Government

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Susan Concannon and Rep. Don Hill provide an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss their removal from the Health and Human Services Committee.

Guests:

In the battle over tax breaks for developers of a downtown Kansas City convention hotel, the ball is once again in the city's court.

The committee of petitioners hand-delivered a letter to the City Clerk on Thursday spelling out in some detail legal arguments that the City Council did not have the right to refuse to honor petition signatures calling for a public vote on the city's financial underwriting of the hotel. 

The letter cites specific sections of the Missouri Constitution as well as court decisions in Missouri and federal courts.

A Kansas City council committee says concerns over the Paris terrorist attacks may help the city to get back on the list of metropolitan areas receiving federal emergency response grants.

The Kansas City area received as much as $8 million a year in Homeland Security money during the first seven years of  the Urban Areas Security Initiative, but the grants dwindled after 2010, with the city getting $1 million in some years and nothing in others, including 2015.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Brandon Ellington from District 022 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss race relations at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Guests:

  • Brandon Ellington, Rep. from District 022, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Dan Curry, Citizen
  • Dan Margolies, Heartland Health Monitor Editor, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Brandon Ellington from District 022 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss race relations at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Guests:

  • Brandon Ellington, Rep. from District 022, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Dan Curry, Citizen
  • Dan Margolies, Heartland Health Monitor Editor, KCUR
Hyatt Hotels

Only one Kansas City council member voted Thursday to honor the petitions and submit the city's plans for tax incentives and other financial considerations to the voters. 

The Northland's Heather Hall said she simply did not believe the downtown convention hotel would produce the economic benefits developers speak of and that she has concerns about the effect on local businesses, particularly in the catering industry.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

On this week's Statehouse Blend, reporters work with a law professor to make sense of The Gannon v. Kansas school finance lawsuit, and speculate on the outcomes and consequences of that case.

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

Guests:

Gannon V. Kansas

Nov 7, 2015
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

On this week's Statehouse Blend, reporters work with a law professor to make sense of The Gannon v. Kansas school finance lawsuit, and speculate on the outcomes and consequences of that case.

Guests:

Updated 8:05 p.m. Nov. 3 with court action - The U.S. Supreme Court has hit pause on Tuesday night's scheduled execution of Ernest Lee Johnson.

The high court issued a stay, pending the outcome of one of his appeals. It centers on claims that the state's execution drug pentobarbital could cause Johnson to experience violent seizures, due to part of his brain being removed in 2008 during surgery to remove a tumor.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

The arrival on Monday morning of the city's first working streetcar in more than 50 years was overshadowed by the Royals' World Series victory. But dozens of residents, city officials, and transit leaders, gathered in the River Market to watch streetcar #801 roll onto the tracks.

"I don't think I could find anything to make me any happier, frankly," says Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City's Planning & Zoning Committee held its first community listening session Saturday to connect city officials with residents who had questions and concerns about issues in their neighborhoods.

Around a dozen residents from the area, mostly from the Marlborough neighborhood, showed up at the Trailside Center in South Kansas City to speak with council members and city employees from a variety of departments.

Rendering courtesy of BNIM

The Kansas City council has approved tax breaks for a proposed building renovation in the Crossroads Arts District that has become a focal issue for groups that oppose incentives that the school district cannot afford. 

Ironically, the same project is being hailed as breaking new ground in the sustainability and green architecture movement.

The $13.2 million project would transform an old warehouse building into a headquarters and green architecture showcase for local architecture firm BNIM. 

KCTRANSIT.com

The KC Streetcar Authority could prevent the city's downtown streetcar line from receiving any federal grant funds for operations, according to a report from the City Auditor's Office.

The report published Thursday says the Federal Transit Administration requires recipients of grants for transit operations to be "procured through a full and open competition." 

bridj.com

Kansas City soon could be home to something called microtransit.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is negotiating with Bridj, which offers a popup bus service.

Bridj is the bus version of Uber or Lyft. Customers sign up and can use an app to book a bus ride and be picked up within a five-minute walk. Unlike Uber or Lyft, you’re riding a small bus with 10 or so other people.

KCATA CEO Joe Reardon says it another way to connect people to jobs.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Joe Runions from District 037 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss local control, Ferguson, and gridlock in Jefferson City.

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

Guests:

  • Joe Runions, Rep. from District 037, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Tricia Bushnell, Citizen
  • Dave Hudnall, Staff Writer, The Pitch

The legal review committee of the Kansas City Council has accepted City Attorney Bill Geary's opinion and is recommending that the council not honor a recent petition drive that sought to force a public vote on the planned downtown convention hotel.

