Government

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.

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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:

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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.

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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 

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.’”

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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.  

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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'

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Government
7:41 am
Mon March 24, 2014

KC Mayor to Focus on Education, Crime in Annual Address

Kansas City Mayor Sly James will deliver his third State of the City address today, focusing on education, plans for a new airport and more gun control.

James will make the annual speech at Park Hill High School, 7701 NW Barry Road, beginning at 10:30 a.m., followed by a student town hall meeting moderated by KCPT’s Nick Haines.

“Some of the long-term issues we’re talking about will be crime. We’ll be talking about the airport. We’ll be talking about the street car system and education in the city,” said Joni Wickham, a city spokeswoman.

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Government
6:58 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Kansas City Council Opposes State Attempt To Void Local Animal Control Rules

Kansas City's city council is asking the Legislature not to pass a bill that would restrict local Missouri animal control ordinances.

Supporters say the bill was created to prevent cities from outlawing pit bulls. The proposed state law forbids animal control rules directed at any specific breed.

Pit bulls are not illegal in Kansas City, Mo., but they must be spayed or neutered and the city has a program offering the spaying and neutering at no cost to the owner.

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Government
7:01 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Gunshots Could Change Kansas City Zoo's Free-Admission Days

Fights and gunshots in a Kansas City Zoo parking lot are prompting a debate on the future of “free admission days” that are held four times a year. Monday's was the second such event marked by unruly behavior and fighting among young people.

No injuries were reported, but many of the throng of 20,000 zoo visitors reported they witnessed fights and heard the crack of gunshots coming from one of the Swope Park parking lots.

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Government
2:52 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Kansas, Arizona Prevail In Voter Citizenship Suit

A U.S. district judge has ruled that the federal government must help Kansas and Arizona enforce their voter registration requirements. Both states require people registering to vote for the first time to prove their citizenship with a document such as a birth certificate.

Kansas and Arizona asked the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to add those state-specific instructions to the federal voter registration form. Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita says the commission has no authority to deny the request.

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Up To Date
2:31 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill On Sexual Assault In The Military, Affordable Care Act

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill visits Kansas City on Wednesday and Thursday as part of her 'McCaskill on Main Street' tour.  

She’s fresh off a big legislative win in the Senate where her version of a bill dealing with sexual assault in the military won out over a competing measure.

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Sen. McCaskill about sexual assault in the military and her opinions on progress made as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Guest:

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Up to Date
10:02 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Looking Back At The U-2 Spy Plane Incident

Pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down by the Soviet Union while flying his U-2 spy plane in 1960.
Credit RIA Novosti archive / Wikimedia Commons

Threats to sovereignty along the Black Sea, lots of discussions about spying … it all brings back memories of the Cold War.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about one of the most notorious incidents of that period. When Russia shot down the U-2 spy plane, pilot Gary Powers became the international face of a mission gone wrong. His son joins us to talk about that event.

Guest:

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Kansas Statehouse
7:58 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Kansas Senator Says Bill Targets KU Budget

A Kansas Senate committee is considering a budget bill that would restore some funding to state universities that was cut last year. But the bill caused some heated words about whether lawmakers are targeting the University of Kansas.

The bill eliminates $2 million Gov. Sam Brownback had proposed for a program to help commercialize KU research. Only KU had a program proposal deleted from the governor's suggestions.

Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, says the committee targeted KU.

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Up To Date
5:46 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Cultural Conflict In Ukraine Reaches Back To KC

The Crimean peninsula is the focus of the Ukrainian-Russian tensions at the moment.
Credit mwmbwls / Flickr-CC

Russia’s incursion into the Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula has sparked a reaction across Europe. The region voted over the weekend to secede to be part of Russia, but the European Union, the United States and others have called that vote illegal. 

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Government
7:42 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Kansas Lawmakers Consider Live Video Streams For Committee Meetings

In the future, you may be able to watch meetings in the Kansas Statehouse from the comfort of your own computer. Legislation in the Kansas House and Senate would add live, online video streams from some committee rooms.

Right now, there's only audio streaming from the floor of the House and Senate. The bills would add live audio and video streaming from four of the most-active committee rooms, where much of the real work on bills takes place.

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Government
6:49 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Missouri Lawmakers Talk About What’s Next As Spring Break Begins

The first half of Missouri's 2014 legislative session is over, and lawmakers have left Jefferson City for their annual spring break.

House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, touted the passage of several of his priorities, including photo voter ID legislation, conscientious objections to certain medical procedures, and ending the economic border war between Missouri and Kansas.  Jones told reporters Thursday he wants to push several issues when they return in a week and a half, including right-to-work legislation.

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