Government

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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KCUR News
12:01 pm
Fri February 19, 2010

KPERS Among Worst Funded State Pension Funds

Kansas City, Mo. – The Pew Center for the States finds that state pension funds have promised retirees $1 trillion more than they have on hand to pay. Missouri's pension system is in relatively sound shape, but the one in Kansas is among the most troubled in the nation.

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KCUR News
10:19 am
Thu February 18, 2010

Missouri Senate OKs DNA Amendment

Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow laws requiring DNA collections from criminals to be applied retrospectively.

The Missouri Constitution forbids retrospective laws that mandate new restrictions or requirements based on past actions.

The sponsor, GOP Senator Matt Bartle of Lee's Summit, says an exception needs to be allowed for collecting DNA samples from criminals.

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KCUR News
10:14 am
Thu February 18, 2010

Democratic Kansas State Senator Tom Holland Kicks off Campaign for Governor

Topeka, Kan. – Democratic State Senator Tom Holland has officially entered the race for governor. He kicked off his campaign with a rally in Topeka and an attack on the presumed Republican nominee.

State Sen. Tom Holland, of Baldwin City, suggested that U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback would bring gridlock and partisanship from Washington to Topeka. Brownback is the only GOP candidate campaigning.

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KCUR News
12:34 pm
Wed February 17, 2010

Buses, Blight, Bridges: Fed Stimulus Millions Enroute

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood(r) and K.C. Councilman Terry Riley(l).
kcur photo by dan verbeck

Kansas City, Mo. – $50 million is destined for the Kansas City area for federal stimulus transportation work. The announcement came as part of the Obama Administration's national promotional blitz on the first anniversary of the economic recovery act.

The millions will be managed by Mid America Regional Council and be spread both sides of state line.

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KCUR News
10:40 am
Mon February 15, 2010

Bill Would Shorten Missouri Legislative Session

Jefferson City, Mo. – There's a proposal in the Missouri Senate to shorten the length of legislative sessions from nearly five months to just under three.

The resolution would require the General Assembly to end regular sessions in late March, instead of mid-May. It's sponsored by GOP Senator Luann Ridgeway from the Kansas City area.

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KCUR News
5:23 pm
Thu February 11, 2010

Stadiums Would Bear Brunt Of Budget Woes

Kansas City, Mo. – Strong budget! The assessment of the acting city manager's budget for the next fiscal year, delivered by Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser. He would add what he calls some small items. They would total $1.5 million.

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KCUR News
10:49 am
Wed February 10, 2010

Missouri House Consider Expanding Texting Ban

Kansas City, Mo. – Legislation that would expand Missouri's texting-while-driving ban to all motorists received a hearing before a State House committee.

The current ban on sending, receiving or reading text messages while driving only applies to those age 21 and younger.

Brent Butler with the Missouri Insurance Coalition testified in favor of expanding the ban to all ages.

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KCUR News
10:48 am
Wed February 10, 2010

Missouri Senate Questions Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Jefferson City, Mo. – Two competing resolutions on Don't Ask, Don't Tell received hearings in a Missouri Senate committee. The national policy bars gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. military.

Among those testifying in favor of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was Paul Curtman, a recently-retired Marine Corps sergeant. He testified that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would disrupt combat readiness.

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KCUR News
10:45 am
Wed February 10, 2010

Stimulus Funds Boost Missouri Anti-Smoking Campaign

Kansas City, Mo. – Missouri has received more than a million dollars in stimulus funds to help smokers kick the habit. Kit Wagar, with the Missouri department of health, says the money will expand the state's popular quit-line, which offers counseling and nicotine replacement therapy.

"In 2008, about 5200 people called. In 2009 we more than doubled that," says Wagar. "We figure roughly about a third of those people are able to quit the year they call."

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KCUR News
6:31 pm
Tue February 9, 2010

Kansas Debates Statewide Smoking Ban

Topeka, Kan. – For more than a decade, clean air advocates in Kansas have been promoting a ban on smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants. Several bills that would enact a statewide smoking ban have been introduced in the legislature this session. The Kansas House is hearing a new one this Wednesday afternoon. But as Kansas Public Radio's Bryan Thompson reports, the House and Senate versions are quite different.

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KCUR News
10:22 am
Tue February 9, 2010

Missouri Senate Scheduled To Debate Ethics Bill

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate is scheduled to debate its main ethics bill on Wednesday.

The bill would expand income reporting requirements to legislative staff members, provide the state Ethics Commission with a full-time investigator, and bar campaign contributions when the legislature is in session. It would not, however, reinstate campaign contribution limits. Senate President Pro-Tem Charlie Shields sponsored the bill.

