Government

KCUR News
9:46 am
Thu October 14, 2010

Kansas Secretary of State Candidates Clash on Voting Laws

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas Secretary of State administers statewide elections and handles business filings. It's an office that usually doesn't draw much attention, but this year has been different.

Democratic incumbent Chris Biggs is being challenged by Republican Kris Kobach, who is known for his work in writing laws targeting illegal immigration - including the controversial Arizona law.

Biggs and Kobach met for a debate in Overland Park.

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KCUR News
3:28 pm
Tue October 12, 2010

Foreclosures Meet Counter Force

Mary Rabon(L), Shirley Dobbins (R) argue for shelving of foreclosures.
photo by dan verbeck.(click to enlarge)

Kansas City, MO – Saving endangered neighborhoods and mortgage-embattled dwellers advanced on multiple fronts in Kansas City.

With one in every 650 Missouri homeowners facing foreclosure, Mayor Mark Funkhouser joined the organization Communities Creating Opportunities to ask the Missouri Attorney General to call a temporary moratorium on foreclosures.

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser says it will allow time to negotiate between banks and borrowers.

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KCUR News
11:53 am
Tue October 12, 2010

KS Dept of Labor Says More Jobs Open

Topeka KS – The Kansas Department of Labor is reporting there are more job openings in the state. As Stephen Koranda reports, that means more jobs are available for unemployed workers.

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KCUR News
10:45 am
Tue October 12, 2010

Treasurer Hopeful Ron Estes Touts Business, Government Experience

Ron Estes

Topeka, KS – The Kansas treasurer runs various savings and loan plans for the state, handles bonds for local governments, and sits on the public employee retirement board, known as KPERS. That fund is facing a projected multi-billion dollar shortfall.

Ron Estes is the Republican nominee for state treasurer. He worked for Koch Industries and Learjet before being elected Sedgwick County treasurer in 2004.

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KCUR News
10:43 am
Tue October 12, 2010

McKinney Touts Experience in Office in KS Treasurer Race

Dennis McKinney

Topeka, KS – The Kansas treasurer runs various savings and loan plans for the state, handles bonds for local governments, and sits on the public employee retirement board, known as KPERS. That fund is facing a projected multibillion dollar shortfall.

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KCUR News
12:03 pm
Fri October 8, 2010

Governor Candidates Debate in Wichita

Wichita, KS – Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback says the state should lead by example by banning smoking on its state-owned casinos and leave local governments to decide the issue for themselves.

Brownback made the statement during a forum televised from the Wichita studios of KWCH.

State Sen. Tom Holland, the Democratic nominee, said that while in the Legislature, he voted against the statewide smoking ban because he believes those issues are best left to local control.

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KCUR News
11:24 am
Fri October 8, 2010

Prop B Calls for Strengthening Dog Breeding Regulations in Missouri

Cape Girardeau, MO – Missouri voters will decide on November 2 to approve or deny Proposition B, which would strengthen dog breeding regulations in the state. The Humane Society of the United States says that lax dog breeding laws have created an environment that fosters abusive practices. As Jacob McCleland reports, opponents argue that Prop B would lead to more stringent regulations in animal agriculture.

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KCUR News
10:32 am
Fri October 8, 2010

Johnson County Overhauls Trash Rules

Johnson County, Kansas – Curbside recycling will soon be seen in all of Johnson County. The Board of Commissioners passed new solid waste management codes in a six to one vote yesterday.

It means that starting in 2012, all trash haulers in the county will be required to provide curbside recycling, compost yard waste, and charge people extra for disposing more than 96 gallons of trash. That's in contrast to the current fixed fees many residents pay, regardless of how much garbage they throw out.

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Redistricting
12:59 pm
Thu October 7, 2010

City Council Endorses Redistricting Map

A redistricting plan has been approved by the Kansas City, Missouri city council.

The changes in council district boundary lines are in most cases very slight. But large enough to produce more than three hours of discussion and debate on the two final maps at City Hall today.

Tthe map finally adopted splits the Brookside-Waldo area at 75th street, moves a two-block strip along Troost into the fifth district, and still splits the Hickman Mills-Ruskin area.

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KCUR News
12:03 am
Thu October 7, 2010

Kansas House Races Could Change Face Of Johnson County Delegation

Johnson County, Kansas – Most of the conversation about Tea Party candidates this year has focused on national seats, with some stunning upsets that affirm voter frustration with the persistent economic problems and the Obama administration.

