Derek Schmidt

Kansas Attorney General's Office

The Kansas Attorney General is suing a New Jersey company for allegedly scamming more than 300 schools in the state.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a civil suit in Shawnee County District Court against Robert Armstrong who runs Scholastic School Supply out of Franklinville, N.J.

The scam, according to the lawsuit, was simple and worked liked this: The company would send an invoice to a school for text books that the school never ordered.

A nationwide survey of kids in grades six through twelve shows that nearly 1.8 million of them have tried electronic cigarettes, more than double the rate reported the previous year.

The CDC says nearly seven percent of middle and high school students have tried e-cigarettes, and more than two percent are current users. Erika Sward of the American Lung Association says the rapid growth is due in large part to an aggressive marketing campaign.

A Kansas legislative committee is recommending a bill to amend the state's so-called Hard 50 sentencing law. The changes would allow juries to decide if convicted murderers deserve 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

Under the old system, judges would decide if a crime warranted the harsher sentence of 50 years without parole. But the U.S. Supreme Court recently said judges can't make those decisions.

The bill would also apply some changes retroactively to past crimes. Some attorneys told the committee that it would be unconstitutional to do that.

A special legislative committee will convene at the Statehouse Monday to start work on a fix for the so-called Hard 50 sentencing law, which allows judges to give harsher sentences to convicted murderers in certain cases.  A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling raised questions about the law.

Under certain circumstances, judges can sentence convicted murderers to life in prison, without the possibility of parole for 50 years. But the Supreme Court recently said juries — not judges — must weigh in when it comes to increased sentences like that.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill to combat human trafficking and exploitation of underage sex workers.

The governor signed the bill Monday saying it will provide increased criminal penalties and services for victims of sexual exploitation.

“This will not only strengthen our ability to severely punish traffickers, but it will give us valuable new tools to protect vulnerable young victims so they can have hope of a new life and break the cycle of exploitation,” says Brownback.

Providence Medical Center, in Kansas City, and St. John Hospital, in Leavenworth, are now among the two dozen hospitals owned by Prime Healthcare—a for-profit company based in California. 

Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

The pending sale of two Kansas City area hospitals to a California-based corporation comes as a relief to those currently in charge of the hospitals.  However, some people are worried about what could happen. 

The sale of Providence Medical Center and Leavenworth’s St. John Hospital to Prime Healthcare Services needs the blessing of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to go forward.  Close to 100 people showed up for a public hearing conducted by the Schmidt last night. 

Charges Dropped Against Planned Parenthood

Aug 17, 2012
AP file photo

Prosecutors in Kansas have dropped all remaining criminal charges against Planned Parenthood.