Government

Up to Date
11:18 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Sen. Claire McCaskill On The Government Shutdown

Senator Claire McCaskill, D-MO, speaks to gasoline prices outside a K.C. Shell station.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill has spoken out against Sen. Ted Cruz's filibuster opposing a healthcare reform bill. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, McCaskill joins Steve Kraske to talk about Sen. Cruz's filibuster, the latest developments on the government shutdown and its effects on Missouri voters. 

Guest:

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Government
9:24 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Handgun Found At Mo. Capitol Stirs Gun Control Debate

There could be an effort next year to change the law allowing Missouri lawmakers and others to carry guns at the State Capitol.

A loaded handgun was found by police in the basement of the Capitol last week. It had been left in a men's bathroom on top of a toilet paper dispenser. Police discovered that it belonged to a staff member of Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, and that the staffer does have a conceal-carry permit. Jacob Hummel, the top Democrat in the Missouri House, says only law enforcement officers should be allowed to carry arms at the State Capitol.

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Government
9:21 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Hanaway May Run For Missouri Governor In 2016

(UPI photo)

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 9:40 am

Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway says she's considering running for Governor in 2016.

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Up to Date
9:49 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Fixing Fiscal Policy

U.S. lawmakers may be working late into the night this week to avoid a government shutdown.
Credit David Iliff/Wikimedia Commons

With the House of Representatives and the president once again butting heads over the federal budget, a government shutdown is looking more likely by the day.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, Bob Bixby of the Concord Coalition joins Steve Kraske to talk about the economy, the effect a shutdown could have on the country if Congress doesn’t pass a new budget and how the debt ceiling debate figures into the equation.

Guest:

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Government
9:27 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Kinder Blasts Obamacare One Week Before Health Exchange Opens

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, a Republican, blasted President Obama's Affordable Care Act Monday, just over one week before Missouri's federally-run health insurance exchange is scheduled to open for business.

Kinder told reporters during a conference call that he hopes Missouri residents without health coverage will opt not to use the exchange.

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Government
4:05 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

President Lauds KC Ford, Chides Congress

President Barack Obama at Ford's new plant at Liberty, MO.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

President Barack Obama drew heavily on automotive references as he spread his economic recovery message at the Ford Plant at Liberty, MO  today.  The President also took on Congress’ pitting the debt ceiling against the Affordable Care.

The President told a crowd of mostly auto workers, their families and supporters Congress must raise the debt ceiling or fallout would make America a “deadbeat”  to the world.

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Government
9:18 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Kansas Regents Request $30 Million More

The Kansas Board of Regents has approved a budget request that asks for restoration of millions of dollars in cuts. Lawmakers cut more than $30 million from the higher education budget last legislative session.

The cuts to higher education were made to across-the-board spending, and funding for salaries.

Lawmakers passed a two-year budget last session, but members of the Board or Regents said they have a responsibility to advocate for increased investment in higher ed. The regents backed off a proposal that would have promised flat tuition if the cuts were reversed.

Up to Date
4:00 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

A Return To Washington For Former Congressmen

Former U.S. congressmen Alan Wheat and Kenny Hulshof join Steve Kraske to talk about their current work in Washington.
Credit Vcelloho / Flickr-CC

What do you do after your congressional career is finished?

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we catch up with two former U.S. congressmen from Missouri, Alan Wheat and Kenny Holshuf, who have returned to Washington as policy advisors on behalf of a local law firm.

Guests:

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Government
9:36 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Sebelius To Stump For Possible Candidate For Kan. Governor

Former Democratic Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius will return to the state later this week to support a statehouse politician who's weighing a run for the governor's office.

Sebelius will be in the Kansas City area on Thursday, at an event for Democratic state Representative Paul Davis, from Lawrence. Davis has formed a committee to explore running for governor against incumbent Republican Sam Brownback.

The Kansas City Star reports that Sebelius, the current U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, will appear at the reception in Mission Hills to support Davis.

Government
9:28 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Mo. Congressman Luetkemeyer Speaks Out On Syria And Budget

Missouri U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer,a Republican, is blasting the Obama Administration for the way it's handled the crisis in Syria.

Luetkemeyer spoke Monday before a small group of business leaders in Jefferson City. He told them that Syrian officials used chemical weapons against their own people because they fear no repercussions from the U.S.

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Government
9:25 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Brownback Looks At Changing Economic Development Program

A recent audit says Kansas has mishandled an economic development program, and in response, Gov. Sam Brownback says his administration will look at possible change.

