K-State considers $150-million research facility

K-State campus.

Lawrence, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas State University is considering a $150 million research facility that would focus on food and complement the planned National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility adjacent to the university.

K-State President Kirk Schulz has requested $5 million in state funding for next year to begin planning the Food Systems Research and Education Facility.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the proposal was discussed briefly Tuesday at a Kansas Board of Regents budget session. Schulz says the project might be years down the road, but he wants to get legislators and other state officials familiar with the request.

The 200,000-square-foot facility would focus on the food supply, including developing higher-yielding crops and more intensive cropping systems, along with improved processing and distribution.

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Kansas lawmaker says he'll push for capital punishment changes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee's chairman says he'll push again next year for changes aimed at expediting appeals in capital punishment cases.

Independence Republican Jeff King says the cases of capital murder defendants Jonathan and Reginald Carr show that the state's system for handling death penalty cases is broken.

The senator pushed unsuccessfully earlier this year for legislation to shorten the appeals process.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday overturned the Carrs' death sentences for a crime spree that ended with the shooting of four people in December 2000 in a Wichita field.

King noted that the Carrs were convicted and sentenced to die in 2002 and said it shouldn't have taken so long for the high court to rule. He also disagreed with Friday's ruling.

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Kansas Senator Touts Agriculture Policy Expertise

ASSOCIATED PRESS - Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts has the support of major farm groups and is touting his expertise in agriculture policy as he campaigns for re-election in the nation's leading wheat-producing state.

But Republican primary challenger Milton Wolf's campaign is accusing the three-term incumbent of waging what it calls "geographical warfare" with a radio ad running in western Kansas.

Roberts has endorsements from the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Livestock Association. He serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee and is a former House Agriculture Committee chairman.

The tea-party backed Wolf is a Leawood radiologist but grew up on a farm in Rice County.

Roberts' ad in western Kansas suggests Wolf doesn't understand agriculture and lives "right next to Missouri." Wolf said Roberts is trying to divide eastern and western Kansas residents.

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Brother's death sentences overturned

ASSOCIATED PRESS - The Kansas Supreme Court has overturned the death sentences of two brothers convicted of capital murder in the shooting deaths of four people whose bodies were found in a snow-covered Wichita soccer field in 2000.

The state Supreme Court on Friday also struck down three of the four capital murder conviction each against Jonathan and Reginald Carr. But it upheld one capital murder conviction each.

Their cases will return to Sedgwick County District Court for further hearings and a new sentencing.

The court's majority overturned the death sentences because, it said, the presiding judge failed to have separate proceedings for each brother.

In overturning most of the capital convictions, the majority said the instructions to jurors were flawed.

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Shortage of Auditors Cited for Audit Rejections

ASSOCIATED PRESS - A legislative committee says internal legislator requests for audits of various state interests are being delayed because of a lack of auditors.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 25 legislator requests for internal audits have been delayed because the auditors don't have the resources to get to them.

One factor in the slowdown is a 2013 law that required the Division of Legislative Post Audit to audit three school districts per year for the next three years.

The auditing division has less than 25 employees, although it has been authorized to add three more this year.

The requested audits that are awaiting action include the proposed sale of state buildings, the cost effectiveness of the death penalty in Kansas and the Kansas Board of Cosmetology.

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Audit Says Kansas Computer System Security Lacking

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Auditors say a lack of accountability by some Kansas agencies that handle sensitive information could make citizens' personal information vulnerable.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports an audit released this week says some agencies aren't complying with requirements to provide detailed information technology plans because they see them as time consuming and of little value. Auditors say they found little state oversight of the required reports.

The audit found that 17 of the 45 agencies that hold data considered ``high risk'' had not had an independent evaluation of their security in the last three years.

Some lawmakers on the Legislative Post Audit Committee have asked the state's information technology agency to provide an estimate of how much it would cost to implement recommendations made by the auditors.

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