Government

courtesy KCATA

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) describes the Metro Area Express, or MAX, as "light rail on rubber tires." The city's bus rapid transit launched in 2005, and serves residential and commercial corridors along Main Street and Troost Avenue.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

On Thursday, the Kansas City Council approved a $1.59 billion budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The new budget takes effect on May 1. 

File Photo / KCUR

A Kansas legislative committee is considering tighter amusement park regulations following the death of a lawmaker’s son last year on the Verrückt water slide in Kansas City, Kan.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas has plenty of reports on problems in its foster care system but needs a plan to fix them, according to members of a House committee.

The House Children and Seniors Committee voted Tuesday to create a foster care task force that will present a plan for improvements to the foster care system by January.

Rep. Jarrod Ousley, a Merriam Democrat, said the state needs to do more than study the foster care system.

“This task force is not for oversight. It’s for corrective action,” he said.

Kansas lawmakers know they are late to the Medicaid expansion party, but they appear determined to show up anyway.

"I feel like now is as good a time as any," says Anthony Hensley, the leader of the Democratic minority in the state Senate.

For the past three years, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders were able to block debate on expanding health care for the disabled and working poor via Medicaid, a component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Not anymore.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Sen. John Skubal, R-Overland Park, and Ed DeSoignie, Executive Director of the Heavy Contractors Association, discuss where Kansas could find funding for infrastructure projects as the legislature continues to talk about borrowing more money from KDOT's budget.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

The leader of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services wants the state’s two psychiatric hospitals to be exempt from a concealed carry law set to take effect in July.

KDADS Secretary Tim Keck told a legislative committee this week that the department is seeking authorization to continue banning concealed guns in Osawatomie and Larned state hospitals. The two hospitals treat people with mental health conditions who are considered a danger to themselves or others.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

With all of the talk in recent years about Kansas’ budget problems, it can be hard to keep track of what programs have been cut and by how much.

So, some Kansans may not remember that last summer Gov. Sam Brownback ordered more than $56 million in cuts to KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. Including the amount of federal matching funds lost, the cuts amounted to $128 million.

Kansas lawmakers remember the cuts, and they are taking steps to reverse them.

So you voted in the presidential election last year and felt all warm and fuzzy because you did your civic duty. Yay! Or maybe you didn't (or couldn't) but now you want to make a change. 

The race for the highest executive office in the United States may be settled, but KCUR is here to break down Kansas City, Missouri's special April 4 election for you.

Creative Commons-Flickr / H. Michael Karshis

Kansas’ “strictest in the nation” election law may have been written with the intent to discriminate against certain groups of voters and should be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure that it doesn’t violate federal law, a civil rights panel says in a report issued Tuesday.

A Medicaid expansion bill is awaiting a vote in the Kansas Senate as congressional Republicans have put forward a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. That plan would leave a window open for states to expand Medicaid eligibility until January 2020, but Congress may be looking to roll back federal support beyond that. And, as she told KCUR’s Jim McLean, that gives Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle pause.

 

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas 2nd District Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins was jeered Monday at a town hall meeting in Lawrence for defending President Donald Trump and the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

File Photo

A Kansas House committee advanced a bill Monday that would amend the state’s juvenile justice policies — a year after lawmakers made sweeping changes to them.

Last year’s overhaul intended to create options other than incarceration for Kansas youth offenders.  But the changes had some unintended consequences, said Rep. Russ Jennings. One example is that some crimes involving a gun, like a drive-by shooting, might only result in probation.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

A New Missouri Inc., a recently founded nonprofit with ties to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, has Sen. John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, worried about financial transparency and wondering how Democrats can keep up. 

Morgan Said / KCUR 89.3

As a source says that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback could be leaving the statehouse, Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) talks about how a new Governor could change this legislative session.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas public colleges will have to allow firearms on their campuses starting in July. But they’re still battling with the gun lobby over how people should be allowed to carry their guns.

