Archive for Friday, January 19, 2007

Abortion battle may be brewing over ‘Alexa’s Law’

January 19, 2007

(KTKA) Family pushes for "Alexa's Law": When Terri and Darren Brooks found out their 14-year-old daughter Chelsea was pregnant, they were not happy, but they decided Chelsea would keep the baby, and they would help her raise it. Then, last summer, two weeks before Chelsea was due, she was found, murdered. The accused killers - Chelsea's boyfriend and the men he hired to help him kill her - were only charged with one murder. That's because Kansas law says when a pregnant woman is murdered, only her death can be prosecuted, not her unborn child's. The Brooks' vowed to change the law. Thousands of Kansas agreed with them, and signed a petition to make Alexa's Law a reality, and to make Alexa's life count. Similar legislation has been blocked in the past by pro-choice advocates who suggest the law would be a stepping stone to outlawing abortion.

(Kansas Health Institute News Service) Real ID will be real problem: Since July 1, more than 18,000 Kansas children have been denied access to the state's health insurance programs because the parents didn't have - or couldn't find - the child's birth certificate. But a pair of policy analysts with the National Conference of State Legislatures said Wednesday that the new identification and proof-of-citizenship requirements are but a harbinger of things to come.

(LJW) Measure aimed at childhood obesity: Are Kansas' children getting super-sized? A proposed bill - HB2090 - would require school districts to give fitness tests that would include body mass index, or BMI, calculations on students in grades four, seven, nine and 12.

(LJW) Kansas confident in lab hunt: State leaders said Thursday that Kansas is on the right track in trying to lure a $451 million defense lab.

(LJW) Health care expansion urged as fed rules hinder access: Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday urged expansion of health insurance coverage, saying it would save Kansans and employers in the long run. But while Sebelius pushed for more insurance, state health officials said new federal rules were depriving coverage to thousands of low-income Kansans.

(Wichita Eagle) Group targets products used for drugs: Palm-sized scales and four-inch glass stems with red roses sit among the tobacco products behind a thick window pane at the Noori Convenience store at 25th North and Hillside. The Wichita Branch NAACP considers them drug paraphernalia -- the stems can be used to smoke or snort drugs; the scales can weigh tiny amounts of drugs -- and is working on a proposal to outlaw their sale.

(Kansas City Star) Funds sought for Gardner freight center: Gardner officials asked Johnson County lawmakers on Wednesday for help getting a new interchange on Interstate 35 to serve a planned 1,300-acre freight center there.

(Harris News Service) Repeal of franchise tax debated: Nearly as old as the state itself, a corporation "franchise" tax could be on its way out in Kansas. Business interests praised legislative proposals Thursday that would repeal the levy, which both taxes firms based on how much they're worth and charges them to register with the state. However, a representative of the state's revenue department, as well as an education lobbyist and an advocate for social services, cautioned lawmakers to look before they leap.

(Kansas Health Institute News Service) Kansas enlists aid in lab effort: A former Department of Homeland Security official has been hired to help convince that agency Kansas is the best location for a new, $450 million bio-defense laboratory.

(Topeka Capital-Journal) Regents seeking $200 million in repairs: Reggie Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents, tried Thursday to address legislators' concerns about money for deferred maintenance sought by state universities. Robinson told the Senate Education Committee that he was looking for $200 million to start up on the deferred maintenance.

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