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New info on train derailment…rift between governor and lawmakers…and other headlines: March 16, 2016

andy lambertMarch 16, 2016
The NTSB is out with new details in a train derailment near Cimarron. A truck from a nearby cattle lot hit the rails, shifting them between 12 and 14 inches.  But they’re not ready to say yet if that’s the cause of the derailment that left 32 people hurt.  Four remain in the hospital.
There could be a deep divide growing between Governor Brownback and Republican leaders in Kansas. It stems from a heated caucus meeting, as the Kansas Senate was trying to get enough votes to override two of the governor’s recent vetoes. Those deal with the Docking State Office Building…the other would block the formation of any new STAR bond districts in Wyandotte County, where the administration hopes to lure the American Royal. Meanwhile A lawmaker admits he suggested to Gov. Brownback, that he withhold information about the state’s potential credit downgrade. Republican Sen. Ty Masterson made the statement about an hour into that caucus meeting. Most lawmakers claim they didn’t know overriding the vetoes could’ve resulted in a credit downgrade.
The Legislature’s debate over school funding is turning into a battle between the two Kansas communities with the most clout. The dispute was evident during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on a plan for complying with a ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court. Three big districts in Johnson County would lose $4.6 million in aid, while the Wichita district would gain $9.6 million.
Two Republicans suggest Kansas lawmakers turn the job of determining how state aid to public schools is distributed over to the State Board of Education. They raised the idea during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the chairman’s school funding plan. The Board of Education would then make sure the money is distributed fairly.
The Wichita Eagle plans to transfer its printing and packaging operations to the Kansas City Star and sell its property in downtown Wichita. The changes will eliminate more than 70 full- and part-time jobs. The paper’s publisher says the Eagle is not abandoning its print format but the move will help it focus on the growing digital audience.

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