Government

KCUR News
12:02 pm
Mon August 16, 2010

Advocates for Disabled, Elderly Call for Medicaid Funding

Topkea, KS – Advocates for the elderly and disabled lined up today before a legislative committee to spell out how budget cuts have affected state services. The Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services heard the testimony at the Statehouse.

For six months this year, a 10% cut in the amount paid to Medicaid service providers caused some reductions in services and waiting lists to swell. That's according to Don Jordan, Secretary of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

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KCUR News
2:22 am
Sat August 14, 2010

City Files Suit to Stop E-Tax Vote

Kansas City, MO – Mayor Mark Funkhouser says: "We're going to war on the e-tax."

Kansas City filed suit late Friday, challenging the constitutionality of the ballot measure that would force a vote on the city's earnings tax every five years and prohibit other Missouri cities from taxing incomes.

The suit says the initiative violates the state's single-subject rule, fails to make necessary distinctions between personal and business versions of the tax and mandates elections without funding them... an unfunded mandate.

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KCUR News
7:36 am
Fri August 6, 2010

Missouri Expects Billion Dollar Income Deficit In 2012

Missouri can expect a $1 billion income deficit in the 2012 fiscal year according to an assessment of the nonprofit Missouri Budget Project.

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KCUR News
3:07 am
Thu August 5, 2010

Council Buys Time On Sales Tax Plan

Kansas City, MO – With the November ballot deadline looming and the public safety sales tax due to expire, the Kansas City city council is still divided on exactly what to put before the voters.

Some council members want to go with the plan presented by the police board and Chief Jim Corwin: keep things the way they are and dedicate the tax renewal to new police stations, a crime lab and replacing Vietnam War era helicopters.

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KCUR News
3:37 pm
Wed August 4, 2010

Political Pundits Review Election Results

Steve Kraske talks with our Political Pundits, The Kansas City Star's Dave Helling and KMBC's Micheal Mahoney, about where the candidates are positioned after the primaries and what can be expected in the general elections.

Listen to the program or download the podcast here

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KCUR News
6:41 am
Wed August 4, 2010

Blunt beats Purgason, prepares to battle Carnahan

In the race to replace retiring Missouri Senator Kit Bond, Roy Blunt, a congressman from southwest Missouri, won a nine-way Republican Senate primary over tea party contender Chuck Purgason. Blunt had 71 percent of the vote to Purgason's 13 percent. But Purgason says the race was worth the effort.

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KCUR News
6:34 am
Wed August 4, 2010

Yoder Wins Kansas Republican 3rd District Primary

Kansas State Rep. Kevin Yoder of Overland Park won the Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional District. That covers all of Johnson and Wyandotte counties and the eastern portion of Douglas County, including parts of Lawrence.

Yoder, the House Appropriation Committee chairman, defeated eight other Republicans yesterday. His closest challenger was former state House member Patricia Lightner of Olathe.

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KCUR News
6:31 am
Wed August 4, 2010

Kobach Wins GOP Primary For Kansas Secretary Of State

A law professor who helped draft Arizona's new immigration statute won the Republican primary for Kansas secretary of state.

Kris Kobach defeated two other GOP candidates Tuesday- Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth Ensley of Topeka and former chief executive officer of the National Association of Government Contractors J.R. Claeys of Salina.

Kobach had linked illegal immigration to voter fraud. Because of his immigration work critics question whether he will be a full-time secretary of state.

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KCUR News
6:27 am
Wed August 4, 2010

Moran Squeezes Past Tiahrt, Looks Forward To Johnston

With most of the votes counted, Kansas Congressman Jerry Moran had just shy of 50 percent to overcome Representative Todd Tiahrt's 45 percent. Two minor candidates split the rest.

"I'm honored by your enthusiasm," said Moran. "Let's take this enthusiasm and take it to November and restore America."

Only a few thousand votes separated the candidates at the end. Moran goes into November facing Democratic primary winner Lisa Johnston who is a dean at Baker University. Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932.

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KCUR News
12:59 am
Wed August 4, 2010

Crystal Williams Defeats Jackson County Chair Henry Rizzo

Crystal Williams at her election party at Mike's Tavern.
Photo by Anthonia Akitunde.

Most Jackson County legislators will return to their seats after last night's primaries, with the exception of the legislature's chair.

Newcomer Crystal Williams defeated incumbent Henry Rizzo 50 to 43 in the second district at-large. Williams said she thinks people were ready for a change.

"The discussions that I had with the people of Jackson County about openness and transparency in county government is something that really resonated with folks," Williams said.

