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Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. Kevin Corlew from District 014 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss arbitration, REAL ID, and campaign contribution limits.

Guests:

  • Kevin Corlew, Representative from District 014, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Janelle Sjue, Citizen
  • Donna Vestal, Director of Content Strategy, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Kansas legislative session is already underway in Topeka. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 legislature, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking KDOT, elections, and the budget.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Kansas legislative session is already underway in Topeka. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 legislature, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking KDOT, elections, and the budget.

Guests:

kcmo.org

The committee room in Jefferson City was packed with political, public safety, business and community leaders from Kansas City and St. Louis on Thursday. 

The Senate Ways and Means Committee was accepting testimony on a proposal sponsored by state Senator Kurt Schaefer to outlaw the earnings taxes that both cities.

The ban is supported by St. Louis libertarian activist Rex Sinquefield, who has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to Schaefer and other lawmakers who are backing the plan.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Missouri legislative session is already underway in Jefferson City. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 assembly, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking ethics reform, guns, and transportation. This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes

Guests:

Joe Gratz / Flickr--CC

Kansas House and Senate committees moved quickly Thursday to keep funding intact for the state's courts.

Lawmakers last year tied the judicial budget to another bill changing how chief judges are selected in Kansas judicial districts. When that law was struck down, it also invalidated the court budget, threatening to shut down the court system.

The House Appropriations Committee advanced a bill that would reinstate the court funding. 

Governor Sam Brownback laid out his legislative goals during the 2016 State of the State Address Tuesday night. He took the president to task and touched on high-profile state issues like education spending. 

Brownback laid the groundwork in his speech by referencing what he and lawmakers had done in Kansas in recent years. He touted tax policy, the unemployment rate and job growth.

“Kansans are finding good jobs right here at home. Working together, we’ve created an economic environment where new filings for new businesses have increased by 15 percent,” said Brownback.

Missouri House Republicans are keeping their foot on the gas as they steer the first group of ethics bills through their chamber.

Four ethics bills were heard by a House committee, then easily passed after little more than an hour's worth of discussions.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Newly sworn-in Jackson County Executive Frank White says he’ll consider running in November for a two-year term.

White, a former Royals player, was the legislature’s unanimous pick to replace Mike Sanders, who served nine years before stepping down earlier this month.

“When I ran for the legislature, I thought that was what I was going to be,” White said Monday after his swearing in at the historic Truman Courthouse in Independence. “It was my intention to be there because I really felt like that was a great place to help the people in the community.”

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Missouri legislative session is already underway in Jefferson City. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 assembly, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking ethics reform, guns, and transportation.

Guests:

Hyatt Hotels

Kansas City is asking a Jackson County judge to dismiss a lawsuit that would delay construction on a downtown convention hotel.

The city attorney’s office filed its response Wednesday to a group of petitioners that want to force a vote on a $311 million plan to build a Hyatt hotel downtown.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Updated after the city council meeting on January 7, 2016.

Now home to the American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the historic 18th and Vine District was reborn from crumbling eastside buildings in the early 1990s.  The sales tax that helped finance its rescue bore the name of Kansas City's first African-American mayor, Emanuel Cleaver, who was then in office.

Updated January 7, 2016

A Kansas City Council committee took a first step Wednesday to preserve the one percent earnings tax that supporters say pays for vital city services.

In what will likely be the first of many presentations about the earnings tax, finance director Randy Landes told the Council’s finance and governance committee there have been many bills prefiled to modify or eliminate the earnings tax, which brings in more than $200 million annually.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Some lawmakers in Topeka have alleged a backroom deal was made without debate when the Kansas budget passed last session temporarily removed limits on how much the Kansas Department of Transportation can borrow. But the chairman of the Kansas House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr., from Olathe, says that’s untrue.

KDOT’s total bond debt had for years been capped at 18 percent of the department’s annual revenue. But, a provision in the budget bill passed in June removed that limit for two years.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Fred Arbanas became the temporary Jackson County Executive during a ceremony Tuesday at the golf course that bears his name.

Arbanas, a former Chiefs player who served 42 years in the county legislature, stepped into the role after Mike Sanders announced last month he would step down just one year into a four-year term.

“After working in the county for so many years, you really get attached to it,” says Arbanas. “I want to see Jackson County keep moving forward and have good, honest government.”

Kansas collected $27 million less than expected in taxes last month, largely driven by sagging income and sales tax receipts. The drop is enough to erase the state’s small estimated savings account.

Kansas Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan says it’s too early to tell if it’s a one-time drop in income taxes or a trend.

