Government

Up To Date
4:43 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Former Brownback Aides Under FBI Scrutiny

From left to right: George Stafford, David Kensinger, and Riley Scott, the founding partners of Parallel Strategies.
Credit parallelstrategiesks.com

Over the weekend, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s KanCare Medicaid program. 

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Government
4:07 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Nixon Proposes New Medicaid Expansion Program, Catching Legislators Off Guard

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 11:01 pm

In the final weeks of the legislative session, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has made a last-ditch effort to resurrect a push to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program and accept roughly $2 billion a year in federal money.

The governor, a Democrat, unveiled his “Missouri Health Works’’ program before business leaders Monday in Cape Girardeau. By coincidence or design, state House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka and an opponent of Medicaid expansion, was also in Cape on Monday with conservative low-tax icon Grover Norquist to highlight a different issue.

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Missouri Statehouse
10:38 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Budget, Student Transfers, Transportation Tax Fill Missouri Lawmakers' Plates This Week

Originally published on Sun April 27, 2014 9:41 pm

It'll be a busy week for Missouri lawmakers as they enter the homestretch of the 2014 regular session.

First, the Missouri Senate is scheduled this evening to begin debates on the 13 bills making up the state budget, and they may actually try to pass them all tonight, according to Appropriations chair Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

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Government
7:51 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Washington Post Says Kansas Congressman Wrong About ACA Numbers

A Washington Post blog called "The Fact Checker" gave "four Pinocchios" to recent claims by Kansas U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp about the Affordable Care Act.

The rating characterizes Huelskamp's claims as untrue.

The rating is based on statements Huelskamp made during recent town hall meetings in Hays and Salina, when he was asked about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

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Kansas Statehouse
7:39 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Kansas Lawmakers To Resume Legislative Session

Kansas lawmakers will resume the 2014 legislative session this week after a nearly month-long break, when they return Wednesday.

Lawmakers don't need to pass a full budget this year, because they passed a two-year budget last session. But they do need to finish at least a spending plan for the Kansas Department of Corrections. That section of the state budget was vetoed by the governor because of cuts in corrections spending.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:04 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Comprehensive Rewrite Of Missouri Criminal Code Passes Easily But Future Unsure

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 4:59 pm

Missouri lawmakers have sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill to rewrite the state's criminal code for the first time in more than 30 years. The wide-ranging proposal took several years and two legislative sessions to hammer out, but it's unclear whether Nixon intends to sign it.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:42 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Impeachment Hearings Against Gov. Nixon Underway In Mo. House Committee

State Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Parkville, presents his article of impeachment before the Mo. House Judiciary Cmte. on Apr. 23, 2014.

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:30 pm

Hearings began Wednesday on three articles of impeachment against Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

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Government
7:40 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Chelsea Or Bradley, Inmate Manning Is Still Inmate Manning

A Judge in Leavenworth, Kan., has allowed Bradley Manning, who’s serving time in the Army prison there for espionage, to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

Army specialists say Manning, has gender dysphoria; while physically a man, Manning identifies as a woman. Pentagon spokesman George Wright says Wednesday's brief court hearing won’t change Manning’s treatment in the all-male U.S. disciplinary barracks.

“This court action is only a name change, and will have no other effect on his current status, other than the name in his record,” said Wright.

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Government
9:39 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Nixon's Latest Tax-Cut Battle With General Assembly Resembles Earlier Fight

Missouri Capitol

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:57 pm

With a new tax-cut package on his desk, Missouri Gov. Nixon has zeroed in on a new “fatal flaw’’ that his administration says could wipe out 65 percent of the state’s general-revenue income used to fund most state services and aid to public schools.

The details may be different, but the basic argument mirrors last year’s fight, when Nixon successfully killed a tax-cut bill by highlighting flaws that he said would cost the state's treasury – and the public – far more than the bill’s backers had intended.

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Government
9:38 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Missouri Tax Cut Could Cost Some Districts 20 Percent Of Their State Appropriation

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 5:07 pm

When the Missouri General Assembly passed its tax cut bill, SB509, the Missouri School Boards Association released a chart showing how much money each of the state's school districts stood to lose if the bill became law. The chart compares the difference between Nixon's recommended level of funding for each district and the lower appropriation request that would result as a result of the tax cuts — a total of $223 million statewide.

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Politics
7:45 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Bob Dole Speaks On KU Campus During Kansas Visit

Former Republican Kansas Senator Bob Dole is in the midst of a tour through eastern Kansas to meet with friends and supporters.

Dole will wrap up the three-day trek Wednesday in Atchison and Leavenworth.

On Tuesday, the 90-year-old visited the University of Kansas campus and spoke at a facility named after him — the Dole Institute. He didn't shy away from serious topics.