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KCUR News
8:27 pm
Tue August 3, 2010

First Vote on E-Tax will be on November Ballot

A measure which could lead to the elimination of earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City will be on the November ballot.

The measure was one of two certified Tuesday by the Missouri Secretary of State. If it's approved in November, voters in St. Louis and Kansas City would decide in November 2011 whether or not to keep their city's earnings tax, which make up a sizable portion of the budget in each city. The measure also prevents other cities from implementing an earnings tax in the future.

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KCUR News
11:07 am
Mon August 2, 2010

Jackson County To Vote On Charter Revisions

Jackson County voters will decide whether to approve revisions to the county charter on Tuesday's primary ballot. The amended charter was developed by a task force chaired by former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes.

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Jackson County
4:10 pm
Sun August 1, 2010

Tuesday's Primary May Shift Power Dynamic In Jackson County

Primaries for the Jackson County Legislature don't usually draw enough much money or attention to even run ads. But no Republicans are running this year for the at-large seats, so those races will be decided by voters on Tuesday, August 3, and the races have become pretty contentious.

The candidates hear this question a lot: "So . . .what does the Jackson County Legislature do, exactly . . . besides collect property taxes?"

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KCUR News
3:18 pm
Fri July 30, 2010

Hot Race In Kansas 3rd Congressional District As Republicans Try To Pick Up Seat

The 3rd Congressional District in Kansas will be among the most closely watched races in the country this election season. Incumbent Dennis Moore is retiring after six terms, and his wife is among two Democrats vying to replace him in Washington.

Nine Republicans and one libertarian will be on the ballot as well.

It's a year in which Republicans are hoping they will be able to win back a seat in a district they feel has been rightfully theirs for a long time.

THE DEMOCRATS

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Election Coverage
12:07 pm
Fri July 30, 2010

The Midwest Democracy Project / Key Legislative Primary Battles

Kansas City, MO – The papers and airwaves are filled with stories about a few big battles for hotly contested congressional seats or spots in the Senate. But how is a voter supposed to know what's on their local ballot? Or what exactly that county ballot issue is about? Or how two seemingly similar state house candidates of the same party line up on the issues?

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KCUR News
1:24 am
Fri July 30, 2010

Blue Car Lights Get Red Light In KC

Blue headlights like these are illegal under a Kansas City, MO ordinance passed Thursday.
Click to enlarge.

Blue lights will now be illegal on motor vehicles in Kansas City, Missouri. Yes, blue lights.

There was a time when police cars, fire vehicles and ambulances were distinguished by their flashing red lights. But in recent years, emergency vehicles have started sporting blue warning lights or a combination of red and blue.

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Election Coverage
12:07 pm
Wed July 28, 2010

Johnson County Commission Chair Debate

Kansas City, MO – Steve Kraske moderates a debate with candidates incumbent Chair Annabeth Surbaugh, current 4th District Commissioner Ed Eilert, former 2nd District Commissioner John Segale and former 6th District Commissioner John Toplikar.

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KCUR News
9:47 pm
Tue July 27, 2010

No Ho-Hum Election

Missouri's chief election controller predicts more voters than usual will be at the polls next Tuesday.

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Teaching Evolution
2:57 pm
Tue July 27, 2010

Science Stands Up

In the Republican primary for Kansas Board of Education, an advocate of teaching creationism in science classes, John Bacon, faces a challenger Dennis George, in the district that includes southern Johnson County, and points south. No Democrats have filed for the general election, so the primary will determine the winner.

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Election Coverage
12:08 pm
Tue July 27, 2010

Kansas and Missouri Primary Races

Kansas Statehouse
10:17 am
Mon July 26, 2010

Unconventional Race For Kansas Secretary Of State

National issues like immigration and dissatisfaction with government are at the center of rallies for Kansas Secretary of State candidate, Kris Kobach. Photo by Laura Ziegler

The Secretary of State's race in Kansas has become one of the most important races of the election season. Why? Because issues like immigration and questions about government accountability are part of the debate.

At the center of that debate -the controversial, telegenic UMKC law professor and immigration activist, Kris Kobach.

Kobach's been exciting crowds at fundraisers and Tea Party rallies all year. When Sarah Palin was in Independence, people cheered Kobach almost as much as Palin.

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Redistricting
3:07 am
Fri July 23, 2010

Council Slows Redistricting Pace

Urban League president Gwen Grant tells the council if it redistricts without data on ethnic distribution it will face a voting rights lawsuit.
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2.

