Government

KCMO City Hall
5:32 pm
Wed April 14, 2010

Council Blight Watchers Tire Of Discards

Regulated Industries Director Gary Majors describes size of tire discard problem.

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.

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KCUR News
8:17 am
Wed April 14, 2010

Michael Reagan Rallies Missouri Tea Party

Jefferson City, Mo. – About 400 people gathered outside the Missouri State Capitol Tuesday for a tea party rally, featuring the son of former president Ronald Reagan.

Talk show host Michael Reagan told the crowd on the State Capitol's South Lawn that liberals and progressives are "like termites."

"If we don't temp them on a regular basis, they're going to keep eating away."

But Reagan also said that conservatives need to emulate liberals in their long-term outlook.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:13 am
Wed April 14, 2010

Missouri Senate Moves to Consolidate Departments

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.

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Bridge Business
5:04 pm
Fri April 9, 2010

Drivers' Relief Nearing For Bridge Crossing

Artist's rendition of Bond Bridge before construction began. View looking to southwest from northeast shore of Missouri River.
photo courtesy of MoDot

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.

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KCUR News
9:31 am
Wed April 7, 2010

Barney Frank Praises Local Banks, Says Major Reform Likely By Memorial Day

Barney Frank discussing financial industry reform with local bankers.

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.

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KCUR News
6:14 pm
Tue April 6, 2010

A Thousand More Show-Me State Jobs Will Go

Governor Jay Nixon ( center) with UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton (R) and staff, faculty.
photo by dan verbeck

Kansas City, Mo. – Another 1,000 Missouri state employees are going to lose their jobs in the coming weeks. Governor Jay Nixon spoke of the cuts as he met with UMKC faculty and students.

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KCMO City Hall
4:45 pm
Mon April 5, 2010

Funkhouser Anti-E-Tax Repeal

Mayor Mark Funkhouser (R), IAFF Local 42 President Louie Wright (L) oppose repeal of city earnings' tax.
photo by dan verbeck

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.

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KCUR News
12:04 pm
Mon April 5, 2010

Overland Park Annexation Opponents Plan Appeal

Kansas City, Mo. – Opponents say they'll appeal the decision to approve Overland Park's annexation of 8 square miles of semi-rural land.

A Johnson County District Court last week ruled neither the city nor Johnson County did anything illegal by annexing the land.

But Norman Pishner a member of a committee that campaigned vigorously against the annexation, says opponents believe they can prove residents were denied due process.

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KCUR News
9:41 am
Wed March 31, 2010

Panel Dismisses Ethics Complaint Against Kansas House Speaker

Topeka, Kan. –
A House panel has dismissed an ethical complaint against the House speaker, but they did make a recommendation to change the law.

A special Kansas House committee has dismissed a complaint by Democrats against Republican Speaker Mike O'Neal.

The vote Tuesday by the panel of three Republicans and three Democrats was unanimous.

O'Neal is a lawyer. The complaint cited his representation of a group of businesses, trade groups and insurance funds in a lawsuit against the state.

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KCUR News
2:01 am
Fri March 26, 2010

New KCMO Budget Preserves Services, Raises Fees

Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri has an official city budget for the year beginning May first.

The $1.2 billion in spending the council approved preserves basic city services. But parks and boulevard medians will be mowed less frequently and fees for water, sewers and extra trash bag stickers will go up.

There's a property tax increase, but most owners won't feel it because it's designed offset lower property values.

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KCUR News
5:05 pm
Wed March 24, 2010

Kinder Seeks to Join Health Care Lawsuit

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has announced his intent to join attorneys general in several other states in their suit challenging the federal health care law signed yesterday by President Obama. The lawsuit contends that the federal government cannot require people to have health insurance.

The Republican Lt. Governor told reporters he decided not to wait on Missouri's Democratic Attorney General to file suit.

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KCUR News
5:01 pm
Wed March 24, 2010

Kinder Seeks To Join Health Care Lawsuit

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has announced his intent to join attorneys general in several other states in their suit challenging the federal health care law signed yesterday by President Obama. The lawsuit contends that the federal government cannot require people to have health insurance.

