Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City, Missouri city council made it formal Thursday: They endorse the idea of a regional rapid rail transit system proposed by Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders.
There was no mention of Clay Chastain's latest petition drive for a competing Kansas City only light rail plan as the council endorsed Sanders' tri-county transit system proposal. Sanders says his can be done less expensively by routing commuter rail trains along existing unused or under-used right-of-way.
Kansas City , Mo. – Federal and Kansas City officials have agreed on a partial fix for the city's sewer system. It will cost more than 2.5 billion dollars and take 25 years the largest infrastructure project in the city's history. A consent decree lodged in US federal court Tuesday all but sealed the deal after years of negotiations pitting the city against the EPA and Justice Department.
Independence, Mo. – The theme is clear and not unique. Fair bidding on government contracts, no more earmarks and bailouts are legs on which Robin Carnahan sets her Missouri U.S. Senate campaign. She brought the message to Independence today.
Kansas City, Mo. – The first phase of Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser's "Schools First" program was sidelined in a council committee meeting yesterday. A number of citizens testified for the infrastructure improvement plan, and the mayor put in his pitch, including that the only expense next year would be $2 million in debt service.
"When you're spending $3 to $5 million a year and need to be spending many multiples of that, when you have a $1.6 billion backlog, which is what they tell us we have in sidewalks, you have to start somewhere," says Funkhouser.
Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri will create a city department in charge of overseeing city construction projects after all.
The ordinance to create a city Capital Improvements Management Department failed last week on a tie vote with 12 council members present. Councilman John Sharp brought it up for reconsideration yesterday with the tie-breaking vote present.
Supporters, including the mayor and city manager said it will speed up backlogged city construction projects.
Kansas City, Mo. – While Missouri's state senators were playing golf on a day off at the Lake of the Ozarks, Governor Nixon was talking to them - from Claycomo. Governor Nixon was in town promoting a bill that would give Ford Motor Company tax credits for keeping its Claycomo plant open and developing new assembly lines there.
Ford has announced that the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, Claycomo's two sales stars, will be produced elsewhere and hasn't announced any models for production at the Kansas City plant.
Topeka, Kan. – Lawmakers have wrapped up the two major unresolved issues this session: the budget, and how to fund it. Both chambers had passed budgets that largely protected funding for education and social services. But in order to balance that budget, lawmakers needed about 300 million dollars in new revenue. Monday, they identified that money. Lawmakers passed a one-cent sales tax increase to fill the deficit.
Topeka, Kan. – Kansas lawmakers return to the statehouse on Monday with the hopes of wrapping up the 2010 session. Legislators worked over the weekend trying to tie up loose ends of the last few important issues.
Legislators burned the midnight oil on Friday with house members working until the wee hours of the morning and during the day on Saturday to approve a budget.
A coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans drafted the plan. It would avoid spending cuts to education and social services, but would require a tax increase of more than $300 million to balance.
Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City city has tentatively agreed to support Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders' transit plan.
Sanders and TranSystems consultant Jim Terry told the council Thursday that by using existing and abandoned rail routes, the tri-county Missouri side of the metro area can have a 134-mile rail-based transit system for about a billion dollars - 8 million a mile.
The system could be expanded to include Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, and would be based on a Union Station hub.
Kansas City, Mo. – Missouri Highway construction will take a dramatic loss by a redrawn five-year program presented the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission today. It is no more dramatic than seen in the Kansas City revisions.
Topkea, Kan. – The Kansas Senate today failed to override Gov. Mark Parkinson's veto of an abortion bill. It would have required doctors performing late-term abortions to provide more information to the state. It would have also allowed for more lawsuits against abortion providers.
"Someday, I hope the unborn has a voice in these chambers," Senator Ralph Ostmeyer, a Grinnell Republican, said on the Senate floor following the vote. "I'm disappointed that we don't want to talk about it. We will have a change in Governor. We will get this passed."
Kansas City, Mo. – Mayor Mark Funkhouser talked with reporters Wednesday about Kansas City's efforts to save its red light cameras from being banned by an amendment to the transportation bill sponsored by State Senator Jim Lembke.
Kansas City, Mo. – While local election officials around Missouri verify authenticity of signatures on inititative petitions, there is an assumption the movement to repeal the Kansas City-St. Louis Earnings Tax will be on November's ballot. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports the campaign to repeal will focus much wider than the state's two biggest cities.
Voters in the big metro areas may or may not want the e tax to continue but the thrust will appeal to anti tax sentiments of rural and small town Missourians as well.
Jefferson City, Mo. – With the state budget out of the way, Missouri lawmakers now have two weeks left to concentrate on other priorities. Bills addressing tax credits, ethics, consolidation of state agencies, and autism insurance all remain unfinished going into the homestretch.
Independence, Mo. – Former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin brought her rock-star status to Independence last night. She told some 3 thousand supporters at the Winning America Back convention that the Tea Party movement had had a permanent impact. Not surprisingly, she said Tea Party activists would sway elections in November.
Cape Girardeau, Mo. – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has signed into law a bill requiring insurance companies to make timely payments to medical providers.
The so-called "prompt pay" bill imposes penalties on insurance companies for excessive delays in payment to providers. The law bans the practice of suspending claims, which the Governor describes as a limbo state where the claim is neither approved nor denied. The bill also establishes delinquency penalties on insurance companies when payment is not received within 45 days.
St. Louis, Mo. – The Missouri Association of the Deaf and 13 deaf residents have filed suit against the Missouri Department of Mental Health. The lawsuit, filed in federal court today, claims the department has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing mental health services to the deaf.
The plaintiffs say the department needs to hire more qualified sign language interpreters and train psychiatrists and other therapists about deaf culture.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill took the Senate Floor today to say a group of freshman colleagues have agreed to end the practice of secretly holding back administration nominees from job appointments: End it by policy and end it forever.
Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City Council will decide next week whether to set an August ballot on the persistent blight of waste tires. A council committee has been told thousands are ditched along streets, parkways and vacant lots every year.
Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to a bill designed to shrink the size and cost of state government.
Among the recommended actions in the bill is the combining of the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Water Patrol into one law enforcement entity. Its sponsored by Senate President Pro-tem Charlie Shields.
"Also, (it) will move the alcohol and tobacco folks into the Department of Revenue, and frankly will eliminate positions there," says shields.
Kansas City, Mo. – The new Missouri River bridge replacing the Paseo span will be close enough to completion to carry traffic by year's end.
MoDot will start shifting lanes of traffic from the Paseo to the Bond Bridge by fall. Highway officials say the Bond won't be finished until next year, but at least one northbound lane should be open by Christmas.
Most visible work now is installing cables hooking the highly visible pylon to the floor of the new bridge. The pylon stands more than 300 feet tall and supports the entire structure.
Kansas City – House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank was in Kansas City at the behest of his colleague on the committee, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, to recognize UMB Bank and Commerce as the second and third most healthy banks in the country. This is according to ratings published by Forbes Magazine. Frank said institutions like UMB and Commerce have nothing to fear from bank reforms.
Kansas City, Mo. – Mayor Mark Funkhouser will fight efforts to repeal the Kansas City earnings' tax. The mayor has been mum on the issue until now.
Hizzoner concedes he has been slow and deliberative deciding his stance, as signature collectors have been gathering support for an earnings tax referendum, statewide. Today he brought members of organized labor and other petition opponents to his office.