Top Stories Of The Week | KCUR

Top Stories Of The Week

Feb 9, 2013

The Missouri Senate took another step toward a takeover of Kansas City schools. Kansas City police worried about a possible serial killer. And some Kansas legislators were hopping mad over a court order to spend more on schools. KCUR's Steve Bell looks back at those and other top stories on this week's Saturday News Review.

Bill Would Strip Courts Of School Funding Authority, Brownback Calls For Mediation

Indignant over a court ruling ordering the legislature spend more on schools, Kansas lawmakers proposed a constitutional amendment. It would strip the courts of any say-so on that. Republican Senator Greg Smith of Overland Park said he wanted to see the data that showed that if the legislature spent the requested $4492 per pupil student “they're all going to pass and have a great education.

Kansas City Democrat Pat Petty noted that the figure was based in part on a study ordered by the legislature, but added, “Sometimes we tend to question when the results don't come out the way we want.”

Governor Sam Brownback asked the state Supreme Court to appoint a mediator to settle the funding lawsuit.

Debate On Brownback Tax Cuts Delayed

Debate on Governor Brownback's tax cut package was delayed because of an error that resulted in the hearings not being publicized correctly. And committee chair Les Donovan said lawmakers probably needed the extra time because some parts of it were “not bolted down tightly” and the final version had to be one the legislators are comfortable with. Two of the undecided aspects are whether to extend a temporary state sales tax and whether to end tax deductions for mortgage interest.

Revenue Collections Up, Nixon Restores Higher Ed Money

With revenues up, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon restored 8 ½ million higher education dollars that were cut from the spending plan during tough times. Nixon also proposed a $34 million increase for colleges and universities in the coming year, allocated on a performance-based model,

Mecicaid Expansion Stand_To Continues

Governor Nixon continued to pitch a reluctant legislature to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law. “It's the smart thjing to do and it's the right thing to do. Meanwhile, a state-commissioned Kansas study concluded that it would cost another $59 million a year to expand Medicaid in that state. But on the positive side, the study showed the per person cost of enrollment was about a fourth of the cost without the expansion nnd resulting federal funding.

Black Caucus Blasts Missouri Photo-ID Plan

One proposed Missouri constitutional amendment involved voter photo-ID. Black Caucus chair Jamilah Nasheed said it's hypocritical for Republicans to push for more proof of eligibility to vote, while opposing background checks for gun purchases. Nasheed said voting rights are as important as gun rights, and there was no evidence of voter frud in Missouri.

MO Road Plan Emerges – No Gas Tax Or Toll Roads

Another proposed Missouriconstitutional amendment proposal would create a one-cent sales tax for roads and bridges. Sponsor Mike Kehoe says the tax would not apply to groceries, gasoline or prescription medication, and would not create any toll roads.

KC School Takeover Bill Among Those Advancing

The Missouri House passed a bill restoring some tax credit programs for donations to certain nonprofit organizations. The Senate sent the House a bill to make it possible for the state to take over the Kansas City school district without a two-year waiting period.

Teenage Boy Found Handcuffed To Basement Water Pipe

A teenage boy found handcuffed in a Kansas City basement told rescuers his father had kept him there for months, feeding him oatmeal and ramen noodles. Clay County Prosecutor Jim Roberts saidno charges would be filed until police and social workers complete their investigations, .The boy was placed with a foster family.