October 12, 2011 in Nation/World

In brief: Topeka repeals abuse ordinance

 

Topeka, Kan. – Leaders in Kansas’ capital city repealed a local law against domestic violence late Tuesday as part of a controversial plan that supporters blamed on budget concerns but victims’ advocates chastised as austerity run amok.

The City Council and mayor voted 7-3 to approve the repeal, saying such cases are better handled by county or state courts. They also said retaining the ordinance would muddy the debate over the county prosecutor’s recent decision to stop prosecuting domestic battery cases.

“I just asked everybody to consider the message we’re sending,” said City Councilwoman Denise Everhart, who voted against the repeal.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor stopped pursuing domestic battery cases and other misdemeanors in September, citing deep cuts to his office’s budget.

Texas sued over school funding

Austin, Texas – A coalition of more than 150 Texas school districts said Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit against the state over a school funding system it says is unfair, inefficient and unconstitutional.

The coalition represents more than one in 10 Texas districts. It accuses lawmakers of turning a blind eye to the state’s troubled school financing system for years and exacerbating the flaws this summer when they slashed public school spending by more than $4 billion to close a massive budget gap.

“Some districts really wanted us to file last year, but we thought, ‘We’ll give the Legislature one more chance to do the right thing, to fix this broken system we have and fund schools properly,’ ” said Lauren Cook, a spokeswoman for the Austin-based Equity Center, which organized the lawsuit. “But they didn’t. They cut $4 billion in core funding. As a result of that action they took, there’s really just no other option for schools at this point.”

The Texas Education Agency and the Texas comptroller are among the defendants named in the lawsuit filed Monday.


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