Government

Government
2:58 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Key Lawmaker Says Smaller Government A Goal Of Kansas Tax Cuts

Conservatives had two reasons for advocating deep cuts in state income tax rates, says one of the legislative leaders who championed them.

The first and most often touted by Gov. Sam Brownback was to lower taxes for business owners so that they could use the savings to create more jobs.

But a second and less talked about goal was to shrink state government by reducing tax collections and forcing legislators to cut spending, according to Senate President Susan Wagle.

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NBAF
12:53 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

K-State Says Proposed Funding For NBAF Is A Big Step Forward

U.S. Department of Homeland Security rendering of finished facility.
Credit courtesy photo / U.S. Department of Homeland Security

A U.S. Senate subcommittee has appropriated $300 million in funding for the National Bio and Agro- Defense Facility , or NBAF, in Manhattan, Kan.

Ron Trewyn, vice president for research at Kansas State University, says this week's appropriation for a top-security animal disease lab on Kansas State's campus will allow the Department Of Homeland Security lab be finished.

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Books
10:08 am
Tue June 24, 2014

FULL AUDIO: Hillary Clinton Speaks In Kansas City

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks with Rainy Day Books co-owner Vivien Jennings at the Midland Theater on June 21, 2014.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Kansas City on Sunday June 21 where she spoke with Rainy Day Books co-owner Vivien Jennings in front of a crowd of thousands at the Midland Theatre. 

The former Secretary of State was in town to promote her memoir, 'Hard Choices.'

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Missouri Statehouse
5:22 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Nixon Signs Bill Revamping Missouri's Funeral Protest Law

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:18 pm

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed several bills passed during the 2014 regular session into law Friday.

Tweak to funeral protest law

First, Nixon signed  House Bill 1372, which fixes a legal issue with Missouri's ban on protests at funerals.

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Government
6:59 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Kansas City To Outsource Ambulance Billing

City manager Troy Schulte and finance chair Jan Marcason said signing up with

Advanced Data Processing Inc., a company that already does billing for several cities in the metro, would save $800,000 and increase collections.

“For the taxpayers and for the city this is a good deal and I think we should approve it today,” Marcason told her council colleagues.

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Government
4:45 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Cash-flow Loan Triggers Debate About Brownback’s Economic Policies

The state of Kansas is loaning itself $675 million to ensure that it can pay its bills as it transitions from one budget year to the next.

That’s not unusual.

For the last 16 years, it has been standard practice for the State Finance Council to approve certificates of indebtedness, which transfer money from a fund used to collect fees and pay off bonds to the state’s general operating fund.

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Kansas Statehouse
3:30 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Concealed Firearms To Be Allowed In Kansas Capitol

Kansas lawmakers decided not to ban concealed firearms in the capital building.
Credit Wikimedia Commons - CC

Visitors who have a concealed weapons permit will be allowed to bring guns into the Kansas Statehouse starting in July.

A state law grants the Legislative Coordinating Council the authority to bar concealed firearms in the Capitol. But at a meeting Thursday, those legislators chose not to discuss any regulations. That means concealed guns will be allowed in the Capitol next month.

Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, says this puts the Statehouse on a par with many other facilities.

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Government
7:57 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Kansas City Council Approves Zoning For Plaza Office High-Rise

New high-rise office building proposed for north edge of Country Club Plaza
Credit Courtesy: Hoefer Wysocki Architecture

A Kansas City council committee approved zoning changes for a 14-story office tower on the north edge of the Country Club Plaza on Wednesday. There appears to be no organized effort to stop its construction.

In recent years, plans for a North-Plaza law office high-rise and a luxury hotel were derailed by opposition. But this time there is no business opposition and Dan Cofran of Friends of the Plaza says his group does not want to stop or delay the Block Real Estate project.

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Government
8:04 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Mayor Discusses 2016 Convention Odds At Young Republicans Meeting

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James, left, speaks at the Kansas City Young Republicans' monthly meeting about the odds of securing the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Credit Elle / KCUR

It'll be at least two more months before city officials learn if Kansas City has impressed the right people and secured a bid for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

The RNC site selection committee wrapped up its tour of top contenders last week – Cleveland, Dallas and Denver are also still in the running – and is giving the cities a chance to respond to any questions that came up during the visits.

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Up to Date
10:03 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Mending Environmental Wounds In The Ozarks

Traci Angel is the author of 'The Scars of Project 459.'

The Lake of the Ozarks has been one of Missouri’s top vacation spots for decades, but now, it’s a lake in danger of being “loved to death.” Today, the lake faces pressures from unregulated development, inadequate sewage management and a poor water quality image.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with a journalist about how the Lake has gotten to this point and who is trying to reverse the decline to protect it for future generations.

