Government

Government
11:21 am
Mon November 4, 2013

5 Issues Being Decided By KC Area Voters

A proposed half-cent sales tax would raise $800 million over the next 20 years to be divided among Children’s Mercy Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.
Credit Mrd7b2 / Wikipedia

Voters around the Kansas City metro head to the polls Tuesday. Here's an overview of some of the issues on ballots in the area:

Jackson County

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Government
4:42 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Kansas City Council Condemns Planned Nazi Rally

The National Socialist Movement, pictured here at a previous event, have said they will have a rally November 9 in Kansas City.

By unanimous vote, the Kansas City Council Thursday condemned a planned rally by the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group. The group says they will gather to protest immigration reform November 9 in Kansas City, Mo.

Citing data from the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and  the Southern Poverty Law Center, the city’s resolution encouraged  citizens to challenge the segregationist beliefs of the organization. 

Councilman John Sharp said  people "should not physically challenge" protestors but they shouldn't ignore them, either.

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Government
6:59 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Food Assistance Reduced For 316,000 Kansans

The end of October brings an end to a boost in the amount of federal food assistance that's been helping to feed 316,000 Kansans for the past four years. The extra benefits were part of the stimulus bill Congress passed in 2009 to help people recover from the recession.

Barb LaClair, who studies hunger issues at the non-profit Kansas Health Institute, says caseloads suggest low-income Kansans still aren’t seeing a recovery. She says they’re going to have no choice but to rely even more on food banks and food pantries—which are already overextended.

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Government
6:36 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Kansas City Council Approves $17.9 Million Streetcar Purchase

Kansas City will purchase four streetcars like the ones pictured for $17.9 million.
Credit City of Kansas City, Missouri

The Kansas City councilman who has steered the city's streetcar project from its start says Thursday was probably the most significant mile post in the process. The city is ready to sign the contract for four streetcars.

Councilman Russ Johnson says the council's approval of the $17.9 million contract was the true “point of no return,” the day that the plan changed from a dream to a project underway.

“This is where you're really getting serious about building this project," Johnson told his colleagues. "We're going to go 'box it out' and buy something.”

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Government
7:22 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Kansas City Streetcar Plan Moving Forward

Established streetcar line in Portland, Ore.
Credit Portland TriMetro

It will cost about $1 million per mile to lay groundwork for a Kansas City streetcar line, and the city is moving forward on expanding a startup. The original has yet to be built. 

The City Council may decide before the week ends whether to borrow $10 million to start moving on phase-two of the streetcar system.

The city would borrow for engineering work to get what may be a $400 million added streetcar line.

Next week planners should be able to give recommendations on where the eight to 10 mile stretch would go.

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Up to Date
1:13 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Are Raising Sales Taxes A Solution For Everything?

Arizonans pay some of the highest sales taxes in the country.
Credit KNAU

Why do governments rely on the sales tax for big projects, like the medical research proposal in Jackson County?

And how fat can the sales tax get before shoppers stop buying? 

In the second half of Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with two experts about sales taxes, what makes up the total sales tax you see on a receipt, and why governments have turned to sales taxes for raising funds when revenue is down.

Guests:

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Government
8:15 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Missouri House Committee Examines Medicaid

An interim Missouri House committee has resumed examining the state’s Medicaid system this week. Lawmakers spent part of Tuesday taking a closer look at how some other states with GOP-led legislatures have expanded Medicaid

Committee member Chris Molendorp was the only House Republican to support Medicaid expansion during this year’s legislative session. He says Missouri should consider adopting Florida’s practice of using Medicaid to cover so-called wrap-around services, such as providing transportation for kidney dialysis patients.

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Government
3:37 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Same-Sex Partner Of Missouri State Trooper Ruled Ineligible For Survivor Benefits

Kelly Glossip and his partner, Trooper Dennis Englehard, on the day Englehard graduated from the state police academy in 2000.
Photo courtesy of Kelly Glossip

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:54 am

Updated at 10:05 a.m. Wednesday to correct Judge Teitelman's first name.

Updated with comments from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.

The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that a gay man whose longtime partner, a state trooper who was killed in the line of duty, is not eligible for the trooper's survivor benefits because the two were never married.

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Government
11:11 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Remembering Former Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton

Ike Skelton after losing re-election to an 18th Congressional term, November 2010.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Former Democratic Missouri state Representative Ike Skelton died October 28 in an Arlington, Va. hospital at the age of 81.

Skelton served 17 terms in Congress, serving the 4th Congressional district in west-central Missouri. before being defeated in 2010 by Republican Vicki.

In 2010, as Skelton waited for election returns, former University of Missouri Law School classmate Larry McMullen noted that Skelton's district was a Republican bastion.

McMullen said over the years Republicans crossed over to support Skelton.

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Up to Date
5:22 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Is Translational Medicine Too Taxing For Jackson County?

