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Top Morning News 2.28.13


Bill would require drug testing for welfare recipients; Company beats out Beechcraft for plane contract; Gov. Brownback praises officials for storm response.

Drug Testing Bill Advances In Kansas Senate

The Kansas Senate has tentatively approved legislation requiring drug tests for some people seeking welfare benefits. It was approved after Senators amended it to require the same scrutiny of legislators.


Sierra Nevada Beats Out Beechcraft For Plane Contract

The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $427 million contract to Sierra Nevada Corporation. That's a major blow to Beechcraft in Wichita, which was also vying for the contract.

This means Sierra Nevada will build at least 20 light air support planes in Jacksonville, Fla., for use in Afghanistan. The contract could ultimately be worth nearly $1 billion dollars, depending on future orders.

The planes will give the Afghan National Army Air Corps a fixed-wing strike capability. Beechcraft, formerly Hawker Beechcraft, had proposed the AT-6 attack aircraft, a version of its T-6 trainer.

The competition for the award has taken nearly three years and has been plagued by delays and legal challenges.

Kansas Lawmakers May Change Rape Statute Of Limitations

The Kansas Senate has given initial approval to legislation abolishing the statute of limitations on prosecuting rape. The measure also changes the time limits for prosecuting a sexually violent crime. Final Senate action is scheduled for Thursday.

Kansas is among 10 states that now require a rape to be prosecuted within five years. This legislation does away with that limit.

The bill also allows for prosecution of a sexually violent crime to begin within 10 years if the victim is at least 18 years old. For younger victims, prosecution would begin within one year of the date the suspect is identified through DNA testing, or within 10 years of the victim's 18th birthday, whichever is later.

Wichita Committee Seeks Public Comments

A Wichita committee formed to review grant requests has rescheduled a public hearing that was postponed by the winter storm. The meeting is now set for March 5 at Wichita City Hall.

Presentations are expected by agencies submitting proposals for Community Development Block Grant funds. Those funds are used to support recreation and crime prevention services for youth, shelter for domestic violence victims and new housing development services.

The city is anticipating an 8 percent reduction in funding.

Brownback Praises State Officials For Storm Response

Gov. Sam Brownback praised state emergency, law enforcement, and highway officials Wednesday for their "all hands on deck" response to the recent snow storms. The governor said the storms were more challenging than usual because they blanketed nearly the entire state.

"Normally in a storm, we can move stuff around the state because it doesn't hit the whole state," said Brownback. "Couldn't do that this time, we had to move everything, everywhere."

Six Kansans died in storm-related accidents or from health events triggered by the cold. The governor said the number of deaths and injuries could have been higher if Kansans hadn't heeded warnings to stay off the roads.

When she's not out making lattes in her mobile coffee bus Sunflower Espresso, Kate Hutchens is a fill-in host for KMUW. She has worked in broadcast journalism at KFDI, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and at KMUW as Morning Edition host, which she did until March 2017.