Government

Kansas Statehouse
8:24 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Brownback Signs Bill Tweaking Workers Compensation

Brownback speaks during the ceremonial signing of the workers compensation bill.
Credit Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill allowing more workers compensation claims for firefighters and law enforcement officers.

Previously, emergency responders had not been able to collect workers compensation for heart attacks or strokes.

More than 40 years ago, Kansas rewrote workers compensation laws. Part of that created a rule that said a worker couldn't collect workers comp for heart attacks or strokes related to their job unless it was caused by an unusually high level of exertion that isn't normally required for the job.

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Missouri Statehouse
2:00 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

House, Senate Negotiators Finish Work On Missouri Budget

Budget negotiators meet to hammer out final version of 12 remaining budget bills. At center of table, l-r, are Senate Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, and House Budget Chair Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood.

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 5:27 am

House and Senate budget negotiators have finalized the 12 remaining bills that make up Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

Both sides signed off on increasing funding for K-12 schools by $114.8 million. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue projections hold true, school spending would get a $278 million spending hike. Higher education would increase by $43 million, about 5 percent. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairs the House Budget Committee. He said they also put money in next year's budget to help finance a new state mental hospital at Fulton.

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Up to Date
10:49 am
Wed May 7, 2014

KCI: Looking Behind The Single Terminal Recommendation

The official recommendation from Mayor Sly James' task force is to build a new single terminal at KCI.
Credit Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

Moving one step closer to a final resolution on Kansas City International Airport's future, Mayor Sly James' task force recommended a new single terminal Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with the co-chairs of that advisory panel about why it recommended this option, which has encountered fierce opposition in the Kansas City metro area.

Guests:

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KCI Airport
10:37 am
Wed May 7, 2014

KCI Airport Task Force Recommends Single Airport Terminal

A 24-member task force has been considering the future of Kansas City International Airport for the past year.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

The KCI Terminal Advisory Group recommended Wednesday that the city transform Kansas City International Airport into a single-terminal structure.

The recommendation comes from the 24-member task force Kansas City Mayor Sly James appointed last spring to study the issue. The group has been meeting bi-weekly for nearly a year to consider the airport's future.

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Government
7:56 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Supporters Disrupt Missouri Senate

Members of Mo. Senate pause and watch a group of protesters chant slogans calling for Medicaid expansion. Nearly two dozen were arrested, but they were released shortly afterward.

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 5:30 am

Twenty-three people were arrested at the Missouri Capitol Tuesday following a protest supporting Medicaid expansion. The protesters began shouting slogans and singing songs from the public gallery above the State Senate floor during debate on an unrelated bill.  

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Missouri Statehouse
7:55 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Missouri House Joins Senate To Override Veto Of Tax-Cut Bill

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 3:47 pm

The Missouri House acted quickly Tuesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a tax-cut bill that is estimated to cut the state's revenue by about $620 million a year when fully implemented.

The House obtained the exact number of votes needed — 109 — with the help of one Democrat, Rep. Keith English of Florissant.  He joined all of the chamber's 108 Republicans.

The House joined the Senate, which voted 23-8 on Monday to override the governor's veto, which he issued last week.

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Up To Date
9:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

The New Democrat

Al From is the author of The New Democrats and the Return to Power

On Monday's Up to Date, we sit down with Al From, author of The New Democrats and the Return to Power.  He joins Steve Kraske for a look at the history and future of the Democratic Party.  As founder of the Democratic Leadership Council he ushered in a new breed of Democrat with Bill Clinton's administration.   

Guest:

Al From is founder of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). 

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Up To Date
3:02 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

The Debate Over The Missouri Tax Cut Bill

Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to veto the proposed Missouri income tax cut later today.

On April 23, Up to Date's Steve Kraske spoke with Amy Blouin, Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project, who opposes the tax cut, and Patrick Ishmael, a policy analyst with the Show-Me Institute who supports the signing of the bill.

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Government
7:43 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Streetcar Project May Prompt Kansas City Officials To Temporarily Move Bus Lines

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is thinking about temporarily moving some routes off Main Street in Kansas City, Mo., while streets are congested with construction.

While lower Main street is torn up as workers lay streetcar lines, it comes as no surprise to anyone moving around there that traffic is a mess. So Mark Huffer, General Manager of the ATA, says officials are thinking it may alleviate some of the congestion to move peak-time routes off Main to Grand for awhile.

