Top Stories Of The Week | KCUR

Top Stories Of The Week

Feb 16, 2013

The parents of a handcuffed teen rescued from a Northland basement were charged with child abuse. Missouri's budget committee said “no” to Governor Jay Nixon's Medicaid expansion proposal. And Governor Sam Brownback's plans to offset income tax cuts hit bumpy roads. Steve Bell revisits those and other top stories of the week on KCUR's Saturday News Review.

Brownback Deduction Changes, Sales Tax Face Hurdles

A Kansas Senate committee endorsed Governor Brownback's income tax cuts, but didn't go along with ending the tax deduction for property taxes.

And 200 real estate agents, including Dwight Goodwin of Overland Park demonstrated against the part eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Goodwin said ending the deduction could derail the current recovery of the real estate market.

GOP legislative leaders also reported almost no support for Brownback's request to extend a “temporary” sales tax increase.

Kansas Lawmakers Favor Plan To Limit Court Powers

In protest of a court ruling the Kansas has to increase school funding, a constitutional amendment denying courts the power to dictate dollar amounts of appropriations was gaining legislator momentum. But Kansas City, Kansas schools superintendent Cynthia Lane said the lawmakers were about to upset the system of checks and balance.

Bill Would Forbid Lobbying by Kansas Schools, Cities, Counties

A bill that would prohibit Kansas local governments or public entities from lobbying their legislators drew outcries. from counties, cities and school districts. The National Rifle Association's Patricia Stoneking spoke in favor of the bill. She said she has always questioned whether tax-supported entities should be allowed to “lobby against a legal product.”

Kansas Committee Studies Strip Club Limitations

Also under committee discussion was a bill to limit where adult-themed businesses can be located, specifying degrees of nudity not allowed and prohibiting “lap-dances.“ Proponents say the “adult businesses” encourage crime and drug traffic. Club owners testified that those have not been problems, at least in Kansas.

Voter Photo-ID Bills Pass Missouri House

The Missouri House passed a pair of voter photo-ID bills – one a constitutional amendment, since the state Supreme Court declared the last photo-ID bill unconstitutional. Democrats protested that the requirement would disenfranchise some voters over a nonexistent problem. Representative Chris Kelly of Columbia admonished his colleagues, “Jim Crow is alive in this room.” The bills passed easily with the vote split along party lines.

Senate Work Comp Bill Would Fix Second Injury Fund

The Missouri Senate sent the House a workers compensation bill that prohibits lawsuits over occupational diseases, specifying that those are strictly for resolution in the work comp system. It does provide for higher compensation for victims of exposure to toxins. The bill also would solve the insolvency problem of the Second Injury Fund by doubling the fees businesses pay into it and restricting the kinds of injuries covered.

Missouri Committee Considers Toughening Discriminatory Firing Standards

A committee considered a plan to make it harder to win discriminatory firing lawsuits. Chamber of Commerce attorney Rich Aubichon told the panel that because Missouri's standards are tougher on businesses than those in neighboring states, it causes companies to choose not to locate in Missouri. Opponents said there is no known instance of a business choosing to locate in another state because of the current standards.

Mayor James Tells Committee About “Border Wars” Poaching

And a committee heard testimony, including from Kansas City mayor Sly James on a reason companies definitely are locating elsewhere – border wars economic incentives. Kansas City Leaders are asking for incentives to compete with those offered by the state of Kansas.

MO Budget Committee Takes Cut Rather Than Expand Medicaid

The House Budget Committee rejected the idea of taking $908 million dollars to expand Medicaid. Chair Rick Stream said that also would cost the state another $46 million in federal funds. Stream said the loss would be made up by reducing spending on several areas of the budget. Associated Press reported that most of the resulting cuts were to early childhood programs and higher education.

And as the deadline passed for states to confirm that they will set up health insurance exchanges under the federal health care law, legislators were wanting no part of that.

Huge Identity Theft Scam In Jackson County

Terry Morrow, owner of Edge Auto Sales on 40 Highway, was accused of what Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster called the biggest identity theft operation ever prosecuted in Missouri. Koster said Morrow used customers' identities to take out a million dollars in phony car loans.

Couple Charged In Handcuffed Teen Case

David and Pamela Martin, father and stepmother of a teenage-boy found handcuffed in a Northland basement were charged with child abuse. The boy reported that he was kept in the basement for weeks and was fed only things like Ramen noodles and bologna sandwiches. The parents said the boy was bipolar and had ADHD and imprisonment was the only way they could control him.

Royals Announcer Davis Steps Down

After 16 years, Royals broadcaster Bob Davis retired from that post. Davis he will continue to do KU football and basketball games on the Jayhawks' network, but needs to spend more time with his family than the baseball travel schedule allowed.