News from the state legislature and other headlines: February 24, 2016

andy lambertFebruary 24, 2016

Crews will be working on the railroad crossings on East Pine and Country Club Drive in Colby tomorrow. The plan is to start on Pine, then move to Country Club, and have everything hopefully wrapped up by early afternoon, with the roads back open to traffic afterward.

The Kansas Senate has voted to increase vehicle registration fees with the money being used to help the Highway Patrol put more troopers on highways. Senators voted 24-14 Tuesday for a measure that boosts the fee for each vehicle’s registration by $3.25. Of the increase, $2 will go to the patrol and $1.25 to the state’s law enforcement officer training center in Hutchinson.

The Justice Department says a top federal election official was wrong when he changed a national form to require residents of Kansas, Alabama and Georgia to provide documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote. The government is siding with voting rights group in urging a federal judge to temporarily block the changes. The judge will hear arguments next month in Washington D.C.

Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill to release some prisoners who are parents. Inmates with custody of a child who aren’t considered dangerous and have less than a year left on their sentence could be eligible for a move to house arrest.

The Kansas House has voted to raise the speed limit to 70 miles per hour on some highways. House lawmakers approved the higher speed limit for non-interstate highways after voting down a plan to raise the limit on interstates to 80 from the current 75.

Kansas senators have voted to overhaul the juvenile justice system by offering community-based programs instead of jail for low-risk juvenile offenders. The measure will close group homes for juvenile offenders in July 2018. Young people who violate probation would be referred to community-based programs that allow them to stay in homes with their families.

Three administrators in a northeast Kansas school district won’t return next year amid a student drug-testing controversy. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Perry-Lecompton Superintendent Denis Yoder has decided to retire after the school board chose not to renew the contracts of the high school principal and assistant principal.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has cancelled a $20 million contract for an energy plant to power the Kansas Statehouse and other state government buildings in Topeka. Lawmakers from both parties have complained they weren’t allowed to review the deal that was signed in December.





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