Government

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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Missouri Statehouse
10:11 am
Wed July 14, 2010

Nixon Still Pondering Bills Before Deadline

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.

Governor Nixon says he's been pretty busy lately.

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KC Currents
3:36 pm
Mon July 12, 2010

President Hopes To Influence Missouri Senate Race

At his third event in one day in Kansas City, President Obama said he was hot and took off his jacket. He came to support the Democratic candidate for Senate in Missouri, Robin Carnahan (left). Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

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.

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KCUR News
8:47 am
Mon July 12, 2010

'Let's Move!': First Lady Michelle Obama Addresses NAACP Convention

First Lady Michelle Obama
photo: KCUR

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."

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KCUR News
6:49 pm
Thu July 8, 2010

Obama Stumps For Carnahan In Downtown KC

At his third event in one day in Kansas City, President Obama said he was hot and took off his jacket. He came to support the Democratic candidate for Senate in Missouri, Robin Carnahan (left). Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

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.

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KCUR News
4:57 pm
Thu July 8, 2010

Congressman Carnahan Visits VA Facility, Seeks Answers About Sterilization Problem

Congressman Carnahan visits with veterans at the St. Louis VA Medical Center.
Photo by Rachel Lippmann

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.

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Missouri Statehouse
1:20 pm
Fri July 2, 2010

Missouri Senate Update

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:

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KCMO City Hall
2:38 am
Fri July 2, 2010

Council Funds Stadiums Over Mayor's Objections

Russ Johnson tells the council the lawsuit against the Mayor's wife cost the city more than the proposed stadiums appropriation.
Video frame courtesy of KCCG-TV.

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.

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KCUR News
5:37 pm
Thu July 1, 2010

Economic Toll Taken On Missouri Bridges, Highways

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.

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KCUR News
11:20 am
Thu July 1, 2010

Kansas Smoking Ban Begins (Mostly)

Kansas City, MO – A statewide ban on smoking in public places goes into effect today, with a few, limited exceptions. Kansas Public Radio's Bryan Thompson has more.

 

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KCUR News
11:15 am
Thu July 1, 2010

Ban On Texting While Driving Starts Today In Kansas

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."

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KCMO City Hall
1:18 am
Thu July 1, 2010

KC Spending Cuts Pay Off In Strong Fund Balance

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.

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KCMO City Hall
4:13 pm
Tue June 29, 2010

Charter Sales Job Begins

Kay Barnes (left), Mike Sanders (right) in front of Jackson County Courthouse.
Dan Verbeck KCUR

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.

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KCUR News
11:53 am
Mon June 28, 2010

Live Video Of Elena Kagan Confirmation Hearing

Kansas City, MO –

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KCUR News
10:36 am
Mon June 28, 2010

Kansas Goes Smoke-Free This Week

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.

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KCUR News
4:48 pm
Fri June 25, 2010

Commercial Sex Crackdown Near

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.

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KCMO City Hall
5:08 pm
Wed June 23, 2010

Door Smash Measure Moves Ahead

Kansas City, MO – New and certain renovated homes in Kansas City would have to meet more stringent security codes under a measure given first round approval by a city council committee today.

Intruders would find it harder to kick in a door and security lighting would be required in new homes and rehabbed houses where doors and door frames are replaced.

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KCUR News
4:34 pm
Wed June 23, 2010

Lawsuit Challenges Health Care Referendum

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.

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KCMO CIty Hall
2:08 am
Fri June 18, 2010

Funkhouser Decries Past Spending, Wants New Chamber of Commerce

Mayor Mark Funkhouser looks stern as he defends his leadership style and blasts tax incentives for tourist and entertainment projects.
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2.

Kansas City, MO – Mayor Mark Funkhouser delivered his State of the City address on Thursday. Many said it was a kickoff event for his campaign for reelection.

The mayor said the the city has made progress under his leadership, tightening the budget, reining in tax incentives and eliminating 90 percent of the metal plates covering uncompleted street repairs.

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KCMO City Hall
1:11 am
Fri June 11, 2010

Council Buys Option On Power And Light Building

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.

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