Layoffs announced at Textron's Cessna, Beechcraft

WICHITA, Kan. - Layoffs have been announced at Textron-owned Cessna and Beechcraft.

KAKE News reports, Wednesday morning, a letter was issued to all employees regarding work force reductions within the new Textron Aviation segment. The cuts impact salaried and hourly employees including management.

Approximately 575 Kansas employees received 60-day Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN notices). About 750 full-time and contract employees are affected company-wide.

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Kansas Elder Abuse Measure Becomes Law

Kansas Attorney General Derick Schmidt.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says elderly residents will have new protections against fraud and financial abuse under a new state law.

Legislation creating the crime of mistreatment of an elder person was signed by Gov. Sam Brownback last week.

The law is aimed at protecting people 70 and older who are victims of financial abuse. People convicted of large-scale abuse could be sentenced to more than 40 years in prison.

Schmidt said Monday the law adds protections against misusing a financial trust or power of attorney for the purpose of misappropriating a person's life savings.

The measure was sponsored by Senate Vice President Jeff King of Independence and Sen. Michael O'Donnell, both Republicans. King and O'Donnell say it gives law enforcement another tool to protect older residents.

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State Worker's Pay An Issue For Lawmakers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas legislators are considering proposals to give state workers a modest pay increase but end their guaranteed longevity bonuses.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee touched on pay issues Tuesday as it reviewed budget issues facing lawmakers when they return to the Statehouse next week to wrap up their work for the year. The committee took no action.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback proposed a 1.5 percent pay raise for employees in the civil service. It would be the first across-the-board pay raise since 2009.

But the Senate committee and its House counterpart have alternative proposals for more modest pay raises that would end a requirement for state agencies to pay longevity bonuses.

The Kansas Organization for State Employees opposes ending longevity bonuses.

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SkyWest Airlines to operate between Hays and Denver

HAYS, Kansas – The first United Express flights, operated by SkyWest Airlines, from Hays to Denver are scheduled to take off beginning Aug. 1, 2014.

KSN reports the new daily flights make it possible for Hays travelers to easily and conveniently connect to United's global network at the airline's Denver hub.

"Having access to reliable, local air service is critical for the economic development of communities and we look forward to the start of these new United Express flights in Hays," said Mike Thompson, SkyWest Airlines vice president – Market Development. "Hays travelers taking advantage of this new service will enjoy a new connection to an unmatched global network."

The Hays flights will operate using 50-seat Bombardier-manufactured CRJ200 aircraft.

Customers may book flights immediately at united.com or by calling United reservations at 800.UNITED.1 (800.864.8331).

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Brownback signs Kansas school funding bill

AP Photo.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a school funding bill that restores aid for poor districts but also ends the current teacher tenure process.

The measure signed Monday is intended to satisfy a March ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court with a $129 million funding increase for the next school year. Legislators approved the bill on April 6. It now goes back to a three-judge district court panel for review.

The bill restores aid payments that equalize spending for school districts by giving poor districts additional funds for operations and capital improvements. The measure also includes provisions ending existing procedures for teacher tenure process and targeting additional spending for higher education.

Brownback praised the measure for providing more education spending and property tax relief to school districts.

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Dole says US should send weapons to Ukraine

Bob Dole at Johnson County GOP Headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas, Monday, April 21. (AP Photo)

ASSOCIATED PRESS - Former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole says the U.S. should send weapons, including tanks, to Ukraine to help it resist Russia's moves on its territory and to send Russian President Vladimir Putin a strong message.

The 90-year-old Republican Party icon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader said Putin considers Democratic President Barack Obama to be a weak leader.

Dole made his comments during a reception at the local GOP headquarters in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, the first of 10 homecoming appearances in his native state over the next three days. He discussed Ukraine at the prompting of Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Dole said that he'd not only send tanks and other weapons to Ukraine but put a missile defense system in Poland.

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Dole returns to Kansas for events in 10 cities

Bob Dole is planning another tour of Kansas in May.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Kansas political icon Bob Dole has returned to his home state for 10 receptions and open houses over the next three days.

The 90-year-old former U.S. Senate majority leader and presidential candidate's first event is a private reception Monday afternoon at the Republican Party headquarters in Overland Park.

Dole also planned to visit Olathe, Paola and Ottawa on Monday. He's scheduled to be in Lawrence on Tuesday for an event at the Institute of Politics named for him at the University of Kansas before traveling to Holton, Hiawatha and Troy. He plans to wrap up his tour Wednesday in Atchison and Leavenworth.

He's planning a second tour of the state in May.

Dole represented Kansas in Congress from 1961 until 1996, when he was the GOP presidential nominee.

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Kansas extending ban on expansion of Medicaid

AP Photo.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Gov. Sam Brownback has indefinitely extended a ban on expanding Medicaid in Kansas under the federal health care overhaul.

Brownback on Friday signed a bill approved by the GOP-dominated Legislature to keep the ban in place. The governor and other Republicans have been strong critics of the 2010 federal health care law.

A ban included in budget legislation last year is set to expire in July 2015.

Medicaid provides health coverage for the needy and disabled, and some provisions of the bill require prompt payments to health care providers.

Supporters of expanding Medicaid say it would help thousands of Kansans and that the federal government promises to pay most of the cost.

GOP lawmakers consider the health overhaul burdensome and question whether the federal government will keep its funding promise.

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