The Republican Lt. Governor told reporters he decided not to wait on Missouri's Democratic Attorney General to file suit.

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Missouri Statehouse
10:48 am
Thu March 18, 2010

Missouri House Debates Budget Late Into The Night

Jefferson City, Mo. – The House Budget Committee spent nearly four hours Wednesday night amending and voting on bills that make up the state budget.

Committee members only made it through about a third of the budget bills before calling it a night.

House Budget Chair Allen Icet says so far they've identified 65 million dollars that can be trimmed from various departments.

"None of these should affect any services or anything. For the most part, it was either lapse, or funding that would be considered excess," says Icet.

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Kansas Statehouse
10:39 am
Thu March 18, 2010

Ethics Complaint Against Kansas House Speaker Moves Forward

Topeka, Kan. – A special House committee will start hearings on an ethics complaint filed against House Speaker Mike O'Neal. the committee decided not to dismiss the complaint against the Hutchinson Republican.

Sin Taxes
2:47 pm
Tue March 16, 2010

Soda and Sin Taxes: Do they Work?

Kansas City –

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KCMO City Hall
2:20 am
Fri March 12, 2010

Council Nixes New Department, Reinstates Another

Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri will not get a new city department to manage construction projects. The city council voted that down 7 to 6 yesterday. But the city Human Relations Department was re-empowered in a last-minute move.

The Human Relations Department has always been a department according to the city charter. But former city manager Wayne Cauthen gave it division status within his office. That means HRD didn't have its own separate budget, and some council members also said it "degraded the status" of HRD.

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KCUR News
2:22 am
Thu March 11, 2010

Bus System Rumbling Toward Financial Void

ATA General Manager Mark Huffer wants regional transit tax.

Kansas City, Mo. – The Area Transportation Authority expects to be in a tough financial state by 2013. It faces possibility of cuts in service by one-third. The message was delivered to the Kansas City Council this afternoon.

A major impact will come from loss of one-time federal stimulus money.

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KCUR News
2:13 am
Thu March 11, 2010

50-Cent Increase For Downtown Events?

Kansas City, Mo. – The price of attending most events at Bartle Hall or Municipal Auditorium will go up a little if the city council approves a plan approved by the Finance and Audit Committee Yesterday. The committee approved a flat fifty-cent increase in the city's one-dollar-per-ticket-sold use fee.

It's the first increase in the fee in 14 years, and Oscar McGaskey, who is in charge of Kansas City's event facilities says it is low compared with the fee charged by other similar-sized cities, some of which charge as much as $2.45.

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KCUR News
5:37 pm
Fri March 5, 2010

Economics As Enemy Of War

Admiral Mike Mullen expands on remarks to future military commanders.
KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck.

Fort Leavenworth, Kan. – The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff brought a message to military students at Fort Leavenworth they would not likely have heard less than a generation ago: that improving the global economy is a stratagem to stave off wars.

Admiral Mike Mullen told the Command and General Staff College one of his largest concerns is how to get economic engines moving so parents in both the U. S. and around the world can raise their children to a higher standard of living.

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KCUR News
2:14 am
Fri March 5, 2010

Council Told Convention Efforts Need Boost

Kemper Arena: The council is told the white arena is a white elephant that will lose $1.6 million next year.
Photo courtesy of the City of Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri's city council continued hearing from departments on next year's budget yesterday. They discussed items including public health, public works and the city's convention and tourism efforts.

Oscar McGaskey, who is in charge of the city's convention facilities told the council that in addition to declining major convention business, the city continues to be saddled with a large deficit for Kemper Arena, projected to lose $1.6 million next year.

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KCUR News
2:19 am
Thu March 4, 2010

Nixon: Revenue Shortfalls Pose Challenges In Missouri

Kansas City, Mo. – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says the recent news of significantly smaller than expected revenues will mean some challenging choices for the state. The governor says he and other lawmakers are considering a number of ways to deal with the problem.

