Government

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's Statehouse Blend Kansas, budget director Shawn Sullivan walks us through Governor Sam Brownback's budget proposal, and discusses reaction from the legislature. 

Guests:

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas legislators are seeking answers from the Brownback administration after federal officials denied a one-year extension of the state’s Medicaid program known as KanCare.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

The Kansas legislative session is not yet two weeks old, but there are already signs of the change that many voters called for in the recent elections.

New legislative leadership and an aggressive group of newcomers are pushing back against many of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal, which they say won’t fix structural problems with the state budget.

Message From Voters

From the earliest days of the campaign season it was evident that many voters were frustrated about the “budget mess” in Topeka.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The debate over allowing concealed guns on college campuses is starting to heat up in the Kansas Statehouse.

A law passed in 2013 will require public universities to allow concealed guns on campus starting this summer. A group of Kansas lawmakers now is pushing a bill that would exempt state universities and colleges from the requirement.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri Supreme Court says Kansas City voters deserve a chance to weigh in on a higher minimum wage.

Last fall the City Council declined to put a minimum wage hike on the ballot because it would’ve contradicted state law.

“We often try to make sure before we’re putting something on the ballot it’s something that could be legally enacted in Kansas City, Missouri, thereafter,” Councilman Quinton Lucas says.

But Lucas, a lawyer, says Tuesday’s ruling turns that thinking on its head.

Airbnb

It’s going to be easier for the state of Kansas to get its cut of profits from hosts who use the home-sharing platform Airbnb.

On Monday, Airbnb announced it would automatically collect Kansas short-term occupancy and sales taxes on bookings.

“This is something that became very clear: the hosts do not want to deal with these taxes,” Airbnb Midwest spokesman Ben Breit says. “No one wants to spend the money they’re earning on home sharing on a tax attorney.”

Courtesy - Johnson County

Thursday's vote by the Johnson County Commission authorizes the spending of revenues from a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved last November.

The money will be used to demolish the old courthouse in downtown Olathe and replace it with a new nine story building across the street.  It will also subsidize a $20 million coroner's facility at 119th and Ridgeview for autopsies and toxicology exams.

The project is not to exceed $245 million.

Chief Counsel Don Jarrett says construction won't start until the existing courthouse is completely torn down.

Kansas News Service File

It very well might be too late, but some Kansas lawmakers are moving ahead on a plan to expand KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

The House Health and Human Services Committee voted Thursday to introduce an expansion bill at the request of Rep. Susan Concannon, a Beloit Republican.

Note: Today's show originally ran in October 2014.

Sam Brownback cut taxes dramatically in Kansas. As a Republican governor of a Republican state, he was going to enact the dream. Taxes on small businesses went down to zero. Personal income taxes went down. The tax rate on the highest income bracket went down about 25 percent. Brownback promised prosperous times for the state once government got out of the way.

Creative Commons-Pixabay

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal would sell the state’s future payments from tobacco companies to plug financial holes for the next two years.

The budget proposal — outlined Wednesday morning — calls for the state to receive $265 million from “securitizing” the tobacco payments in fiscal year 2018, which starts in July, and the same amount in the following year.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback’s office released a budget proposal Wednesday that is likely to put him at odds with large swaths of the Legislature.

Legislators in both parties won re-election last year on platforms that included repealing a state income tax exemption for business owners and providing a state general fund that balances annual spending with tax revenue and doesn’t rely on one-time sweeps of other money.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

  After Missouri Governor Eric Greitens delivered his inaugural address in Jefferson City, KCUR's Statehouse Blend Missouri teamed up with St. Louis Public Radio's Politically Speaking podcast to interview the Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Details are coming from the Kansas budget director this morning after Governor Sam Brownback delivered his State of the State address in Topeka last night. After the speech, KCUR's Statehouse Blend Kansas podcast and the Kansas News Services' Jim McLean sat down with two freshman legislators to get a fresh take on the Governor's speech.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback began a quest to preserve his legacy with Tuesday’s State of the State address.

Facing an immediate budget crisis and a Legislature rendered more oppositional with the ouster of dozens of allies in last year’s elections, Brownback used the 30-minute speech to try to reassure Kansans that the right-wing policy path he has blazed the last six years is worth maintaining.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

After Missouri Governor Eric Greitens delivered his inaugural address in Jefferson City, KCUR's Statehouse Blend Missouri teamed up with St. Louis Public Radio's Politically Speaking podcast to interview the minority and majority leadership in the House of Representatives.