Jackson County residents will be voting on the translational medicine sales tax.
Credit theocean/Flickr-CC

Jackson County voters head to the polls on November 5 to vote on a 1/2 cent sales tax increase to fund a translational medicine institute. 

In the first part of Tuesday's Up to Date, a proponent and opponent of the tax meet in our studios to debate the controversial proposal, including how county residents will actually benefit from the project.

Guests:

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Government
8:17 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Nixon Withdraws Proposed Food Stamp Cut

A proposed rule change that would have eliminated food stamp eligibility for about 58,000 Missourians has been withdrawn by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The governor had sought to cut eligibility for unemployed adults without children, citing concerns over the amount of federal funds available for state-run food assistance programs. 

Fellow Democrat and State Senator Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis says she’s elated by the governor’s reversal.

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Government
8:30 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Gov. Nixon Pledges Full Funding For K-12 Schools

Two days after pledging to significantly raise Missouri’s Higher Education budget next year, Gov. Jay Nixon Wednesday pledged to do the same for the state’s public schools.

Nixon told K-12 school leaders in Jefferson City that the state’s triple-A credit rating and improving economy will enable his administration to spend more money on educating Missouri’s children.

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Government
4:47 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Execution Drug Sources No Longer Public After Mo. Rule Change

A picture of propofol, a drug Mo. was planning to use for lethal injection. Under the state's new rule, showing who made or supplied the drug would be illegal.
Credit Veronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

Two weeks ago, Gov. Jay Nixon instructed the Missouri Department of Corrections to come up with a new procedure for carrying out lethal injections.

On Tuesday, the department announced that it had chosen a new execution drug: pentobarbitol. But the state also made a change that will end up making it harder, if not impossible, to know where the drugs come from.

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Government
8:04 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Following Controversy, Missouri Selects New Execution Drug

On Tuesday, the Missouri Department of Corrections announced that it had selected a new drug for upcoming executions: pentobarbital.

The change comes following criticism of the questionable methods by which Missouri obtained the drug it had previously planned to use, as well as concern that its use could harm hospitals throughout the U.S. The state had planned to use a common anesthetic named propofol, which has never been used to carry out an execution.

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Up to Date
4:00 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Reaching For International Gender Equality

Kristin Hetle joins Steve Kraske to talk about projects encouraging gender equality.

Gender equality is a major issue in many parts of the world, and the United Nations is working to promote it.

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we’ll talk with Kristin Hetle, UN Women's director of strategic partnerships, who has taken experiences from her home country of Norway to help lead a push for international gender equality.

Guest:

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Government
7:36 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Nixon Says He'll Propose More Money For Higher Education

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, says next year he's going to propose a higher education budget that's "substantially" larger that it's been in recent years.

Nixon made that promise Monday to a group of higher education officials meeting in Jefferson City, Mo., though he won't say yet how high his proposed budget hike will be. He also says his higher budget proposal could be rendered moot if this year's failed income tax cut legislation is revived next year.

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Government
7:32 am
Tue October 22, 2013

KC Charter Commission Recommends Stronger Mayor

The Kansas City Charter Review Commission has agreed on the basics of the proposal it will send the city council.

Most commission members agreed with Mayor Sly James that the mayor should have more power, including the authority to fire the city manager.

Commission member Jim Rice is a long-time area health executive and political observer. He says he doubts the issue of mayoral power will go to the voters.

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Government
4:55 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Public Comment Will Be Allowed On Mo. Food Stamp Rule Change

Credit clementine gallot / Flickr

An official with the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) briefed a House Interim Committee Monday on Governor Jay Nixon's proposed rule change to cut able-bodied adults without children from the federal food stamp program (SNAP) if they don't have a job. 

Allison Campbell with the DSS Family Support Division says they initially sought to implement the change on October 1st via emergency rule, but she admits that approach was a mistake.

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Government
4:07 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Kansas Supreme Court Disciplines Former AG Kline

Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has temporarily lost the right to practice law in Kansas. The  suspension has no time limit.

The research, investigation and opinion on indefinite suspension of Kline's law license appears in a 154 page document issued October 18 by the Kansas Supreme Court. 

The report outlines allegations of ethical misconduct against the former Johnson County District Attorney.

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Government
12:52 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Kansas City Council Moves To Curb Car Shredding Thieves

Looks like a tow job. Could be a car theft.
Credit Wikipidia

Almost three-quarters of the more than 2500 vehicles stolen in Kansas City, Mo. this year are over ten years old and showing their age.

Sgt. Rod Gentry of the South Patrol says many of them are being towed away sold as scrap metal.

"Someone could run out of gas or have a flat tire and leave to seek assistance and return, really in thirty, forty minutes or an hour and find their car gone," says Gentry. "Not only gone but completely destroyed."

