Government

Rene Ehrhardt / Flickr - CC

Should doctors and judges be able to decide on an infant's end-of-life care, even if it goes against the wishes of the child's parents? Does a presidential adviser owe his or her personal loyalty to their boss?

Parts of Missouri’s new campaign finance law is unconstitutional, but the $2,600 individual donor limit will stick, according to a ruling issued Friday by Senior District Judge Ortrie Smith of the Western District of Missouri.

But in striking down a provision in the law that banned certain committee-to-committee transfers, it’s opened up the ability to raise an unlimited amount of money through a local political action committee and transfer that cash to a different PAC. In effect, that will make campaign money harder to track and makes it easier for candidates to get around the individual donor limit.

A Nation Engaged: Power And The Presidency

Apr 27, 2017
Roy Inman / KCUR 89.3

As President Trump approaches the 100-day milestone of his administration, KCUR teamed up with NPR's for the latest A Nation Engaged conversation, moderated by Up To Date host Steve Kraske and NPR's Southwest correspondent, John Burnett. This time, we asked Kansas City-area citizens how much power they think an American president should be able to wield.

Sam Warlick / National League of Cities

Earlier this month Kansas City, Missouri, residents raised their own property taxes for 20 years in part to help pay for federally-required improvements to public buildings under the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

Almost every town, no matter how big or small, has a mayor. But what it means to be mayor in a small town might be different than it is in a prosperous suburb of 35,000 ... or is it? A conversation with four Kansas mayors.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

From attempts to overturn Obamacare to rumors of sweeping tax reform, there's plenty going on in the federal Capitol these days — not to mention the White House. Today, Democrat Emanuel Cleaver, of Missouri, and Kansas' Republican Kevin Yoder, both U.S. representatives, discuss the issues congress is grappling with now and will likely deal with in the near future. They also share their thoughts on President Donald Trump's first 88 days in office.

Senate Democrats / Flickr - CC

From his vantage point in the U.S. Senate, Sheldon Whitehouse is of the mind that the longstanding tradition of honor in American politics is disappearing. Today, he argues corporate infiltration into the political system is to blame.

Will O'Neill / Flickr - CC

Today we ask the Ethics Professors which services the government is (and is not) morally obligated to provide its citizens. Health care? Education? A good-paying job? Then, KCUR's Sam Zeff fills us in on a Kansas Supreme Court ruling with major implications for education funding and equity.

Bill Tice

Gladstone residents are carrying out a citizen led strategic plan that will decide which city projects take priority for the next ten years.

The “Gladstone: Shaping Our Future” strategic planning process is unique in the metro area: it’s entirely led by the residents themselves.  

More than 100 volunteers met for over a year to brainstorm the sort of projects they’d like to see carried out in their community. Thursday night, a ten member committee started choosing which ones will make the cut.

Among the volunteers, Tina Spallo co-chairs the planning process.

Yukiko Matsuoka / Flickr -- CC

How do you get information from the government, especially after the recent lockdown on communication from federal agencies? Two veteran investigative reporters explain how they deal with governmental transparency and secrecy.

Plus, a chat with local musician Kenn Jankowski about his new group, Jaenki.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

It's official; Eric Greitens is the governor of Missouri. On this special edition of Up To Date, recorded live in Jefferson City, we bring you coverage of the inaugural address, the swearing-in, and the pomp and circumstance. Reporters and legislators from around the Show-Me State guide us on this historic day.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Last week's election left one notorious glass ceiling intact. So what does that mean for local women, and women in government?

Plus, it's National Day of Action against the Dakota Access Pipeline. How might the proposed North Dakota pipeline impact our indigenous communities, and general populous, here in Kansas City?

Guests:

It's Election Day. We're taking a trip down memory lane, as we explore the first elections many of us got to participate in: class elections. Whether for elementary schools, high school student council, or college class president, these early elections are an opportunity to practice being members of a democracy.

Guests: 

The 'Grand Narrative' Of The Cuban Revolution

Jul 26, 2016

In late 1950s, Fidel Castro and his rebellion overthrew an authoritarian, American-backed government, and the Castro government claimed to have unflinching support from the Cubans since then. We talk with historian Lillian Guerra who discovered, through her research over the span of 18 years, that dissents have prevailed despite government dictatorship.

Guest:

Johnson County Election Needs Election Workers

Jun 29, 2016
Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Johnson County Election Office reports it is in need of more than 2,000 election workers for the coming elections in August and November.

Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker says besides civic pride, the job pays a stipend of at least $135 for each election worked.

“A person can feel like, “I'm doing my civic duty, getting enough money to go out to dinner a couple of times... and I'm giving back to my country,” Metsker says.

