Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City's Planning & Zoning Committee held its first community listening session Saturday to connect city officials with residents who had questions and concerns about issues in their neighborhoods.

Around a dozen residents from the area, mostly from the Marlborough neighborhood, showed up at the Trailside Center in South Kansas City to speak with council members and city employees from a variety of departments.

For a city of 9,500 people, Mission, Kansas has its share of big issues. Mayor Steve Schowengerdt discusses some of the meatiest topics on his city's table, from driveway taxes and the Mission Gateway development project to chickens and bees. 

A 2013 poll showed that nearly a quarter of Americans lean toward a libertarian political philosophy. We explore libertarian ideals that support gay marriage as well as gun ownership. 


Lobbyists get a bad rap, but before we judge, let's hear from the lobbyists themselves about what they do and how they get it done. Everything you've always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask. Plus, notes on the recent legislative session in Kansas.


  • Kimberly Svatie, lobbyist, Gencur Svatie Public Affairs
  • Bill Sneed, lawyer and lobbyist, Polsinelli
Stephen Koranda / KPR

With only hours remaining before furloughs started, Kansas lawmakers approved a bill that prevents state workers from being taken off the job. Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill and said  all state employees should report to work as usual.

While financial pressures still exist in state government, the bill deems all state employees “essential” and exempt from being furloughed. That designation only lasts through the end of the legislative session.

Area journalists are largely behind a push to end a loophole in Kansas that allows emails discussing  public affairs— but sent from a private account— to be exempt from open records laws.  The effort is beginning to gain traction in the legislature. 


  • Karen Dillon is an investigative reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World.

Do you know what the Export-Import Bank of The United States does? On this edition of Up To Date, guest host Stephen Steigman discusses the role of the bank and why it matters in Kansas City.


  • Fred Hochberg is the Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. 

Extreme partisan divisions have given the U.S. Congress a bad rap. Its inability to compromise has resulted in an ineffective government and public disapproval. We look at the effects of having such a polarized institution with two former congressmen who offer suggestions for how it might be saved.


  • Tom Davis (R) represented Virginia's 11th district from 1994 to 2008.
  • Martin Frost (D) represented Texas' 24th district from 1979 to 2005. 

In order to become a naturalized citizen, immigrants must pass a basic U.S. civics test. Some Missouri lawmakers are pushing for the state to adopt education policies that would require high schoolers to pass the same test to graduate. On this edition of Up To Date, Steve Kraske talks with two lawmakers supporting this requirement, and quizzes listeners with questions from the U.S. Citizenship Civics Test.


News about legislative committee meetings at a Jefferson City country club have raised new questions about Missouri's ethics laws. State Representative Jeremy LaFaver and Missouri State University political scientist George Connor join Steve Kraske to discuss cleaning up ethics in the state. 


  • Rep. Jeremy La Faver is a Democrat from Kansas City.
  • George Connor is a political Scientist at Missouri State University.

Tax cuts, toll roads, public schools, what will affect Missourians most this year?

The Missouri Legislature began its 2015 session on Wednesday. On Thursday's Up To Date, a panel of journalists discusses what may become the biggest issues of the coming year. 


United States Department of Homeland Security / Wikimedia Commons

After her stint as secretary of Homeland Security ended in 2013, former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano became president of the University of California system. The transition made for quite a change, but she said she's up for the challenge.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with Napolitano about looking in hindsight at Middle East policies and the challenges her new position presents.


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In the 1920s and '30s, Kansas City was defined by the corruption of the political machine run by “Boss” Tom Pendergast. But the machine finally was brought down, in no small part through the efforts of reform-minded women.

Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes tells the story of these “civic housekeepers” whose fight came to a dramatic conclusion with the ballot-box victories of 1940, Pendergast’s imprisonment in the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, and the smashing of machine-mob rule.


Recently, Harvest Public Media took a look at the new Farm Bill, and what they found might surprise you.

On Monday's Up to Date, we discuss how little influence farmers and agricultural groups had in shaping the bill and look at who the major players actually were.


Pat Roberts has represented Kansas in the U.S. Senate since 1997, but he’s up for re-election and facing several competitors in the Republican primary.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk with two of those challengers, Republicans Milton Wolf and Alvin Zahnter. We discuss about how healthcare laws, the job market and more.