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Government
5:22 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Party Lines Mean Little In KC Area Debt Crisis Vote

Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts was the lone “no” vote among U.S. Senators from Missouri and Kansas as the debt ceiling crisis was averted and the federal government reopened.

Most House Members from the region voted with Roberts and on the losing side of a measure that is now law.

No votes came from Republicans Kevin Yoder, Sam Graves and Vicky Hartzler.  

The  Ayes were counted among Jerry Moran, Lynn Jenkins and Democrat Emanuel Cleaver who later talked with Steve Kraske on KCUR program Up To Date, unhappy with the temporary budgetary solution.

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Government
4:34 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Missouri National Park Sites Reopen

Visitors to Missouri can once again go up in the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and pitch tents at federally-run campsites, now that the government shutdown has ended. 

The Arch in downtown St. Louis opened Thursday without any problems and with the average number of visitors wanting to go inside, according to representatives with the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.  There were also no issues with the reopening of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in southern Missouri. 

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Government
3:18 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Sen. Blunt Says It's Time To Get Back To Business

Both of Missouri’s U.S. Senators voted in favor of the bill Wednesday night that reopened the federal government and raised the country’s debt ceiling.

The measure, approved by the House and Senate and signed by the President early Thursday, restores funding for the government through January 15 and extends the nation's borrowing authority through February 7.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says he hopes the government learned some lessons during the 16-day shutdown.

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Government
11:44 am
Thu October 17, 2013

How Missouri And Kansas Delegates Voted On The Budget Deal

Relief. At the eleventh hour, Congress agreed on a bill to end the government shutdown and avert a default on U.S. debt. It was signed early Thursday morning by President Barack Obama.

Here is how our regional delegation voted on the bill:

Kansas Senate

Pat Roberts (R) - No
Jerry Moran (R) - Yes

Kansas House

Tim Huelskamp (R) - No
Lynn Jenkins (R) - Yes
Kevin Yoder (R) - No
Mike Pompeo (R) – No

Missouri Senate

Roy Blunt (R) - Yes
Claire McCaskill (D) - Yes

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Government
9:40 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Kansas Board Of Education Reviews Snack Rules

The Kansas Board of Education Tuesday reviewed new federal rules on food sales in schools slated to take effect next year. The healthy snack requirements govern the kinds of food items that can be sold to students during the school day.

Kansas already has requirements in place that in many cases meet or exceed the new federal rules. Cheryl Johnson, director of child nutrition and wellness at the Kansas Department of Education,  told the board that much of the work in Kansas will be creating exemptions for certain activities, such as fundraising bake sales in schools.

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Government
8:33 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Gov. Nixon Changes Plans, Halts Execution Using Controversial Drug

Gov. Jay Nixon has halted the first lethal injection execution scheduled to use the drug propofol.
Credit Veronique Lacapra / KWMU

On Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon postponed the execution of an inmate that was set for later this month. That execution was going to be carried out using propofol, a common anesthetic that has never been used in a lethal injection before. So why the change in plans?

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Government
9:38 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Board Votes, Again, To Sever KC Museum Ties With Union Station

The Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall in 2005.
Credit Scutter / Creative Commons

The Kansas City Museum Advisory Board on Monday approved a plan recommending the Kansas City Museum separate from Union Station. The board meeting opened with a Sunshine Law training. The last time the board voted on this issue, the city attorney’s office said it violated the state’s open meetings law.

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Government
5:48 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Mayor James Favors Stronger-Mayor-Council Governance

Sly James as he appeared in his first meeting with City Charter Reviewers in July 2013.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Clarification: Originally reported that the Mayor favored the current mayor-council form of government, he  suggested  adding powers to the elected post.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James told members of his hand-picked Charter Review Commission he hopes they keep a type of mayor-council-manager form of local government but strengthen powers of a mayor.

The Mayor also said he would listen to suggested change.

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Government
4:04 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Native Land Adjacent To Lawrence, Kan. Under Scrutiny

Lawrence leaders aim to meet with counterparts in the Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma to learn plans for land that borders the city.

Mayor Mike Dever says a tribal intermediary never mentioned the word "casino" for the 90 acres recently purchased along I-70 and north of city limits, what Dever calls some of the most fertile farmland in the region.

Dever had informal talks with an unnamed third party interested in Native American affairs.

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Government
11:31 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Committees Move On Pit Bulls, Bannister Redevelopment

The city of Kansas City, Mo. has received a grant to pay for spaying or neutering more than 800 pit bulls.  But at least for now, the free service will apply only in two zip codes.

Pit bull and pit bull mix owners in Kansas City have a choice: spay or neuter the dogs or pay a breeder's fee. Deletta Dean of the city's department of neighborhoods and housing services told a city council committee that a grant from PetSmart Charities would provide $100,000 for spay and neuter services in the 64130 and 64132 zip codes.

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