Guest:

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Government
6:32 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Kansas City Ordinance On Food For Homeless Fails

A Kansas City council ordinance would have regulated food distribution from service agencies homeless populations.
Credit درفش کاویانی / Wikimedia-CC

Kansas City's city council turned down an ordinance regulating the distribution of food to the homeless Thursday after it was opposed by social services organizations, including the Salvation Army.

A frustrated Councilman Scott Wagner insisted throughout the debate that the ordinance he spent a year putting together was simply what it appeared to be on the surface – a matter of food safety and sanitation.

But colleague Ed Ford said the discussions that began the process may have doomed the ordinance before it was written.

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Transit
5:03 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Clay Chastain Asks Judge To Put His Light-Rail Plan On The Ballot

Transit activist Clay Chastain talks to reporters at the Jackson County Courthouse. A judge is considering the fate of Chastain's petition to put a light-rail plan before vote.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Transit advocate Clay Chastain got his day in court Thursday, but it's still unclear if his plan to build a light-rail system will go before voters.

For three years, Chastain has been locked in a battle with city officials who say the 3/8-cent sales tax increase he's proposed isn't enough to pay for light-rail. The Missouri Supreme Court weighed in earlier this year, ruling that even if voters approved the plan, the city wouldn't have to build it.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:08 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Nixon Vetoes Bills That Would Have Cut State, Local Revenue By $776 Million A Year

Jay Nixon

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 9:14 pm

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon followed through with his earlier threat by vetoing on Wednesday 10 bills passed during the last day of the legislative session. The bills set up special tax breaks for a variety of businesses, from restaurants to data centers.

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Government
8:07 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Homeless Advocates Question Kansas City 'Food Sharing Permit' Plan

A number of organizations that help feed the homeless were heard but not heeded Wednesday as a city council committee revisited an ordinance requiring setting standards for charitable food sharing.

The plan would require all individuals and organizations providing food for the homeless to have a city food sharing permit, that all food preparation areas meet city standards. The organizations would be responsible for trash disposal and other sanitation matters.

The pleas of the two dozen people who spoke against the food sharing permit ordinance were often impassioned.

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Government
8:02 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Cantor Upset May Enliven Tea Party Challenge To Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts

U.S. House Majority leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat this week could revitalize a challenge to Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. Roberts faces a Tea Party backed primary challenge from Milton Wolf.

Most political types consider the three-term Senator pretty safe, but then they felt the same way about Virgina's Eric Cantor. Bob Beatty at Washburn University says Cantor’s upset could make Milton Wolf look like a contender.

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Politics
11:31 am
Wed June 11, 2014

A Look Back At The 3 Times Kansas City Hosted National Political Conventions

State delegates, party members, and reporters filled nearly every seat in Convention Hall during the 1928 Republican National Convention.
State Historical Society of Missouri, Kansas City Convention Hall Records KO269

The Republican National Committee is eyeing Kansas City as a potential site for the 2016 Republican National Convention, and after a visit last week, the delegates’ first impressions seem positive.

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Transit
7:36 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Judge To Review Challenged Light-Rail Ballot Initiative This Week

Clay Chastain, a former Kansas City resident, has taken the city to court after his 2011 plan for light rail never made it on the ballot.
Credit Video frame courtesy of TV-9

Kansas City transit advocate Clay Chastain is in town this week to promote his light-rail proposal ahead of hearing that could put the issue before voters.

Chastain, a former Kansas City resident who now lives in Virginia, has for years pressured the city to build an interconnected transit system with a hub at Union Station. His idea has a lot of moving parts – light rail line to the airport, commuter rail to the southeast and streetcars to the Kansas City Zoo. And in 2011, he gathered enough signatures to put a 3/8-cent sales tax on the ballot to help pay for it.

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Government
2:46 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Kansas City Leaders Hoping To Woo Republican Convention Scouts

Kansas City Bid Task Force Co-Chairman Troy Stremming, left, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, RNC Site Selection Committee Chairwoman Enid Mickelson and Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James speak at a press conference Thursday.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

City leaders spent Thursday courting a delegation from the Republican National Committee in hopes of a securing a bid for the 2016 convention.

So far, the RNC is impressed.

"We've had children out to lead us in the pledge of allegiance. We had the high school band out on the tarmac to greet us. We had another young lady who just sang beautifully for us," says former Utah Congresswoman Enid Mickelson, the chairwoman of the site selection committee. "Those are the kind of traditional values clearly you have in Kansas City, and we think are important to spotlight."

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Government
8:55 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Missouri Reaches Agreement With Walgreens Over Deceptive Pricing

The State of Missouri has reached an agreement with Walgreens over what Attorney General Chris Koster had called deceptive retail pricing.

Speaking Wednesday in Springfield, Mo., Koster says the settlement requires Walgreens to pay for an independent auditor, selected with the approval of the AG’s Office.

"This independent auditor will visit 25 percent of Missouri's Walgreens stores every quarter to verify that prices advertised on the shelves match the prices that consumers are paying at the register," he said.

