Sat March 24, 2012
Top Stories Of The Week
Two Kansas basketball teams kept a post-season presence. The city council stalled a vote on a daytime curfew. And Kansas lawmakers deadlocked on redistricting plans. KCUR's Steve Bell looks back at those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
Redistricting Hang-ups in MO, KS
When House speaker Mike O'Neal endorsed a Congressional map that split urban, heavily Democratic Wyandotte County and put half of it in a district with rural Western Kansas he said no matter what map was proposed someone would be disappointed. But everyone ended up disappointed. That map didn't pass. Neither did an alternative that reunified Kansas City, Kansas. And the Kansas Legislature enters its final regular session week with no redistricting plan for its House, its Senate, or its Congressional districts.
Meanwhile Missouri's Congressional and state House districts remain in limbo until the state Supreme Court rules on a constitutionality suit.
Brownback Tax Plan Modified, Advances
The Kansas Senate passed a revised version of Governor Brownback's tax reduction plan that restored some tax credits and exemptions and lets the sales tax increase expire as planned. Most Senators agree that there will be more changes before a final bill passes the House.
Filibuster Threatened Over MO Budget
Kansas legislators also made progress on next year's budget. But it was Missouri's House budget plan that was generating controversy by ending a program aiding blind Missourians to avoid the governor's proposed cuts to higher education. Senator Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau threatened to filibuster when the bill reaches the Senate over its also relying on a one-time federal payment from the mortgage settlement. Some newspapers editorialized that the state should get needed revenue by ending some business tax breaks. Some GOP legislators responded with a bill that would end tax breaks for newspapers.
James Promotes Infrastructure, Streetcars, Reading
Kansas City Mayor Sly James delivered his first state-of-the-city address, promoting programs to catch up on deferred maintenance and bring streetcars to downtown. But he said his most important initiative is a volunteer project to bring Kansas City kids up to grade-level in reading.
Ballot Initiative, Curfew Stall in Council
Meanwhile, the council stalled for at least another week on whether to honor the efforts of Peace Planters and put their anti-nukes initiative to a public vote. And a proposed daytime curfew stalled after parents who home-school their kids showed up en masse against it. There were also concerns about whether the Kansas City school district, the main advocate of the curfew, wanted to rely on police rather than pay for truancy officers.
District Takes Over African-Centered Program
The school district generated another controversy by announcing it would take over the operation of its African Centered Education program, claiming accounting and progress weaknesses. The non-profit group now running it says they'll put up a fight.
KU Men, Women Keep On Winning
In men's basketball, Kansas managed a 60-57 heart attack special victory over North Carolina State to stay alive in the NCAA post-season and battle North Carolina for a spot in the Final Four tomorrow.
The KU Women's team plays Tennessee today at eleven after besting Delaware 70-64 Wednesday,