Government

Government
6:28 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

JCC Shooting Suspect Could be Charged Tuesday

Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass, along with state and federal law enforcement authorities, meets reporters Monday to confirm hate crime charges against Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, of Aurora, Mo., which could be filed by Tuesday.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The southwest Missouri man who allegedly killed two Methodists and a Catholic near the Jewish Community Center on the eve of Passover is expected to be charged with federal and state crimes on Tuesday.

Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, of Aurora, Mo., will be charged with hate crimes, authorities said Monday. Cross was “on the radar” of the FBI for some time, but was not being monitored before he opened fire on Sunday at two locations, said Special Agent Michael Kaste.

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Government
5:43 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Kansas City Council Gets Final Streetcar Line Price

Eight hundred tons of streetcar rail – 50 truckloads – will be delivered to Kansas City next week, marking the end of bargaining and a final negotiated maximum price for the project: $102 million.

City engineering service manager Ralph Davis assured the city council Thursday that they're getting a good deal. Davis said the city has worked through a "value engineering" process to eliminate unnecessary costs, and in doing so saved about $5 million. He said city representatives had also negotiated down the contractors' fees and charges. 

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Government
5:24 am
Fri April 11, 2014

ERA DOA? The Fight For Equal Rights Lives On In Missouri

One of the people who marched in the Equal Rights Action Day at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Tuesday
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

  It was a chant from a different era.

“ERA now! ERA now! ERA now!”

As much as it sounded straight out of the past, the rallying cry was used Tuesday as a coalition of women’s groups marched to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Equal Pay Day, the day marking how far into a new year it takes a woman to earn what a man took home last year.

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Government
8:16 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Area Governments Pool Resources To Bring The 2016 GOP Convention To KC

Bid fund will help sell promoters dream of a GOP nominating convention in Kansas City in 2016
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR-FM

Kansas City is going after the 2016 Republican nominating convention but the city won't go it alone. Four local governments have put some skin in the game.

Johnson County, Wyandotte County’s Unified Government, Kansas City and Jackson County are in for $65,000 each. Kansas City’s contribution follows $100,000 of city Convention and Visitor’s money - a small ante, Mayor Sly James says, for what could be a big payoff if Republicans stage their convention here.

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Government
7:41 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Lesser Prairie Chicken Threatened Species Listing Ruffles Feathers in Kansas

Rancher Wayne Keller scans the horizon for lesser prairie chicken. He says the 4-year drought in western Kansas has been especially hard on the birds.
Frank Morris KCUR

It's prairie chicken mating season!

Still, it's tough being a lesser prairie chicken these days.

This type of grouse once spanned an enormous area, though now they survive mainly in pockets of Oklahoma and Kansas. Their numbers are plummeting; in 2012, the population dropped by half.

Now, after they were recently listed as a threatened species by the U.S. government, complaints of federal overreach and lawsuits have followed.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Examining 2016 Election Buzz

Carl Cannon of RealClearPolitics and David Von Drehle of Time Magazine join Steve Kraske to talk about the 2016 election and other political issues.

The buzz around Washington is about the next presidential election— and they’re talking about Hillary Clinton. It might seem like it’s a long way off, but inside the beltway, it’s never too soon for that kind of chatter. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we’ll talk about that speculation with Carl Cannon, the Washington bureau chief of RealClearPolitics, and Time Magazine's David von Drehle. We’ll also take a look at some of the other issues heating up the capital this week.

Guests:

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Government
6:33 am
Wed April 9, 2014

City And School Board Election Results

Cities

Excelsior Springs Council (2 elected)

* Sharon Powell 775
* Ambrose Buckman 772
Mark Spohn 663
Reggie St. John 543

Excelsior Springs bond issue

Shall the city issue up to $18 million in bonds to build a community center? (4/7ths majority.)

* Yes 982
No 596

Gladstone Council

* R.D. Mallams 1158
Shari Le Poindexter 654

Grain Valley mayor

* Michael Todd 331
Chuck Johnston 274
Barbara Kountzman 202

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Government
5:51 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Brownback Comments On School Funding, Health Care Compact

Credit Steve Bell

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was in kansas City, Kansas Tuesday for the official signing of a bill that substantially reduces the percentage rate employers are required to pay into the state's Unemployment Trust Fund.

Brownback used the occasion to tout what he called a call, growing Kansas economy.

"People have said you can't cut taxes, create a business-friendly environment and fund state government," he said, adding, "Well, yes you can, and we are."

After the ceremony, the governor also commented on several bills on or soon coming to his desk.

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Government
9:25 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Voters Hand KCMO Council Election Day Victory

Major Sly James celebrated election results with city council members Tuesday evening.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Voters on Tuesday approved all of the ballot measures supported by many Kansas City, Mo., city council members.

Top among the issues was approval to issue $500 million in water bonds.

