Government

Up to Date
6:00 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Payday Loans Elude Stiffer Regulation In MO

Short-term lenders make big profits in Missouri. QC, which mostly does business as Quik Cash, has 101 outlets in Missouri and in 2012, one-third of the company's profits came from the state, twice as much as from California, its second-most profitable state.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Payday lenders are notorious for their sky high interest rates, and the people who use these storefront creditors are oftentimes the ones least able to pay.

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with ProPublica reporter Paul Kiel about the situation in Missouri, where attempts to regulate these businesses—such as capping interest rates—keep getting defeated.  

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Government
8:03 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Kansas, Missouri Prosecutors Warn Of Cuts To Law Enforcement

U.S. Attorneys Tammy Dickinson and Barry Grissom warn of little considered outcomes to budget cuts.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

In an almost unprecedented public airing, the chief  federal prosecutors for both Missouri and Kansas have warned about outcomes they expect if law enforcement budget cuts continue into the next fiscal year.

Tammy Dickinson for the Western District of Missouri, which includes Kansas City, said job furloughs and tightened budgets will hamper the fight against crime.

Dickinson said a little realized consequence is that reducing staff will actually cut federal income, because fewer staff won’t be able to try cases that bring in multi-millions of dollars.

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Central Standard
9:20 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Five Stories Behind KC Neighborhoods And Parks

Loose Park in the summer.
Credit maltoodle / Flickr

Ever wonder how neighborhoods and parks around the city got their names? Host Monroe Dodd was back during Friday's show with a panel of guests to tell the stories behind the names of public spaces and communities in Kansas City.

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Government
8:36 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Kobach Considering Rule To Create Two Classes Of Voters

Voter registration applications for more than 12,000 people in Kansas are on hold because of missing documents that could prove U.S. citizenship. A state law that took effect this year requires people who register to vote for the first time in Kansas to prove their citizenship.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he's considering a rule change that could allow some of those voters to cast ballots in certain elections.

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Government
1:08 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Council Joins Quest For GOP Convention

Credit City of KC, RNC, Steve Bell

Kansas City, Mo. made it official Thursday, the city is going after the 2016 Republican National Convention.

The city council resolved to support the efforts of an independent group that began working to land the convention more than five months ago.

Mayor Pro-tem Cindy Circo told the council the idea is not far-fetched.

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Government
5:03 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

New Missouri Self Ban In Place For Lottery Addicts

The Missouri Lottery agency will now allow problem gamblers to put themselves on a lifetime-ban list.  The ban deals with collecting winnings, not buying lottery tickets.

Missouri’s Lottery Executive Director said  there are too many sale outlets to keep anyone from buying tickets once they’re on the ban list. 

Instead, money winners on the list won’t be able to claim prizes of $600 or more. A database will be checked when someone goes to one of 4 regional offices to claim the larger prizes. 

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Government
9:40 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Missouri Among Top States Using Cost-Benefit Data

A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that Missouri is in the top ten states when it comes to using cost-benefit analysis of taxpayer money. 

Cost-benefit programs analyze the cost of public programs and the benefits they provide taxpayers. In short, it’s the study of how much bang taxpayers are getting for their buck. And it can be a very effective tool when drafting new laws or policy.

The “States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis” report released this week finds that Missouri is one of ten states leading the way in using cost-benefit studies to shape its policy-making.

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Government
9:37 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Blunt Co-Sponsors Bill to Streamline Government Regulations

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri introduced a bill Wednesday he says will streamline some government regulations and do away with others altogether.

The bill would have Congress create a new commission, which would take input from the public on which regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too much of a burden. That commission would report back to Congress with recommendations of what changes to make.

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Government
11:38 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Bullying Ordinance Puts Onus On Parents

A city council committee has endorsed an ordinance that would outlaw bullying throughout Kansas City, Missouri. As with the city's youth curfew, the onus falls on parents.

The 14 school districts in the city already have policies to protect students from being bullied, as is required by Missouri law.

The problem, says Councilman Scott Taylor, is that school districts' anti-bullying policies are only enforceable on school property. And bullying is not confined to school grounds, especially in the age of the Internet, where online humiliations have even led to suicides.

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Government
3:39 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

MO Democratic Chair Will Step Down

Mike Sanders to leave helm of Missouri Democratic Party .
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Missouri Democrats will  be picking a new state party chair when they meet in late August.

Current Chairman Mike Sanders  is stepping down from the post.

