Government

Missouri Statehouse
7:53 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Missouri House Republicans Unveil Plan For New Fulton State Hospital

(foreground, l-r) Mo. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, and State Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, prepare to talk about the House GOP's proposal for Fulton State Hospital.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:27 pm

Republicans in the Missouri House have unveiled their proposal for funding construction of a new state mental hospital in Fulton.

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Government
7:38 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Kansas City Regional Rail Outlook Brightens With Union Pacific Accord

Longest unused rail line runs through heart of Near-East Kansas City suburbs.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Prospects for a regional rail system east of Kansas City got brighter Monday. Jackson County now has an understanding with Union Pacific to buy three abandoned rail lines.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders has liked regional rail because it’s far cheaper than the light variety of rail transit. Tracks exist and rolling stock is plentiful.

The cost is $60 million.

“We’ve got an option agreement at no cost to taxpayers and no risk to the taxpayers, we have an option agreement to purchase these rail corridors should we decide to do it,” said Sanders.

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Up to Date
2:42 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Controversial Bills Loom Over Kansas Legislature

Controversial bills are on the talk of the town for the Kansas Legislature.
Credit Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas politics have been making national headlines over several controversial bills—and not in a good way. First, there was the one that appeared to make discrimination against same-sex couples legal. Then, there was the one trying to make it legal to spank children hard enough to leave marks.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about those bills and how statehouse politics might affect this fall’s gubernatorial race.

Guests:

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Kansas Statehouse
9:22 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Kansas House Speaker Calls For Focus On Economy

Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick says he'll be working to focus the chamber on economic issues for the rest of the legislative session. Some controversial bills in the House have caught national attention and criticism in recent weeks.

Merrick, a Republican from Stillwell, Kan., says he can't stop members from filing bills, but he can try to get lawmakers back to what he calls the basics of making Kansas the “most business-friendly state in the country.”

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Government
8:17 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Nixon Questioned Again About Presidential Aspirations

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon, D, talking to reporters in 2013. During a visit to Washington DC today he was asked by Politico if he plans to run for president.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:07 pm

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is attending the National Governors Association's winter meetings in Washington DC this weekend, and once again he's been questioned about his political future.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:18 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Wide-Ranging Student Transfer Bill Passed By Mo. Senate Committee

Mo. Capitol
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:53 am

Nine bills that either directly addressed or were related to school transfers and accreditation were combined into one bill and passed Thursday by the Missouri Senate's Education Committee.

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Government
7:54 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Kansas City Council Involves Airlines, Voters In KCI Planning

KCI the way it is: will the three terminals be replaced by a single one?
Credit KC Aviation Department

Collaboration on the future of the KCI airport was the focus Thursday as the Kansas City council promised the airlines and the voters their voices will be heard.

The council approved a lease renewal agreement with eight airlines that also includes structure for airline input into whether the city will renovate or replace its aging airport terminals.

Transportation and infrastructure chair Russ Johnson told his colleagues the airlines' viewpoint is important to the process.

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Lethal Injection
8:11 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Missouri Has A New Execution Drug Supplier

via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 10:02 am

Although the state's previous drug supplier says it will not supply for the next execution, Missouri says it's found another willing pharmacy.

On Monday, the Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma reached a settlement with an inmate who had sued the pharmacy. Although the terms were confidential, the pharmacy agreed to not sell to Missouri for its upcoming execution.

In a court filing Wednesday evening, the state said inmate Michael Taylor was trying to cut off the supply of the state's execution drug.

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Kansas Statehouse
8:10 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Bill Would Change Kansas State Worker Retirement Plan

A committee in the Kansas Legislature is considering a bill that would overhaul the state's retirement system.

The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, covers thousands of state workers and local government employees like teachers. The proposal would switch KPERS to a 401(k)-style plan where employees manage their retirement benefits.

Currently, KPERS is a pension that pays benefits to a worker based on their salary and years of service. Right now, there's about a $10 billion long-term shortfall.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:07 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Missouri House Endorses Tax Cut Bills

Mo. House floor
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 9:25 pm

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to two separate but similar tax-cut bills.

