Government

Government
9:25 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Voters Hand KCMO Council Election Day Victory

Major Sly James celebrated election results with city council members Tuesday evening.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Voters on Tuesday approved all of the ballot measures supported by many Kansas City, Mo., city council members.

Top among the issues was approval to issue $500 million in water bonds.

Supporters of the ballot measure say the funding is sorely needed for the city to repair its deteriorating water infrastructure. In 2013 alone, the water department dealt with about 1200 water main breaks.

“The citizens of Kansas City fully and completely understand the need for us to continue to work on our infrastructure,” said Mayor Sly James shortly before 9 p.m.

Read more
Missouri Statehouse
3:12 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Missouri House Endorses Transportation Tax Vote

Legislation that would let voters decide if they want to create a temporary one-cent transportation sales tax has received first-round approval in the Missouri House.

The proposed constitutional amendment would be in effect for 10 years and would need to be reauthorized by voters to stay in effect beyond that. It’s sponsored by Republican Rep. Dave Hinson of Franklin County

“The people all across the state realize we have a transportation infrastructure need, no matter if you think it’s for roads, bridges, or any other type of multimodal transportation,” said Hinson.

Read more
Elections
11:47 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Kansas City To Vote On Water Improvement Bonds

Credit Creative Commons

Kansas Citians go to the polls Tuesday and one of the things they will be deciding is whether to update an aging network of underground water pipes.

Backers of the water revenue bonds say it’s critical to maintaining the city’s infrastructure.

Kansas City’s underground pipes, along with some fire hydrants and other facilities, date back to the Civil War years, say water department officials.

And, they say, the system is breaking down. Officials report there were more than 1,000 water main breaks just last year.

Read more
Up to Date
10:18 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Figuring Out The Federal Reserve

Esther George is the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Credit Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

You know the Federal Reserve is important to the government, but what does it really do?

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George about why Kansas City has a Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. We'll also look at the history of the bank at its centenary.

Guest:

  • Esther George, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City 
Read more
Missouri Statehouse
7:59 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Missouri Senate Committee Begins Reviewing State Budget Passed By House

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 7:49 pm

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have begun their review of the state's spending plan for Fiscal Year 2015.

Read more
Up to Date
11:00 am
Mon April 7, 2014

In The Trenches Of The White House Press Corps

Tamara Keith and Margaret Talev both cover the White House.

You’re in Washington, and you’ve got the plum assignment—covering the White House. You might get to ride on Air Force One and travel the world with the president, but is it really as glamorous as it sounds?

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk with NPR’s Tamara Keith and Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev about their experiences as White House correspondents. We discuss the challenges and the excitement of reporting on the president, and what it’s like to be in that briefing room.

Guests:

Read more
Government
6:20 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Autism Insurance Bill Heads To Kansas Governor

A bill awaiting Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s signature would require health insurance sold in the state to include coverage for autism services--at least in a limited fashion. 

The bill sent to the governor last week includes coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis. 

Representative John Rubin, of Shawnee, guided the bill through the House.  He says research shows ABA is the most effective form of therapy for a majority of kids with autism, but it needs to start in the preschool years…

Read more
Kansas Statehouse
6:30 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Kansas House Passes Education Bill

The Kansas House has passed an education spending bill on a bipartisan 91-31 vote. The measure includes around $100 million in additional education funding. The bill would create an education study committee and would change teacher certification rules.

"This is a very good combination of strong policy that will help our schools use money efficiently or give us ideas. And it's a strong policy in meeting the court's test that they want us to equalize our funding here in the state," says Rep. Marvin Kleeb, a Republican from Overland Park.

Read more
Government
6:23 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Judge Denies Attempt to Stop Gay Couples Joint Taxes

Gay couples in Missouri who were married in other states may still file their taxes jointly.

On Friday, a judge denied a conservative group in its attempt to immediately bar same-sex couples from filing their state tax returns together, a right granted by Gov. Jay Nixon’s executive order issued last year.

Kyle Piccola of PROMO, a state gay rights group, said he wasn’t surprised by the ruling.

Read more
Kansas Statehouse
8:24 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Kansas Senate Advances Education Funding Bill

The Kansas Senate has advanced a plan to respond to a state Supreme Court ruling on education funding.

The court said lawmakers created inequalities between school districts by cutting certain types of education funds. The bill would shift money into funds aimed at reducing those disparities. Dollars would be moved from school transportation as well as other areas of the budget.

Sen. Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, said they are prioritizing spending.

Read more
Government
8:08 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Kansas City Council Moves To Replace 19th Century Sewer Pipe

Sewer pipe dated 1874 was recently dug up near the Kansas City, Mo., City Hall.
Credit City of Kansas City, Mo.