The incumbent Jackson County Executive is in his second term as Missouri Democratic Chairman. 

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Up to Date
9:40 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Jackson County Exec. Talks Assessments, Courthouse

Mike Sanders is the executive for Jackson County.
Credit Jackson County government

    

Breaking news update: Mike Sanders has announced he is stepping down as chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party. 

Jackson County is really hopping these days. Between fluctuating property assessments and the courthouse renovation, the county’s missteps and triumphs are keeping people talking. 

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Government
8:07 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Missouri Speaker Says Tax Veto Override Unlikely

The income tax bill that would eventually reduce income tax rates by about a half of a percent is likely to not be brought up in veto session next month, according to Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones a Republican from Eureka.

Jones said he currently doesn't have the votes necessary for an override of the governor's veto.

"Overriding the veto would be monumental at this point," Jones said. "I likely would not attempt an override."

Jones added that lawmakers' stances on the bill could be in flux.

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Government
4:21 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Kansas City Fast Food Strike Has National Minimum Wage Tie

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver with fast-food strike supporters.
Dan Verbeck KCUR

Some Kansas City fast food workers walked off the job July 29 in a seven city effort to hike the minimum wage to $15 and guarantee right to organize unions.   

Some 150 people marched in front of the Burger King at 47th and Troost. Democratic Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver joined in strike-support and argued for a higher minimum wage.  

"There is no empirical evidence to suggest all of the claims that we see by those who fight against the minimum wage," said Cleaver.

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Government
8:05 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Commission Seeks Out Advice Of Former Mayors

The mayoral commission looking at how Kansas City should alter its basic operating doctrine hopes to get suggestions from all living ex-mayors, but the Charter Review Commission is having spotty success.

Because the outcome is so important to the basic layout of government function, members decided former mayors have a lot of valuable history to describe. The panel is trying to schedule former Mayor Charles Wheeler; former Mayor Richard Berkley is ill and unable to appear in the next week or two.

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Government
7:17 am
Mon July 29, 2013

House Committee On Downsizing Missouri Government Submits Findings

The chair of an interim Missouri House committee looking at ways to downsize state government says they've handed off their findings to the Speaker's office.

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Government
1:51 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Council Votes To Restrict Investments In Firearm Companies

The Kansas City city council is asking city pension fund boards not to invest in companies that manufacture guns – and will request that the Board of Police Commissioners consider the same policy for police retirement funds.

Mayor Sly James told the council that the goal is discussions with firearms companies on letting cities with gun violence problems enact more restrictive gun control laws within their jurisdictions.

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Government
11:49 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Former Missouri DOR Director: No Steps Taken On Real ID

The final day of hearings into the Department of Revenue's now-defunct policy of scanning and storing documents of driver's license applicants featured the agency's former director answering questions under oath.

Alana Barragan-Scott told the House Bipartisan Investigative Committee on Privacy Protection that during her tenure, the department sought to safeguard driver's licenses from fraud and were not trying to skirt a 2009 state law barring compliance with the federal Real ID Act.

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Government
3:38 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Sen. Blunt, Roberts 'Disappointed' With President's Speech

President Obama's Warrensburg speech drew unified and quick disapproval from Republican officials. In one case, the critique came before the president spoke.

The White House was very open in advance about the fact that the president would be urging acceptance of his existing priorities, including investment in education, infrastructure and health care.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt took advantage of the pre-release information to make a speech of his own on the Senate floor before Air Force One had touched down in his state.

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Government
9:53 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

President Obama Lauds Missouri College Cost Cut Program

Warrensburg, MO restaurant offers greeting.
Dan Verbeck kcur

Speeches on the economy and the middle class in Illinois and Warrensburg, Mo. Wednesday were parts of a plan by President Obama.

President Obama said in Warrensburg he will take his message to a series of American towns in coming weeks.

In total, it was not a new theme. 

At University of Central Missouri the President talked of making a college education more affordable.

He also spoke of building more ladders for people to climb to the middle class, if willing to work for it. He said he would make early childhood education a priority.

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Government
7:09 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

6 Questions For Councilman Scott Wagner About The Kansas City Museum

In 2003, Scott Wagner moved to the city's historic Northeast and got interested in neighborhood issues. A year later, Wagner joined the mayor-appointed Kansas City Museum Advisory Board. "I've been involved now for nine years. I've seen quite a bit in that time," he laughs.

