The applications of candidates for two county commission openings filled last year by Governor Sam Brownback are not exempt from the Kansas open records law. A Shawnee County judge has sided with news organizations seeking information about the people who sought the newly created Saline County Commission seats. Voters expanded the commission last year from three to five members.
Kansas has slower population growth than neighboring states and the U.S. as a whole. Census Bureau figures estimate Kansas’ total population grew by three-tenths of 1 percent from July 2014 to July 2015. The national growth rate was almost eight-tenths of 1 percent. Kansas ranked 32nd among states and the District of Columbia in its growth rate. The Census Bureau also said Kansas saw a net loss from migration over the year of 2 residents per 1,000.
A chemical company based in Sterling has been fined $1 million. The president of JACAM Manufacturing entered a plea Tuesday on the company’s behalf in federal court in Wichita. The company was accused of dumping hazardous wastes down a saltwater disposal well in Rice County without a permit.
The University of Kansas has fulfilled one of the demands of a student group seeking increased attention to diversity issues at the school. A longtime member of the Office of Multicultural Affairs has been named director of the department. Precious Porras has been interim director since May. She takes over as permanent director January 4.
The Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition has received a $125,000 grant aimed at helping the monarch butterfly. It will use the money from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore or create 12,000 acres of butterfly habitat in the Red Hills and Flint Hills. Experts say the monarch population in the country has been dropping over the past 20 years.