The Kansas Department of Commerce administers the PEAK program, short for Promoting Employment Across Kansas. It provides tax incentives for companies creating jobs in the state.

The audit says the PEAK program overspent its $6 million budget for incentives last fiscal year by $1.5 million.

Gov. Brownback says his office is studying the report.

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KC Currents
12:05 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Your Guide To The Kansas City Charter Review

Kansas City is known as a “weak mayor” town. That’s no slight on Mayor Sly James, it’s the way the city charter sets up our government, where the mayor is a glorified city council member, and the city manager really runs the town. It's also called a council-manager system.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:17 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Nixon Releases $215M For State Needs, But Republicans Call For More

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has released just over half of the $400 million he withheld earlier this year from Missouri's current state budget.

In a press release, he announced that $215 million will be divvied up among K-12 schools, higher education, mental health programs and specific programs for training health care professionals in southwest Missouri. Nixon released the money Thursday, one day after Republican lawmakers failed to override his veto of a controversial tax cut bill.

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Government
12:33 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Out Of Town Firms Prevail For Streetcar Construction Management

To the disappointment of some contractors' and labor organizations, two out-of-town firms will manage the construction of Kansas City's downtown streetcar line. The battle was over the process.

It wasn't the usual process of lowest price for the most product. Construction management was awarded on a point system with heavy weighting for experience with similar work.  And when the two out-of-town companies won, outcries began.

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Central Standard
12:46 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Missouri's General Assembly Faces Governor Nixon's Vetoes

Credit Ken Lund / Flickr - CC

Two bills recently vetoed by Governor Nixon are on the table for the Missouri General Assembly. Republicans are seeking to overthrow the governor's vetoes on two separate bills dealing with tax cuts and gun control.

House Bill 253 is a tax cut proposal for individuals, business owners, and corporations. The bill seeks to make Missouri more competitive with Kansas and to a more tax-friendly state. Governor Nixon vetoed House Bill 253 because he said it would gut funding for education and social services.

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Government
8:12 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Syrians In Kansas City Worry, Wait For U.S. Response

Fariz Turkmani watches news from Syria while he works in his office at the Marriott in Overland Park, Kan.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Syria has been the big story everywhere this week, but for hundreds of Syrians living in the Kansas City area, reaction to Syria’s chemical weapons attack isn’t something that goes away when they turn off the news. They live with constant concern and anxiety, wondering about the safety of their friends and family back home.

Successful business abroad

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Government
5:18 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Sex Registry For Ex-Teen Cons Will Continue In Missouri

Missouri will not ease up on former convicts who committed sex crimes when they were juveniles, and state lawmakers are getting praise for the decision in some law enforcement circles.

In the legislature, there was enough concern about the bill passed during the regular session that it was never even brought up for a vote in this week’s special session to consider the governor’s vetoes.

This was one that got Governor Jay Nixon’s red stamp. 

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Government
3:39 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Governor Nixon Wins As Tax Cut Fails In Missouri House

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon prevails in tax cut fight with legislature.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Debate over Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax bill was fierce in the Missouri House and the governor prevailed. 

The Republican majority was unable to muster the votes to make the $700 million tax cut into law.

The measure would have cut business taxes in half. Personal taxes would have been cut disproportionately.

Clay County Democrat Jon Carpenter called it unfair.

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Government
8:30 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Missouri Legislators Look At Tenured Teachers

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."

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Government
5:15 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Courts Get First Crack At Clay Co. Charter Change

A radical change taking party politics out of Clay County government has been sidetracked on its path to voters in November.

Courts have been asked to intervene and declare the measure as unconstitutional.

The bipartisan panel that designed the change voters would decide drew wrath of the elected, 3-member County Commission. 

To Commissioner Luann Ridgeway it would be a costly experiment. That puts her at odds with a charter committee leader Craig Porter, and both are Republicans.

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Government
7:30 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Audit Finds Mo. Document Scanning Policy Broke State Law

An audit released Monday finds that the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) broke state law with its now-defunct policy of scanning documents of driver's license and conceal-carry applicants.

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Government
11:57 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Area Organizations Join 'No Override' Coalition

Against the veto override: (left to right) REDiscover CEO Alan Flory, AARP Advocacy Director Norma Collins, Independence Schools Superintendent Dale Herl.
Credit Steve Bell

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.

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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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