The Kansas City city council was in an infrastructure-improving mood Thursday — some of its very old infrastructure.  The city council took several steps toward replacing crumbling sewer and water lines.

The full council gave its approval to rehabilitation of sewer lines around 22nd and Paseo. Infrastructure chair Russ Johnson emphasized how old they were.

"That was constructed in 1890," he said. "It's time to rehab it.”

The other council members agreed, and approved spending $1.48 million in existing bond money to do the job.

Read more
Central Standard
2:15 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Energy Standards In Kansas

Credit Nuala / Flickr/CC

The Kansas Senate voted to repeal a state mandate that required utility companies to get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. However, the House refused to repeal House Bill 2014 less than 24 hours later.

On today's Central Standard, host Gina Kaufmann discusses the politics of wind energy and the environmental impact it has in Kansas.

Guests:

Read more
Kansas Statehouse
7:49 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Kansas House Committee Advances Prairie Chicken Bill

A mounted pair of lesser prairie chickens on display in the Kansas Statehouse.
Credit Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas House committee has advanced a bill aimed at bucking federal regulation of the lesser prairie chicken. It was announced last week that the federal government would list the bird as a threatened species.

The bill says federal rules and policies surrounding the lesser prairie chicken have no effect in Kansas.

Washington Republican and chairwoman of the Kansas House Ag Committee, Sharon Schwartz, says the bill makes a statement. She says state and regional conservation plans would be better than federal regulation, which could hurt industry.

Read more
Government
5:44 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Johnson County Election Results

Results below are for contested races only.  All those running unopposed won.

Leawood

Council Member - Ward 3

  • Tom Robinett  58.2%
  • James M. Stephens 40.9%

Mission

Mayor

  • Steven Schowengerdt  50.5%
  • David Shepard 49.4%

Council Member - Ward 1

  • Steven Lucas 55.6%
  • Jay A. Meyer 43.8%

Council Member - Ward 2 

  • Arcie Rothrock 56.3%
  • William J. Vandenberg, III 43.8%

Council Member - Ward 4 

Read more
Government
8:56 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Public Vote On Kansas City Charter Changes Vote Set For Next Tuesday

Next Tuesday, Kansas Citians will decide whether to make changes to the city charter. The city council has submitted voters three charter-revision ballot questions. Most city council members hope one of them will “warm up” voters attitudes on city elections.

Question 3 would move the city Mayor-Council primary election from late February to early April. And the city general election would move from late March to Early June.

The thinking is: “better weather equals better turnout.”

Read more
Missouri Statehouse
8:01 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Breast-Feeding Protection Bill, Sponsored By Ailing Lawmaker, Sent To Gov. Nixon

State Rep. Rory Ellinger, D-University City

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 8:40 pm

  Legislation to expand legal protections in Missouri for breast-feeding moms is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Read more
Central Standard
4:00 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

What The Affordable Care Act Means For Kansas City Artists

The deadline to sign up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act was March 31. By law, all U.S. citizens must have some form of insurance or face a tax penalty for the year.

But does the law help people, like artists, who have been  unable or unwilling to buy health insurance in previous markets?

On Central Standard, host Gina Kaufmann spoke with some Kansas City artists about the Affordable Care Act and whether it complicated or improved their health insurance status.

Read more
Up to Date
11:12 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Opening Police Records In Kansas

The KSHB-TV report features several stories, including Beverly Stewart's tale about how her daughter was shot dead by police.
Credit KSHB-TV

If the police staged a massive raid on your house, complete with assault weapons, you’d want to know why. But finding that out in Kansas is tricky and costly. 

On Monday's Up to Date, we look at a KSHB-TV investigative report on the problems local residents have had getting police records open in the state.

Guests:

Read more
Government
8:54 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Tour Of Port Of Kansas City Shows Infrastructure Needs

The Port of Kansas City, at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, has been closed since 2007.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Rusted and weedy rail tracks; boarded up red-brick buildings, with broken windows, from the 1930s; and run-down gray buildings from the '60s and '70s were part of the tour on Friday afternoon of the Port of Kansas City.

The port has essentially been closed since 2007 due to dwindling processing of freight, only about 600,000 tons a year. The city’s Port Authority is leading a charge to re-open it and revive the barge industry.

Read more
Kansas Statehouse
7:40 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Kansas House Committee To Consider Education Bill

The Kansas House Appropriations Committee will start hearings Monday on a budget bill to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling over education funding. But it looks like the issues in the bill will stretch beyond just school spending.

The budget bill before the committee includes other policy items like rewriting teacher licensure rules. Chairman Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican, told committee members last week about the broad scope of the discussion.

