Government

Courts
3:46 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Insurance Company Files Suit Against Catholic Diocese

Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph Bishop Robert Finn oversees Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The company that provided the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph its liability insurance in the 1970s says it shouldn't have to defend the church or pay damages in a litany of sexual abuse cases.

The U.S. Fidelity and Guaranty Co. filed suit in federal court Friday against the diocese, which has been sued by more than a dozen plaintiffs who say they were victims of sexual abuse in the '60s and '70s. In the majority of those cases, the court has dismissed all claims against the diocese except the intentional failure to supervise clergy.

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Road Work
12:01 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Emergency Repairs To Slow I-435 Southbound Traffic

Expect long delays Monday and Tuesday on southbound Interstate 435 at 87th Street.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has reduced traffic flow to one lane while work crews complete an emergency pavement repair on southbound I-435. Additional lanes were already closed at 87th Street to accommodate bridge work.

"As part of the lane restrictions, traffic was shifted partly onto the right southbound shoulder and the shoulder pavement has not held up to the increased traffic," KDOT spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls said in a written statement.

Government
3:41 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

New Acting Veterans Affairs Chief Has Kansas City Ties

Sloan Gibson
Credit Wikimedia -- CC

The new acting secretary of Veterans Affairs is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Sloan Gibson IV graduated from UMKC in 1979 with a master's degree in economics, according to a release from the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Gibson became acting secretary following the resignation of retired U.S. Army General Eric Shinseki on Friday.

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Government
7:40 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Kansas City Adopts Point System For Development Incentives

Kansas City's development incentives policy becomes more structured under a measure passed by the city council Thursday. The city will adopt a scorecard system to determine which projects get incentives and how large those incentives are.

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Government
7:52 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Kansas City Council Committee To Tackle Fate Of Kemper Arena

Replace or repurpose? Rival proposals clash on aging Kemper Arena.
Credit City of Kansas City, Mo.

There will be no blue ribbon citizens panel to decide the future of Kemper Arena. The Kansas City, Mo., city council Economic Development Committee has decided to tackle the matter itself.

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Missouri Statehouse
9:20 am
Wed May 28, 2014

In Missouri Senate, Justus Went From Partisan To Pragmatist

Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, will leave the Missouri Senate later this year. She reflected on her time in state legislative office before the end of this year's session.
Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 9:59 am

The Missouri Senate had seven new members after the smoke cleared from the 2006 election cycle. Only two served for the maximum time allowed under term limits – Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah.

The two lawmakers are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Justus entered the General Assembly as a combative fighter who fought tooth-and-nail against the Republican majority. Lager, who was arguably more conservative than his Republican counterparts, seemed on a course for higher office.

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Veterans Affairs
4:29 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Rep. Yoder Says Veterans Need More Flexibility In Receiving Care

Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder visited the VA Medical Center Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., to check on local wait times.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder says it's time for a change in national leadership at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Yoder, an Overland Park Republican, visited the VA Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday amid growing concern over long wait times for veterans. 

"Many of my constituents are lacking confidence in the response to what's occurred in Phoenix and across the nation," says Yoder. "They would like to see a new secretary and new leadership."

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Missouri Statehouse
8:13 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Proposed Transportation Tax To Join Pro-Gun And 'Pro-Farm' Proposals on August Ballot

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 5:03 pm

Missouri’s proposed transportation sales tax could face another hurdle, as a result of Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision to place the measure on the August primary ballot – along with several conservative ballot measures aimed at enticing gun-rights and rural voters to the polls.

Rural voters are believed to be the least enamored of the transportation proposal, which would increase the state’s sales tax rate by three-fourths of a cent for 10 years to finance improvements to highways, bridges and urban transit systems.

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Government
7:58 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Kansas City Council Approves $8 Million In Phase II Streetcar Planning Contracts

Freshly returned from Thursday's ground breaking for phase one of the streetcar system, the Kansas City city council committed $8 million to getting started on phase two.

Two area firms – HDR Engineering and Burns and McDonnell – were chosen to plan southward and eastward extensions of the streetcar line.

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Government
7:57 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Kansas City Advances To Final 4 In Republican Convention Bid

Kansas City Mayor Sly James likes Kansas City's chances to host the GOP convention.
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR

Kansas City has survived another round in the competition to host the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC).  

The three other contenders are Cleveland, Dallas and Denver. Las Vegas and Cincinnati dropped out Thursday afternoon.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James says RNC site selection scouts clearly like what they see in Kansas City.  

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Government
2:13 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Kansas City Still In The Hunt For 2016 Republican National Convention

Credit Frank Morris / KCUR

Kansas City has made the final four in the competition to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.  

