Matt Hodapp | KCUR

Matt Hodapp

Producer, Statehouse Blend Kansas, Statehouse Blend Missouri and Midwesternish

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Elijah Haahr
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Ever since Congress passed major changes to U.S. tax policy, Missouri leaders have been mulling their own changes to the state tax code that might leave your tax bill looking very different next year. We talk with House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, a Republican representative from Springfield, about how his 429-page plan can call itself "revenue-neutral."

Are Kansas’ strict voter registration laws necessary protections against fraud, or are they a nakedly political attempt to disenfranchise certain voters? That question is at the heart of a federal trial going on in Kansas. We explain this complicated issue and get the latest from the Statehouse. 

In the weeks since the shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school, student activists and others have taken to the streets in an effort to spur policy makers to talk about how we regulate guns. But, is that debate happening here in Kansas?

Gina Mitten
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's last impeachment proceeding was in 1994, and it's never happened with a governor. That could change this year as a House committee begins an investigation of Gov. Eric Greitens following his indictment on a felony invasion of privacy charge. Host Brian Ellison talks with a member of that committee, Rep. Gina Mitten of St. Louis.

Statewide criminal registries took off in the 1990s, fueled by crimes against children and a desire to alert people to the presence of sex offenders in their neighborhoods. But some are saying that Kansas’ database has gotten out of hand, that it’s expanded to include too many different types of offenders. So, a debate is beginning about how it might be streamlined.


Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In these politically divided times, one topic with bipartisan agreement in this year's Missouri legislative session is the need for investing more in transportation and infrastructure. But debate persists on how much investment, and where the money should come from.

Corlew and Razer
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

On Thursday, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony charge of invasion of privacy. The Republican is accused of taking a nude photograph of a woman—with whom he has acknowledged having an affair—without her consent and transmitting it in a way it could be accessed by computer.  Two lawmakers, one Republican and one Democrat, tell us why Greitens will have difficulty governing now and why they think he should resign.


The Medicaid Gap

Feb 20, 2018

Kansas is one of a handful of states that have not expanded Medicaid. This has created a gap for patients who are too poor to afford insurance, but make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid. Advocates say that expansion could give coverage to these people, but with consistent legislative opposition, what are the odds of a bill passing this year?

The political divisions in America, and Kansas, appear deeper than ever. Republicans and Democrats can't seem to work together on anything. One candidate for Kansas Governor thinks an independent party might help our polarized politics. We talk with Greg Orman on this episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas.


Feb 12, 2018

This week on Statehouse Blend Missouri, we meet the eastern Missouri district that supported Donald Trump with 61% of the vote in 2016, but in a special election last week elected a Democrat to the Missouri House for the first time since 2008. We also meet the Democrat they elected, Rep.-Elect Mike Revis, a 27-year-old first-time candidate from Fenton, Mo. And we talk with political science professor Patrick Miller about how much we should read into special election results like these.

How important is the tone a Governor sets in state politics? Can a tenor of optimism or the opposite affect policy? As Kansas transitions from former Gov. Sam Brownback to new Gov. Jeff Colyer, we discuss what practical difference this change in leadership might make in the statehouse.

During his State of the State address, exiting Gov. Sam Brownback said his budget recommendations included an additional $600 million in funding over the next five years. That left many lawmakers stunned, and Senator Jim Denning, a Republican representing the 8th District, angry. We sit down with Denning to talk about what he's expecting as Lt. Governor Colyer takes on a new role as governor, and discuss why an attempted ousting of a legendary state employee ignited a major backlash.


Ziegler Family / KCUR 89.3

Reporter Laura Ziegler reflects on what bringing her family and her father under one roof really meant.

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Jo Mannies / St. Louis Public Radio

Why are thousands of Missourians losing state funding for nursing home or in-home health care this week? On this episode, we discuss how that funding was salvaged—and then lost again. And one legislator shares her ideas for how to get it back.

Paul Andrews PAUL ANDREWS /

For his day job, he smoked ribs at a barbecue joint. But his secret identity was a playwright. Hear Nathan Louis Jackson's journey to becoming a writer for television and stage, including the Netflix series Luke Cage.

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"The Wizard of Oz" (1939) / MGM

When you start a show called "Midwesternish," at some point there'll be an episode about The Wizard of Oz. If this film defines Kansas for the entire world, what exactly does it say and do we believe it? 

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Scott Schiller / Creative Commons

2015 was the most successful year since 1969 for the nation's largest cassette tape manufacturer. We meet the founder of that company, based in Springfield, Missouri, and try to figure out why people are returning to cassettes.

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Gina Kaufmann / KCUR 89.3

The Garden of Eden isn't as far away as you might think. It's in the small town of Lucas, Kansas and it's filled with art. On this episode, a grassroots art project and it's unexpected caretaker. 

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JO MANNIES / St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate is scheduled to debate a bill this week that would add new regulations for clinics providing abortions. Its supporters, including Gov. Eric Greitens, say these will protect the health and safety of Missouri women, but abortion rights advocates say the legislation is designed to deny access to safe and legal abortion. We talk with both sides about this bill and how the abortion debate plays out in Missouri, year after year.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

What happens when a state regulates a tradition practiced on stoops and living room floors for generations? Missouri hair braiders say you could end up disenfranchising a community. On this episode: African hair braiding in the Midwest.

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It's one of the hardest conversations to have: the conversation about abortion. But what if we tried to just talk about it without all the politics. We sat down to hear two women share their stories, they stand on opposite sides of the issue, politically, but they've both had abortions.

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Roger Thomas wants you to move to his hometown, Orrick, Missouri, in order to save a small town that's only getting smaller. But can he convice you to see what he sees in Orrick?

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Governor Eric Greitens had a busy afternoon last Friday, June 30. He signed a major change to employment law, making it much harder for a fired employee to prove a discrimination case. He vetoed a bipartisan compromise that would have preserved a tax credit for low-income seniors and disabled people. And he signed the state budget—while also withholding more than $250 million in spending. Host Brian Ellison talks with KCUR's Kyle Palmer to catch you up on the political news of the weekend and give you an update on what might come next out of Missouri's Capitol.

Rob Jefferson

Can you imagine what it would be like to regain your sense of hearing after years of silence? Regaining the ability to hear isn't as simple as flipping a switch. Hear what  Rob Jefferson heard as he relearned to hear with cochlear implants.

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When you're falling in love, spending time apart can seem unbearable. Kansas City-born musician Krystle Warren has been away from her first love, her hometown, for a long time. She shares her story of finding a new home in Paris when her heart was still in the plains. 

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Music: Krystle Warren

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

For a while, it seemed as though it would be a long time before Kansas lawmakers came up with a tax plan that could pass. Just when it seemed the impasse was at its worst, the Women's Caucus stepped up with a plan that led to a compromise.


Up All Night

Jun 9, 2017
Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Weird stuff happens in the middle of the night. We share stories recorded at a live storytelling event hosted by Gina.

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Conservative Republicans have joined with moderates and Democrats to override Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of a $1.2 billion tax increase. This brings to a close many of the tax cuts pushed by the Brownback in 2012.  

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Kansas lawmakers have gotten down to business, passing a school funding bill that adds nearly $300 million over two years for public education and a $1.2 billion tax plan. But just minutes after the vote, Gov. Sam Brownback said he would veto the package.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

One Missouri lawmaker who won't be back for any special sessions this summer is Kansas City's Randy Dunn; the representative resigned last week to begin a new job in Omaha. Dunn was a triple minority in the Missouri General Assembly: A Democrat, a person of color and an openly gay man. He joined us for an exit interview to give us an unvarnished look at the way things work in Jefferson City.