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Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

Developers who ask for tax incentives in Kansas City can claim an apartment that rents for $1,600 a month is affordable — and eligible for incentives.

An ordinance passed by the Kansas City Council on Thursday changes that.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Top Democrats in the Kansas House and Senate will request investigations into the use of no-bid state contracts, but the proposals will need the approval of some Republican lawmakers to advance.

The Kansas Department of Revenue used a no-bid process, called prior authorization, to award a multi-million dollar contract that outsourced some information technology services earlier this spring. 

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Police arrested 18 people protesting policies pushed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after the demonstrators occupied part of his office.

Police led them past other protesters to a bus waiting outside the Kobach’s office.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The team behind a potential southern streetcar expansion has refined the proposed stops. 

Voters who live near the streetcar have yet to decide whether to approve a 1 percent sales tax and special property tax assessment to help fund the $230 million dollar project. Notarized ballots are due to the Jackson County courthouse by 5 p.m. June 12. 

Sixty-four years ago, the United States Supreme Court handed down the decision to end legal segregation in the public school system as part of the Brown v. Board of Education case. A new mural is being unveiled Thursday in the Kansas Capitol in Topeka to commemorate that landmark decision.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Some 20 administrators in the Kansas agency managing child welfare and state assistance have been promoted, fired or shifted to other posts since November.

Gina Meier-Hummel was tapped to take over the Department for Children and Families nearly six months ago and says now that the changes have been aimed at strengthening the agency as it confronts a rising caseload of children in care.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says President Donald Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

Joining six other Republican governors, Colyer signed a letter this week that said the president should get the honor for “his transformative efforts to bring peace to the Korean peninsula.”

The letter, dated Monday, was sent to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The same panel gave Barack Obama the peace prize just nine months into his presidency in 2009 for what it saw as his contribution to international diplomacy.

file photo / Harvest Public Media

This winter we reported that Kansas is one of just four states with the strictest cannabis laws in the country.

But the 2018 legislative session that ended earlier this month shook the state’s legal landscape. So what has changed and what hasn’t?

Bigstock

Missouri would join a majority of U.S. states in raising the age someone can be tried as an adult in court to 18 under a bill passed by the legislature this session.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The woman at the center of a scandal that brought down the Jackson County sheriff has settled her lawsuit against the county—for no money.

Christine Lynde was a civilian worker in the sheriff's office when she sued the county in 2015, claiming she had been sexually harassed by two women in the office and the number two in the department, Col. Hugh Mills. 

Prairie Village, Kansas

Updated, 10:53 a.m. Tuesday: The Prairie Village city council approved the bike and pedestrian plan on Monday evening by a vote of 7-5. City leaders said that the plan was still conceptual and that details of the new sidewalks, trails and lanes would be worked out with public input in future stages of planning and development.

The original post continues below.

Years of planning by Prairie Village, Kansas, cycling advocates have led up to a vote Monday evening by the city council.

That's A Wrap

May 7, 2018

Kansas lawmakers have ended their 2018 legislative session. School spending, guns, and taxes were at the center of big debates this year. This week we discuss what passed, and what didn't. 

file photo / Kansas News Service

In an election year with a state Supreme Court ruling hanging over their heads, Kansas lawmakers wrestled over school spending, taxes and guns.

They fought among themselves and often split ways from legislators they’d chosen as leaders.

In the end, they decided not to throw a tax cut to voters. It would have partly reversed tough political choices they made a year before to salvage state government’s troubled financial ledger.

Flickr

The Kansas House killed a tax cut bill on its way out the door Friday, ending the 2018 session with yet another signal that this isn’t the same conservative-dominated body of just two years ago.

This is the Legislature that voted last year to expand Medicaid and end then-Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature 2012 tax cuts with a two-year, $1.2 billion tax hike.

Gov. Eric Greitens is in danger of becoming the first Missouri governor ever to be impeached.

That’s because members of the House and Senate have gathered enough signatures to call a special session that would include considering impeaching the GOP governor, who is facing two felony charges and a full collapse of his political support.

file photo / Kansas News Service

In the last year, the number of Cherokee County children in state custody shot up by roughly half.

The places available for those kids to stay, meanwhile, hasn’t changed.

So that’s meant shipping them two hours away — and regularly taking deputies from the 19-person sheriff’s department off patrol to drive the children to Andover, Kansas — the closest place available with any room.

file / Creative Commons-Flickr

House and Senate negotiators struck a tentative deal Wednesday to prevent changes in federal tax law from ratcheting up state taxes for Kansans.

