Top Stories Of The Week | KCUR

Top Stories Of The Week

May 11, 2012

Patrons waited for hours on end at Kansas motor vehicle license offices. The Missouri Legislature sent Governor Nixon a proposed budget. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.

Massive Tax Cut For Kansas?

The Kansas House didn't wait for the Senate to vote on an adjusted tax cut bill, and passed one the budget office said could leave the state more than $2.5 billion short by 2017. To that Senate President Steve Morris said the cuts would devastate the budgets of education and social services and that the bill passed was designed as a starting point for discussions, not with the intent of using it as a final version. The bill would cut income tax rates across the board, phase the tax out on 191,000 businesses and lower the sales tax.The prevailing story in Topeka was that Gov. Brownback convinced conservative House leaders to pass the bill rather than accept less tax cuts than he wanted.

Conservative-Moderate Battles In Topeka

The failure of conservative and moderate Republicans to agree on any state or Congressional redistricting resulted in a delay in the filing deadline for coming Kansas primaries. House Speaker Mike O'Neal said the stalemate was over whether the Senate's plan for its districts was designed to protect its moderate majority.

Moderate Senate leadership killed a House plan to move up the date when proof of citizenship is required for first-time voter registration. And Democrats couldn't stop the House from passing a bill called the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” but Senate President Steve Morris cast it aside, saying it would endanger the accreditation of the the KU Medical School.

The House finished its version of a budget bill, which pleased Speaker Mike O'Neal, but no Democrats voted for the budget.

Missouri Legislature Finishes Budget

The Missouri Legislature finished its budget and in the process agreed on $3 million more for higher education, dedicated funding for veterans homes and a scaled back version of a health care program for the blind, with premiums for some and an income ceiling. Republican Senator Jim Lembke said he would take that budget bill to court for violation of the single-subject rule. Gov. Nixon said he would not sign it. Democrats said the budget suffered from a lack of revenue and called for a tax amnesty program, sales taxes on Internet purchases and higher taxes on cigarettes.

Public To Vote On Judge Selection Method

The Missouri Legislature also sent the voters a proposed constitutional amendment that would give the governor more power in choosing appellate and supreme court judges.

Kansas City Council Okays Firefighters Contract

The Kansas City city council approved a new three-year contract with Firefighters Local 42. Councilmembers Jim Glover and Ed Ford voted against the contract. It caps personnel cuts from the union at 33.

Little Hope for Missing Overland Park Man

Police searched the waters of Indian Creek all week for a sign of Jeffrey Bridges of Overland Park, who disappeared last Sunday after saying he was going to check out flood waters. Police found what they believe were Bridges' sweat pants on the creek bank caught in a tree which had been submerged in in the rushing water.

Computer “Improvements” Hamstring License Offices

Johnson County motor vehicle offices were plagued with problems related to a new computer system all week. A glitch kept the offices closed on Monday after a week's shutdown for installation of a new computer system. Then customer overload and operators still learning the new system resulted in early closings and long waits for the rest of the week.

Lawyer Freed From Life Sentence

Richard Buchli was released from prison after serving four years for the killing of his law partner, Richard Armitage. A court had overturned the conviction, and prosecutors were unable to mount a new effort to retry him.

Pernice Gets 15 Years For Wife's Murder

Shon Pernice was sentenced to 15 years for killing his wife, who disappeared in 2009. Her body was never found, and police believe it will never will be. Pernice pled guilty, saying he killed his wife during an argument and sent her body to a landfill.