The convention selection committee pared the number of contenders today by two, knocking Las Vegas and Cincinnati from the list. That would leave Cleveland, Dallas and Denver still in the running with Kansas City.

All four cities will receive site visits in June.

City officials say hosting the nominating convention would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Kansas City and the surrounding area.

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Streetcar
4:13 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Why Thursday's Streetcar Groundbreaking Is The Real Thing

Construction begins this summer on the streetcar starter line in downtown Kansas City, Mo., shown here in this mock-up.
Credit Submitted photo / City of Kansas City, Mo.

There will be no gold-plated shovels at Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony for the  streetcar in downtown Kansas City, Mo. – that's a promise.

"We wanted to do something different because the streetcar is a game-changer for Kansas City," says city spokesman Chris Hernandez.

Thursday is set to mark the start of major construction on the downtown starter line, the first phase in the city's multi-year streetcar initiative.

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Government
7:38 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Brownback Reassigns Two Top Administrators

Gov. Sam Brownback's office on Wednesday announced that Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, will become the new state budget director and Kari Bruffett, currently head of the division of health care finance at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, will step in as KDADS chief.

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Emergency Services
3:38 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Text-To-911 Technology Exists, But It Hasn't Reached Kansas City

Emergency services in Kansas City aren't set up to respond to text messages, but they will be in the future.
Credit Steve Bell / KCUR

It's going to take some time before Kansas Citians can summon emergency services with a text message.

The big four cell phone carriers announced this month they would offer text-to-911 capabilities to any local government wanting to use the technology.

"There's going to be a line," says Keith Faddis, director of public safety programs for the Mid-America Regional Council.

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Up To Date
11:31 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Kansas & Missouri Legislatures End 2014 Sessions

On Monday's 'Up to Date' Steve Kraske sits down with members of the Missouri and Kansas legislatures to review the 2014 sessions.
Credit RebelAt / Wikimedia Commons

So far 2014 has been a banner year for the GOP in both Missouri and Kansas. The Missouri General Assembly passed a major tax cut and expanded gun holders' rights despite opposition from state Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Kansas legislature increased public school spending to the tune of $129 million. 

On Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske sits down with lawmakers from both states to discuss what they did, and didn't do, during the 2014 legislative sessions. 

Guests:

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Missouri Statehouse
6:52 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Nixon Blasts Legislative Session As 'Abysmal,' While GOP Leaders Call It 'Historic'

Missouri House celebrates the end of the 2014 session with its traditional paper toss.

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 10:50 am

The Missouri House and Senate each spent the waning minutes of the legislative session embroiled in debate over a bill to nullify most federal gun laws.

But afterward, it was Gov. Jay Nixon who fired off the first post-session shots. His target was the General Assembly’s final-day spending spree.

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Government
3:31 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

General Assembly Approves Bill Expanding Gun Rights, Lowers Concealed-Carry Age

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 8:59 am

Just hours before adjournment, the Missouri General Assembly has approved a bill that lowers the state’s legal age for carrying concealed weapons to 19 and allows the open carrying of firearms by any person with a valid concealed-carry permit.

The bill also allows schools to designate teachers or administrators as "school protection officers" who can carry a concealed firearm or self-defense spray device. But school districts authorizing the armed officers are required to hold a public hearing on the matter.

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Internet
3:16 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Proposed FCC Changes To Net Neutrality Draw Small Protest

A small group of protesters gather outside of the FCC's Lee's Summit office to support net neutrality.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Some Kansas Citians say they're worried that new rules the Federal Communications Commission is considering would threaten net neutrality — the premise that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.

FCC commissioners met Thursday in Washington, D.C., to consider a couple of options. The first would let Internet service providers charge certain companies more to load their content faster, with the FCC overseeing those deals. The second would do the opposite – it would make broadband service a public utility and ban pay-for-performance agreements.

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Government
11:52 am
Thu May 15, 2014

News Organizations Sue Missouri Department Of Corrections Over Drug Executions

A lawsuit filed Thursday claims the Missouri Department of Corrections stopped providing information about the drugs it uses in lethal injections.
Credit bigstock.com

Five journalism organizations, including The Kansas City Star and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, sued the Missouri Department of Corrections Thursday, seeking information on the drugs the state uses in lethal injection executions.

The suit, filed in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City, says that the department last October stopped providing the public with information about the drugs it uses in lethal injections.

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Missouri Statehouse
7:45 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Negotiations Completed Over Student Transfer Bill That Includes Private Option

Gov. Jay Nixon prepares to address reporters in his office in the Capitol on May 13, 2014.

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 4:04 pm

(Updated at 6:12 p.m.)

House and Senate negotiators have wrapped up work on a final version of a bill to ease the burden of Missouri’s student transfer law.

