KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE
Obama opposes GOP bill on Keystone XL oil pipeline
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Barack Obama opposes a House bill that would speed approval of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.
The White House said Tuesday that the bill "seeks to circumvent longstanding and proven processes" by removing a requirement for a presidential permit. The legislation also says no new environmental studies are needed.
House Republicans say the bill is needed to ensure the long-delayed pipeline is built. The project, which first was proposed in 2008, would carry oil extracted from tar sands in western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Opponents say the pipeline would carry "dirty oil" that could trigger global warming, while supporters say it would create jobs and bolster North American energy resources.
A House vote is expected Wednesday.
Kan. lawmakers' budget, tax negotiations to resume
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas legislators were preparing to resume their negotiations on budget and tax issues as freshman Republicans in both chambers gathered for a joint meeting.
First-term GOP lawmakers were caucusing Tuesday ahead of meetings of separate teams of senators and House members appointed to reconcile their chambers' differences on budget and tax issues.
Republican leaders in both chambers have been stalemated.
The biggest budget disagreement is over higher education spending. Both chambers want to cut, but the House wants to go deeper than the Senate. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback wants no cuts.
On taxes, the biggest conflict is over Brownback's plan to stabilize the budget by canceling a scheduled decrease in the sales tax. The Senate has approved the measure, and the House wants the tax to decrease.
Kansas House expected to vote on gun-rights bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas House is preparing to vote on legislation restricting the use of state tax dollars to promote or oppose gun-control measures.
The bill up for House debate Tuesday would also prohibit the use of state funds to lobby local, state or federal officials on gun control.
The Senate passed the measure last week, and House approval would send it to Gov. Sam Brownback. He's a strong gun-rights supporter, but he hasn't said whether he'll sign it.
The measure is backed by the National Rifle Association.
A Kansas law that took effect in April says the federal government has no power to regulate firearms, ammunition and accessories manufactured, sold and kept only in the state.
PRISONER REVIEW BOARD
Lero named to Kansas Prisoner Review Board
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A veteran employee of the Kansas Department of Corrections has been named to the state Prisoner Review Board.
Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts announced Monday that Peggy Lero would fill an opening on the three-member board.
Lero has been with the corrections agency since 2000 and has nearly 40 years of experience in corrections and criminal justice. She's currently the parole director in the northern parole region in Topeka.
The Prisoner Review Board has several responsibilities, including decisions on parole and the conditions of inmates freed on supervised release.
Lero replaces Kathleen Graves, who was named deputy director of the Corrections Departments' community and field services division.
Kansas growers making progress on corn planting
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A new report says Kansas farmers have planted about 70% of this year's corn crop.
But Monday's weekly update from Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service also says planting of the corn crop trails the 97% planted by the same time last year, and the average of 74%.
The Kansas winter wheat crop is 41% headed. Forty-two percent of the wheat is rated in poor to very poor condition, with 30% fair, 25% good and 3% excellent.
Some damage was reported from hail and high winds that accompanied weekend rain in parts of Kansas.
Despite the rain, subsoil moisture supplies were short to very short across 54% of the state. Topsoil moisture supplies remain short to very short in 34% of Kansas.
Salina commission discusses liquor sales on Sunday
(Information in the following story is from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com )
SALINA, Kan. (AP) - Salina's city commission will consider allowing liquor sales in the city on Sunday.
The possibility arose during a meeting Monday, when the commission approved an ordinance that allows microbreweries in the city.
During discussion of that ordinance, commissioners considered whether to allow Sunday liquor sales. Current Salina law prohibits Sunday sales at liquor stores and other places that sell packaged alcohol.
Commissioner Randall Hardy says he thought the current law was a restraint of trade. Other commissioners also indicated they would support Sunday sales.
The Salina Journal reports the city's staff will bring the issue before the commission at its June 3 meeting. And commission members said they welcomed public input during the discussion.
Sheriff: Death in Topeka school lot not suspicious
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Shawnee County officials say the death of a man whose body was found in a car on the campus of a Topeka school is not considered suspicious.
A deputy found the man's body in a car late Monday on the grounds of Washburn Rural Middle School. He was described as being in his mid-40s but his name was not released.
Martin Weishaar, spokesman for the school district, says the man appeared to have died from a medical condition. The man was not associated with the school.
The Shawnee County sheriff's office also said the death didn't appear to be suspicious, although the investigation into the cause of death will continue.
Former IRS agent faces sentencing for theft
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A former Internal Revenue Service agent faces sentencing after admitting she was paid for meetings with taxpayers that never occurred.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil will decide Tuesday whether to accept the government's recommendation of probation for Becky L. Book of Pittsburg.
Book pleaded guilty in February to receiving more than $26,000 in salary and mileage payments that she didn't earn.
Prosecutors say Book claimed she worked 744 hours between March 2010 and April 2011, but she actually used those hours as unauthorized personal time.
Book has agreed to pay $13,000 in partial payment of restitution at her sentencing.
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