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Fri April 26, 2013
Top Stories Of The Week
The Chiefs drafted a big guy. And Missouri lawmakers were saying “yes” to tax cuts but “no" to Medicaid expansion and gun control. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
Gun Rights A Top Priority For Missouri Lawmakers
Republicans like Missouri State Representative Casey Guernsey continued to strike out as what they perceive as President Obama's plot to confiscate arms. Guensey noted how well the president's executive orders meshed with legislation “they already passed.” It was a sign, he said, of planning and a well-cooridnated effort.
Gurnesey's bill making it a felony for anyone to use federal law to impound guns, clips or ammunition in Missouri sailed through the house and went to the Senate. In Kansas. Governor Brownback has already signed a similar bill and the attorney general is predicting it could cost a half-a-million dollars to defend it.
Bills also advancing prohibit businesses from banning guns in cars in their parking lots and take ID-printing duties away from the Department of Motor Vehicles and gave them back to county sheriffs.
The Missouri Senate passed a budget with no funding for the Department of Motor Vehicles, the agency that reportedly scanned personal documents and released the list of persons with concealed-carry permits.
Republican Majority Won't Budge On Medicaid Expansion
The Budget also contained no money to expand Medicaid. Democrats like Kansas City's Jolie Justus said they were baffled and disappointed that Missouri would pass up the opportunity to create jobs, provide more people with medical coverage. Justus lamented that the funds the state is turning down are tax dollars already paid by Missouri taxpayers.
A less expensive Republican plan for revamping Medicaid also failed, and its sponsor, Jay Barnes was shaking his head, too. Barnes said if conservatives in his own party continue to block participation, the entire fate of the state's medical care system will be “in the hands of the Obama administration.”
Missouri Tax Changes Clear Both Houses
Both houses have passed bills to reduce Missouri's income tax and raise the sales tax, though not identical ones. Democratic Governor Jay Nixon still insists he will not sign it.
School Takeover Bill Stalls, Hospital Sale-Stopper To Governor
A bill allowing an immediate state takeover of the Kansas City school district failed in committee over another provision. Some committee members were not comfortable with mandating teacher-evaluation standards.
Anotherbill that could block a sale of North Kansas City Hospital went to Nixon's desk. It would require approval by the hospital board, the city council and the voters for the hospital to be sold.
Brownback Talks Stem-Cell Research, Higher Ed
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed the bill mandating creation of an adult and umbilicus stem cell research center at KU Med Center. Brownback said it will be the first comprehensive stem-cell research and treatment in the nation.
The governor was touring the state talking against funding cuts for the Med Center and other Kansas institutions of higher learning.
Council Puts Curfew Change On Hold
A weekend of rowdy kids on the Plaza did not convince the city council to extend Kansas City's earlier summer youth curfew hours year-round. Racial implications were brought up, but Councilman John Sharp said the main factor was more about concerns over taking police away from efforts to curb major crime to make them “babysitters” for teens.
The council will discuss the matter again in 3 weeks (a week before the summer hours start anyway).
Key Portion Of Missouri Funeral Picketing Law Upheld
A federal appeals court upheld the Missouri law banning protests within 300 feet of funeral services. However, the court did not approve less detailed and broader funeral-picketing provisions... or a law that barred picketing along the routes of funeral processions.
Chiefs #1 Draft Choice Is Offensive Lineman
The Chiefs first-round pick in the NFL draft was Central Michigan offensive lineman Eric Fisher. Coach Andy Reid commented that the offensive and defensive lines were crucial for winning games.
Fisher is 6-7, weighs 306 pounds, and plans to make an effort to gain more weight.