The impact of the frustration is trickling down to local and state races. A majority of statehouse races in Kansas, for example, and countless races at the county and precinct level have conservative or independent candidates and are generating enthusiasm.

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KCUR News
7:04 pm
Wed October 6, 2010

New Public Safety Radio System On Schedule

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City fire chief Smokey Dyer gave a progress report on the city's transition to a new public safety radio system Wednesday, and in the process put in a plug for renewing the sales tax that made it possible.

Dyer told a council committee that the new radio system is on schedule, and will be the first of its kind. He says Kansas City is the first area to organize a communication system that will encompass the entire metropolitan area and eventually two states.

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KCUR News
5:20 pm
Wed October 6, 2010

Voting Registration Deadline Passes; Officials Turn to Absentee Voting

Jefferson City, MO – The deadline to register to vote in Missouri this year has passed. State officials now turn their attention to absentee voting and making sure people's addresses are correct. St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin reports.

Laura Egerdal with the Secretary of State's office says Missourians who want an absentee ballot mailed to them have until October 27th to request one.

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KCUR News
5:22 pm
Tue October 5, 2010

Prop B Proponents Stepping Up Media Campaign

St. Louis, MO – Proponents of tougher laws regulating Missouri puppy mills are stepping up their media campaign to reach Missouri votes. As St. Louis Public Radio's Adam Allington reports, the Humane Society of the United States says Missouri is the worst offender in the nation.

According to a report from the Humane Society, Missouri produces 40 percent of all puppies sold in the United States.

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KCUR News
10:13 am
Tue October 5, 2010

GOP AG Candidate Pushes for Health Law Repeal

Topeka, KS – The Republican candidate for Kansas attorney general is promising to challenge the federal health care law. The pledge from Derek Schmidt comes after his Democratic opponent, incumbent Steve Six, refused to file a lawsuit against the measure.

"The power claimed by the federal government in enacting this health care overhaul is an unprecedented power grab, never before claimed as authority of the federal government in the history of our republic," says Schmidt.

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KCUR News
1:28 pm
Thu September 30, 2010

Council Considers Some Privatization

Kansas City, MO – As the recession continues to plague revenue collections, some Kansas City, Missouri city council members want to consider outsourcing management of some city assets to private companies.

The idea was reborn when Black and Veatch expressed an interest in managing the Blue River Wastewater Treatment facility, but the resolution advanced yesterday by a 2 to 1 Finance Committee vote calls for the city manager to investigate involving the private sector in any city assets and services where there is an interest.

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KCUR News
5:02 pm
Wed September 29, 2010

Kansas Governor Considering Supreme Court Nominees

Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson

Topeka, KS – Governor Mark Parkinson is now considering who should fill a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court. This week, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission presented the governor with 3 possible choices. During a news conference in Topeka on Wednesday, Parkinson said he didn't know any of the candidates but was reviewing their resumes.

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KCUR News
4:53 pm
Wed September 29, 2010

National Database Reveals How Candidates are Likely to Vote

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri's congressional candidates have been added to a national database whose creators say will show voters where they're likely to stand on national issues. It's called Vote Easy, and it was set up by Montana-based Project Vote Smart.

Adelaide Kimball is a board member and senior advisor for the group. She says most candidates don't like telling voters how they would vote on such issues as abortion, immigration and gun control.

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KCUR News
3:00 pm
Mon September 27, 2010

Big First Candidates Meeting Today for Debate

Topeka, KS – The 1st Congressional District stretches across nearly three quarters of the state, from just west of Topeka to the western border. Candidates for the "Big First" seat will meet Monday in Emporia for a debate. KPR's Stephen Koranda has more.

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KCUR News
8:35 am
Thu September 23, 2010

Moore,Yoder More Aggressive In Second Debate

Kevin Yoder, Jasmine Talbert, Stephene Moore at today's 3rd District debate in Overland Park. Photo by Laura Ziegler

Overland Park, Kansas – The candidates for the third Congressional District in Kansas tried to win votes during a 90 minute debate before a crowded lunch meeting of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce today. They hit all their talking points - harder than they have in the past.

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KCUR News
2:46 pm
Wed September 22, 2010

Redistricting Committee Will Present Two Alternatives to KCMO Council

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City Missouri's redistricting committee members decided they will choose two maps to present to the city council in its final meeting tomorrow. Yesterday's meeting brought out strong support for keeping some district boundaries intact.

