Government

Government
7:47 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Residential Development A Poser For Committees Revising Incentives

Two Kansas City council committees are facing difficulties coming up with hard numbers as they delve into the mayor's request for a more consistent process in determining how large incentives for property developers.

Some school and library districts and many taxpayers complain that the city gives up tax revenues that could be put to good use. Some contend that for-profit businesses should pay their own way, without any tax abatement.

Read more
Government
12:30 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Low-Income Property Developer Files Fair Housing Complaint Against Kansas City

A Maine-based development company that owns several low-income housing units in Kansas City, Mo., filed a federal fair housing complaint against the city Thursday.

The Eagle Point Companies alleges the city and various city officials intentionally discriminated "against African-Americans who reside and/or who seek to reside in Bainbridge, Georgian Court and Linda Vista Apartments located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri," according to the complaint.

Read more
Courts
8:35 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Kansas City Diocese Settles In Ongoing Civil Case, Resolves Other Abuse Claims

The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will pay almost $10 million to settle dozens of sexual abuse claims filed since 2010.

The settlement, reached late Tuesday, includes 30 pending claims against the diocese and ends an ongoing civil trial in a case filed by former alter boy Jon David Couzens. Couzens, who alleges he was abused in the 1970s and '80s at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence, took the diocese to court last month. His case would have entered jury deliberations this week if not for the settlement.

Read more
Government
7:31 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Sen. Pat Roberts Threatens Filibuster Of Gitmo Closure

There have been reports that President Obama may take steps to try to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. It houses people detained in connection to the U.S. war on terrorism.

Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is opposing any plan that would bring detainees on U.S. soil. During a stop in Topeka, he said he'll take to the floor of the Senate and filibuster any efforts to close Guantanamo Bay. 

"And if he tries it, I will shut down the Senate," said Roberts.

Read more
Government
10:23 am
Sun October 12, 2014

Kansas City Mayor's Proposal To Cut Development Incentives Meets Resistance

A Kansas City council committee began debate this week on Mayor Sly James's proposal to reduce tax abatement for developers. The ordinance he proposed would reduce the maximum for developers from 100 percent to 50 percent.

Concerns were immediately raised by some business and economic development leaders and several council members that cutting back on tax breaks would cast a pall over development, and businesses would build in competing communities.

Read more
Same-Sex Marriage
8:24 am
Fri October 10, 2014

ACLU To Challenge Kansas Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas appears to be close to filing a lawsuit aimed at overturning the Kansas ban on same sex marriage. The suit could come as soon as next week.

Johnson County, Kansas, has attracted a lot of attention after a judge there ordered workers to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. But Doug Bonney, with the ACLU of Kansas, says it doesn't look like other counties are following suit.

Read more
Government
7:43 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Missouri Open Carry Law Forces Local Change

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council modified the city's ban on open carry of firearms Thursday to bring it into compliance with a new state law. That law was passed by the Legislature over the veto of Gov. Jay Nixon.

Presenting the changes for a final vote, Councilman John Sharp explained that to continue to prohibit open carry for most people, the city now must exempt some persons.

Read more
Government
7:55 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Kansas City Council Still Pondering Kemper Arena Future

Credit City of Kansas City, Mo.

A Kansas City Council Committee continues to debate the future of Kemper Arena. And this week's developments included a staff report, a consultant's opinion and a letter with a lot of signatures.

A consulting firm hired by the city filed a report saying a Foutch Brothers proposal to convert Kemper to a youth sports facility was dynamic and achievable, though challenging in part.

From those who side with the American Royal Association and would tear down the arena came a letter of endorsement signed by 75 business and civic leaders.

Read more
City Council
5:14 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Kansas City Council Resolves To Consider Taxi Cab Industry Discrimination

The Kansas City, Mo., City Council wants to know if current city rules regulating the taxi cab industry are unfair to women- and minority-owned businesses.

At issue is an agreement Yellow Cab has to act as an exclusive operator with most of the major downtown and Crown Center hotels. Councilman Dick Davis says that contract is keeping small taxi cab companies from operating in large swaths of the city.

Read more
Government
5:41 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Kansas City Spent $1.1 Million On Thwarted Streetcar Expansion

The bills are totaled up on what the city of Kansas City, Mo., spent on the voter-rejected Phase 2 of the downtown streetcar system. 

The city council approved contracts with two engineering firms, HDR and Burns and McDonnell, for route planning, studies of construction obstacles and communication with the public.

In total, the two contracts came to about $8.1 million.

Streetcar Project Director Ralph Davis says spending stopped with the defeat of the streetcar expansion at the polls.