In preparation for the law mandating concealed carry on campuses, the colleges have proposed some restrictions. For example, people carrying a semi-automatic weapon on campuses would not be allowed to keep a round in the chamber.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Mayor Sly James initially said the ordinance had failed, but after a moment of confusion he announced that the Kansas City Council has enacted a $8.50 an hour minimum wage, effective Sept. 18, 2017.

The ordinance calls for an eventual $13 minimum wage in 2023.

But it might not stand. The Council voted just hours after the Missouri House fast-tracked a bill to prevent cities from adopting a higher wage than the state minimum, which is $7.70 an hour and the current rate in Kansas City.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

For years Kansas Sen. David Haley has introduced bills to stiffen penalties for hate crimes and they’ve gone nowhere.

But Haley and others think his bill might have more urgency this year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee had a hearing on Senate Bill 128 Wednesday, just weeks after a man opened fire on two Indian immigrants in an Olathe bar, wounding one and killing the other.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Reports that Gov. Sam Brownback may soon be leaving the state to take a United Nations post have lawmakers and others at the Statehouse talking about how things might change with Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer in charge.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

At a time when Kansas is facing a serious budget deficit and a court order saying school funding is inadequate, Gov. Sam Brownback may be leaving the state for a job in Italy. A former high-ranking government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells Kansas Public Radio that Brownback will be named the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations agencies for food and agriculture in Rome.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas legislators heard testimony against physician-assisted suicide Monday from a former state representative.

“This is a direction we don’t want to go,” said Steve Brunk, a Republican who represented a Wichita-area district for 12 years. “We value life, and we don’t want to take the step of looking down this corridor where we negate the value of life and we assist people in dying.”

It’s already a felony for physicians to help patients end their lives in Kansas.

File Photo

The first weeks of the legislative session are a time for lawmakers to put forward their favorite ideas that have little chance of becoming law. In most years, that list would include changes to Medicaid, but things are different with the 2017 Kansas Legislature.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has been traveling around the country conducting state business and freshman Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, wants to know who's paying for those trips. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning (R-Overland Park) lays out why a veto override of major tax legislation failed in the Senate and how he expects the Supreme Court's Gannon ruling to affect the rest of the session.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

It is not hyperbole to say the challenges that members of the 2017 Kansas Legislature face are among the most daunting in state history.

All three of the private insurance companies that manage the Kansas Medicaid program made a profit on it in 2016 — the first year that has occurred.

UnitedHealthcare was by far the most financially successful of the three, with $30.2 million in profits. Sunflower State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene, had a $5.5 million profit and Amerigroup made about $3.4 million.

The three companies lost millions in 2013 and 2014, the first two years of KanCare.

Kansas Tax Receipts Continue Upswing In February

Mar 1, 2017
File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas tax receipts came in about $37 million above estimates in February, chipping away at the state’s budget deficit.

The Kansas Budget Office on Wednesday reported about $331.5 million in tax receipts for the month, which was about 13 percent higher than projected revenue. Tax revenues were up about 9 percent compared to February 2016.

Justgrimes / Flickr — CC

So you voted in the presidential election last year and felt all warm and fuzzy because you did your civic duty. Yay! Or maybe you didn't (or couldn't) but now you want to make a change.

The race for the highest executive office in the United States may be settled, but KCUR is here to break down Kansas City, Missouri's special April 4 election for you. 

First, make sure you can vote (if you're registered already, click here to skip down to the issues)

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's Statehouse Blend Kansas, Rep. Susan Concannon (R-Beloit) talks about passing Medicaid Expansion out of the Kansas House and its prospects both in the Senate and on the Governor's desk.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Syria, Iran, Sudan—Missouri’s State Treasurer Eric Schmitt doesn’t want any of your tax dollars going to these countries. He joins us this week to talk about his plan to keep investment dollars out of the hands of state sponsors of terror.

Pages