Government

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Sen. David Pearce  (R-Warrensburg) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss campaign contribution limits, the University of Missouri Columbia, and the earnings tax.

Guests:

  • David Pearce, Senator from Warrensburg, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Pat Kelly, Teacher, KCPS
  • Jason Rosenbaum, Political Reporter, St. Louis Public Radio
Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

As second baseman for the Kansas City Royals, Frank White helped bring the team a big first: a World Series win.

On Friday, more than 30 years after the 1985 World Series, White celebrated two more firsts: his first State of the County address as the first African-American Jackson County Executive. 

"Today I feel like a rookie again," White said with a wide smile and to much applause. "I have never experienced a first quite like this."

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Kansas Rep. James Todd (R-Overland Park) provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss education funding, judicial appointments, and the budget.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Mayor Sly James hopes a plan to redirect some of Kansas City’s economic development revenue could spur more projects east of Troost.

James pitched his plan to deposit payments in lieu of taxes – or PILOT dollars – into what’s being called the Shared Success Fund to the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee Wednesday.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri House appropriations subcommittee has stripped out the $12 million state appropriation that primarily would pay off the debt on the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

And while the legislative budget process is far from over, the action places half of the facility’s yearly debt payments into jeopardy.

Besides the state, St. Louis and St. Louis County both contribute $6 million toward the Jones Dome. The facility is slated to receive debt payments until 2021.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Kansas Rep. James Todd (R-Overland Park) provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss education funding, judicial appointments, and the budget.

Guests:

KCMO Housing and Neighborhood Services / Opendata KC

The Kansas City Missouri City Council on Thursday received a proposed budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 from Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte that would make big changes in vacant housing and boost funding for the arts.

The key proposal from the $1.5 billion budget would issue a $10 million bond to raze more than 800 dangerous houses, most of which sit east of Prospect Avenue.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James made an impassioned plea on behalf of the earnings tax campaign at a NAACP forum Thursday night.

“I think the earnings tax is of particular interest to Kansas Citians, whether they’re black, white or Latino,” James said before the forum, which about two dozen people attended.

Revenue generated from the 1 percent tax on people who live or work in the city makes up the bulk of the general fund and pays for vital city services like police, fire and ambulance. State law requires a vote to renew the earnings tax every five years.

Courtesy of Hyatt Hotels

A Jackson County Circuit Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit to force a vote on the downtown convention hotel deal.

The group Citizens for Responsible Government sued the city in Jackson County Court late last year after the Kansas City Council wouldn’t put their question on the ballot.

In oral arguments Feb. 2, the city argued that requiring a vote on the already-signed contracts to build a downtown convention hotel would violate tax increment financing law.

Judge Jennifer M. Phillips agreed, dismissing the lawsuit on Thursday.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the urban versus rural divide and transportation.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

  • Ryan Silvey, Representative from Kansas City, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Matt StaubBlogger
  • Elle Moxley, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR

A bill being heard this week by a Missouri legislative committee promotes shared parenting – a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after separation or divorce.

The legislation proposes adding language to the state’s child custody law to emphasize that the best interest of the child is equal access to both parents – a change that would encourage judges to pay more attention to research on the best interest of children.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the urban versus rural divide, campaign contribution limits, REAL ID, and transportation.

Guests:

  • Ryan Silvey, Representative from Kansas City, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Matt Staub, Blogger
  • Elle Moxley, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR
Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has given lawmakers a budget that balances on paper.

But it remains to be seen whether legislators will agree to the complex formula of spending reductions, budget transfers and administrative changes that Brownback is proposing to erase a projected $436 million shortfall in the budget year that begins July 1.

Lobbyists representing several groups and causes are lining up in opposition to many of the changes.

Rendering courtesy of Crawford Architects

Airline consultants have rejected a proposal to renovate existing KCI terminals rather than build a new one.

Consultant Lou Salomon of AvAirPros told the Kansas City Council Airport Committee Tuesday that the renovation plan lacks the flexibility needed for a forecast 40 percent passenger traffic growth by 2040 and underestimates the costs.

“The major renovations are just less efficient,” Salomon said. “And they cost more – and not just from the initial capital costs perspective.  They cost more to operate and maintain and to finance.”

Photo courtesy of Hyatt Hotel Corp.

Petitioners trying to force a vote on the downtown Kansas City hotel deal were back in court Tuesday.

The group Citizens for Responsible Government sued the city in Jackson County Court late last year after the Kansas City Council wouldn’t put their question on the ballot.