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Government
5:13 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Another Federal Judge Criticizes Missouri For Haste In Carrying Out Executions

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 4:31 pm

Missouri's recent executions have sparked controversy lately -- not just for the secrecy and the source of the execution drug but also for the state's speed in carrying them out.

The Department of Corrections has carried out three executions in as many months. In all those cases, the inmate still had appeals pending at the time the state executed him.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:17 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Missouri Senate Strips Gun Theft Reporting Amendment From Nullification Bill

Mo. Capitol
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:03 am

The Missouri Senate has stripped an amendment from the gun-control nullification bill that would have required an individual to report a stolen gun within 72 hours.

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Government
8:49 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Kansas House Committee Debates Climate Action Plan

A resolution asking Congress to oppose President Obama’s climate action plan was under consideration in a Kansas House committee today where oil and gas lobbyists squared off against environmentalists and the human role in climate change was questioned by conservative GOP lawmakers unimpressed by the overwhelming consensus among scientists on that point.

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Government
5:04 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Grand Jury Refuses To Indict Cop In Killing Of Kansas City Firefighter

A  Jackson County grand jury has declined to file charges against a  Kansas City, Mo., police officer in the 2013 shooting death of a firefighter.

The criminal case is closed in the Dec. 1, 2013, death of Anthony Bruno.

Bruno and the policeman struggled during a brawl leading to the shooting on a downtown street. There had been a dispute over cab fare outside Bruno’s wedding reception party. The pair fought and struggled on the pavement as the officer tried to arrest Bruno.

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Government
9:34 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Missouri House Gives First-Round Approval To 'Health Care Conscience' Bill

Mo. Capitol
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:51 pm

Medical personnel who wish to opt out of participating in procedures that violate their religious or personal beliefs are one step closer to being allowed to do so legally in Missouri.

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Government
9:34 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Political Battle Over Ozark National Park Heats Up

This photo of the Current River is from the cover of the National Park Service's draft management plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
National Park Service

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 3:41 pm

(Updated at 3:39 p.m., February 20)

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Government
9:32 am
Thu February 13, 2014

KS House Committee Considers Loaded Guns In Vehicles, Without Permit

The full Kansas House could soon consider a bill cutting back local government firearm regulations. That comes after a House committee amended and approved the legislation on Wednesday. It would bar local governments from regulating the open carry of firearms and make other changes.

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Government
6:36 am
Thu February 13, 2014

ACLU Sues Missouri Over Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Jim MacDonald, with daughter Grace, waits to talk to reporters about Missouri's same-sex marriage prohibition.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri  has filed suit, trying to overturn the state’s refusal to accept same-sex marriage.

The suit is in the name of a Kansas City couple and seven others around the State.

The suit assumes public attitudes have changed since the Missouri Constitution was altered to ban same-gender marriage a decade ago.  

Jim MacDonald and Andy Schuerman were legally married in Canada and are raising Schuerman’s  biological 3-year old daughter, Grace.

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Government
4:13 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Judge Orders Pharmacy Not To Sell Execution Drug To Missouri, For Now

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:42 pm

Update: Governor says the state is prepared to proceed regardless.

Update: Pharmacy hopes documents will be secret

A federal judge has ordered an Oklahoma-based pharmacy not to sell the Missouri Department of Corrections its execution drug, at least until a hearing scheduled for next week.

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Up to Date
12:10 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Looking Back At 40 Years Of Policing Overland Park

Retiring Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass stopped by Up to Date to talk about his years on the force.
Credit Beth Lipoff / KCUR

After 40 years with the Overland Park Police Department, Chief John Douglass is riding off into the sunset…sort of. He’s not ready for a quiet retirement just yet. Instead, he’s going back to school as the director of safety and for the Shawnee Mission School District next spring. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we sit down with Douglass to discuss how policing Overland Park has changed over the years and the new challenges that await him in the coming months.