Read more
Government
7:51 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Council Approves Streetcar Phase II With No Brookside Extension

Credit City of Kansas City, Missouri

Phase two of Kansas City's streetcar system moved ahead again Thursday, but it won't be rolling through Brookside.

The city council approved a streetcar system expansion of about 8 miles – a south extension along main to the UMKC area, east on Independence Avenue to Benton and east on Linwood to Prospect. A proposal for the southward extension to run to Brookside or Waldo was set aside because it was too expensive for projected revenue.

Read more
Government
7:47 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Missouri Group Says Gay Couple's Tax Filings Unconstitutional

A conservative Missouri group on Wednesday attempted to put a quick stop to same-sex couples’ right to file joint tax returns, saying it violates the state’s ban on gay marriage.

Read more
Kansas Statehouse
7:53 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Kansas Senate Votes To Repeal Renewable Energy Standards

The wind energy industry in Kansas has benefited from the RPS.
Credit Joesph Novak / Flickr--CC

The Kansas Senate has voted 25-15 to repeal the state's Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), which require 20 percent of Kansas power generation to be from renewable sources by 2020.

The requirements were passed in 2009 and have been credited with helping promote wind power development. The vote came after more than an hour of debate.

Opponents of the standards say they pick winners and losers, and wind power growth has outpaced the renewable requirements. They argue that the standards have led to rate increases with more in the future.

Read more
Death Penalty
7:49 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Missouri Executes Inmate, Third This Year

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 11:33 am

At 12:01 Wednesday morning, Missouri executed inmate Jeffrey Ferguson, marking the state's fifth execution in as many months.

Ferguson was put to death for the brutal murder and rape of a 17-year-old St. Charles County girl. The crime occurred in 1989, and the victim’s father, Jim Hall, said the punishment was long overdue.

Read more
Missouri Statehouse
7:48 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Missouri House Approves Budget For FY2015

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to next year’s state budget.

House members spent most of the day bringing up amendments they hoped to add on to the budget, including two attempts to expand Medicaid. Both failed, and both were sponsored by Democrat Jill Schupp of St. Louis County

“Ladies and gentlemen, when rural hospitals close, actions here today will be remembered," said Schupp. "I have a list of over 100 organizations from communities all over the state – these are all the groups that say, ‘it’s time to expand Medicaid.’”

Read more
Government
5:06 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Committee Recommends Excluding Brookside From Proposed Streetcar Line

A rendering of the streetcar in Kansas City.
Credit HDR, City of Kansas City

Kansas City’s Streetcar Advisory Committee is recommending that a proposed southern expansion of the new system end at UMKC. 

The committee is backing three extensions off the two-mile starter line, which will run from Union Station to the Rivermarket.  Phase two would stretch east from Main, running about two miles along Independence Avenue, and Linwood Boulevard. The third would extend south from Union Station about three and a half miles, and stop around 51st street.  

Read more
Missouri Statehouse
7:56 am
Tue March 25, 2014

A Look At What's In Store For The Second Half Of The Missouri Legislative Session

Missouri Legislators are back at the Statehouse this week to start work on the second half of the 2014 session.
Credit jimmywayne / Flickr

The second half of Missouri's 2014 regular session is underway.  Leaders in both chambers and from both parties remain focused on crafting a state budget and on easing the burden of the state's student transfer law – but they remain divided on expanding Medicaid.  St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin takes a closer look at what we can expect to see during the final eight weeks of session.

Medicaid Expansion a 'nonstarter'

Read more
Kansas Statehouse
7:47 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Kansas House Passes Bill To Join Effort To Take Control Of ACA Money

The Kansas House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would allow Kansas to join several other states in an effort to wrest control of health care programs from the federal government.

The Interstate Health Care Compact is in large part a reaction to the Affordable Care Act. The main sponsor of the legislation in the House is Republican Rep. Brett Hildabrand.

“Many of our constituents are looking for any way possible to get out from under the Affordable Care Act, and this is one method for doing that," said Hildabrand.

Read more
Kansas Statehouse
7:39 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Kansas Lawmakers Delay Work On Education Funding

Work on education funding bills continues in the Kansas Statehouse. The legislation is being considered in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that said there are unconstitutional funding disparities between school districts.

Lawmakers are expected to start work this week on a solution, but committee work Monday was delayed.

Republican Sen. Ty Masterson from Andover  says they're not yet in a position to begin work on a proposal.

Read more
Kansas Statehouse
7:51 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Kansas Lawmakers To Start Work On Education Funding Bill

This week, a Kansas House committee could consider a bill to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling on education funding. It comes after the process got off to a rocky start last week.

The bill would increase money for certain education funds that are aimed at reducing disparities between districts. But the bill includes other education policy changes, and the lawmaker who introduced it included an expansion of charter schools in the proposal.

Read more

Pages