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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has been signing dozens of bills into law since the regular legislative session ended in May. But two controversial bills remain unsigned as the deadline approaches.
One of those bills deals with ethics. Provisions include restricting political committee-to-committee money transfers and allowing the Ethics Commission to launch investigations. The other bill would expand the information women must be told 24 hours before getting an abortion.
Kansas City, MO – President Barack Obama was in Kansas City this week, for the first time since he was elected. The latest Rasmussen poll shows the President has the lowest approval rating on the issue of the economy since he took office.
Kansas City, MO – First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a speech to delegates at the 101st NAACP national convention in Kansas City, Missouri. The NAACP is the nation's oldest civil rights organization. Mrs. Obama discussed strategies to address the childhood obesity epidemic and her campaign against childhood obesity, Let's Move!
NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock provided an introduction, as did "Up to Date" host Steve Kraske. KCUR carried Michelle Obama's speech live during a remote broadcast of "Up to Date."
Kansas City, MO – President Barack Obama came to Kansas City today to stump for Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan. After visiting a local electric car plant, he attended a thousand-dollar-a-plate fundraiser at the downtown Marriott, and then went next door to the Folly Theater for what was billed as a "grassroots" rally.
President Obama lost the state of Missouri in the 2008 election by just a few thousand votes. Still, Democrats are hoping his support will help Secretary of State Robin Carnahan defeat longtime 7th district Congressman Roy Blunt, formerly the minority whip.
St. Louis, Missouri – Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan was in St. Louis today to hear from veterans about problems with sterilization of dental equipment at the John Cochran veteran's hospital in the city.
The dental clinic at the hospital did not follow Veterans Affairs procedures when sterilizing the equipment. That left 1800 veterans at a low risk of contracting hepatitis B and C and HIV.
Kansas City, MO – Missouri Senate leaders are bypassing a committee that's blocking legislation to provide auto incentives during the ongoing special session.
Republican Chuck Purgason, chair of the senate's Fiscal Oversight committee, is blocking a vote on the House bill that contains both incentives for Ford Motor Company and tax breaks for underground data centers. So Senate leaders have crafted a separate bill that excludes the data centers. It's sponsored by Republican Luann Ridgeway of Platte County:
Kansas City, MO – Preparing for a July fourth week off, Kansas City's City Council turned out a prolific load of legislation Thursday, finalizing a computerized traffic ticket system, new-home security standards, a loan to pay off TIF obligations, art for the KC-Live District, appropriations for street repairs, and an ethics reform project.
And the council went head to head with the mayor, on funding for the Sports Complex.
Jefferson City, MO – You won't see nearly as many bulldozers and paving trucks working to fix and expand Missouri highways. The upcoming five-year construction program approved today cuts away two thirds of what was spent last year.
What was approved by Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission barely has funds to take care of what's here now.
Topkea, KS – Starting today, texting while driving is illegal in Kansas.
There will be a 6 month warning period before officers start issuing $60 fines.
Captain Art Wilburn with the Kansas Highway Patrol says the law will help improve safety on Kansas roads.
"Folks who are out there texting and driving, their attention is distracted from the roadway and their driving," says Wilburn. "It's not uncommon to see those people involved in accidents where they would run off the road or run into the back of another car."
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City, Mo., finance department verified Wednesday that after two years of major spending cuts the city has money in the bank. And the mayor and council members immediately started talking about how much more the city should borrow.
The 34.2 million dollars the city has in its general fund today, day one of its new fiscal year, is about 8 percent of this year's budget. That's the largest balance in a decade, and the city's credit rating is also at its highest in ten years.
Kansas City, MO – The head of the panel redrawing proposed changes in Jackson County, Missouri's charter sees new opportunities to fight discrimination at the courthouse.
Voters will decide worthiness of charter changes when they cast ballots in the August election. Changes range from ending no bid contracts, to eliminating automatic pay hikes for elected officials to limiting the county executive's power over the sheriff. And there is hiring staff to investigate discrimination and ethics breaches.
Kansas City, MO – A statewide smoking ban takes effect this week in Kansas.
Lawmakers approved the measure earlier this year. It prohibits smoking in public places, bars and restaurants, but exempts tobacco shops, casino gaming floors, and some private clubs.
Several cities throughout the state, including Lawrence and Overland Park, already have similar bans in place. Wyandotte County approved one about a year and a half ago. But it includes a three year transition period, and means many businesses still allow smoking.
Jefferson City, MO – At stroke of midnight August 28th, adult industries in Missouri will be much more heavily restricted.
Sexually oriented businesses, such as strip clubs and adult entertainment stores, will not be allowed total nudity, customers younger than 18 or any touching between partly clothed employees and patrons. There will be no alcohol served and doors will close at midnight.
Governor Jay Nixon signed legislation into law today.
Jefferson City, MO – A lawsuit has been filed in Jefferson City that's designed to stop the August 3rd referendum on Missouri's participation in the new national health care law. The referendum was approved by the Missouri House and Senate this year, and it states that citizens cannot be forced to buy health insurance against their will.
Kansas City, MO – Kansas City will pay a $250,000 deposit to take the Power and Light Building and the block around it off the market while studies continue on creating a new convention hotel on the site. But Mayor Funkhouser still thinks it's a bad idea.
The city will lose the quarter of a million it doesn't build a hotel on the property, and the mayor says the "found money" from the restaurant tax could be better spent on neighborhood infrastructure or marketing existing hotels.