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council put the brakes on its last minute rush to redistricting Thursday.

Cathy Jolly spoke for the majority of the council early in the first public hearing on charter-mandated redistricting when she said: "I really believe that it's quite ridiculous, to be honest with you, that we are sitting here today at the last minute telling the public to come down here and put something together with an election looming."

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KCUR News
2:48 am
Thu July 22, 2010

Funkhouser, Hermann Butt Heads on TIF Audit

John Sharp and Beth Gottstein listen as Mayor Mark Funkhouser and committee chair Deb Hermann have their chilly conversation.
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2.

Having two mayoral candidates on one influential committee triggered late July fireworks at City Hall Wednesday.

The conflict was over a resolution introduced by Deb Hermann to have city staff set guidelines for an audit of the TIF Commission. She said the mayor 's plan to give the responsibility to the commission ignored the city charter and the council.

The mayor it was perfectly in line with the charter.

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KCUR News
5:03 pm
Wed July 21, 2010

Nine Weeks For I-470 Fix

MoDOT's Beth Wright outlines failed highway remedies.
photo by dan verbeck

Work could be underway as early as Friday, July 23rd, to fix collapsed pavement that closed I-470 in part of the Three Trails Crossing in Southeast Kansas City. Contracts to build a new, longer bridge leading into the highway maze will be signed tomorrow.

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Freeway Collapse
5:39 pm
Mon July 19, 2010

Bridge Is Sound, Approaches Rotten

picture by MoDOT

Kansas City, MO – Soil samples were being lifted today from beneath the part of I-470 that collapsed over the weekend. There is no encouraging news forthcoming for thousands of commuters who had to find "another way."

Kansas City District Engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation Beth Wright summed up the mess, " its weeks or months, but I can't tell you a specific estimate."

It will be that long before the public will be able to drive I-470 westward to link up with I-435 and into the Kansas suburbs.

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KCUR News
5:32 am
Mon July 19, 2010

MoDOT Posts I-470/I-435 Detours

Kansas City, MO – KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Engineers at the Missouri Department of Transportation closed the westbound I-470 interchange to westbound I-435, as well as northbound Route 71 to westbound I-435 at 3 Trails Crossing yesterday. The damage from a sink hole at that location has expanded, making it necessary to immediately close the roadway.

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Soldiers
4:02 pm
Fri July 16, 2010

Afghan War Claims Northland Soldier

Sgt Shaun Mittler with Iraqi child during earlier combat tour.
photo courtesy of Mittler family.

Kansas City, MO – A second Kansas City area soldier has died this week of wounds suffered in Afghanistan. 32 year old Staff Sergeant Shaun Mittler was born in North Kansas City and raised in Gladstone , according to the Defense Department.

Mittler was serving with the 101st Airborne Division when his unit was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and rifle fire. He died last Saturday.

Mittler served in the Kansas National Guard, then reenlisted in the regular army after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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Missouri Statehouse
10:35 am
Fri July 16, 2010

Nixon Allows Abortion Language Bill to Become Law

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed and vetoed several bills Wednesday, the final day for action on legislation passed during the 2010 regular session.

First, Governor Nixon signed legislation creating new ethics rules. It restricts money transfers between political committees and allows the Missouri Ethics Commission to launch its own investigations, instead of waiting for complaints to be filed by others. But it does not restore campaign contribution limits, which Democrats had been calling for.

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KCUR News
1:06 am
Fri July 16, 2010

Redistricting Planning Prompts Council Clash

Council members Sanders-Brooks, Curls and Johnson clash over how redistricting should be handled.
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2. Click to enlarge.

Kansas City, MO – A necessary redistricting sparked a contentious hour-long argument in Kansas City's city council Thursday.

Population changes in the 12 years since Kansas City's council districts were redrawn require shrinking the growing northland districts and expanding the third district.

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KCUR News
2:04 pm
Wed July 14, 2010

Bomb Scare Doesn't Bother Enthusiastic Supporters Of Kobach And Arizona Sheriff

Kris Kobach and Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a fundraiser in Overland Park for Kobach's Secretary of State race. Photo by Laura Ziegler.

Overland Park, Kansas – A bomb scare at a fundraiser for Kansas Secretary of State candidate Kris Kobach turned out to be a false alarm last night, but the overflow crowd never seemed concerned.

Police estimated some 1500 people were at the Ritz Charles Hotel in Overland Park as Kobach introduced guest speaker Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County, Arizona.

Overland Park police chief John Douglass was rushed to the mike to make an announcement:

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