Senate Bill 493 would allow for individual school buildings to be accredited, instead of the school district as a whole, and it would create regional authorities to oversee transfers.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Political Pundits: Sizing Up Missouri And Kansas Issues

Missouri Gov. Jay NIxon has faced strong opposition from state lawmakers.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

An FBI investigation is looming over former aides to Gov. Sam Brownback. In Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon has seen his veto overridden by state legislators, and a new poll shows President Obama is gaining some ground with the public on the Affordable Care Act.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, our political pundits dig into these meaty issues and more as we look at the controversies and compromises heating up Topeka, Jefferson City and Washington.

Guests:

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Missouri Statehouse
7:47 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Missouri Senate GOP Makes Deal With Democrats, 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period, Early Voting Passed

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 10:08 pm

Republicans in the Missouri Senate succeeded in passing two of their top priorities early Tuesday morning.

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Politics
7:43 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Kansas Board Rejects Challenge To Roberts Candidacy

A state panel has rejected an effort to block Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts from running for re-election.

The State Objections Board ruled 3-0 against a group of Kansans arguing that Roberts doesn't really live in the state. The decision sets the stage for Roberts to face challenger Milton Wolf in the August Republican primary.

Chuck Henderson, a Milton Wolf supporter from Manhattan, filed one of the objections. He believes Roberts shouldn't be eligible to run again because he actually lives in a home in Virginia.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:26 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Missouri Lawmakers Face Last-Minute Load Of Bills, On Topics Old and New

Inside the dome of Missouri Capitol

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 5:46 pm

With fights over tax cuts and budgets out of the way, the Missouri General Assembly appears poised to spend its final week focusing on some familiar topics: guns, abortion and voting rights.

    

Measures to restrict enforcement of federal laws, triple the waiting period for an abortion and to ask voters to mandate photo IDs at the polls are among the hot-button proposals expected to eat up some of legislators’ precious floor time during the final five days.

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Politics
7:59 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Kansas Board To Rule On Roberts Challenge

A state panel will meet Monday to decide if Republican Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is eligible to appear on the primary election ballot.

Four Kansans have filed claims challenging his candidacy by saying he may not meet the residency requirement. 

The State Objections Board, made up of the Kansas secretary of state, lieutenant governor and state attorney general, makes decisions in these situations. All three of them have endorsed Roberts.

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Government
7:48 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Kansas City Council Considers August Ballot For Sales Tax Issue

Kansas City, Mo., residents can expect to be asked to renew a sales tax in August. But meeting fire department needs may take more than that.

The quarter-cent sales tax created 14 years ago currently funds less than 14 percent of the fire department's $145 million budget. Personnel costs account for 90 percent of that budget.

City Finance Director Randall Landes says renewing the tax is essential, but even with the renewal the department won't be able to replace aging fire stations and equipment.

 

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Government
7:50 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Kansas City Council Closes Lyft Loophole

The city council says the ride-providers with the big pink mustaches are a rogue taxi company.
Credit Via Tsuji / Flickr / Creative Commons

Transportation company Lyft says it will find you a friend with a car via mobile device app. But, the Kansas City, Mo., City Council says the company is running a taxi cab service and trying to loophole its way out of city regulations covering drivers, vehicles and insurance.

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Missouri Statehouse
4:16 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Legislature Sends FY2015 Budget To Gov. Nixon, Touts Education Spending

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 6:41 pm

House and Senate members have sent the remainder of the bills that make up Missouri's state budget to Gov. Jay Nixon.

The roughly $26.4 billion spending plan increases higher education spending by 5 percent and adds $114.8 million for K-12 schools, which House Republicans called "historic."

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Kansas Statehouse
8:24 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Brownback Signs Bill Tweaking Workers Compensation

Brownback speaks during the ceremonial signing of the workers compensation bill.
Credit Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill allowing more workers compensation claims for firefighters and law enforcement officers.

Previously, emergency responders had not been able to collect workers compensation for heart attacks or strokes.

More than 40 years ago, Kansas rewrote workers compensation laws. Part of that created a rule that said a worker couldn't collect workers comp for heart attacks or strokes related to their job unless it was caused by an unusually high level of exertion that isn't normally required for the job.

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Missouri Statehouse
2:00 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

House, Senate Negotiators Finish Work On Missouri Budget

Budget negotiators meet to hammer out final version of 12 remaining budget bills. At center of table, l-r, are Senate Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, and House Budget Chair Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood.

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 5:27 am

House and Senate budget negotiators have finalized the 12 remaining bills that make up Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

Both sides signed off on increasing funding for K-12 schools by $114.8 million. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue projections hold true, school spending would get a $278 million spending hike. Higher education would increase by $43 million, about 5 percent. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairs the House Budget Committee. He said they also put money in next year's budget to help finance a new state mental hospital at Fulton.

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