shawnee Mission school district over a poster in a sex education classroom.
A convicted killer from Wichita who was paroled last year has been arrested in a drunken driving investigation. Kenneth Cook served time for shooting a Topeka man to death in the 1990s and removing the man’s tattoos and teeth to make it harder to identify the body. He was arrested after a crash on Sunday and state corrections officials are now reviewing his parole.
Wichita State researchers say the number of people in Kansas older than 65 will double in the next 50 years. Their new forecast also says the state’s population will grow about 22 percent by 2064 to more than 3.5 million. That’s slower than the national growth rate.
The Kansas Senate overwhelmingly approves a bill that would cut penalties for first and second-time marijuana possession. The measure would reduce the punishment for first-time misdemeanor possession to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second possession conviction would no longer be a felony, so there wouldn’t be prison time.





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