Supporters of the ballot measure say the funding is sorely needed for the city to repair its deteriorating water infrastructure. In 2013 alone, the water department dealt with about 1200 water main breaks.

“The citizens of Kansas City fully and completely understand the need for us to continue to work on our infrastructure,” said Mayor Sly James shortly before 9 p.m.

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Missouri Statehouse
3:12 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Missouri House Endorses Transportation Tax Vote

Legislation that would let voters decide if they want to create a temporary one-cent transportation sales tax has received first-round approval in the Missouri House.

The proposed constitutional amendment would be in effect for 10 years and would need to be reauthorized by voters to stay in effect beyond that. It’s sponsored by Republican Rep. Dave Hinson of Franklin County

“The people all across the state realize we have a transportation infrastructure need, no matter if you think it’s for roads, bridges, or any other type of multimodal transportation,” said Hinson.

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Elections
11:47 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Kansas City To Vote On Water Improvement Bonds

Credit Creative Commons

Kansas Citians go to the polls Tuesday and one of the things they will be deciding is whether to update an aging network of underground water pipes.

Backers of the water revenue bonds say it’s critical to maintaining the city’s infrastructure.

Kansas City’s underground pipes, along with some fire hydrants and other facilities, date back to the Civil War years, say water department officials.

And, they say, the system is breaking down. Officials report there were more than 1,000 water main breaks just last year.

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Up to Date
10:18 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Figuring Out The Federal Reserve

Esther George is the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Credit Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

You know the Federal Reserve is important to the government, but what does it really do?

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George about why Kansas City has a Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. We'll also look at the history of the bank at its centenary.

Guest:

  • Esther George, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City 
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Missouri Statehouse
7:59 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Missouri Senate Committee Begins Reviewing State Budget Passed By House

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 7:49 pm

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have begun their review of the state's spending plan for Fiscal Year 2015.

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Up to Date
11:00 am
Mon April 7, 2014

In The Trenches Of The White House Press Corps

Tamara Keith and Margaret Talev both cover the White House.

You’re in Washington, and you’ve got the plum assignment—covering the White House. You might get to ride on Air Force One and travel the world with the president, but is it really as glamorous as it sounds?

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk with NPR’s Tamara Keith and Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev about their experiences as White House correspondents. We discuss the challenges and the excitement of reporting on the president, and what it’s like to be in that briefing room.

Guests:

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Government
6:20 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Autism Insurance Bill Heads To Kansas Governor

A bill awaiting Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s signature would require health insurance sold in the state to include coverage for autism services--at least in a limited fashion. 

The bill sent to the governor last week includes coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis. 

Representative John Rubin, of Shawnee, guided the bill through the House.  He says research shows ABA is the most effective form of therapy for a majority of kids with autism, but it needs to start in the preschool years…

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Kansas Statehouse
6:30 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Kansas House Passes Education Bill

The Kansas House has passed an education spending bill on a bipartisan 91-31 vote. The measure includes around $100 million in additional education funding. The bill would create an education study committee and would change teacher certification rules.

"This is a very good combination of strong policy that will help our schools use money efficiently or give us ideas. And it's a strong policy in meeting the court's test that they want us to equalize our funding here in the state," says Rep. Marvin Kleeb, a Republican from Overland Park.

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Government
6:23 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Judge Denies Attempt to Stop Gay Couples Joint Taxes

Gay couples in Missouri who were married in other states may still file their taxes jointly.

On Friday, a judge denied a conservative group in its attempt to immediately bar same-sex couples from filing their state tax returns together, a right granted by Gov. Jay Nixon’s executive order issued last year.

Kyle Piccola of PROMO, a state gay rights group, said he wasn’t surprised by the ruling.

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Kansas Statehouse
8:24 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Kansas Senate Advances Education Funding Bill

The Kansas Senate has advanced a plan to respond to a state Supreme Court ruling on education funding.

The court said lawmakers created inequalities between school districts by cutting certain types of education funds. The bill would shift money into funds aimed at reducing those disparities. Dollars would be moved from school transportation as well as other areas of the budget.

Sen. Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, said they are prioritizing spending.

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Government
8:08 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Kansas City Council Moves To Replace 19th Century Sewer Pipe

Sewer pipe dated 1874 was recently dug up near the Kansas City, Mo., City Hall.
Credit City of Kansas City, Mo.

The Kansas City city council was in an infrastructure-improving mood Thursday — some of its very old infrastructure.  The city council took several steps toward replacing crumbling sewer and water lines.

The full council gave its approval to rehabilitation of sewer lines around 22nd and Paseo. Infrastructure chair Russ Johnson emphasized how old they were.

"That was constructed in 1890," he said. "It's time to rehab it.”

The other council members agreed, and approved spending $1.48 million in existing bond money to do the job.

