Government

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than 500 union members and politicians rallied in Kansas City on Saturday to show their support for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a so-called "right-to-work" bill.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa spoke passionately to the crowd of people packed into the Teamsters Local 41 hall.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. T. J. Berry from District 038 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss alternative energy, right-to-work legislation, and the death penalty.

Guests:

  • T.J. Berry, Rep. for District 038, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Harvey Oxman, Citizen Voice
  • Matthew Long-Middleton, Central Standard Producer, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Lauren Arthur from District 018 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss ethics reform, right to work, and the upcoming veto session.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

  • Lauren Arthur, Rep. for District 018, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Mark Conarroe, Citizen Voice
  • Laura Ziegler, Special Correspondent, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Lauren Arthur from District 018 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss ethics reform, right to work, and the upcoming veto session.

Guests:

  • Lauren Arthur, Rep. for District 018, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Mark Conarroe, Citizen Voice
  • Laura Ziegler, Special Correspondent, KCUR
Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

If President Obama closes the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, the suspected terrorists who are housed there might be transferred to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has spoken out against that idea. Thursday, he brought that message to Leavenworth and heard from the people who would be most directly affected: local residents.

Funding For Kansas Court System Threatened

Sep 3, 2015

Funding for the entire Kansas judicial system is now in legal limbo. A Shawnee County judge has struck down a law that changes the way chief judges are selected. But that law was tied to other legislation that said all funding for the judicial branch of government would be stripped away if the first law was struck down.

A Kansas City council committee advanced a rare redevelopment plan Wednesday: one that would renovate 304 apartments in the urban core. 

The issue is blight, one all too common in Kansas City's 3rd District.

Green Village Apartments along Topping between 17th and 23rd Streets were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

The 304-unit complex was kept nearly full for more than 20 years, but now 70 percent of the apartments are vacant.

Roxsen Koch of the Polsinelli law firm spoke on behalf of the developer who wants to renovate the 1-4 bedroom apartments. 

City of Kansas City, Missouri

This week's promise that the first of Kansas City's four streetcars will be delivered by Oct. 29 improved the chances of having the starter line open as hoped for Big-12 Tournament crowds in March.

A delivery date moved back from June to December would have made a March start virtually impossible.

City Manager Troy Sculte, streetcar project director Ralph Davis and Streetcar Authority Executive Director Tom Gerend all vowed Thursday to do their best to meet the March start goal.  And all believed it is possible if everything goes right. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

The Kansas City Council passed an ordinance this summer that would've raised the city’s minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2020. But competing petitions and state laws have complicated the issue, and threatened the raise for Kansas City workers. 

'A glorious day for workers'

Activists and low-wage workers with activist group Stand Up KC protested for higher wages for years before the council's vote. For Subway worker Dana Whitman, who has struggled to pay rent on the wages she earns, that day earlier this summer was a day of joy and relief. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander joins Statehouse Blend to discuss elections, Medicaid, and Ferguson.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on itunes.

Guests:

  • Jason Kander, Missouri Secretary of State
  • Nik Schuetz, Citizen Voice
  • Steve Kraske, Host of Up To Date, KCUR

Tax collections in Kansas were $30 million below estimates for the month of August. The state’s tax revenues were hurt by large tax refunds given to companies as part of economic development programs. Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan says there were bright spots in other areas of the tax numbers and the report would have looked significantly better without the large refunds.

This week, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office will take comments on a plan to cancel incomplete voter registrations after 90 days. There’s a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday in Topeka.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander joins Statehouse Blend to discuss elections, Medicaid, and Ferguson.

Guests:

  • Jason Kander, Missouri Secretary of State
  • Nik Schuetz, Citizen Voice
  • Steve Kraske, Host of Up To Date, KCUR
Julie Denesha / KCUR

The deadline has passed, and two proposals are in, but it may be a while before there's a decision on the fate of Kemper Arena in Kansas City's West Bottoms.

City Council Economic Development Chair Scott Taylor says city staff is vetting the proposals to make sure they are complete and thorough. Until that is determined, limited information about the two applicants will be released.

City of Kansas City. MO

Two city officials who went to Elmira, New York, to check on progress and attempt to speed up the process, if possible, have returned with better, if not definitely good news.  CAF U.S.A., the company custom-building four streetcars for Kansas City's starter line says the first car should be delivered by Oct. 29.

Earlier, CAF had alerted the city to the fact that delivery could be as late as December.  Because of DOT testing requirements, that would have made it unlikely Kansas City could have had a streetecar running in time for the Big 12 Tournament in March.

The last time the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life met, members threatened to hold a Nixon administration official in contempt unless she produced documents identifying which hospital had a working relationship with Columbia's Planned Parenthood clinic.

That became a moot point when Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling sent the committee a letter stating that Colleen McNicholas, M.D., had received admitting privileges from University of Missouri Health Care.