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Government
10:02 am
Tue April 22, 2014

No Recommendation Yet From Airport Citizens Task Force

The KCI Terminal Advisory Group met at City Hall Tuesday morning.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

A slew of remaining questions prevented the KCI Terminal Advisory Group from making its official recommendation Tuesday morning.

The group, which was created by Mayor Sly James, is expected to make a recommendation to the City Council on one of three plans for the future of the Kansas City International Airport.

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Government
9:52 am
Tue April 22, 2014

KCI Taskforce Narrows Choices

The citizens taskforce has ruled out recommending KCI keep the same configuration.

A citizen taskforce soon could make a recommendation for the future of Kansas City International Airport. 

After nearly a year of work, the group has narrowed the many possible options down to three — renovating the existing terminals and building new screening areas and parking facilities, revamping two terminals and connecting them with a central building, or constructing a new terminal. 

Architect Bob Berkebile helped draw up plans for KCI more than four decades ago. He now co-chairs the advisory group.

Interview highlights

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Government
5:26 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Missouri's Republican and Democratic Parties Retool For Fall Elections

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:09 pm

Missouri’s Democratic and Republican parties have revamped their campaign operations, and installed new executive directors, just seven months before this fall’s elections.

The Missouri Democratic Party – which is fielding no candidate for state auditor -- also has taken the unusual step of dissolving the party’s state Senate and House campaign committees, folding control of those operations, and their money, into the state party’s coffers.

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Government
9:38 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Nixon, Zweifel Report Raising Little Campaign Money — Unlike Kander, Jones

Jay Nixon

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 10:03 pm

In the midst of his second term, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has continued to travel the state to promote his agenda for the state. He has heightened his profile even more in recent days, as he has blasted a tax-cut proposal that the General Assembly has landed on his desk.

But Nixon has effectively dropped one activity that used to take up a lot of his time: campaign fundraising.

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Government
8:46 am
Fri April 18, 2014

E-Cigarette Bills Pass Missouri House And Senate On Same Day

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 10:47 pm

The Missouri Senate and Missouri House have both passed bills to ban sales of electronic nicotine delivery devices to minors.

House Bill 1690 and Senate Bill 841 would both limit the sales of these devices, sometimes called e-cigarettes, to consumers 18 years old and older, and both versions would not subject the devices to  regulation or taxation as tobacco products. 

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Government
6:28 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

JCC Shooting Suspect Could be Charged Tuesday

Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass, along with state and federal law enforcement authorities, meets reporters Monday to confirm hate crime charges against Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, of Aurora, Mo., which could be filed by Tuesday.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The southwest Missouri man who allegedly killed two Methodists and a Catholic near the Jewish Community Center on the eve of Passover is expected to be charged with federal and state crimes on Tuesday.

Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, of Aurora, Mo., will be charged with hate crimes, authorities said Monday. Cross was “on the radar” of the FBI for some time, but was not being monitored before he opened fire on Sunday at two locations, said Special Agent Michael Kaste.

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Government
5:43 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Kansas City Council Gets Final Streetcar Line Price

Eight hundred tons of streetcar rail – 50 truckloads – will be delivered to Kansas City next week, marking the end of bargaining and a final negotiated maximum price for the project: $102 million.

City engineering service manager Ralph Davis assured the city council Thursday that they're getting a good deal. Davis said the city has worked through a "value engineering" process to eliminate unnecessary costs, and in doing so saved about $5 million. He said city representatives had also negotiated down the contractors' fees and charges. 

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Government
5:24 am
Fri April 11, 2014

ERA DOA? The Fight For Equal Rights Lives On In Missouri

One of the people who marched in the Equal Rights Action Day at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Tuesday
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

  It was a chant from a different era.

“ERA now! ERA now! ERA now!”

As much as it sounded straight out of the past, the rallying cry was used Tuesday as a coalition of women’s groups marched to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Equal Pay Day, the day marking how far into a new year it takes a woman to earn what a man took home last year.

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Government
8:16 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Area Governments Pool Resources To Bring The 2016 GOP Convention To KC

Bid fund will help sell promoters dream of a GOP nominating convention in Kansas City in 2016
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR-FM

Kansas City is going after the 2016 Republican nominating convention but the city won't go it alone. Four local governments have put some skin in the game.

Johnson County, Wyandotte County’s Unified Government, Kansas City and Jackson County are in for $65,000 each. Kansas City’s contribution follows $100,000 of city Convention and Visitor’s money - a small ante, Mayor Sly James says, for what could be a big payoff if Republicans stage their convention here.