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KCUR News
10:09 am
Tue February 9, 2010

Kansas House Looks Into Tax Exemptions

Kansas City, Mo. – House lawmakers this week kicked off a series of hearings looking into tax exemptions in Kansas.

KCUR News
10:44 am
Fri February 5, 2010

Kansas Considers Fee To File Paper Tax Returns

Topeka, Kan. –
In the future, Kansans could be paying a fee to file their taxes the old-fashioned way, on paper. Statehouse reporter Stephen Koranda explains.

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KCUR News
10:38 am
Fri February 5, 2010

Missouri Considers Giving Control Over Tax Credits To Lawmakers

Kansas City, Mo. – A bill that would give the Missouri General Assembly control over almost every state tax credit is being debated in the State Senate.

The bill's supporters, including GOP Senator Chuck Purgason, say giving lawmakers control over the size of each tax break would ensure that they can set aside enough money to fund education, health care and other critical needs.

"When you are sitting there trying to make a decision whether to cut Medicaid, not fund the formula, or issue tax credits, I think that's an issue that we need to make," says Purgason.

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KCUR News
10:37 am
Fri February 5, 2010

Local Tea Party Not Discouraged By Political Loss In St. Joe Race

St. Joseph , Mo. – With this weeks national convention in Nashville and some major electoral successes, the The Tea Party has moved away from the political margin. Locally, Tea Party activists have also been organizing over the last several months. They're turning their attention to candidates and campaigns - and away from protests and rallies.

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KCUR News
2:40 am
Fri February 5, 2010

Council Finalizes Defense Plant, Fixes Zoning Glitch

Architect's rendering of the proposed Honeywell Botts Road defense plant.
Click to enlarge.

Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City city council endorsed the new Honeywell defense plant project yesterday and allocated almost $21 million in bond proceeds toward its construction.

The new facility, known as the Botts Road plant, will replace the aging structures on Bannister Road where non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons are made.

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KCUR News
10:09 am
Thu February 4, 2010

Both Sides Of State Line Focus On KCMO's Problems

Kansas City, Mo. – Disgruntled people are finding a lot to be mad about within workings at Kansas City, Missouri City Hall. It's turned into a barometer for metro-wide feelings about the region. This appears in a newly released poll for the Greater Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce. The governors of both states saw it freshly revealed to the public.

The governors opened to light banter of cross state rivalries before pollster Neil Newhouse tore open realities of his survey. The economy was top concern among those questioned.

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KCUR News
12:57 am
Thu February 4, 2010

Northland Annexation Clears Council Committee

Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri moved one notch closer to annexing 316 Northland acres near Platte City into its boundaries Wednesday when an annexation proposal was approved by a city council committee.

There definitely is opposition to the annexation requested by Tomahawke Ridge developer Tim Dougherty. He wants to build 657 single-family homes in the area around Highway 92 and North Winan Road over the next 20 years.

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KCUR News
10:07 am
Wed February 3, 2010

K2 Ban Moves Forward In Legislature

Topeka, Kan. – The Kansas House of Representatives took a step yesterday towards banning what law enforcement officials call synthetic marijuana. The product, sold under the name K2, contains chemicals similar to those found in marijuana.

Olathe Republican Rob Olson argued for the ban, pointing to cases where young people have been made ill by the substance.

"Are we going to pass over this and not support it, and then someone dies, and then be back here next year saying we should have done this?" asked Olson on the House floor.

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KCUR News
10:56 am
Tue February 2, 2010

Kansas House Committee Looking At Domestic Violence Law Changes

Topeka, Kan. – The House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee is working on legislation that lawmakers hope could reduce domestic violence in Kansas. The measure would add new ways to identify domestic abusers.

Currently, domestic abusers can be charged with domestic battery. If the legislation becomes law, other crimes could have the designation of domestic violence added. This would include crimes like destruction of property if the victim and the offender had a relationship.

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KCUR News
7:40 am
Fri January 29, 2010

Missouri Senate Rejects Changing Farmland Values

Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has overwhelmingly passed a resolution rejecting the State Tax Commission's move to reassess property values for the state's farmlands.

The State Tax Commission last month recommended raising the productive value of the state's best agricultural land by 29% and lowering values on low-producing lots by 25%. GOP Senator Bill Stouffer says in addition to crop growers, the move would hurt cattle ranchers, even though pasture land assessments would go down.

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KCUR News
7:39 am
Fri January 29, 2010

Both Sides Sound Off At Sales Tax Hearing

Jefferson City, Mo. – Supporters and opponents of scrapping the state income tax in favor of an expanded sales tax sounded off on the issue at a Missouri Senate committee.

Among the resolution's supporters was lobbyist and former GOP House Member Ed Robb. He told the Senate committee on fiscal oversight that the measure would transform Missouri into a "mecca for investment and job opportunities."

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