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KCUR News
9:17 am
Mon March 1, 2010

Gardner Recall Election: Politics And Business

Kansas City , Mo. – Voters in Gardner, Kansas will go to the polls tomorrow to decide weather to recall 2 of their 5 city council members.

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KCUR News
9:43 am
Fri February 26, 2010

Kansas Smoking Ban Heads To The Governor's Desk

Topeka, Kan. – The Kansas House has approved a statewide smoking ban, opening the door for the bill to become law. It would ban smoking in restaurants, bars and most public places.

Statehouse Reporter Stephen Koranda files this report on how the debate played out.

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KCUR News
2:55 am
Fri February 26, 2010

Not In My Department: Budget Knife Looms

Kansas City, Mo. – Facing a $65 million budget deficit in the coming year, the Kansas City Council has started listening to city departments' pleas for operating money. Parks and Recreation was among the first.

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KCUR News
2:01 am
Fri February 26, 2010

Council Rejects Northland Annexation

Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri will not annex 316 acres near the airport. The city council voted the proposal down Thursday, 8 to 5.

Sponsor Ed Ford called it "a gift from heaven" and a net revenue producer. The mayor, often a rival, joined with him in supporting annexing 316 acres near the airport that would eventually contain a subdivision of more than 659 new middle class homes.

But it was the reasoning of Jan Marcasson that prevailed.

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KCUR News
2:36 pm
Thu February 25, 2010

Kan. Smoking Ban Approved, Bill Now Goes To Governor

Topeka, Kan. – The Kansas House today approved a statewide smoking ban, paving the way for the bill to become law. The bill would ban smoking in restaurants, bars and most other businesses.

It has already passed in the Senate. On the House floor, Mission Hills Republican Barbra Bollier said it's an issue of health.

"While we continue to debate and debate, people are dying," said Bollier. "People are becoming ill. They are asking you to help them."

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KCUR News
2:57 pm
Tue February 23, 2010

Mo. Senate Hears Arguments For Smoking Ban

Kansas City, Mo. – Legislation that would ban indoor smoking in public buildings throughout Missouri is being considered by a State Senate Committee

Under the bill, smoking would not be allowed in restaurants, bars, sports arenas, businesses, or any other public building. Exceptions would be allowed for homes not used for daycare, tobacco shops and 20% of hotel rooms. Jason Sharp, who works with cancer patients in Rolla, spoke in favor of the bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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KCUR News
12:06 pm
Tue February 23, 2010

Missouri Lawmakers Look At Casino Standards

Kansas City, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers conducted a hearing on legislation that would bar the State Gaming Commission from revoking the license of a casino for underperforming financially.

The bill was filed in reaction to the Gaming Commission's decision to revoke the license of the President Casino in downtown St. Louis. Among those testifying in favor of the bill was Mack Bradley of Pinnacle Entertainment, the company that owns the President Casino and the vessel where it's housed, the Admiral Riverboat:

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KCUR News
12:13 pm
Mon February 22, 2010

Senate Eyes Seat Belt Law

Jefferson City, Mo. – A bill in the Missouri Senate would raise the fine for driving without a seat belt from $10 to $50.

The bill is sponsored by Democratic Senator Joseph Keaveny of St. Louis. He says since Missouri does not have a primary enforcement law, raising the fine for not buckling up is the next best solution.

"At ten dollars, it's not much of a deterrent not to use a seat belt. If a person is charged 50 dollars for failure to use a seat belt, it get a little more attention," says Keaveny.

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KCUR News
5:33 pm
Fri February 19, 2010

Fire Shortens Work Week For Federal Employees

Kansas City, M0. – As many as 25 hundred people fled the main federal office building in downtown Kansas City this afternoon. Fire in a basement electrical system produced acrid smoke.

Firefighters attacked the fire for half an hour with CO2 extinguishers as occupants of the Bolling Office Building used stairways to get out. Fire Marshal Floyd Peoples said no one was seriously hurt, although some complained of difficulty breathing.

The building was closed for business the rest of the day.

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