Budget bill advanced by Kansas House not supported by Governor…and other headlines: February 16, 2017

Governor Brownback says he won’t sign a bill advanced by the Kansas House that would increase personal income taxes to help balance the state budget. While the governor stopped short of saying he would veto the bill, he strongly criticized the measure during a speech to members of the National Federation of Independent Business.
The governor has also confirmed that he and two of his top aides got letters from the U.S. Justice Department telling them that the federal government intercepted phone calls between them and an ex-legislator’s number. The Kansas Senate’s top two leaders also received the same letter dealing with phone calls in 2015 from a number for then-state Sen. Michael O’Donnell, a Republican from Wichita who now holds a seat on the Sedgwick County commission.
Gun-rights advocates send a strong signal that they still have enough clout in the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature to make sure concealed firearms are allowed in hospitals and on university campuses starting this summer. The House Federal and State Affairs Committee narrowly rejected a bill that would have allowed the University of Kansas Medical Center to continue banning concealed guns.
Farmers in central Kansas are shutting down their wells more often as two aquifers saw water levels rise from last year’s timely rain. The Kansas Geological Survey released the data on aquifer levels this week. The Great Bend Prairie Aquifer rose more than half a foot, while the Equus Beds Aquifer rose an average more than 2 feet. The Ogallala Aquifer in western Kansas continues to shrink, a trend that has continued for more than 70 years.
Three people are in the hospital after a driver from Colorado fell asleep at the wheel on I-70 four miles east of Ellis, overcorrecting twice. The SUV finally stopped in a ditch. The driver and two passengers were all taken to the hospital, but all had their seatbelts on.

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