Politics

Fed attacks inflation with its largest rate hike since 1994

The Federal Reserve intensified its drive to tame high inflation by raising its key interest rate by three-quarters of a point — its largest hike in nearly three decades — and signaling more large rate increases to come that would raise the risk of another recession. The move the Fed announced after its latest policy meeting will increase its benchmark short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans. The central bank is ramping up its drive to tighten credit and slow growth with inflation having reached a four-decade high of 8.6%, spreading to more areas of the economy and showing no sign of slowing.

Kansas AG's race: Kobach backs lowering drinking age to 18

Republican attorney general candidate Kris Kobach has endorsed lowering Kansas’ legal drinking age to 18. He promised Wednesday that if he’s elected this year, he will challenge the federal policy preventing the move. Kobach criticized a 1980s federal law that threatens states with the loss of highway dollars if their drinking ages are below 21. He said he believes the U.S. Supreme Court would now overturn that law. The issue arose during a debate for GOP attorney general candidates in Overland Park with Kobach, state Sen. Kellie Warren and ex-federal prosecutor Tony Mattivi. Kobach said if 18-year-olds can go to war, they should have all the rights other citizens enjoy.

Oklahoma lawmakers consider tax cuts during special session

The Oklahoma Legislature has returned for a special session to consider tax cuts the governor wants and how to allocate federal COVID-19 relief funds that were part of the American Rescue Plan Act. The session convened Monday. Gov. Kevin Stitt wants lawmakers to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries and reduce the individual income taxes by 0.25%. It's not clear whether the GOP-controlled House and Senate have the votes to approve both items. Some Republicans have urged caution about tax cuts since it takes a three-fourth's vote from the Legislature to increase taxes. Bills were introduced in the House on Monday to cut corporate, individual income and grocery sales taxes.

District attorney confirms investigation into governor's ad

Oklahoma County’s top prosecutor says he’s investigating whether a recent campaign ad by Gov. Kevin Stitt violates state law and ethics rules. David Prater confirmed Thursday he launched an investigation after a bipartisan group of House legislators suggested the ad violates state law. The 30-second spot titled “Track Record” touts Stitt’s appointment of Attorney General John O’Connor, who is prominently featured in the second half of the ad. State law prohibits a candidate from knowingly making or accepting a contribution of more than $2,900 to another candidate committee. Concerns about the ad were first reported by the nonprofit journalism organization Oklahoma Watch. Stitt’s campaign says it will pause airing the ad.

Missouri court sides with Greitens on message-deleting app

A Missouri appeals court says former Gov. Eric Greitens didn't violate open records laws by using a message-deleting app. The Western District Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling in Greitens' favor. A St. Louis attorney sued Greitens in 2017 over use of the Confide app by the governor's office. Greitens resigned 2018 in the face of possible impeachment and allegations of sexual and political misconduct. He's now running for U.S. Senate. The plaintiff's attorney told The Kansas City Star that they'll try to take the case to the Missouri Supreme Court if necessary.

Police: Tennessee shooting leads to 3 dead, 14 injured

Police say a shooting near a Tennessee nightclub led to three deaths and 14 people suffering gunshot wounds and other injuries. Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy said during a press conference that 14 people were hit by gunfire early Sunday and three were hit by vehicles while trying to flee the scene. Murphy says two people died from gunshot wounds and one person died after being hit by a vehicle. She says 16 victims were adults and one was a juvenile and several remained in critical condition. Murphy said there were multiple shooters, but authorities think it was an isolated event and don’t believe there’s an ongoing public safety threat.

Schmidt picks US senator's aide for Kansas governor ticket

Presumed Republican nominee Derek Schmidt has chosen a staffer for one of Kansas' two U.S. senators as his running mate in the governor's race. Schmidt filed the necessary paperwork Wednesday to get him and Katie Sawyer on the ballot in the Aug. 2 primary. He faces no GOP opposition to his bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. Sawyer is a 38-year-old McPherson resident. She is state director for U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall and worked on Marshall’s congressional staff before his election to the Senate in 2020. Schmidt said he expects Sawyer to be a key adviser if he’s elected by helping him stay informed of people’s views.

Oklahoma governor signs transgender bathroom bill

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a bill requiring public school students to use only the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. The bill was overwhelmingly approved last week by the Republican-controlled Legislature. It was proposed after Stillwater Public Schools declined to change a policy that allows students to use the bathroom that agrees with their gender identity. Supporters say the bill is about common sense and note that it allows for separate, gender-neutral bathrooms. Opponents say it unfairly targets transgender students and promised to challenge the measure in court.

Justices to rule in gun case with US raw from mass shootings

With mass shootings in Texas, New York and California fresh in Americans’ mind, the Supreme Court will soon issue its biggest gun ruling in more than a decade. The ruling in a New York case is expected to make it easier to carry guns in public in some of the largest cities. The justices already are in an uncomfortable spotlight over a leaked draft opinion that would overrule Roe v. Wade’s nationwide right to abortion. And now they're facing a possible backlash from the guns case. In both the abortion and gun cases, the court could issue decisions that polls say would be unpopular with the majority of Americans.

Kansas voters to decide on preserving election of sheriffs

Kansas voters will decide in November whether to ensure that counties or state lawmakers can’t end the longstanding tradition of electing sheriffs. The state House voted 91-31 on Tuesday to approve a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to declare that almost every sheriff in the state must be elected to a four-year term. The Senate already had passed the measure, so it goes on the ballot. There’s little chance counties will stop electing sheriffs, but the Legislature has the power to make changes. Amendment supporters said sheriffs should remain directly accountable to voters. Riley County in northeastern Kansas is the only county out of 105 without an elected sheriff.