Read more
Government
5:37 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Kansas City Ordinance Targets Persons Intimidating Bike Riders, Walkers

A Kansas City City Council committee has finalized an ordinance making it illegal to intimidate walkers and bike riders on Kansas City, Mo., streets.

Maggie Priesmeyer, who volunteers for an organization that helps provide bikes to needy people, was among those who shared stories about rude, intimidating and inconsiderate motorists.

She told the Public Safety Committee the story of a homeless, jobless veteran named Joe who came in for for help with bike repairs wearing a sling and brace of the type used to support a broken collarbone.

Read more
Government
7:48 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Blunt Cool To Federal Restrictions On Police Militarization

Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt made Kansas City his first stop in a statewide series of "listening sessions" with law enforcement officials on Monday. Blunt is co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Committee.

The Senator said the first conference included county and suburban Missouri law enforcement leaders as well as those from Kansas City. The discussion, he said, centered on what the federal government could do to help local enforcers in emergency and homeland security crisis situations.

Read more
Up to Date
5:13 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

KC Council Considers Anti-Harassment Legislation To Protect Pedestrians, Bicyclists

Kansas City is considering a law against street harassment of pedestrians, bicyclists and others.
Credit MoBikeFed / Flickr-CC

Honking, cat-calls, projectiles and more get hurled at pedestrians and cyclists in Kansas City. The city council now is considering a law to crack down on that type of conduct.

Calling these actions “threatening and dangerous behavior,” the proposed ordinance seeks to protect “vulnerable road users.”

Councilman John Sharp is expected to recommend the ordinance at this week's council meeting. He and Kansas City Star reporter Mike Hendricks joined Steve Kraske on Up to Date Monday to discuss the details.

Read more
Government
7:51 am
Mon September 15, 2014

It's Time To Answer The Five Burning Questions From Veto Session

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 9:06 pm

From looking at the raw numbers, Republican legislators might consider the Missouri General Assembly’s recent veto session a smashing success.

After all, the Republican-controlled body overrode 10 of Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes – and even more of his line-item vetoes. Nixon even faced a blistering condemnation from a Democratic senator over his response to Ferguson.

Read more
Government
6:51 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Nixon And Adversaries Accentuate The Positives Of Veto Session

House chambers of the MIssouri Capitol

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 5:00 pm

Although the Missouri General Assembly overrode 10 bills vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon -- and 47 of his line-item budget cuts -- the governor has opted to look on the bright side of Wednesday’s packed veto session.

Nixon announced Thursday that he’s releasing $143.6 million in budgeted money that he had withheld from school districts and colleges, largely because legislators failed to overturn most of his vetoes of the tax-break bills he had dubbed the “Friday favors.”

Read more
Government
4:47 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Kansas City Council Toughens Domestic Violence Enforcement

Kansas City, Mo., toughened its protections against domestic violence Thursday, giving city prosecutors the power to take violators of ex parte orders of protection to court.

The ordinance was back on the floor after a revision to address Councilman Ed Ford's insistence that it be modified to make it clear that persons could only be prosecutors if they had received notice of the protection order. He still objected that the revised ordinance could make it difficult for estranged couples to communicate about children or other important matters.

Read more
Government
4:43 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Council Approves Tax Abatement for Kansas City Research Park

A biotech research park in south Kansas City and 25-year property tax abatement to support it gets the go-ahead from the Kansas City council.

The idea of the research park and rezoning to allow it sailed through on Thursday. But the council wrangled over the tax abatement for Oxford on the Blue for about an hour and a half.

Councilman Russ Johnson tried to convince the group it was time to stop - as he put it "giving away the farm."

Read more
Government
12:12 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Investigation Continues Into Vandalism At Rep. Cleaver's Kansas City Office

Law enforcement officials are investigating after someone threw two bottles through a window at Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's Kansas City, Mo., office early Thursday morning.

The bottles resembled Molotov cocktails, but they did not ignite and did not cause damage other than the broken window.

John Jones, Cleaver's chief of staff, said in a statement it's the second time something like this has happened in the past three years.

Government
8:13 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Tax Breaks Advance For Biotech Research Park

Tax abatement for a 344-acre biotech office park south of the Cerner Three Trails Campus has cleared committee and advances to the city council floor.

The Plans Zoning and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday agreed with PIEA development authorities that Oxford on the Blue merits 26-year property tax abatement.

The proposal calls for 100 percent abatement for 10 years and 50 percent for an additional 15 year, but Councilman Ed Ford explained that not every part of the project is expected to get the full 25-year break.