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Kansas Statehouse
3:17 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Kansas Lawmakers Consider Tossing Health Club Tax Break

A legislative conference committee is working to reconcile differing tax bills that passed the Kansas House and Senate. In the first round of negotiations Wednesday, House leaders suggested eliminating a proposed tax break for health clubs.

The measure would exempt health clubs from property taxes because some club owners say they face unfair competition from YMCAs, which are tax exempt nonprofit organizations.

Rep. Richard Carlson, a St. Marys Republican, is concerned that giving health clubs a tax break could lead to other businesses asking for a similar tax cut.

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Missouri Statehouse
7:12 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Missouri Senate Passes State Budget, Negotiations Over Final Version Are Next

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 9:10 am

The Missouri Senate passed the rest of the state budget Tuesday, after taking care of the first five bills on Monday. Those debates were routine for the most part, with the Senate approving the budgets for K-12 schools and Higher Education.

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Missouri Statehouse
7:11 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Missouri Senate Scales Back Transportation Sales Tax Proposal

I-70 in Columbia

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:55 pm

The Missouri Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment to create a temporary sales tax to fund transportation needs around the state, but not before scaling it back.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Tue April 29, 2014

War: How Violence Can Lead To Stability

Ian Morris is the author of 'War! What Is It Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots .'

War is bloody, tragic and violent, but it also has benefits for society—even if it doesn’t feel that way when the bullets are flying.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with a historian about his idea that war ultimately leads to stability and prosperity, despite the high body counts it takes to get there.

Guest:

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Government
7:38 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Reports: FBI Investigation Involves Kansas Governor’s Office

The FBI is investigating possible influence peddling by former aides of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, according to a story Sunday in The Topeka Capital-Journal.

The FBI is also looking into whether the governor’s office pressured the for-profit companies that run the state Medicaid system to use lobbyists from Parallel Strategies, a firm founded by the former aides, including the governor’s former chief of staff, David Kensinger, the newspaper reported.

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Up To Date
4:43 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Former Brownback Aides Under FBI Scrutiny

From left to right: George Stafford, David Kensinger, and Riley Scott, the founding partners of Parallel Strategies.
Credit parallelstrategiesks.com

Over the weekend, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s KanCare Medicaid program. 

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Government
4:07 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Nixon Proposes New Medicaid Expansion Program, Catching Legislators Off Guard

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 11:01 pm

In the final weeks of the legislative session, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has made a last-ditch effort to resurrect a push to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program and accept roughly $2 billion a year in federal money.

The governor, a Democrat, unveiled his “Missouri Health Works’’ program before business leaders Monday in Cape Girardeau. By coincidence or design, state House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka and an opponent of Medicaid expansion, was also in Cape on Monday with conservative low-tax icon Grover Norquist to highlight a different issue.

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Missouri Statehouse
10:38 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Budget, Student Transfers, Transportation Tax Fill Missouri Lawmakers' Plates This Week

Originally published on Sun April 27, 2014 9:41 pm

It'll be a busy week for Missouri lawmakers as they enter the homestretch of the 2014 regular session.

First, the Missouri Senate is scheduled this evening to begin debates on the 13 bills making up the state budget, and they may actually try to pass them all tonight, according to Appropriations chair Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

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Government
7:51 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Washington Post Says Kansas Congressman Wrong About ACA Numbers

A Washington Post blog called "The Fact Checker" gave "four Pinocchios" to recent claims by Kansas U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp about the Affordable Care Act.

The rating characterizes Huelskamp's claims as untrue.

The rating is based on statements Huelskamp made during recent town hall meetings in Hays and Salina, when he was asked about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

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Kansas Statehouse
7:39 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Kansas Lawmakers To Resume Legislative Session

Kansas lawmakers will resume the 2014 legislative session this week after a nearly month-long break, when they return Wednesday.

Lawmakers don't need to pass a full budget this year, because they passed a two-year budget last session. But they do need to finish at least a spending plan for the Kansas Department of Corrections. That section of the state budget was vetoed by the governor because of cuts in corrections spending.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:04 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Comprehensive Rewrite Of Missouri Criminal Code Passes Easily But Future Unsure

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 4:59 pm

Missouri lawmakers have sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill to rewrite the state's criminal code for the first time in more than 30 years. The wide-ranging proposal took several years and two legislative sessions to hammer out, but it's unclear whether Nixon intends to sign it.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:42 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Impeachment Hearings Against Gov. Nixon Underway In Mo. House Committee

State Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Parkville, presents his article of impeachment before the Mo. House Judiciary Cmte. on Apr. 23, 2014.

