Top Of The Morning News: May 1, 2013 | KCUR

Top Of The Morning News: May 1, 2013

May 1, 2013

Kansas attempts to repopulate rural counties with financial incentives for new residents.  The job growth rate in Kansas is rising but could be hindered by global economic conditions.  Missouri legislators took votes on a gun rights, malpractice, and criminal codes bills.

Will Kansas' Quest To Repopulate Rural Areas Work?

Between 2000 and 2010, more than half of Kansas counties declined in population — many by 10 percent or more.   To turn things around, the state has taken a cue from the past, offering financial incentives for settling in one of 50 designated counties, called Rural Opportunity Zones. Move to one of these counties from out of state, and you'll get a Kansas income tax waiver for five years.  Or if you graduated college with student loans, the state will repay $15,000 of those — even if you live in Kansas already.  Find out how the program is working here.

Economic Factors Could Affect Kansas Job Growth

A new report projects an increase in the rate of job growth in Kansas this year.   There are some economic forces, including sequestration and the European fiscal crisis, that could temper that growth in the future.  Read more here.

Missouri House Passes Another Bill To Reform Gun Laws

The Missouri House has passed another bill that would expand the rights of gun owners and reduce the role of the state Department of Revenue. House Bill 859's main purpose is to move the entire conceal carry application process from the Revenue Department to county sheriffs’ offices, but it would also lower the conceal carry age and allow people to leave weapons in their vehicles.  Learn more about the bill here.

Medical Malpractice Cap Bill Stuck In Missouri Senate

Efforts in Missouri to restore caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits are in limbo.  The Missouri Supreme Court ruled last year that the state’s $350,000 cap was unconstitutional and by design denied injured patients the right to a jury trial. House Bill 112 would restore the cap while placing the right to sue in written state statute.  Find out more here.

Missouri House Endorses Criminal Code Overhaul

Legislation that would overhaul Missouri’s criminal code has received first-round approval in the Missouri HouseHouse Bill 210 would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors, give judges more flexibility in handing down sentences, and modernize the language used in the code.  Find out why it may stall in the state Senate here.

Kansas City Area New Home Building Booms 30 Percent In First Quarter

Housing construction is showing a 30 percent gain in the first quarter in the Kansas City region, compared with the same period of 2012.The reference is to permits for residential building  and amounts to 832 single family houses. There were 640 in the first three months of last year.  Read more about the uptick in residential construction here.