“It is the first time this fiscal year that individual income tax receipts have not grown compared to the prior fiscal year to date,” says Jordan.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II says it’s time for Congress to hold hearings on federal compensation for former nuclear plant workers.

A McClatchy newspapers investigation found fewer than half of applicants received payouts from the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, which was created in 2001 to help pay the medical expenses of factory workers exposed to radiation and other carcinogens.

Kansas Sen. Kay Wolf

Dec 19, 2015
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Sen. Kay Wolf from Prairie Village, provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss KDOT funding, and the national view of Kansas.

Guests:

KCUR

Republican Missouri Sen. Will Kraus from District 08 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss prefiled bills about conceal carry, voter IDs, and infrastructure. 

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

  • Will Kraus, Senator from District 08, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Nic Zweifel, Citizen
  • C.J. Janovy, Arts Reporter, KCUR
Wikipedia

A Kansas City Council Committee on Thursday endorsed the long-awaited new Midtown/Plaza Area Plan. Though the plan covers an area from 31st to 55th Street, State Line to Paseo and affects 27 neighborhoods, the peak interest was in what it prescribed for Kansas City's landmark Country Club Plaza.

This has been a matter of extra concern to Plaza purists because the second and current owner of the Plaza, Highwoods Properties, is offering it for sale.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

 Was a little-noticed provision slipped into this year's Kansas budget a backdoor way for the state to continue squeezing the Department of Transportation for more general fund revenue? Some lawmakers and transportation experts suggest that could be the case. 

Hyatt Hotels

Citizens for Responsible Government, the organization that collected petition signatures to send financing plans for a downtown Kansas City convention hotel has filed suit attempting to force the City Council to put their initiative on a ballot.

KCUR

Republican Missouri Sen. Will Kraus from District 08 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss prefiled bills about conceal carry, voter IDs, and infrastructure. 

Guests:

  • Will Kraus, Senator from District 08, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Nic Zweifel, Citizen
  • C.J. Janovy, Arts Reporter, KCUR
KC Aviation Department

An Aviation Department Study presented to the full Kansas City Council on Thursday concludes that Kansas City International Airport's three terminals could be replaced for $964 million, approximately $40 million less than the lowest estimate for renovating two of the existing terminals.

The study was finalized and presented at the request of Council Airport Committee chair Jolie Justus, who was emphatic that it must include dollar-figure estimates for both renovation and replacement.

IAS Partners

Once the driving retail force in Kansas City's Nothland, Metro North Mall has declined over the past 15 years. Now, its pitted asphalt parking lots have become storage space for vehicles produced at the Ford plant awaiting shipment.

Little remains of the past retail environment except a Macy's store. 

"Right now it's the definition of 'blight' because you have vacant buildings that are in a crumbling condition.  said Northland Councilman Dan Fowler. "I saw what happened when the same thing happened to Antioch Mall and it wasn't pretty.”

Sam Zeff / KCUR

We’ve heard a lot about problems funding education and roads in Kansas because of poor tax revenues — but we can add another problem to that list: state law enforcement agencies.

There are shortages everywhere.

In the past 10 years, as the population of Kansas has grown about 6 percent, the number of police officers has stayed about the same, right at 7,000.

Dwindling law enforcement

Rendering of BNIM Crossroads headquarters
Rendering courtesy of BNIM

Opponents of tax breaks for the proposed BNIM headquarters in the Crossroads Arts District may have defeated the proposal by default. 

A committee of petitioners turned in several thousand petition signatures Tuesday afternoon. Even if they were short of the 3,400 needed to let the voters decide on the TIF plan, they likely have 10 more days to submit the rest.

But time, not how the public might vote, is the issue for the $5.2 million in tax increment financing.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Linda Gallagher from Lenexa provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss KDOT funding, education, and guns.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

  • Linda Gallagher, Representative for the 23rd District, Kansas Legislature
  • Cameron Baraban, citizen
  • Maria Carter, News Director, KCUR
U.S. Civil Rights Commission

The Kansas voter ID law will be the subject of  a U.S. Civil Rights Commission committee hearing next month.

The Kansas voter ID law is one of most restrictive in the country.

Pushed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, it demands voters not only have photo ID but they prove they are American citizens.

The Kansas Advisory Committee to the Civil Rights Commission has discussed for about a year whether the law has suppressed voter turnout in minority communities.

Now a hearing has been set for 9:00 a.m. , January 28, at the Topeka Public Library.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Linda Gallagher from Lenexa provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss KDOT funding, education, and guns.

Guests:

  • Linda Gallagher, Representative for the 23rd District, Kansas Legislature
  • Cameron Baraban, citizen
  • Maria Carter, News Director, KCUR

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