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Up To Date
11:09 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Grandview Mayor Pleads Guilty

Former Grandview Mayor Stephen Dennis plead guilty to wire fraud after FBI and local news investigations uncovered misuse of $35,000 in charity funds.

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.

Guest:

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Government
9:31 am
Wed February 12, 2014

FAA Will Pay Little For New KCI Terminal, But It Might Pay For Itself

 

Representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration told Kansas City's Airport Terminal Advisory Committee Monday that their agency wouldn't pay very much of the cost of building a new terminal. But a consultants report suggested a new terminal building might help pay for itself.

Sandwiches, coffee and soft drinks could help pay for a new terminal according to Garfield Eaton of transportation consultants Frasca & Associates. He says KCI finished in last place for concession revenues among 20 airports studied - about 66 cents for each departing passenger.

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Government
9:12 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Missouri Couples Sue To Have Out-Of-State Same-Sex Marriages Recognized

via Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 4:51 pm

Updated with additional information from the press conference, copy of the case.

Eight same-sex couples in Missouri have filed suit seeking to have their out-of-state marriages recognized in the state.

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Government
9:12 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Missouri Senate Endorses Gun Control Nullification Bill

Mo. Capitol
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 9:24 am

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation to nullify federal gun-control laws.

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Government
4:59 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Former Grandview Mayor Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud

Former Grandview mayor Stephen Dennis.

The former mayor of Grandview, Mo., pleaded guilty to wire fraud at U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday.

Stephen Dennis’ voice rarely rose above a whisper as he told District Judge Howard Sachs he is guilty of taking two checks worth $35,000 from the International House Of Prayer for an illegal charity he’d set up. As part of an agreement with the U.S. Attorney, Dennis stipulated he used the money for himself and family. The organization was purported to be raising money for the poor and elderly in Grandview, Mo.

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Government
8:15 am
Tue February 11, 2014

After Controversy Surrounding Executions, State Officials Testify Before House Committee

Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi testifies before the House Committee on Government Oversight.

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 6:30 pm

Despite the controversy over how Missouri has carried out its past three executions, a state House hearing on Monday revealed little that hasn't already been reported:

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Government
5:29 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Hanaway Announces Bid For Governor In 2016, Catching GOP Off Guard

Catherine Hanaway

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:23 am

(Updated 11:30 p.m. Mon., Feb. 10)

Eight months before the 2014 election, former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway is announcing that she’s running for governor in 2016.

Hanaway’s decision wasn’t a surprise. But her timing was. A year ago, Hanaway had stated that she was considering such a bid. But her announcement did catch political insiders off guard because it was so early. Candidate filing has yet to begin for this fall’s elections.

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Government
7:18 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Nonprofit Taxis Would Serve Elderly, Blind

Preparing for a week off to attend meetings of the Missouri Municipal League, Kansas City's city council moved ahead with programs to benefit the young and the elderly yesterday.

After establishing a commission of young people to advise the city on youth programs, such as those at community centers, the council turned its attention to a discounted non-profit taxi service for the elderly and blind persons.

Councilman John Sharp, a sponsor of the plan, called it "a great asset to our older citizens, some of whom are getting rather frail to drive."

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Government
12:21 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Report: Gas Company Didn't Follow Safety Regs in JJ's Explosion

Kansas City police and fire investigators stand outside JJ's Restaurant after the explosion on Feb. 19, 2013. (File photo)

Missouri Gas Energy failed to act urgently to protect the lives of people in JJ’s Restaurant last year, the Missouri Public Service Commission ruled Thursday.

The gas company violated its own safety rules that lead to an explosion that killed one woman and injured more than a dozen others and it should be fined, the 125-page report said.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:22 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Two 'Border War' Bills Introduced In Missouri

Two bills that would each try to end the so-called “border war” among business interests in the Kansas City area were heard Wednesday by two Missouri legislative committees. The identical bills would bar incentives designed to poach businesses from Kansas to Missouri.

Backers of the two bills say the proposal would take effect only if Kansas enacts a similar law to discourage its businesses from luring companies on the Missouri side of the Kansas City area.

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