Governor Sam Brownback promoted a mental health solution to mass shootings. A court called out the governor and legislature for cutting taxes while not adequately funding schools. And one of Kansas City's most successful politicians wasn't running for a third term. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
Reardon Won't Seek 3rd Term
Everyone figured Joe Reardon would run for a third term as Wyandotte County – Kansas City, Kansas Unified Government mayor. ConsiMany dered him unbeatable. So it came as a surprise when hot on the heels of achievements like the Hollywood Casino and Google fiber,
Reardon announced that he isn't running. He said he wants to spend more time with his family, but he also said., “this is not a retirement” and that he would still be active in the community.
Livestrong To Host MSL All-Star Game
Reardon bowed out of the mayoral race just two days before a triumph for another Reardon-years achievement: Livestrong Sporting Park. Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced it will be the site of this year's MSL All-Star Game. The game will be played on July 31st.
Reid Debuts In KC As Chiefs Coach
New Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid made his first public appearance here Monday. His comments about his plans to turn the 2 and 14 team around were nonspecific, but he certainly proved his ability to court local fans when asked about his plans regarding the quarterback position. Reid commented that he needed to find “the next Len Dawson.” Beloved Hall of Famer Dawson was covering the news conference as a reporter for TV-9.
At week's end Reid hadn't found that quarterback yet, but it appeared he had settled on former Green Bay backup quarterback Doug Pederson to be offensive coordinator and Jets line coach Bob Sutton for the defensive position.
Brownback Advocates Mental Health Solution
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback continued to promote mental health care, not gun control, as the answer to the problems of tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
At a news conference in Kansas City, Brownback commented that the mental health aspect was something all could agree on and that would produce meaningful results.
The governor proposed maintaining state mental health funding at its present $10 million level, but would put more emphasis on crisis intervention and at-risk patients.
Conflicts Already Loom As Missouri Legislature Convenes
As the Missouri Legislature convened, Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus of Kansas City, said expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law would be a top priority. Justus said the expansion was needed, would produce a large number of new jobs, and that she and her fellow Democrats were “looking forward” to “continuing the discussion” with their GOP colleagues.
Those Republican colleagues were not interested in that discussion. As a matter of fact, some were proposing cutting Medicaid and spending the savings on roads and bridges.
GOP leaders listed priorities of a constitutional amendment to allow capping malpractice damages, lowering income taxes and keeping all workplace injury and illness claims within the workers comp system and out of the courts.
K.C. Council Advances Tax Plans
A city council committee advanced a plan to ask voters tor renew Kansas City's health levy. They're asking for a 9-year extension, but councilman Ed Ford said if the federal health care law helps underwrite indigent care, that could change. “It is easy for the council to repeal the health levy,” he said. A final council vote is scheduled for the coming week.
The council finalized a plan to send the voters a measure to end nonprofit organizations exemption from the convention tax on hotel rooms.
Panel Declares Kansas School Funding Unconstitutional
A three judge panel considering complaints by a number of Kansas school districts, including the Kansas City, Kansas district declared the way Kansas funds its schools unconstitutional. The judges opined that the problem is the failure of the state to live up to its commitment to per-pupil K -12 spending. The judges faulted the Legislature and governor for reducing taxes in Kansas while still failing to fund schools adequately.
State officials indicate they will appeal the ruling.
Judge Appoints Attorney To Safeguard Belcher Baby
A judge announced that he will appoint an attorney to look out for the interests of Zooey Belcher, daughter of Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Belcher killed himself and his girlfriend, the child's mother, December 1.
The little girl, now only 4 months old, stands to receive more than a million dollars from the Chiefs and the NFL