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Kansas has a new anti-DEI law, but the governor has vetoed bills on abortion and even police dogs

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Kansas has a new anti-DEI law, but the governor has vetoed bills on abortion and even police dogs
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Kansas has a new anti-DEI law, but the governor has vetoed bills on abortion and even police dogs

2024-04-20 07:25 Last Updated At:07:30

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' Democratic governor on Friday vetoed proposed tax breaks for anti-abortion counseling centers while allowing restrictions on college diversity initiatives approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature to become law without her signature.

Gov. Laura Kelly also vetoed a bill with bipartisan support to increase the penalties for killing a law enforcement dog or horse, a move that the GOP leader who pushed it called “political pettiness.” In addition, she rejected two elections measures fueled at least in part by the influence of people promoting baseless election conspiracies among Republicans.

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Kansas state Sen. Dennis Pyle, left, R-Hiawatha, confers with Sen. Brenda Dietrich, R-Topeka, during the Senate session, Friday, April 5, 2024, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Pyle supports a bill to make it a crime to coerce someone into having an abortion, while Dietrich passed the last time senators considered it. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' Democratic governor on Friday vetoed proposed tax breaks for anti-abortion counseling centers while allowing restrictions on college diversity initiatives approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature to become law without her signature.

In this photo from Wednesday, March 27, 2024, three anti-abortion lobbyists sit in the second row of the main Kansas House gallery, monitoring its debates and votes, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. They are, left to right, Lucrecia Nold, of the Kansas Catholic Conference; Brittany Jones, of the Kansas Family Voice and Jeanne Gawdun, of Kansans for Life. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

In this photo from Wednesday, March 27, 2024, three anti-abortion lobbyists sit in the second row of the main Kansas House gallery, monitoring its debates and votes, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. They are, left to right, Lucrecia Nold, of the Kansas Catholic Conference; Brittany Jones, of the Kansas Family Voice and Jeanne Gawdun, of Kansans for Life. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

This photo from Friday, April 12, 2024, shows the door to the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the main administration building on the main University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan. Republican legislators in Kansas and other states are trying to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in higher education. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

This photo from Friday, April 12, 2024, shows the door to the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the main administration building on the main University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan. Republican legislators in Kansas and other states are trying to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in higher education. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

This photo from Friday, April 12, 2024, shows the sign above the door to the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging inside the main administration building on the main University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan. Republican lawmakers across the U.S. are seeking to restrict diversity initiatives on colleges campuses, arguing that they enforce a liberal orthodoxy. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

This photo from Friday, April 12, 2024, shows the sign above the door to the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging inside the main administration building on the main University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan. Republican lawmakers across the U.S. are seeking to restrict diversity initiatives on colleges campuses, arguing that they enforce a liberal orthodoxy. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Students walk down Jayhawk Boulevard, the main street through the main University of Kansas campus, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. The Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees higher education, has drafted a new policy against requiring diversity, equity and inclusion statements on applications for students, job seekers and staff promotions. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Students walk down Jayhawk Boulevard, the main street through the main University of Kansas campus, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. The Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees higher education, has drafted a new policy against requiring diversity, equity and inclusion statements on applications for students, job seekers and staff promotions. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kelly's action on the bill dealing with diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives stood out because it broke with her vetoes last year of anti-DEI measure from the current state budget.

The new law, taking effect July 1, prohibits state universities, community colleges and technical schools from requiring prospective students or applicants for jobs or promotions to make statements on their views about diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Kelly let it become law only two days after the state's higher education board adopted its own, narrower ban on the same practices.

“While I have concerns about this legislation, I don’t believe that the conduct targeted in this legislation occurs in our universities," Kelly said in her message on the bill, contradicting statements made by GOP legislators.

Legislators are scheduled to return Thursday from a spring break and wrap up their work for the year in six days. Top Republicans immediately pledged to try to override Friday’s vetoes.

Republicans in about two dozen states have sought to limit DEI initiatives, arguing that they are discriminatory and enforce a liberal political orthodoxy. Alabama and Utah enacted new anti-DEI laws this year, and a ban enacted in Texas last year has led to more than 100 job cuts on University of Texas campuses.

The new policy from the Kansas Board of Regents applies only to state universities and does not specify any penalties, while the new law will allow a fine of up to $10,000 for each violation.

Backers of DEI programs say they are being misrepresented. The American Psychological Association defines diversity, equity and inclusion as a framework to guide “fair treatment and full participation of all people,” especially those in minority groups.

“We need to move forward and focus our efforts on making college more affordable and providing students from all backgrounds with the tools they need to succeed,” Kelly said in her message on the bill.