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Johnson County
8:01 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Johnson County Commissioners Plan Small Property Tax Rate Hike

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners has announced that it plans to raise property taxes in the 2015 budget. But, if the increase is implemented, it will be far from staggering.

Board of Commissioners chairman Ed Eilert says the recommended increase likely won’t mean a large burden for homeowners. Under the recommended increase revealed Wednesday, owners of properties valued at $249,000 would pay about $2 more per month. The increase would cover an anticipated $45 million budget shortfall over five years.

Government
2:22 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Reps. Cleaver, Yoder Encourage Civil Political Discourse

Kansas Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder, left, teases Missouri Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver about almost missing a flight home. The two were promoting a new group that encourages people from different political parties to meet.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder and Missouri Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver were in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday to promote a new political discussion group.

The group – called the Village Square – encourages people to meet across party lines to talk about political topics with civility and respect.

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Government
8:37 am
Wed June 4, 2014

'Right-To-Farm' Tour Hits Jefferson City; Former Lt. Gov. Criticizes Proposal

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, speaks in favor of the "right-to-farm" constitutional amendment in Jefferson City.

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 9:06 pm

Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to limit regulations on farmers and ranchers in Missouri continue to tour the state this week.

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Government
8:30 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Kansas City FBI Posts Rewards For Laser-Pointer Violators

Children's Mercy Hospital trotted out its helicopter to emphasize the dangers of laser-beaming aircraft.
Credit Kansas City, MO Aviation Department

Children's Mercy Hospital joined with federal and local law enforcement Tuesday at Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City, Mo., to promote a 90-day crackdown on people who point hand-held lasers at flying aircraft.

Children's Mercy displayed its “Just for Kids” helicopter as an example of the kind of aircraft that could be downed by a misplaced laser beam in a pilot's eyes. 

Kansas City police helicopter pilot Cord Laws said he could recount five times when the police chopper has been lasered, including during one difficult landing on a helipad. 

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Up To Date
9:00 am
Tue June 3, 2014

The CIA From The Cold War To Today

Historian and author of "National Insecurity" Mel Goodman visits with Steve Kraske about the changing role of the CIA.
Credit 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.

Guest:

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Courts
3:46 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Insurance Company Files Suit Against Catholic Diocese

Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph Bishop Robert Finn oversees Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The company that provided the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph its liability insurance in the 1970s says it shouldn't have to defend the church or pay damages in a litany of sexual abuse cases.

The U.S. Fidelity and Guaranty Co. filed suit in federal court Friday against the diocese, which has been sued by more than a dozen plaintiffs who say they were victims of sexual abuse in the '60s and '70s. In the majority of those cases, the court has dismissed all claims against the diocese except the intentional failure to supervise clergy.

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Road Work
12:01 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Emergency Repairs To Slow I-435 Southbound Traffic

Expect long delays Monday and Tuesday on southbound Interstate 435 at 87th Street.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has reduced traffic flow to one lane while work crews complete an emergency pavement repair on southbound I-435. Additional lanes were already closed at 87th Street to accommodate bridge work.

"As part of the lane restrictions, traffic was shifted partly onto the right southbound shoulder and the shoulder pavement has not held up to the increased traffic," KDOT spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls said in a written statement.

Government
3:41 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

New Acting Veterans Affairs Chief Has Kansas City Ties

Sloan Gibson
Credit Wikimedia -- CC

The new acting secretary of Veterans Affairs is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Sloan Gibson IV graduated from UMKC in 1979 with a master's degree in economics, according to a release from the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Gibson became acting secretary following the resignation of retired U.S. Army General Eric Shinseki on Friday.

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Government
7:40 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Kansas City Adopts Point System For Development Incentives

Kansas City's development incentives policy becomes more structured under a measure passed by the city council Thursday. The city will adopt a scorecard system to determine which projects get incentives and how large those incentives are.

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Government
7:52 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Kansas City Council Committee To Tackle Fate Of Kemper Arena

Replace or repurpose? Rival proposals clash on aging Kemper Arena.
Credit City of Kansas City, Mo.

There will be no blue ribbon citizens panel to decide the future of Kemper Arena. The Kansas City, Mo., city council Economic Development Committee has decided to tackle the matter itself.

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Missouri Statehouse
9:20 am
Wed May 28, 2014

In Missouri Senate, Justus Went From Partisan To Pragmatist

Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, will leave the Missouri Senate later this year. She reflected on her time in state legislative office before the end of this year's session.
Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 9:59 am

The Missouri Senate had seven new members after the smoke cleared from the 2006 election cycle. Only two served for the maximum time allowed under term limits – Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah.

The two lawmakers are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Justus entered the General Assembly as a combative fighter who fought tooth-and-nail against the Republican majority. Lager, who was arguably more conservative than his Republican counterparts, seemed on a course for higher office.

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