Geary opined that the state gives the council the power to approve Tax Increment Financing and allowing voters to overrule that would violate the state constitution. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Joe Runions from District 037 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss local control, Ferguson, and gridlock in Jefferson City.

Guests:

  • Joe Runions, Rep. from District 037, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Tricia Bushnell, Citizen
  • Dave Hudnall, Staff Writer, The Pitch

The Kansas City Council on Thursday grudgingly repealed the minimum wage ordinance it passed in July. 

The council instead endorsed efforts to get the minimum wage increased at the state level.

Council members unanimously said the repeal did not indicate abandonment of the minimum wage cause, and that the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the Missouri General Assembly.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins, Republican from District 054provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss education, the Speaker's position, and Missouri's most famous dog, Old Drum.

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

Guests:

  • Denny Hoskins, Rep. from District 054, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Bess Hayles, Teacher from Lee's Summit
  • Kyle Palmer, Newscaster, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins, Republican from District 054, provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss education, the Speaker's position, and Missouri's most famous dog, Old Drum.

Guests:

  • Denny Hoskins, Rep. from District 054, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Bess Hayles, Teacher from Lee's Summit
  • Kyle Palmer, Newscaster, KCUR
Photo courtesy of Hyatt Hotel Corp.

Both groups opposing the planned 800-room convention hotel adjacent to Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City say they are standing their ground.

The City Council heard lengthy presentations on Thursday from city staff as well as representatives of the developers of the proposed hotel and convention and tourism officials.

 

The council is gathering information in preparation for a decision on what to do about a petition drive for a public vote on whether the city should be financially involved in developing the hotel.

 

KCUR

A new proposal to use public financing to renovate a building in the Crossroads Arts District received unexpected opposition this month, surprising the respected Kansas City architectural firm at the heart of the proposal and its developer. 

 

The most adamant objections to the proposed tax increment financing, or TIF, plan were from school district parents and the Urban Summit of Greater Kansas City. But Kansas City School District Interim Superintendent Al Tunis joined in, asking to renegotiate a payment-in-lieu-of taxes agreement on the building.

 

Hyatt Hotels

As the Kansas City Council struggles with whether to honor a successful petition drive for a public vote on a planned downtown convention hotel, developers tell the council a delay for the election could be a deal-breaker.

Among the stakeholders in a lengthy Thursday presentation to city council members was Steven Rattner, a finance specialist with the developer of the 800-room hotel. Rattner rold the council that the developer began spending significant time and money on the project in May, after a detailed agreement was signed with the city.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Barbara Bollier from Mission Hills, provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss education, and declining revenue numbers.

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

Guests:

Kansas City's one percent earnings tax is up for renewal in 2016.  Since the passage of Missouri ballot initiative “Proposition A” in 2010, Kansas City and St. Louis must submit their e-taxes to the voters for renewal every five years. 

Kansas City voters overwhelmingly voted to renew the tax in April 2011. But uncertainty over whether it will be renewed again next year looms over city budgets and the city's credit rating.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Barbara Bollier from Mission Hills, provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss education, and declining revenue numbers.

Guests:

Martin Gonzales - Wikipedia

Why doesn't the city of Kansas City, Missouri, foreclose on neglected properties and find buyers that will revitalize them?  After all, it's a common sight around parts of the city: boarded-up property that someone has clearly broken into, stripping out the wiring and plumbing, or even living inside.

The problem is that the current Missouri nuisance property foreclosure law defines “nuisance” only in terms of whether a property is structurally sound, says Holly Dodge of the city's legal department.

Populous

With Kansas City revved on Royals post-season play, a city council committee laid the groundwork for phase two of the development of the planned Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Parade Park near 18th and Vine.

Mayor Sly James announced the $14 million baseball project in late September, explaining that funding for phase one was in place. The Royals and, Major League Baseball had committed $2 million and the MLB Players Association another $1 million. The state of Missouri and the city were to combine resources to match those contributions.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Sen. Jim Denning from Overland Park provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss Medicaid expansion and the Kansas budget.

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

Guests:

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

One of the top Republicans in the Kansas Senate says it’s time to fix the causes of the state’s ongoing budget problems.

During an appearance on the KCUR podcast Statehouse Blend, Sen. Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican and vice chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said recurring budget shortfalls have convinced him that the income tax cuts the Legislature passed in 2012 aren’t working.

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