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KCUR News
6:20 pm
Fri September 17, 2010

Moore, Yoder Try To Sound Different Notes In First Debate

Kansas City, Missouri – Kansas 3rd Congressional District Democratic candidate Stephene Moore defined herself as a nurse, businesswoman,and a grandmother. She is also the wife of the retiring , 6-term incumbent Dennis Moore.

Moore said her main opponent, Kevin Yoder, was a career politician running from a flip floppy record as a Kansas legislator. She pointed out he'd voted for sales, income, and excise taxes during his years as a legislator.

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KCUR News
1:46 am
Fri September 10, 2010

MAST Defended; Pension Upgrade on Hold

Councilman Terry Riley tells colleagues that approving a MAST pension proposal without further study \"is not prudent.\"

Kansas City, MO – A plan to give MAST ambulance employees better retirement benefits is on hold for at least another two weeks after four council members blocked a quick vote on it Thursday.

The non-profit MAST ambulance service became part of the Fire Department this spring. And the plan finally proposed offered full retirement benefits and credit for previous years of service.

The city manager said funding that could cost up to $40 million dollars that could be paid in over ten or more years and in the long run offset by savings.

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KCUR News
2:07 am
Thu September 9, 2010

MAST Pensions Could Cost $40 Million

City Manager Troy Schulte explains the MAST pension plan.
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2. (Click to enlarge.)

Kansas City, MO – Ever since the city started talking about taking over the ambulance service about three years ago, it has promised MAST workers they would get a retirement system comparable to that of other public safety employees crediting the time they have worked for the non-profit ambulance service.

With 320 of those employees now working for the city, City Manager Troy Schulte says it could cost the city up to $40 million to fund that pension plan.

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KCUR News
6:16 pm
Tue September 7, 2010

Main Core Makeover Nears

Innovative seating planned for Main Core.
photo courtesy KCCG

Kansas City, MO – Nine blocks of Kansas City Main Street leading into Westport from the north are about to get a pedestrian-friendly makeover. The city public works department late last week took a look at the 90 percent of the plan that's been finished.

From 34th to 43rd and then spreading out along the southern boundary in the Art Institute District, Main will be altered with added street lighting, planters and landscape architecture.

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KC Currents
3:11 pm
Tue September 7, 2010

Redistricting Explained

Kansas City, MO – The latest battle raging in Kansas City's council chambers has been over district boundaries. According to the charter, the city is supposed to re-draw the district map after every three general elections, which means about every 12 years, or whenever the population shifts dramatically. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross and Steve Bell talk about what's at stake.

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KCUR News
4:40 pm
Fri September 3, 2010

Discarded Baby Regs to Grow in KC

Kathy Jolly, whose Council Committee sent the measure to the floor for action.

Kansas City, MO – Eight years after Missouri passed a law to protect abandoned babies, Kansas City, Missouri agrees to take part in a program letting the public know about it.
It doesn't happen often, but when a newborn is abandoned and in danger there is general shock and horror.

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KCUR News
1:43 am
Fri September 3, 2010

Council Overrides Redistricting Veto

Councilman Ed Ford argues in vain that sending the voters the charter change will be divisive and undermine efforts to renew the public safety sales tax.
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2. Click to enlarge.

Kansas City, MO – The mayor's veto did not stand. The Kansas City city council voted yesterday to put a measure changing the city's redistricting schedule on the November ballot.

Northland members and the mayor who had opposed moving now to tie the redistricting schedule to the release of census data argued that the council was rushing to enact something that wouldn't make any difference for twenty years... and could undermine efforts to renew the public safety sales tax.

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KCUR News
5:58 pm
Thu September 2, 2010

Road Builders Accused of Polluting

Kansas City, KS – The Environmental Protection Agency accuses MoDOT of failing to protect streams along two highway construction jobs. Inspectors allegedly found sediment was allowed to seep into a half dozen creeks and unnamed tributaries in Camden and Wayne Counties in central Missouri.

The waterways flow into Lake of the Ozarks.

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KCUR News
12:18 am
Tue August 31, 2010

Funkhouser Vetoes Redistricting Change

Kansas City, MO – For the second time in as many weeks, Mark Funkhouser has used his veto power - this time on a ballot measure to amend the city charter so council redistricting could possibly wait until after new census ethnic distribution data is released.

The mayor says the the US Constitution mandates that redistricting must be done before the spring city election because Northland districts are underrepresented, and that the city will be found in violation of the constitution if it does not correct that situation.

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