Top Stories Of The Week
Red-light traffic cameras got a contract renewal. And even a single-party's super-majority didn't produce agreement on a tax plan for Kansas. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
No Tax Bill Or Budget As Kansas Session Goes To Overtime
Kansas Senate leaders kept denying that the impasse on a tax cut plan was serious. But House turned down the latest Senate proposal 109 – 5 on Friday. It would have lowered the sales tax on groceries to 4.9 percent and kept the tax on other items at the 6.3 percent.
Without some action the sales tax will drop back to a flat 5.7 percent and with income taxes now lowered, Kansas would start racking up the red ink.
On Friday, the House offered up its current proposal (basically the same as its original one): a 6 percent sales tax across the board.
Budget talks are on hold pending an agreement on taxes.
Storms Bring Power Outages, Damage To KC Area
Weekend storms left thousands of area homes without power. Trees and power lines were downed and there was some damage to structures. In Knob Noster, MO, three mobile homes were reported wrecked by the winds.
Chris Bowman of the National Weather Service, who said they were straight line winds – no tornadoes developed in the Kansas City area.
Monster Tornado Devastates Olahoma City Suburb
It was a far different story in Moore, Oklahoma, where an EF-5 tornado leveled a mile-and-a-half-wide swath on Monday. Heart to Heart was one of the Kansas City agencies that sent volunteers immediately. The organization's acting CEO Crystal Barr said the organization's presence in the Oklahoma City suburb will continue for weeks. She said it could take that long just to get utilities and infrastructure back into working order in the devastated areal
Relief organizations said the best way to help out the disaster-afflicted is a cash donation to a known charitable organization.
Kansas City Red Light Cameras To Stay Active 5 More Years
Kansas City, Missouri extended its contract for red-light traffic cameras for a second five-year hitch. Councilman John Sharp said it was about safety, though definitely not popularity. Sharp said despite the resentment some residents experience over the cameras, safety statistics indicate that they are achieving their intended purpose.
He reported that at the intersections with the cameras, serious accidents have declined and the number of tickets issued has declined each year.
KC Ethics Code Plan Sidelined By Semantics Issues
The Kansas City city council postponed a scheduled vote on a new ethics code for city employees and elected officials after some members complained that sections of it were confusing.
Councilman Russ Johnson said he saw was no evidence it was a move to kill the ethics plan. “I”m not seeing philosophical differences,” he said. “They just want to get the words right.”
The ethics code goes back to committee Wednesday to get the wording straightened out, and is rescheduled for a full council vote on Thursday.
Missouri Social Services Director Resigns Unexpectedly
No reason was given for the resignation of Missouri Social Services head Alan Freeman. Freeman served during a period in which the division was heavily criticized for refusing to release records on cases in which children had been abused. The events in question had occurred during the administration of his predecessor, but the Sunshine Law lawsuits were filed during his tenure.
Lee's Summit Legislator Decides Not To Resign
GOP Missouri State Representative Jeff Grisamore had said he would resign... it up if the legislature didn't pass two bills he had sponsored to provide funding for assistance to disabled children and adults. The legislative session ended, Grisamore announced that he would not resign because House leadership had assured him they would give the measures priority treatment next year. Grisamore represents the Lee's Summit area.
NBAF and Air Force Activity Heartens Kansans.
As Manhattan prepared for Tuesday's ground-breaking for the phase one of the national bio-security lab, the Air Force announced that it would invest about $200 million in Wichita's McConnell Air Force base. McConnell will become the operational center for a new line of in-the-air refueling tankers.