A joint Missouri House/Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on whether the state's teacher tenure system is working.
Among those testifying was Mark Van Zandt, General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). He says tenured teachers can be held accountable under the current system.
"There are procedures in place, if a teacher is not meeting the standards that are expected of them, in terms of instruction," Van Zandt said. "There can be consequences."
The AARP, Independence School District and mental health organization Re-discover have joined more than 40 others to form a coalition to quash the movement to override Gov. Nixon's veto of the GOP House Bill 253 tax cuts.
Representatives of the three organizations held a news conference at the AARP offices on Ward Parkway Monday.
Superintendent Dale Herl said the tax cut would likely cost Independence schools $5.8 million while saving middle class families very little. Herl said a family of four with an income of $48,000 would only end up with a $6 per year tax cut.
The showdown between Missouri's Democratic Governor and the Republican-led General Assembly finally arrives this week, as lawmakers return to Jefferson City for their annual veto session. Governor Jay Nixon struck down 29 bills this year, with most of the post-veto attention falling on two bills in particular, a controversial tax cut proposal and an even more controversial attempt to nullify federal gun control laws.
Campaign to prevent House Bill 253 override attempt
Members of Congress will soon be asked to decide whether to support President Barack Obama's request for authorization to attack the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Assad's regime allegedly used chemical weapons on civilians and rebels in an attack last month. Here is a round-up of what we know so far from congress members in Kansas and Missouri.
At a town hall meeting, most Kansas Citians urged Congressman Emanuel Cleaver to vote 'no' on a military intervention in Syria. Cleaver and much of the local Missouri Congressional delegation has not taken a position on Syria, but in Kansas most will be voting against authorizing military strikes.
Most tell Cleaver to vote 'no'
More than 200 people crowded into a room at Metropolitan Community College and nearly all stayed on topic about Syria.
Steven Platt was worried the United States cannot afford more military action.
Several police departments and organizations around Missouri are speaking out against a bill that would bar enforcement of federal gun laws if they interfere with a Missourian's Second Amendment rights.
St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says House Bill 436 would in effect end cooperation between local and federal law enforcement agencies. He cites a recent traffic stop where his officers apprehended two armed men wanted for different crimes.
The controversy over what contractors will supervise the construction of Kansas City's downtown streetcar line isn't over yet, but the city council has moved one step closer to choosing two out-of-town companies.
Plans to sign a construction management contract with two out-of-town firms have been on hold for several weeks after local contractors and building trades unions expressed concern that there wouldn't be enough Kansas City companies and workers on the job.
Gov. Sam Brownback's nominee for a seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals is headed for the job. The state Senate confirmed Caleb Stegall Wednesday in a party-line 32-8 vote.
Brownback chose Stegall, his administration's top attorney, for the job on the state's second-highest court. It's the first selection under a new process where the governor chooses nominees for the Court of Appeals, who then must be confirmed by the Senate.
What if Congress turns down President Obama’s request for authorization to attack Syria? And what if the president proceeds anyway -- even though the American people are saying in polls that they oppose such a move?
How ethical would that be?
Some might say that when it comes to matters of life and death, an American president ought to have the backing of Congress or the American people.
Then there’s this looming question of whether the U.S. and other nations should boycott the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The reason? Russia’s anti-gay laws.
The Kansas House has unanimously passed a proposed fix for the state's Hard 50 sentencing law. The law allows judges to sentence certain convicted murderers to at least 50 years in prison before the possibility for parole.
The House's proposed revision would change the process so that juries also play a part in doling out Hard 50 sentences. Rep. Lance Kinzer, a Republican from Olathe, said the fix will help preserve the intent of legislators who originally passed the bill.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is siding with fellow Democrat, Gov. Jay Nixon, in opposition to legislation that would challenge the federal government's ability to enforce federal gun laws in Show-Me State.
We’ve all seen it, a politician’s life derailed by scandal or personal crisis. While in years past that meant retirement from public life, nowadays we’re just as likely to see these individuals re-emerge to campaign another day.
Kansas Senate hearings begin Tuesday on Gov. Sam Brownback's nominee for the state Court of Appeals.
Brownback chose his office's top attorney, Caleb Stegall, to fill the seat on the second-highest court in Kansas. This is a the first appointment under a new system in which the governor chooses nominees for the Kansas Court of Appeals, who then must be confirmed by the state Senate.
Republican Jeff King of Independence, Kan. chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said last month that the proceedings will begin with a quick refresher on the new selection process.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says the United States already missed the point to have a real impact in Syria at the early stages of that country's conflict.
Speaking at a gas station in Cape Girardeau, the Republican Senator said a no-fly zone early on could have allowed the rebellion to remove Bashar Al-Assad. Now, he says President Obama's decision to send a message to Syria because of chemical weapons attacks is, quote "pretty offensive."
The Chairman of Kansas City’s Regional Transit Alliance fears a proposed medical research tax will divert funds and attention from improved rail transportation. The stand does not extend to active opposition to the tax.
Kite Singleton of the Transit Alliance makes it clear he is not campaigning against the half cent medical research tax going on the Jackson County ballot in November.
A Kansas legislative committee is recommending a bill to amend the state's so-called Hard 50 sentencing law. The changes would allow juries to decide if convicted murderers deserve 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Under the old system, judges would decide if a crime warranted the harsher sentence of 50 years without parole. But the U.S. Supreme Court recently said judges can't make those decisions.
The bill would also apply some changes retroactively to past crimes. Some attorneys told the committee that it would be unconstitutional to do that.
A special legislative committee will convene at the Statehouse Monday to start work on a fix for the so-called Hard 50 sentencing law, which allows judges to give harsher sentences to convicted murderers in certain cases. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling raised questions about the law.
Under certain circumstances, judges can sentence convicted murderers to life in prison, without the possibility of parole for 50 years. But the Supreme Court recently said juries — not judges — must weigh in when it comes to increased sentences like that.
Senator Claire McCaskill feels it’s too early to say how she would lean toward federal funding of renovations at KCI Airport.
The Missouri Democrat says she understands the single-terminal “A” concept stirs passions.
The Senator was waiting amid the noise of Gates Barbecue in Independence when she talked with a pair of reporters, saying it’s too soon for serious conversation about the airport since there isn’t even a proposal for change.
The Mayor has appointed an ad hoc commission to recommend changes to the airport.
The weather isn’t the only think that’s still got some heat behind it. Although Congress is in recess, hot-button topics such as immigration and sequestration cuts are still in the news.
In the first part of Thursday's Up to Date, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D, MO-5) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R, KS-3) join us to talk about these issues and shed some light on where Congress might be headed when it goes back into session in September.