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Government
7:41 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Lesser Prairie Chicken Threatened Species Listing Ruffles Feathers in Kansas

Rancher Wayne Keller scans the horizon for lesser prairie chicken. He says the 4-year drought in western Kansas has been especially hard on the birds.
Frank Morris KCUR

It's prairie chicken mating season!

Still, it's tough being a lesser prairie chicken these days.

This type of grouse once spanned an enormous area, though now they survive mainly in pockets of Oklahoma and Kansas. Their numbers are plummeting; in 2012, the population dropped by half.

Now, after they were recently listed as a threatened species by the U.S. government, complaints of federal overreach and lawsuits have followed.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Examining 2016 Election Buzz

Carl Cannon of RealClearPolitics and David Von Drehle of Time Magazine join Steve Kraske to talk about the 2016 election and other political issues.

The buzz around Washington is about the next presidential election— and they’re talking about Hillary Clinton. It might seem like it’s a long way off, but inside the beltway, it’s never too soon for that kind of chatter. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we’ll talk about that speculation with Carl Cannon, the Washington bureau chief of RealClearPolitics, and Time Magazine's David von Drehle. We’ll also take a look at some of the other issues heating up the capital this week.

Guests:

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Government
6:33 am
Wed April 9, 2014

City And School Board Election Results

Cities

Excelsior Springs Council (2 elected)

* Sharon Powell 775
* Ambrose Buckman 772
Mark Spohn 663
Reggie St. John 543

Excelsior Springs bond issue

Shall the city issue up to $18 million in bonds to build a community center? (4/7ths majority.)

* Yes 982
No 596

Gladstone Council

* R.D. Mallams 1158
Shari Le Poindexter 654

Grain Valley mayor

* Michael Todd 331
Chuck Johnston 274
Barbara Kountzman 202

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Government
5:51 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Brownback Comments On School Funding, Health Care Compact

Credit Steve Bell

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was in kansas City, Kansas Tuesday for the official signing of a bill that substantially reduces the percentage rate employers are required to pay into the state's Unemployment Trust Fund.

Brownback used the occasion to tout what he called a call, growing Kansas economy.

"People have said you can't cut taxes, create a business-friendly environment and fund state government," he said, adding, "Well, yes you can, and we are."

After the ceremony, the governor also commented on several bills on or soon coming to his desk.

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Government
9:25 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Voters Hand KCMO Council Election Day Victory

Major Sly James celebrated election results with city council members Tuesday evening.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Voters on Tuesday approved all of the ballot measures supported by many Kansas City, Mo., city council members.

Top among the issues was approval to issue $500 million in water bonds.

Supporters of the ballot measure say the funding is sorely needed for the city to repair its deteriorating water infrastructure. In 2013 alone, the water department dealt with about 1200 water main breaks.

“The citizens of Kansas City fully and completely understand the need for us to continue to work on our infrastructure,” said Mayor Sly James shortly before 9 p.m.

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Missouri Statehouse
3:12 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Missouri House Endorses Transportation Tax Vote

Legislation that would let voters decide if they want to create a temporary one-cent transportation sales tax has received first-round approval in the Missouri House.

The proposed constitutional amendment would be in effect for 10 years and would need to be reauthorized by voters to stay in effect beyond that. It’s sponsored by Republican Rep. Dave Hinson of Franklin County

“The people all across the state realize we have a transportation infrastructure need, no matter if you think it’s for roads, bridges, or any other type of multimodal transportation,” said Hinson.

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Elections
11:47 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Kansas City To Vote On Water Improvement Bonds

Credit Creative Commons

Kansas Citians go to the polls Tuesday and one of the things they will be deciding is whether to update an aging network of underground water pipes.

Backers of the water revenue bonds say it’s critical to maintaining the city’s infrastructure.

Kansas City’s underground pipes, along with some fire hydrants and other facilities, date back to the Civil War years, say water department officials.

And, they say, the system is breaking down. Officials report there were more than 1,000 water main breaks just last year.

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Up to Date
10:18 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Figuring Out The Federal Reserve

Esther George is the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Credit 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.

Guest:

  • Esther George, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City 
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Missouri Statehouse
7:59 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Missouri Senate Committee Begins Reviewing State Budget Passed By House

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 7:49 pm

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have begun their review of the state's spending plan for Fiscal Year 2015.

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Up to Date
11:00 am
Mon April 7, 2014

In The Trenches Of The White House Press Corps

Tamara Keith and Margaret Talev both cover the White House.

You’re in Washington, and you’ve got the plum assignment—covering the White House. You might get to ride on Air Force One and travel the world with the president, but is it really as glamorous as it sounds?

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk with NPR’s Tamara Keith and Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev about their experiences as White House correspondents. We discuss the challenges and the excitement of reporting on the president, and what it’s like to be in that briefing room.

Guests:

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