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:30 pm

Hearings began Wednesday on three articles of impeachment against Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

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Government
7:40 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Chelsea Or Bradley, Inmate Manning Is Still Inmate Manning

A Judge in Leavenworth, Kan., has allowed Bradley Manning, who’s serving time in the Army prison there for espionage, to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

Army specialists say Manning, has gender dysphoria; while physically a man, Manning identifies as a woman. Pentagon spokesman George Wright says Wednesday's brief court hearing won’t change Manning’s treatment in the all-male U.S. disciplinary barracks.

“This court action is only a name change, and will have no other effect on his current status, other than the name in his record,” said Wright.

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Government
9:39 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Nixon's Latest Tax-Cut Battle With General Assembly Resembles Earlier Fight

Missouri Capitol

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:57 pm

With a new tax-cut package on his desk, Missouri Gov. Nixon has zeroed in on a new “fatal flaw’’ that his administration says could wipe out 65 percent of the state’s general-revenue income used to fund most state services and aid to public schools.

The details may be different, but the basic argument mirrors last year’s fight, when Nixon successfully killed a tax-cut bill by highlighting flaws that he said would cost the state's treasury – and the public – far more than the bill’s backers had intended.

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Government
9:38 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Missouri Tax Cut Could Cost Some Districts 20 Percent Of Their State Appropriation

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 5:07 pm

When the Missouri General Assembly passed its tax cut bill, SB509, the Missouri School Boards Association released a chart showing how much money each of the state's school districts stood to lose if the bill became law. The chart compares the difference between Nixon's recommended level of funding for each district and the lower appropriation request that would result as a result of the tax cuts — a total of $223 million statewide.

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Politics
7:45 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Bob Dole Speaks On KU Campus During Kansas Visit

Former Republican Kansas Senator Bob Dole is in the midst of a tour through eastern Kansas to meet with friends and supporters.

Dole will wrap up the three-day trek Wednesday in Atchison and Leavenworth.

On Tuesday, the 90-year-old visited the University of Kansas campus and spoke at a facility named after him — the Dole Institute. He didn't shy away from serious topics.

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Government
10:02 am
Tue April 22, 2014

No Recommendation Yet From Airport Citizens Task Force

The KCI Terminal Advisory Group met at City Hall Tuesday morning.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

A slew of remaining questions prevented the KCI Terminal Advisory Group from making its official recommendation Tuesday morning.

The group, which was created by Mayor Sly James, is expected to make a recommendation to the City Council on one of three plans for the future of the Kansas City International Airport.

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Government
9:52 am
Tue April 22, 2014

KCI Taskforce Narrows Choices

The citizens taskforce has ruled out recommending KCI keep the same configuration.

A citizen taskforce soon could make a recommendation for the future of Kansas City International Airport. 

After nearly a year of work, the group has narrowed the many possible options down to three — renovating the existing terminals and building new screening areas and parking facilities, revamping two terminals and connecting them with a central building, or constructing a new terminal. 

Architect Bob Berkebile helped draw up plans for KCI more than four decades ago. He now co-chairs the advisory group.

Interview highlights

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Government
5:26 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Missouri's Republican and Democratic Parties Retool For Fall Elections

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:09 pm

Missouri’s Democratic and Republican parties have revamped their campaign operations, and installed new executive directors, just seven months before this fall’s elections.

The Missouri Democratic Party – which is fielding no candidate for state auditor -- also has taken the unusual step of dissolving the party’s state Senate and House campaign committees, folding control of those operations, and their money, into the state party’s coffers.

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Government
9:38 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Nixon, Zweifel Report Raising Little Campaign Money — Unlike Kander, Jones

Jay Nixon

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 10:03 pm

In the midst of his second term, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has continued to travel the state to promote his agenda for the state. He has heightened his profile even more in recent days, as he has blasted a tax-cut proposal that the General Assembly has landed on his desk.

But Nixon has effectively dropped one activity that used to take up a lot of his time: campaign fundraising.

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Government
8:46 am
Fri April 18, 2014

E-Cigarette Bills Pass Missouri House And Senate On Same Day

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 10:47 pm

The Missouri Senate and Missouri House have both passed bills to ban sales of electronic nicotine delivery devices to minors.

House Bill 1690 and Senate Bill 841 would both limit the sales of these devices, sometimes called e-cigarettes, to consumers 18 years old and older, and both versions would not subject the devices to  regulation or taxation as tobacco products. 

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