Guests:

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas Legislature began its new session Monday. State lawmakers face several big challenges this year, like filling a sizeable budget hole and writing a new school funding formula. 

Kansas News Service

As they gavel in Monday for the 2017 session, Kansas legislators are considering delaying juvenile justice reforms enacted last year.

Last year’s bill was intended to steer low-level juvenile offenders into diversion and treatment programs rather than group homes and detention facilities. It had broad bipartisan support, and Gov. Sam Brownback called it the premier legislation of the 2016 session when he signed it in April.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

As the 99th General Assembly convenes in what might be an historic year for Missouri politics, Statehouse Blend Missouri sits down with state senators from both sides of the aisle to find out what to expect from the 2017 legislative session. Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) and Sen.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Again and again during his time in office, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon returned to Magna Seating, an automotive parts manufacturer in Excelsior Springs.

“Well, this is a plant that’s taken a hit and kept on ticking,” Nixon said Friday during his statewide farewell tour. “It’s bigger and stronger than it was before.”

Nixon says the first time he visited the plant, workers were still making seats for the Ford Escape. But by 2012, Ford had shifted production of the Escape to Louisville, and Magna Seating was close to shutting down.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

As the 2017 Kansas Legislature gavels in, Statehouse Blend Kansas is preparing for another year of political coverage.

Next week, we'll be hosting a live taping directly after the Governors' State of the State address on Jan. 10th in Topeka. Please, join us for that event at the Kansas Heath Institute Conference Center located at 212 SW 8th Ave #300, Topeka, KS 66603.

Flickr/Mark Warner

If someone you loved had a psychiatric emergency, would you know what to do?

Because many people wouldn’t, Kansas mental health advocates are pushing for the state to recognize psychiatric advance directives to guide care for patients in crisis who are unable to communicate. 

Kansas City, Kansas, Police

The man who killed Kansas City, Kansas, Police Detective Brad Lancaster in May 2016 pleaded guilty Tuesday.

In addition to capital murder, Curtis Ayers pleaded guilty to nine other counts in a crime spree that began when he shot 39-year-old Lancaster outside the Hollywood Casino May 9.

Ayers still faces charges in Leavenworth County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri, where he was apprehended after a long chase.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Ten more road projects in Kansas have been postponed indefinitely.

That’s in addition to the 24 that were put on hold last month.

“Yesterday we were informed that the 18 projects that were scheduled to be let in January, KDOT has reduced that down to eight,” says Bob Totten with the Kansas Contractors Association.

The cancelled road projects for December and January total more than $49 million. Kansas is facing a $348 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2017.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, House Speaker nominee Ron Ryckman (R-Olathe) talks about school funding, taxes, and what he expects from the upcoming session.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, newly elected Rep. Cindy Holscher (D-Overland Park) discusses the LLC tax loophole, Medicaid expansion, and school finance.

Guests:

  • Cindy Holscher, Representative (D-Overland Park), House of Representatives
  • Dan Margolies, Heartland Health Monitor Editor, KCUR

Courtesy Brooke Schreier Ganz

Back in February, a nonprofit group called Reclaim the Records filed requests for Missouri birth and death listings from 1910 through 2015.

The California-based outfit describes itself as a “group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates who are filing Freedom of Information requests to get public data released back into the public domain.”

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, newly elected Rep. Cindy Holscher (D-Overland Park) discusses the LLC tax loophole, Medicaid expansion, and school finance.

Guests:

  • Cindy Holscher, Representative (D-Overland Park), House of Representatives
  • Dan Margolies, Heartland Health Monitor Editor, KCUR

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend Missouri, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) talks about the House Democratic platform and where she hopes to find common ground with the Republican majority during the upcoming session.

Guests:

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas officials have lowered the forecast for future tax collections by hundreds of millions of dollars, creating a bleak budget picture. The state now faces a $350 million deficit in the current fiscal year and a nearly $600 million budget gap in the next fiscal year.

Sometimes when the revenue estimate is lowered, Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback immediately announces cuts to balance the budget. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says they aren’t doing that this time.

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