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Government
4:22 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Museum Advisory Board Asks City To Reinstate Director

The Kansas City Museum is housed at Corinthian Hall in the city's historic northeast. The mansion was built by lumber baron R.A. Long in 1908; it opened as a museum in 1940.
Credit Scutter / Creative Commons

The Kansas City Museum Advisory Board has formally approved the business plan calling for the city to break Kansas City Museum's ties with Union Station Kansas City.

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Government
8:38 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Downsizing Missouri Government Tour Ends At Capitol

Missouri’s House Committee for Downsizing State Government has finished holding a series of public hearings around the state for citizens to share their ideas on how to cut down on state government spending. 

The committee began the hearings Tuesday in St. Louis, and finished up Thursday at the Capitol. 

Republican Representative Paul Curtman, the committee’s chairman, says citizens across the state turned out to express concerns and ideas about reducing the size of state government.

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Government
8:10 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Senate Committee Advances NBAF Funding

Both the U.S. Senate and House have approved the same amount of funding for NBAF.
Bryan Thompson Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts say funding for a federal lab to be built in Manhattan has passed an important hurdle.

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, will study diseases that could be used to attack the nation's food supply. A Senate subcommittee voted earlier this week to approve more than $400 million for the lab.

Moran says that a full Senate committee has now also voted to approve the funding.

“It is a determining factor in NBAF’s future,” says Moran.

Government
1:14 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Council Votes On Traffic Lights, Chickens, Animal Abuse

Traffic lights, animal cruelty and backyard chickens highlighted Thursday's Kansas City, Mo. city council meeting.

City yields on traffic signals

Half of the Kansas City traffic signals that were turned off late last year will be turned back on, as the city yielded to neighborhood pressure.

Thirty seven traffic lights were turned off in the first wave of phasing out signals at intersections where federal standards say are no longer needed. The lights were also old and in need of replacement at a cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each.

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Government
5:34 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

One Grant To Fund Two-City Blight Battle In Metro KC

The two Kansas Cities have won a $600,000 federal grant from the Environmental  Protection Agency to restore a score or more environmentally blighted areas. 

The project to be called One-KC Brownfields Coalition will include hazard cleanup, urban farms, orchards and gardens.

The properties are in a swath across state line. They lie in the central city of Kansas City Kansas and roughly bordered by  the Missouri River and 31st in Kansas City, Mo. 

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Government
6:33 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Clean Indoor Air Act Remains Popular In Kansas

Three years after taking effect, the Clean Indoor Air Act remains overwhelmingly popular among Kansas voters, according to a statewide public opinion poll. It finds that 78 percent of Kansas voters approve of the law that prohibits smoking in most public places. 

One of the tradeoffs made to get the law passed exempts state-operated casinos from the smoking ban.

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Up to Date
6:00 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Behind The Politico Playbook

Politico's Mike Allen wakes up at 3 a.m. each day to compile his daily "Playbook."
Credit Politico

Perplexed by the inner workings of our nation’s capital? Baffled by Beltway politics?

Mike Allen, the man behind the daily Politico Playbook knows how to untangle it all. 

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Government
4:38 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Kansas City Council To Consider Slap At Gun Makers

Confiscated handgun ammunition at K.C. Police Headquarters in July 2013.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

If the Kansas City Council agrees, city pension system funds will  not be invested in companies that make guns. 

The resolution passed a Council Committee with one dissenting vote.

The police commission retirement board will be asked to do the same.

The Finance, Governance and Ethics Committee voted to forward the resolution after hearing Mayor Sly James argue it’s  time to send a message to gun manufacturers.

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Government
9:47 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Kansas Board Rejects Voter Registration Change

A state regulatory board has rejected a proposed change to voter registration rules requiring Kansans to show proof of citizenship.

The rules took effect in January. Since then, around 12,000 voter registration applications have been missing citizenship documents. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach pushed for the citizenship law, and for the proposed rule change.

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Government
4:26 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

KC Streetcar Tax Challenge In Judges' Hands

Photo illustration of how a streetcar might look going southbound on Main Street.
Credit HDR Corp.

The Kansas City Court of Appeals has taken testimony to help judges decide factors that will affect timely construction of a new downtown streetcar. 

The case centers on protests of taxes to support building and operating the line.

On one hand, City Hall argues the cutoff date to contest the vote on a taxing district is long past.

On the other, lawyers for two property owners think opponents of the 1 cent sales tax and a property tax increase had proper time to object.  That’s the heart of it.

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