Read more
Government
8:01 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Missouri House, Senate Vote To Override Budget Vetoes, Senate Hears About Ferguson

Missouri House during Wednesday's veto session

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 7:10 am

(Updated 8:35 p.m., Wed., Sept. 10)

The Missouri House and Senate have voted overwhelmingly to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s line-item vetoes of more than 50 items in the state's current budget, although both sides agree the overrides may not be enforceable.

The House spent more than six hours dealing with the issues. The Senate swiftly followed suit with a barrage of votes Wednesday night.

Read more
Government
8:01 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Missouri Becomes Third State To Impose 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 10:06 pm

(Updated 12:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11)

The Missouri General Assembly has made the state the third in the country to require a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion, after the state Senate killed off a filibuster.

The Senate voted 23-7 – along party lines -- to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill, but only after deploying a procedural action that it hadn’t used in seven years to end a Democratic filibuster that had gone on for about two hours.

Read more
Up to Date
10:54 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Private Contractors Dominate Middle East War Zones

Ann Hagedorn is the author of 'The Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security.'

When you think of Iraq and Afghanistan, you think of American soldiers in uniform, but what may surprise you is how many private contractors are there too. In recent years, the ratio of contractors to  uniformed soldiers has been 10 to one.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with a journalist about the increase in these forces and why relying on them so much might not be a good idea.

Guest:

Read more
Government
7:37 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Schweich Releases Audit Critical Of Nixon's Withholding Of Money From Budget

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 8:19 pm

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says an audit released Monday shows that Gov. Jay Nixon violated Missouri's constitution when he withheld money from two recent state budgets.

Schweich says the governor had no legal right to withhold $172 million from several state programs to help cover costs from the Joplin tornado and other recent natural disasters during fiscal year 2012.

Read more
Government
12:36 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Holder: Visit To Ferguson Influenced Decision To Launch Probe Of Ferguson Police

Attorney General Eric Holder in Ferguson.

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 3:59 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that his conversations with residents of Ferguson during his visit two weeks ago influenced his decision to investigate the city’s police department.

Holder says he heard directly from residents and listening sessions “about the deep mistrust that has taken hold between law enforcement officials and members of the community. ... People consistently expressed concerns stemming from specific alleged incidents, from general policing practices, and from the lack of diversity on Ferguson’s police force.”

Read more
Government
12:35 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

State Reveals More Details Of Midazolam Use When Inmates Are Executed

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 8:19 pm

(Updated at 10:01 a.m., Sat., Sept. 6 with the attorney general's response)

Lawyers representing inmate Earl Ringo are asking a federal judge to halt his upcoming execution, citing new information uncovered in a St. Louis Public Radio investigation.

Read more
Government
7:48 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Kansas City Ordinance Will Let Municipal Courts Enforce Ex Parte Orders

Updated Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Kansas City City Council is seeking to further curb domestic violence by letting the municipal courts enforce orders made by judges without all parties present, also known as ex parte orders.

The ordinance the public safety committee approved Wednesday makes violating any ex-parte order a municipal offense.

Read more
Government
6:13 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Pat Roberts Faces Tough U.S. Senate Race After Field Narrows

Sen. Pat Roberts
Credit Wikimedia Commons -- CC

A Wednesday shake-up in Kansas politics even has seasoned pundits amazed. 

Chad Taylor, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate, has withdrawn from the race, leaving Kansas Republican Pat Roberts facing his toughest political test in decades.

Steve Kraske, host of Up To Date on KCUR and Kansas City Star political commentator, says the change spells bad news for the incumbent.

"Pat Roberts is suddenly in very deep trouble in Kansas," Kraske says. "His polling numbers have not been good. He was ahead only because he was in a three-way contest."

Read more
Death Penalty
9:41 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Missouri Swore It Wouldn’t Use A Controversial Execution Drug. It Did.

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 4:51 pm

(Updated at 10:51 am, Thurs., Sept. 4 with further response from the Department of Corrections)

Read more
Up To Date
4:27 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Decoding Political Speech, Jargon And Slang

Words matter . . . especially in politics, but perhaps no one makes themselves harder to understand than our elected representatives.

Read more
Government
1:56 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Kansas City Religious Leaders Ask Gov. Nixon For Death Penalty Moratorium

A group of religious leaders who oppose the death penalty deliver a letter to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's downtown Kansas City office asking for a stay of execution.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City faith leaders are calling on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to halt an execution scheduled for next week.

A dozen religious leaders met Tuesday to deliver a letter to Nixon's downtown Kansas City office asking for a meeting with the governor to discuss a moratorium on the death penalty in Missouri.

"Each time the state of Missouri executes, whether the person is guilty or innocent, I am made a murderer, just like any other, and my faith convicts me to say no," says retired United Church of Christ minister Jane Fisler Hoffman, the organizer of the event.

Read more

Pages