  • Milton Wolf, U.S. Senate candidate from Overland Park
  • Alvin Zahnter, U.S. Senate candidate from Russell, Kan.
Mark Fischer / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week we saw the closing of another Supreme Court session with landmark rulings about religious freedom, cell phone privacy, and recess appointments. But there was another decision: a 5-4 ruling that may have an impact on unions and how they operate, including right in the Kansas City area. On Tuesday's Up To Date,  guest host Brian Ellison talks with the AFL-CIO's Craig Becker on the highest court in the land's ruling on union agency fees.

It's scary being a new parent, and many state regulations make the adjustment period very difficult for new moms and dads who have jobs. A recent study gives both Kansas and Missouri a failing grade in this area.

City Lights Publishers

Since its creation in the late 1940s, the CIA has changed from a relatively limited intelligence agency to a big player in America's military complex. 

On Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske sits down with ex-CIA analyst Mel Goodman to talk about the changing role of the CIA throughout history. We'll discuss how different presidents transformed the powers and operations of the agency during the Cold War, the War on Terror, and today.


On Monday's Up to Date, we sit down with Al From, author of The New Democrats and the Return to Power.  He joins Steve Kraske for a look at the history and future of the Democratic Party.  As founder of the Democratic Leadership Council he ushered in a new breed of Democrat with Bill Clinton's administration.   


Al From is founder of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). 

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

You know the Federal Reserve is important to the government, but what does it really do?

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George about why Kansas City has a Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. We'll also look at the history of the bank at its centenary.


  • Esther George, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City 

If the police staged a massive raid on your house, complete with assault weapons, you’d want to know why. But finding that out in Kansas is tricky and costly. 

On Monday's Up to Date, we look at a KSHB-TV investigative report on the problems local residents have had getting police records open in the state.


It’s been nearly a year since Mark Holland became mayor of Kansas City, Kan., and it’s time to see what influence he’s wielded in the city over that time.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, Mayor Holland joins us in the studio to talk about the city’s economic development, public health programs and other issues.


  • Mark Holland, mayor of the unified government of Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County

The legislative committee charged with overseeing state building projects today added money to next year’s budget to help the University of Kansas fund construction of a $75 million classroom building on its Kansas City, Kan. campus.

The Joint Committee on State Building Construction voted to add $1.4 million to the fiscal 2015 budget to help pay for bonds that will be issued to fund the project.  The plan is for the state to contribute $15 million over time to help finance up to $35 million in construction bonds.

Former Grandview Mayor Stephen Dennis, who resigned without explanation last January, has plead guilty to wire fraud. The former mayor admitted Tuesday that he improperly used two checks worth $35,000.

In the second half of Wednesday's Up to Date41 Action News reporter Ryan Kath, who broke the story last month, joins us to discuss this turn of events and what it means for local politics.


Secretary of Defense / Flickr - CC

Allan Katz recently returned from foreign service as the U.S. Ambassador to Portugal to teach at his alma mater, UMKC. Katz was a friend of Barack Obama (before he became President Obama) which he says contributed to being chosen as the ambassador. President Obama nominated Katz in 2009, which was followed by what Katz says was a long, arduous process of congressional approval. Katz says there were difficult times of misunderstanding, such as the publication of Wikileaks, but that if given the opportunity he would serve again. 


Christopher Dilts / Obama for America

If you want to stir the pot of controversy, adding a dash of race and a pinch of politics is a sure way to spice up the discussion.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we discuss how President Obama seems to straddle both political and racial divides and why understanding that tension is crucial to navigating the fractious issues that dominate today’s legislative landscape.

Courts Get First Crack At Clay Co. Charter Change

Sep 10, 2013

A radical change taking party politics out of Clay County government has been sidetracked on its path to voters in November.

Courts have been asked to intervene and declare the measure as unconstitutional.

The bipartisan panel that designed the change voters would decide drew wrath of the elected, 3-member County Commission. 

To Commissioner Luann Ridgeway it would be a costly experiment. That puts her at odds with a charter committee leader Craig Porter, and both are Republicans.

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We’ve all seen it, a politician’s life derailed by scandal or personal crisis. While in years past that meant retirement from public life, nowadays we’re just as likely to see these individuals re-emerge to campaign another day.

Jackson County government


Breaking news update: Mike Sanders has announced he is stepping down as chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party. 

Jackson County is really hopping these days. Between fluctuating property assessments and the courthouse renovation, the county’s missteps and triumphs are keeping people talking. 


Perplexed by the inner workings of our nation’s capital? Baffled by Beltway politics?

Mike Allen, the man behind the daily Politico Playbook knows how to untangle it all.