Government

Government
7:29 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Missouri's 2013 Veto Session Begins Wednesday

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

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Government
12:40 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

How Kansas And Missouri's Members Of Congress Plan To Vote On Syria

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.

Kansas Congressional Delegation:

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Government
8:44 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Kansas Citians Tell Cleaver To Reject Striking Syria

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver hosted a forum to hear constituents views on Syria.
Dan Verbeck KCUR

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.

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Government
7:09 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Police Departments Oppose '2nd Amendment Preservation Act'

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.

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Government
1:17 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Streetcar Contract Heads For Final Vote

Credit KCTRANSIT.com

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.

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Government
8:01 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Stegall Headed For Seat On Kan. Court Of Appeals

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.

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Up to Date
11:28 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

The Ethics Professors: Ethics Between Nations

President Barack Obama meets with Members of Congress to discuss Syria in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 3, 2013.
Credit Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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.

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Government
8:06 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Kan. House Unanimously Passes Hard 50 Bill

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.

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Government
7:17 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Koster Opposing Bill That Could Nullify Federal Gun Laws In Mo.

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.

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Government
6:34 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Prairie Village Council Rejects Mission Chateau Proposal

The proposed Mission Chateau senior living development would have replaced a former middle school at 8500 Mission Rd.
The Tutera Group via pvkansas.com

The controversial Mission Chateau project failed to win approval by the Prairie Village City Council in a meeting that lasted until 1 a.m. Monday. 

The Prairie Village Planning Commission had recommended a special permit for the proposed senior living community at the site of the former Mission Valley Middle School.

Prairie Village Mayor Ron Shaffer says Mission Chateau stirred community sentiments because of strong feelings about the middle school

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Up To Date
3:38 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Recovering Politicians: A Twelve-Step Guide

Missouri Capitol
Credit wikimedia commons

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.

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Government
8:09 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Hearing on Kan. Court Of Appeals Nominee To Begin

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.

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Government
9:00 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Blunt Says U.S. Late To Help Syria

Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt spoke at a gas station in Cape Girardeau.
Jacob McCleland KRCU

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."

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Government
12:10 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Kansas City Council Approves $78M Bond Package For Crime Lab

Kansas City's new crime lab won't be as big as the Police department hoped, but the mayor is still calling it a victory.

The city council stopped about $6 million short of funding the construction of the full 71,000 square foot crime lab police wanted.

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Government
3:36 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Transit Alliance Chief Not Actively Opposed To Competing Tax

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.

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Government
9:50 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Lawmakers Recommend Fix For Kansas Hard 50 Law

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.

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Government
7:19 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Mo. Lawmakers Criticize Social Worker Voter Registration Efforts

The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) has again come under the microscope of an interim legislative committee looking into whether state agencies are operating efficiently.

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KC Currents
4:44 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

4 Things You Should Know About The KCI Decision

Terminals B and C at KCI. One possible plan is to combine all of the terminals into a single one.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Dave Helling of the Kansas City Star has been covering the potential overhaul of KCI. KCUR’s Susan Wilson sat down with Helling and had these four takeaways:

1. Taxpayers will not bear the weight of the $1.2 billion price tag.

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Government
4:39 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Jackson County Voters To Decide Medical Research Tax

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders promotes half cent sales tax for medical research, moments after he and county legislators put the measure on the November 5 ballot.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Jackson County voters will decide a proposed half cent sales tax to benefit development of medical innovations and research at select area hospitals and medical schools. 

The county legislature has voted by a large margin to put the measure on the November 5 ballot.

Some legislators wanted changes if they were going to back the proposal, and they got it.

The alteration, passed by a vote of 7-2, now requires the county legislature appoint a member to a board overseeing finances. 

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Government
8:07 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Kansas Lawmakers To Work On Hard 50 Fix

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.

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Government
4:28 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

McCaskill Will Wait For Pitch Before Deciding KCI Swing

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill awaits firm proposal before picking sides in KCI Airport squabble.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

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.

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Government
1:40 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Council Passes Controversial Contract, Tables Crime Lab Bonds

A controversial $12 million contract won the approval of the Kansas City city council Thurday, but not without some spirited debate.

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Government
1:47 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Cleaver And Yoder Talk About Congressional Gridlock

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and Rep. Kevin Yoder joined Steve Kraske on Up to Date.

Congress has several large issues on its agenda including the Farm Bill, the federal debt ceiling, and immigration reform, but the U.S. House is largely at a standstill. 

Kansas Republican Kevin Yoder said on Up to Date this morning that there’s not a lot getting done on Capitol Hill but different parties doesn’t have to mean gridlock.

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Government
6:08 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Public Input Sought For Nominees To Hall Of Famous Missourians

Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's induction last year generated lots of controversy and protests.
Marshall Griffin St. Louis Public Radio

After a controversial inductee last year, Missouri residents are being given the chance this year to nominate two of the next three inductees for the Hall of Famous Missourians.

House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, says he made the decision to seek citizens' input, in part, to see if someone who's worthy of induction has been forgotten over time or overlooked.

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Government
4:46 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Governor Nixon Vetoes Sex Registry Bill

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon warns of crime consequences held in vetoed sex offender registry bill.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Arguing that he was keeping nearly 900 sex offenders from being  let loose on unknowing communities, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was in Kansas City explaining his veto of a bill passed by the legislature. 

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Up to Date
4:00 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Sizzling Summer, Hot Issues: Congressmen Cleaver & Yoder

The U.S. Capitol Building in Summer
Credit davidpc_ flickr

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.

Guests:

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Government
7:33 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Nixon Attempts To Build Support For Vetoes

In the first of what may be several visits to highlight his many other vetoes from this summer, Gov. Jay Nixon told reporters in Springfield that he opposes $22 million in new and increased license fees on Missourians.

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KC Currents
1:06 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

What Royster's Case Tells Us About Voter Fraud In Kansas City

In June, a Kansas City couple pleaded guilty to voter fraud in the 2010 Democratic primary. Even in a low-turnout primary for a state legislature seat, two votes would normally be a drop in a bucket. But in this race, John Joseph Rizzo defeated Will Royster by a margin of one vote. Rizzo went on to win the election and was re-elected to the seat in 2012. The couple voted in a district where they didn’t live and are Rizzo’s aunt and uncle, which further complicated the situation.

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Government
3:54 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Legislators Question Jackson County Sales Tax Backers

Jackson County Legislators Bob Spence, Fred Arbanas and James Tindall (right to left) ponder sales tax proposal for innovative translational medical research.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

A first public hearing before the Jackson County Legislature on a proposed sales tax for medical research drew no outright opposition.  

Legislators do have a hefty array of questions about costs and benefits.


If sent to and approved by Jackson County voters, the half cent sales tax is estimated to generate about $40 million a year for what has been termed "Translational Medical Research."

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Government
5:25 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

KC Streetcar 2 Is Planned As First Phase Lumbers Along

Credit MARC

It’s not clear by how much expanded Kansas City streetcar lines would  boost property values. A team of city planners and private analysts expects to know by late October. 

The panel is trying to narrow potential streetcar corridors from 7 to 3.

A committee of the City Council heard how blighted areas of Seattle sprung up new growth when a streetcar went in. 

The second phase of Kansas City’s planned streetcar system is being generated, even as phase one is in infancy.  

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