The Senate wanted broader tax cuts in the same bill, but couldn’t coax the House team to go along.

Rep. Steve Johnson, who chairs the House tax committee, said his chamber didn’t want to go beyond addressing the federal impact in ways that would produce deeper cuts to state government revenue.

“It’s all of the tax cuts and these targeted tax cuts that have given us heartburn,” he said.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The resignation of Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp over a sex scandal has, rather unexpectedly, brought to light an issue in the office—a severe lack of diversity.

The office Sharp inherited in 2009 and left two weeks ago is overwhelmingly white and male.

Gov. Jeff Colyer signed an executive order Wednesday supporting the "Ban the Box" initiative.

The new order requires state agencies to remove a checkbox from their job applications that asks whether someone has a criminal record.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens allegedly directed a staffer to obtain a donor list from the veterans charity he founded and lied about it to the state ethics commission, according to a special House committee report released Wednesday.

Immediately, Democrats and some Republicans again called for Greitens, who faces two felony charges, to step down. Greitens' camp dug in with legal counsel Catherine Hanaway's statement that said the report "does a tremendous disservice to the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions." 

Legislation that would legalize marijuana for medical use in Missouri passed the state House on Tuesday.

The bill originally would have only allowed medical marijuana use for terminally ill patients, but the House added amendments last week to expand access to those with chronic and debilitating, but not necessarily fatal, illnesses.

Missouri Department of Social Services screenshot

People who work with federal food-aid recipients in Missouri and recipients themselves have said the state’s hotline is slow to answer phone calls. State data shows that at times, callers have had to wait up to an hour to talk to someone and that in May 2017, almost a quarter of callers abandoned getting through.

Missouri’s Family Services Division started addressing those concerns in April and said it expects to have new software in place by July to make the call center more efficient and start the food-stamp interview process more quickly.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The ACLU of Missouri is suing Kansas City and the Board of Police Commissioners for what it calls “predatory” impound and towing practices.

The ACLU says their client, Dyanna Black, legally parked her car on a public street in February 2016. On returning to her spot, she discovered it had been towed. 

photo illustration / Kansas News Service

Janelle DuBree didn’t need statistics to see that foster kids are traumatized. The evidence was spilled, smashed and smeared all over her kitchen and down the hallway.

Two of the younger girls she took in, on one of their first nights in her Emporia home, raided the kitchen around 2 a.m. Eggs were cracked and trailed everywhere — on the floor, the countertops, the side of the refrigerator. Her carpet was soaked in bright red Hawaiian Punch.

DuBree adopted the girls, now 7 and 9, from a place where food wasn’t always available. So when it was plentiful, they took out and ate everything they could.

Flickr

Kansas lawmakers approved an updated $16 billion budget Saturday on a 92-24 vote as they worked through part of the weekend.

The bill amends the spending plans lawmakers approved last year, and includes some targeted increases in state government funding.

It partially restores cuts to higher education from 2016, at a cost of $12 million. It also allocates $8 million to provide raises to workers in the judicial branch.

The bill funnels more money into the state’s pension plan, KPERS, to make up for a missed $194 million payment.

file photo / Kansas News Service

For years, reporters in the Kansas Capitol press corps and advocates for open government pressed legislators to hide less of the workings of state government from public view.

Now, the Kansas Legislature appears ready to approve changes that would pull back the curtain — at least a tad.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Changes in federal tax law could actually cost some Kansans more in state taxes.

Kansas lawmakers might turn down that revenue windfall and add an election year tax cut instead. A bill they’re backing would cost roughly the same amount as a court-triggered boost to school spending.

All the commotion around a school funding plan may have overshadowed the fact that Kansas lawmakers are also working on a controversial tax cut bill. Some say it simply returns a federal windfall to Kansas taxpayers. Others argue it’s unaffordable at a time when the state is still recovering from former Governor Sam Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with Judge Rex Burlison taking request under advisement.

Attorneys for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens want to disqualify St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from overseeing the governor’s latest felony charge — and instead appoint a special prosecutor.

It stems from how Gardner has handled Greitens’ other felony case for felony invasion of privacy.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

The Kansas Department for Children and Families is opening up child protection services jobs to people who aren’t licensed social workers.

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