KC Aviation Department?Steve Bell

The Kansas City Council's new Airport Committee is making it clear that the airlines will not dictate the future of KCI. 

The committee held its first meeting on Tuesday, and the main course was a report from Aviation Director Mark VanLoh on the history and status of the airport.

Councilwoman Teresa Loar was perhaps the most assertive with VanLoh when he suggested that since the airlines will pay for whatever is done, they should have the most say in whether the airport terminal is renovated or replaced.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. RonRyckman Jr. from Olathe provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss free lunches from lobbyists, block grants, and extraordinary need funding for schools.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on itunes.

Guests:

HDR / City of Kansas City

Kansas City could get more information on when its new streetcars will be delivered as early as Tuesday.

Tom Gerend, executive director of the Streetcar Authority and City Engineer Ralph Davis are in Elmira, New York at facilities of CAF U.S.A on what would be a routine progress visit – except the first streetcar was due in June. All four were supposed to be delivered by this month.

The Streetcar Authority Board meets on Thursday and Davis and Gerund hope to be able to report on whether the streetcar line can open in time for the Big-12 tournament as planned.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr. from Olathe provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss free lunches from lobbyists, block grants, and extraordinary need funding for schools.

Guests:

Ken Zirkel / Flickr-CC

The Kansas City Council approved a petition that seeks to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 for a Nov. 3 election.

However, state law is likely to get in the way of the measure, regardless of what voters decide. When council members passed the city's minimum wage ordinance last month, they believed that a state bill forbidding local wage hikes gave a small window of opportunity.

But Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed that bill, which could be considered during the Missouri General Assembly's special Sept. 16 veto session. If it's overridden, any minimum wage ordinance or petition passed by Kansas City would be in violation of state law.

Chantex/Public Domain

It can be pretty frustrating: you have people in and it rains and the roof leaks. 

That is what has been happening for several years at Bartle Hall according to Kansas City Director of Convention and Entertainment Facilities Oscar McGaskey.

Mc Gaskey told the City Council Finance Committee on Wednesday that the roof at Bartle is beyond patchwork repairs and “in bad shape.”

He says exhibitors keep asking him when it will be repaired.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach  joins Statehouse Blend to discuss voter fraud, immigration, and his treatment in the media.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on itunes.

Guests:

  • Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State
  • Melissa Carlson, Citizen Voice
  • Nick Haines, Executive Producer of Public Affairs, KCPT
KCUR file photo

Red light traffic cameras could be coming back to life in Kansas City, Missouri. 

The cameras have been turned off for nearly two years as the city awaited decisions from the state Supreme Court on cases challenging the constitutionality of traffic camera ordinances in the St. Louis area. 

The question on the city's mind: whether the cameras themselves are unconstitutional.

The decision came Tuesday. Though the ordinances in the other communities were declared unconstitutional, the cameras were not. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach  joins Statehouse Blend to discuss voter fraud, immigration, and his treatment in the media.

Guests:

  • Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State
  • Melissa Carlson, Citizen Voice
  • Nick Haines, Executive Producer of Public Affairs, KCPT
City of Kansas City. MO

Kansas Citians are more satisfied than ever, according to the latest Citizen Satisfaction Survey. And the city held events Thursday to thank both the citizenry and the employees who delivered the customer-pleasing performance.

Kate Bender of the office of performance management says the best gains were in the most important areas. 

Kansas regulators will consider a compromise that would allow Westar Energy to increase rates for electricity customers by $78 million. That would mean $5 to $7 more a month for most customers. The Kansas Corporation Commission will consider the compromise during hearings starting Monday. Commissioners will decide whether to adopt it or craft their own plan.

Lane4 Properties

Updated August 14, 2015

For long-time south Kansas City residents, the faded shopping center at Holmes and Red Bridge Road is a sad sight to behold.  Once a popular destination for shopping, dining, an ice cream cone, a movie or bowling, Red Bridge is now almost a ghost town with 80 percent of the retail space in its two main sections vacant. The bowling alley, later converted to office space, is also empty and wears a huge banner proclaiming “29,948 square feet for lease.”

Willoughby Design, Inc.

The Kansas City streetcars could be very late arriving. And Mayor Sly James says that is becoming a “critical issue.”

City officials say they are having “very strong conversations” with CAF USA, the company building the streetcars after CAF USA notified the city that there could be a “significant delay” beyond the September delivery date for the first car. That date had already been moved back from June.

The city was hoping to have two cars tested and in operation for visitors to the Big 12 Tournament in March. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. Joe Don McGaugh from District 039 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss agriculture, education, and Medicaid expansion.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on itunes.

Guests:

  • Joe Don McGaugh, Rep. for District 039, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Arley Hoskin, Citizen Voice
  • Mike McGraw, Special Projects Reporter, Flatland KC

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