Top Stories Of The Week
Sporting Kansas City and the Livestrong charity came to a parting of the ways. Governor Sam Brownback laid out a plan to end Kansas income tax. And once again a Kansas court said the state is not spending enough on schools. Steve Bell revisits those and other top stories of the week on KCUR's Saturday News Review.
Court Orders Kansas To Increase School Funding
The 3-judge panel was very direct. It said Kansas was not only violating its constitution by inadequately funding its schools, it was not living up to promises made to the State Supreme Court six years ago, and had lowered taxes while ignoring those promises.
Kansas NEA president Karen Godfrey praised the ruling. But the state is appealing the decision and conservative House Speaker Ray Merrick was calling for amending the state constitution.
Governor Sam Brownback agreed that the Legislature needs to take a stand against courts having power over appropriations.
On Friday Moody's Investors Service downgraded the state's credit rating, citing inadequate school funding as a factor.
Brownback Would Change Judge Selection, End Income Tax
In his State of the State address advocated changing the way judges like the ones who made the school funding ruling and Supreme Court judges are chosen. Brownback proposed either electing judges or a process more like the federal one, which would give the governor more power. Conservatives loved the ideas. Most judges, attorneys and Democratic Legislators like Paul Davis said the changes would “politicize” the courts.
The main thrust of the governor's address was more tax cuts for Kansans..Brownback proposed a gradual but complete phasing out of the state's income tax.
Again, the conservative legislature cheered that, but going looked rough for some Brownback proposals like not ending a 1-cent temporary sales tax and eliminating mortgage interest deductions.
Blunt Cool On Obama Gun Sandy Hook Speech
Reacting to President Obama's speech on preventing tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, Republican Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt said the focus should be on mental health and implied armed guards at schools might help. He said nothing proposed yet at the federal government level would have prevented the school shootings.
Missouri GOP Proposes Criminalizing Gun Control
The Republican majority in the Missouri legislature rallied behind proposals refuse to honor any ban on assault weapons and criminalize any attempt to enforce it. Their plan would allow federal agents enforcing any such law to be sentenced to up to four years in prison.
Sporting Kansas City, Livestrong Split, Argue
Sporting Kansas City took the Livestrong name off its stadium and declared the relationship over. The Livestrong charity said the team was using the Lance Armstrong doping scandal to avoid paying $700,000 it owed them. It looked as if the clash could end up in court.
Chiefs Hire Dorsey As General Manager
Things were more upbeat at Arrowhead, where the Chiefs introduced Scott Pioli's replacement: John Dorsey, who played, coached and scouted for Green Bay, and who said becoming Chiefs general manager was his dream job and something he had fantasized about for years.
Autopsy Results: Belcher Was Drunk; Custody Battle Over Daughter
A reminder of a somber time for the Chiefs: the Jackson County prosecutor's office released autopsy results showing that linebacker Jovan Belcher was very drunk when he killed his girlfriend and them himself. The autopsy showed his blood alcohol level to be more than double the “legally drunk” level. Meanwhile, the two sets of grandparents clashed over who will raise the couple's infant daughter, who will inherit more than a million dollars.
Court Sides Against Chastain On ail Plan
An appeals court agreed that the Kansas City, Missouri city council acted responsibly and within the law when it refused to put a Clay Chastain transit initiative on the ballot. The council sidelined the initiative after the city attorney opined that there was no obligation to submit it to the voters despite the number of signatures Chastain had collected. At issue was whether the plan incorporated adequate sources of funding.
Health Levy Renewal Scheduled For April Ballot
Kansas City, Missouri voters will decide on whether to renew a temporary health levy in April. The council unanimously voted to ask the electorate to approve a 9-year extension of the tax. Proceeds from the 22-cents per $100 valuation property tax go to help support indigent health care, including health clinics, Truman Medical Center and ambulance services.