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Central Standard
2:15 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Energy Standards In Kansas

Credit Nuala / Flickr/CC

The Kansas Senate voted to repeal a state mandate that required utility companies to get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. However, the House refused to repeal House Bill 2014 less than 24 hours later.

On today's Central Standard, host Gina Kaufmann discusses the politics of wind energy and the environmental impact it has in Kansas.

Guests:

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Kansas Statehouse
7:49 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Kansas House Committee Advances Prairie Chicken Bill

A mounted pair of lesser prairie chickens on display in the Kansas Statehouse.
Credit Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas House committee has advanced a bill aimed at bucking federal regulation of the lesser prairie chicken. It was announced last week that the federal government would list the bird as a threatened species.

The bill says federal rules and policies surrounding the lesser prairie chicken have no effect in Kansas.

Washington Republican and chairwoman of the Kansas House Ag Committee, Sharon Schwartz, says the bill makes a statement. She says state and regional conservation plans would be better than federal regulation, which could hurt industry.

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Government
5:44 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Johnson County Election Results

Results below are for contested races only.  All those running unopposed won.

Leawood

Council Member - Ward 3

  • Tom Robinett  58.2%
  • James M. Stephens 40.9%

Mission

Mayor

  • Steven Schowengerdt  50.5%
  • David Shepard 49.4%

Council Member - Ward 1

  • Steven Lucas 55.6%
  • Jay A. Meyer 43.8%

Council Member - Ward 2 

  • Arcie Rothrock 56.3%
  • William J. Vandenberg, III 43.8%

Council Member - Ward 4 

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Government
8:56 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Public Vote On Kansas City Charter Changes Vote Set For Next Tuesday

Next Tuesday, Kansas Citians will decide whether to make changes to the city charter. The city council has submitted voters three charter-revision ballot questions. Most city council members hope one of them will “warm up” voters attitudes on city elections.

Question 3 would move the city Mayor-Council primary election from late February to early April. And the city general election would move from late March to Early June.

The thinking is: “better weather equals better turnout.”

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Missouri Statehouse
8:01 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Breast-Feeding Protection Bill, Sponsored By Ailing Lawmaker, Sent To Gov. Nixon

State Rep. Rory Ellinger, D-University City

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 8:40 pm

  Legislation to expand legal protections in Missouri for breast-feeding moms is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon.

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

What The Affordable Care Act Means For Kansas City Artists

The deadline to sign up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act was March 31. By law, all U.S. citizens must have some form of insurance or face a tax penalty for the year.

But does the law help people, like artists, who have been  unable or unwilling to buy health insurance in previous markets?

On Central Standard, host Gina Kaufmann spoke with some Kansas City artists about the Affordable Care Act and whether it complicated or improved their health insurance status.

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Up to Date
11:12 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Opening Police Records In Kansas

The KSHB-TV report features several stories, including Beverly Stewart's tale about how her daughter was shot dead by police.
Credit KSHB-TV

If the police staged a massive raid on your house, complete with assault weapons, you’d want to know why. But finding that out in Kansas is tricky and costly. 

On Monday's Up to Date, we look at a KSHB-TV investigative report on the problems local residents have had getting police records open in the state.

Guests:

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Government
8:54 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Tour Of Port Of Kansas City Shows Infrastructure Needs

The Port of Kansas City, at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, has been closed since 2007.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Rusted and weedy rail tracks; boarded up red-brick buildings, with broken windows, from the 1930s; and run-down gray buildings from the '60s and '70s were part of the tour on Friday afternoon of the Port of Kansas City.

The port has essentially been closed since 2007 due to dwindling processing of freight, only about 600,000 tons a year. The city’s Port Authority is leading a charge to re-open it and revive the barge industry.

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Kansas Statehouse
7:40 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Kansas House Committee To Consider Education Bill

The Kansas House Appropriations Committee will start hearings Monday on a budget bill to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling over education funding. But it looks like the issues in the bill will stretch beyond just school spending.

The budget bill before the committee includes other policy items like rewriting teacher licensure rules. Chairman Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican, told committee members last week about the broad scope of the discussion.

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Government
7:51 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Council Approves Streetcar Phase II With No Brookside Extension

Credit City of Kansas City, Missouri

Phase two of Kansas City's streetcar system moved ahead again Thursday, but it won't be rolling through Brookside.

The city council approved a streetcar system expansion of about 8 miles – a south extension along main to the UMKC area, east on Independence Avenue to Benton and east on Linwood to Prospect. A proposal for the southward extension to run to Brookside or Waldo was set aside because it was too expensive for projected revenue.

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Government
7:47 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Missouri Group Says Gay Couple's Tax Filings Unconstitutional

A conservative Missouri group on Wednesday attempted to put a quick stop to same-sex couples’ right to file joint tax returns, saying it violates the state’s ban on gay marriage.

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