The election commissioner emphasized that a 4-hour training class is provided and skills are not hard to master.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

At the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission's June meeting at Union Station Tuesday, one thing was clear: Despite a lower total budget than last year, the Missouri Department of Transportation is looking to the future.

Commission Vice Chair Steve Miller says that, although the Missouri General Assembly didn't increase fuel taxes this session to help fund roads and bridges, the reinstatement of a $20 million cost-sharing program is a boon.

Andy Marso / KHI News Service

A Kansas senator says a highway project in his district is back on schedule, drawing protests from Democrats who say Republican Gov. Sam Brownback picked that project over others to help a political ally in an election year.

The project to widen U.S. Highway 69 north of Pittsburg from two lanes to four was one of 25 delayed in April to help balance the state budget.

It sits in the district of Republican Sen. Jake LaTurner, who sent an open letter to Brownback decrying the delay.

Courtesy of jocogov.org

Most departments in Johnson County, Kansas, will no longer ask questions about criminal convictions on their job applications. The move is in support of the Fair Chance Hiring initiative, a campaign started by the National Employment Labor Project to give people with criminal records better access to jobs.

The battle over religious freedom and LGBT rights has moved from Arizona and Mississippi to Missouri. Conservatives there are backing an amendment to the state Constitution that would protect certain people — clergy, for instance — who refuse to take part in same-sex marriages.

But the measure has run into some unexpected — and unexpectedly stiff — opposition, from a longtime ally of the religious right: the business community.

Across the globe, distinct political institutions and governing mechanisms have developed, but how and when did political order even begin? Starting with our primate ancestors through the eve of the French Revolution, we look at how our politics continue to evolve — or not — today.

Guest:

Eric Greitens found himself fending off questions about a controversial donor at Thursday's Missouri Republican gubernatorial debate in Columbia, the first one this year to be televised.

Both Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder called on Greitens to return a $1 million campaign contribution from Michael Goguen. The California venture capitalist is being sued by a woman who accuses him of holding her as a sex slave for 13 years.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

As second baseman for the Kansas City Royals, Frank White helped bring the team a big first: a World Series win.

On Friday, more than 30 years after the 1985 World Series, White celebrated two more firsts: his first State of the County address as the first African-American Jackson County Executive. 

"Today I feel like a rookie again," White said with a wide smile and to much applause. "I have never experienced a first quite like this."

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City's Planning & Zoning Committee held its first community listening session Saturday to connect city officials with residents who had questions and concerns about issues in their neighborhoods.

Around a dozen residents from the area, mostly from the Marlborough neighborhood, showed up at the Trailside Center in South Kansas City to speak with council members and city employees from a variety of departments.

For a city of 9,500 people, Mission, Kansas has its share of big issues. Mayor Steve Schowengerdt discusses some of the meatiest topics on his city's table, from driveway taxes and the Mission Gateway development project to chickens and bees. 

A 2013 poll showed that nearly a quarter of Americans lean toward a libertarian political philosophy. We explore libertarian ideals that support gay marriage as well as gun ownership. 

Guest:

Lobbyists get a bad rap, but before we judge, let's hear from the lobbyists themselves about what they do and how they get it done. Everything you've always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask. Plus, notes on the recent legislative session in Kansas.

Guests:

  • Kimberly Svatie, lobbyist, Gencur Svatie Public Affairs
  • Bill Sneed, lawyer and lobbyist, Polsinelli

Stephen Koranda / KPR

With only hours remaining before furloughs started, Kansas lawmakers approved a bill that prevents state workers from being taken off the job. Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill and said  all state employees should report to work as usual.

While financial pressures still exist in state government, the bill deems all state employees “essential” and exempt from being furloughed. That designation only lasts through the end of the legislative session.

Area journalists are largely behind a push to end a loophole in Kansas that allows emails discussing  public affairs— but sent from a private account— to be exempt from open records laws.  The effort is beginning to gain traction in the legislature. 

Guest:

  • Karen Dillon is an investigative reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World.

Do you know what the Export-Import Bank of The United States does? On this edition of Up To Date, guest host Stephen Steigman discusses the role of the bank and why it matters in Kansas City.

Guest: 

  • Fred Hochberg is the Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. 

Extreme partisan divisions have given the U.S. Congress a bad rap. Its inability to compromise has resulted in an ineffective government and public disapproval. We look at the effects of having such a polarized institution with two former congressmen who offer suggestions for how it might be saved.

Guests:

  • Tom Davis (R) represented Virginia's 11th district from 1994 to 2008.
  • Martin Frost (D) represented Texas' 24th district from 1979 to 2005. 

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