With the bill helping the state's nearly 60 anti-abortion centers, Kelly's veto was expected because she is a strong supporter of abortion rights. She already has vetoed two other measures championed by abortion opponents this year.

But GOP lawmakers in Kansas have had increasing success in overriding Kelly’s actions. Republican leaders appear to have the two-thirds majorities necessary in both chambers on abortion issues and appeared close on the DEI bill.

The latest abortion measure would exempt anti-abortion centers that provide free services to prospective mothers and new parents from paying the state's 6.5% sales tax on what they buy and give donors to them income tax credits totaling up to $10 million a year.

Kelly said in her veto message that it is not appropriate for the state to “divert taxpayer dollars to largely unregulated crisis pregnancy centers.”

The bill also includes provisions designed to financially help parents who adopt or want to adopt children.

“Governor Kelly has shown once again that her only allegiance is to the profit-driven abortion industry, and not to vulnerable Kansas women, children, and families,” Jeanne Gawdun, a lobbyist for Kansans for Life, the state's most influential anti-abortion group, said in a statement.

Abortion opponents in Kansas are blocked from pursuing the same kind of severe restrictions or bans on abortion imposed in neighboring states, including Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. A Kansas Supreme Court decision in 2019 declared that access to abortion is a fundamental right under the state constitution, and a statewide vote in August 2022 decisively affirmed that position.

“This bill goes against the wishes of Kansans,” Kelly said in her veto message.

Kelly also has clashed repeatedly with Republicans on voting rights issues.

One of the election bills she vetoed would stop giving voters an extra three days after Election Day to return mail ballots to election officials. Many Republicans said they are responding to constituents' concerns that accepting ballots after Election Day compromises the integrity of election results — though they are fueled by lies from ex-President Donald Trump.

The other elections bill would prohibit state agencies and local officials from using federal funds in administering elections or promoting voting without the Legislature's express permission. Republicans see spending by the Biden administration as an attempt to improperly boost Democratic turnout.

But Kelly chided lawmakers for “focusing on problems that do not exist."

“I would urge the Legislature to focus on real issues impacting Kansans,” Kelly said in her veto message on the second bill.

The veto of the bill on police dogs was perhaps Kelly's most surprising action. Increased penalties have had bipartisan support across the U.S., and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis this week signed a measure this week.

The Kansas measure was inspired by the November death of Bane, an 8-year-old Wichita police dog, who authorities say was strangled by a suspect in a domestic violence case. It would allow a first-time offender to be sentenced to up to five years and fined up to $10,000.

Kelly said the issue needed more study, saying the new penalties for killing a police dog would be out of line with other, more severe crimes, “without justification."

But House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican and the bill's biggest champion, said: “This veto is a slap in the face of all law enforcement.”

Kansas state Sen. Dennis Pyle, left, R-Hiawatha, confers with Sen. Brenda Dietrich, R-Topeka, during the Senate session, Friday, April 5, 2024, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Pyle supports a bill to make it a crime to coerce someone into having an abortion, while Dietrich passed the last time senators considered it. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kansas state Sen. Dennis Pyle, left, R-Hiawatha, confers with Sen. Brenda Dietrich, R-Topeka, during the Senate session, Friday, April 5, 2024, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Pyle supports a bill to make it a crime to coerce someone into having an abortion, while Dietrich passed the last time senators considered it. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

In this photo from Wednesday, March 27, 2024, three anti-abortion lobbyists sit in the second row of the main Kansas House gallery, monitoring its debates and votes, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. They are, left to right, Lucrecia Nold, of the Kansas Catholic Conference; Brittany Jones, of the Kansas Family Voice and Jeanne Gawdun, of Kansans for Life. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

In this photo from Wednesday, March 27, 2024, three anti-abortion lobbyists sit in the second row of the main Kansas House gallery, monitoring its debates and votes, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. They are, left to right, Lucrecia Nold, of the Kansas Catholic Conference; Brittany Jones, of the Kansas Family Voice and Jeanne Gawdun, of Kansans for Life. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

This photo from Friday, April 12, 2024, shows the door to the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the main administration building on the main University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan. Republican legislators in Kansas and other states are trying to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in higher education. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

This photo from Friday, April 12, 2024, shows the door to the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the main administration building on the main University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan. Republican legislators in Kansas and other states are trying to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in higher education. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

This photo from Friday, April 12, 2024, shows the sign above the door to the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging inside the main administration building on the main University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan. Republican lawmakers across the U.S. are seeking to restrict diversity initiatives on colleges campuses, arguing that they enforce a liberal orthodoxy. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

