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Budget talks continue in the state legislature…and other headlines: March 16, 2017

A top Republican legislator in Kansas is promising to push to cut spending to help fix the state’s serious budget problems. Meanwhile, a state agency warned lawmakers yesterday that they’re on track to harm services designed to keep disabled people in their homes. Some lawmakers are also floating the idea of having Kansas move toward a “flat” personal income tax.
A state lawmaker wants tougher regulations for amusement parks in Kansas after a colleague’s 10-year-old son was killed last year on a water slide dubbed the world’s tallest. Rep. John Barker’s bill would require insurance companies representing the parks to hire a certified engineer to inspect the rides. Under current Kansas law, the parks themselves can choose the inspectors, who don’t necessarily have to be engineers.
The Kansas Supreme Court hears arguments today in a lawsuit filed by two doctors against Kansas’ ban on a second-trimester abortion procedure. At issue is whether the state’s constitution protects abortion rights independently of the U.S. constitution. A lower court ruled in favor of those two doctors.
Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss is trying to persuade legislators to increase salaries for judges and pay for judicial branch employees. Nuss devoted much of his annual State of the Judiciary address to what he described as the serious need to increase pay within the court system.
Parts of southern Kansas feel a second earthquake of the week. This one kicked in just before 5:30 yesterday afternoon, four miles southwest of Bluff City in Harper County, with a magnitude of 2.6. A nearly identical quake was centered 21 miles south of Wellington Sunday afternoon. No reports of damage or injuries.

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