“While the city completely respects the petition process – that’s why it’s in the charter, it’s an important part of the democratic process – you cannot use the petition drive to overturn certain laws,” says city spokesman Chris Hernandez.

For this 50th episode, we recorded Statehouse Blend live in front of a studio audience at Westport Flea Market. We explore the most pressing issues of 2016 with KCUR's Sam Zeff and Steve Kraske, and with guests Republican Rep. John Rubin and Democratic Rep. John Wilson.

Guests:

  • John Rubin, Representative from District 014, Kansas Legislature
  • John Wilson, Representative from, Kansas Legislature 
  • Steve Kraske, Host of Up To Date, KCUR
Susie Fagan / Heartland Health Monitor

Several nonprofit organizations that advocate for children, minorities and low-income Kansans are concerned about what they see as a trend toward less open government in Kansas.

Now they’ve joined forces to launch what they’re calling the Open Kansas initiative and to ask legislators to sign a “transparency pledge” to taxpayers. The pledge commits those who sign it to support:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. Kevin Corlew from District 014 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss arbitrationREAL ID, and campaign contribution limits.

Guests:

  • Kevin Corlew, Representative from District 014, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Janelle Sjue, Citizen
  • Donna Vestal, Director of Content Strategy, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. Kevin Corlew from District 014 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss arbitration, REAL ID, and campaign contribution limits.

Guests:

  • Kevin Corlew, Representative from District 014, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Janelle Sjue, Citizen
  • Donna Vestal, Director of Content Strategy, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Kansas legislative session is already underway in Topeka. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 legislature, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking KDOT, elections, and the budget.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Kansas legislative session is already underway in Topeka. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 legislature, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking KDOT, elections, and the budget.

Guests:

kcmo.org

The committee room in Jefferson City was packed with political, public safety, business and community leaders from Kansas City and St. Louis on Thursday. 

The Senate Ways and Means Committee was accepting testimony on a proposal sponsored by state Senator Kurt Schaefer to outlaw the earnings taxes that both cities.

The ban is supported by St. Louis libertarian activist Rex Sinquefield, who has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to Schaefer and other lawmakers who are backing the plan.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Missouri legislative session is already underway in Jefferson City. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 assembly, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking ethics reform, guns, and transportation. This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes

Guests:

Joe Gratz / Flickr--CC

Kansas House and Senate committees moved quickly Thursday to keep funding intact for the state's courts.

Lawmakers last year tied the judicial budget to another bill changing how chief judges are selected in Kansas judicial districts. When that law was struck down, it also invalidated the court budget, threatening to shut down the court system.

The House Appropriations Committee advanced a bill that would reinstate the court funding. 

Governor Sam Brownback laid out his legislative goals during the 2016 State of the State Address Tuesday night. He took the president to task and touched on high-profile state issues like education spending. 

Brownback laid the groundwork in his speech by referencing what he and lawmakers had done in Kansas in recent years. He touted tax policy, the unemployment rate and job growth.

“Kansans are finding good jobs right here at home. Working together, we’ve created an economic environment where new filings for new businesses have increased by 15 percent,” said Brownback.

Missouri House Republicans are keeping their foot on the gas as they steer the first group of ethics bills through their chamber.

Four ethics bills were heard by a House committee, then easily passed after little more than an hour's worth of discussions.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Newly sworn-in Jackson County Executive Frank White says he’ll consider running in November for a two-year term.

White, a former Royals player, was the legislature’s unanimous pick to replace Mike Sanders, who served nine years before stepping down earlier this month.

“When I ran for the legislature, I thought that was what I was going to be,” White said Monday after his swearing in at the historic Truman Courthouse in Independence. “It was my intention to be there because I really felt like that was a great place to help the people in the community.”

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Missouri legislative session is already underway in Jefferson City. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 assembly, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking ethics reform, guns, and transportation.

Guests:

Hyatt Hotels

Kansas City is asking a Jackson County judge to dismiss a lawsuit that would delay construction on a downtown convention hotel.

The city attorney’s office filed its response Wednesday to a group of petitioners that want to force a vote on a $311 million plan to build a Hyatt hotel downtown.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Updated after the city council meeting on January 7, 2016.

Now home to the American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the historic 18th and Vine District was reborn from crumbling eastside buildings in the early 1990s.  The sales tax that helped finance its rescue bore the name of Kansas City's first African-American mayor, Emanuel Cleaver, who was then in office.

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