This photo from Friday, April 12, 2024, shows the sign above the door to the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging inside the main administration building on the main University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan. Republican lawmakers across the U.S. are seeking to restrict diversity initiatives on colleges campuses, arguing that they enforce a liberal orthodoxy. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Students walk down Jayhawk Boulevard, the main street through the main University of Kansas campus, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. The Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees higher education, has drafted a new policy against requiring diversity, equity and inclusion statements on applications for students, job seekers and staff promotions. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Students walk down Jayhawk Boulevard, the main street through the main University of Kansas campus, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. The Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees higher education, has drafted a new policy against requiring diversity, equity and inclusion statements on applications for students, job seekers and staff promotions. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

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Archer's return gives England wary optimism of retaining the T20 World Cup title

2024-05-22 10:59 Last Updated At:11:00

LONDON (AP) — Fingers crossed.

That was the common expression used about Jofra Archer by Rob Key, the managing director of England's men’s cricket, when he announced the squad for the Twenty20 World Cup.

Key spoke for Archer, England and it supporters as he hoped the sleek paceman capable of bowling speeds of 95 mph (152 kph) will not only make the starting line of the tournament in the Caribbean and the U.S., but also stay fit for however long England's title defense lasts.

Following his stunning international debut in the summer of 2019, Archer has spent long and regular stints on the injured list.

England changed its eligibility rules in time for the Barbados-born Archer to help the team in 2019 win its first Cricket World Cup in the 50-over format and draw the Ashes test series at home against Australia.

Then elbow and back issues limited his appearances.

He missed the next two Ashes series and hasn't played a test in three years; since the 2019 World Cup final he's played only seven one-day internationals; and he hasn't played a Twenty20 in more than a year. He has missed the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cups and the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

Archer's health issues wore him down so much he questioned his desire to keep playing. But he was extra motivated by the thought of playing in front of family, friends and his dogs in Barbados, which hosts England's first two T20 World Cup games against Scotland on June 4 and Australia on June 8.

Initial fitness deadlines set by England didn't work for Archer, or made things worse, so team management has taken a cautious approach to getting him right and giving him a shot at a lengthy career. At 29, there's still plenty of cricket in him.

Archer was permitted to return to Barbados to get fit. His first action in England this year wasn't until last week; six brisk overs for the Sussex Second XI.

From there it was straight into this week's Twenty20 series against Pakistan, marking his first England appearance at home since September 2020. Archer will return with a managed workload and expectations.

“Don't expect too much, too soon,” captain Jos Buttler said. “The great success would be him coming through this series with a big smile on his face and his body holding up.”

The main aim is to get Archer primed for the T20 World Cup.

England, too.

The Cricket World Cup crown in the 50-over format was surrendered without much resistance in India last November due in large part to England being too busy to come together until the last minute.

Lesson learned, the eight players in the Indian Premier League were brought home before this week's playoffs — even if their teams qualified — to settle into their national team roles in the crucial Pakistan series.

Some had profitable IPL seasons. Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Will Jacks scored centuries, allrounder Sam Curran averaged 27 and took 16 wickets, and wicketkeeper-batter Phil Salt scored four half-centuries and averaged 39.54 at a strike rate of 182.00.

Among Buttler's provisional 15-man squad, 10 were at the 2022 World Cup, but not left-arm fast bowler Reece Topley. Just three days before England's 2022 opening match, Topley stood on a boundary cushion in practice, damaged ankle ligaments, and returned home. When he's not injured, Topley's bowling has shone in the power play and death overs.

Ben Stokes hit the winning run against Pakistan in the 2022 final in Melbourne, but the test captain ruled himself out of this T20 World Cup to rehab his knee.

Still, England's batting appears stronger than its bowling.

But Archer will offer a fear factor for opposing teams.

“As always with Jofra, it's fingers crossed until he's out there playing,” Key says. “You don't quite believe it until he's there.”

AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket

FILE - England celebrate with their trophy after defeating Pakistan in the final of the T20 World Cup cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. The return of fast bowler Jofra Archer has boosted England's chances of becoming the first team to win consecutive Twenty20 World Cups.(AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)

FILE - England celebrate with their trophy after defeating Pakistan in the final of the T20 World Cup cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. The return of fast bowler Jofra Archer has boosted England's chances of becoming the first team to win consecutive Twenty20 World Cups.(AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)

FILE - England's Jofra Archer participates in a training session ahead of their second T20 cricket match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on March 11, 2023. The return of fast bowler Jofra Archer has boosted England's chances of becoming the first team to win consecutive Twenty20 World Cups. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)

FILE - England's Jofra Archer participates in a training session ahead of their second T20 cricket match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on March 11, 2023. The return of fast bowler Jofra Archer has boosted England's chances of becoming the first team to win consecutive Twenty20 World Cups. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)

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