Topeka, KS – Kansans settled into the old ways of filing tax returns are being given a sobering caveat . Budget woes have caught up with the state revenue department and obvious signs are near at hand.
Jefferson City, MO – State and local officials have unveiled redevelopment plans for the old Missouri State Prison in Jefferson City.
Plans for the 140-acre site include government buildings, privately-owned residential and retail space, and preserving much of the historical prison facility. Kelvin Simmons heads Governor Nixon's Office of Administration:
"We'll continue to try to do the environmental, do the clean-up, get the infrastructure in place, and then the next thing is try to entice private developers."
Leavenworth, KS. – The Leavenworth City Commission was out of line when it ousted the mayor earlier this year. The opinion has no power of law, but it does come from the Kansas Attorney General.
Mayor Shay Baker was taken out of her role as mayor last September but stayed on as elected member of the city commission. She was removed from office after siding with a convicted drug dealer who asked leniency from a judge. Her letter of recommendation was on city stationary and included a mayor's business card.
Jefferson City, MO – The way is clear to collect signatures on initiative petitions to eliminate or phase out earnings taxes in Kansas City and St. Louis. Those taxes are budgeted to bring nearly $200 million to Kansas City next year.
Gardner, KS – A Kansas group opposed to a huge rail hub in Johnson County calls issuance of a federal permit,"arbitrary" and "capricious," and threatens a lawsuit to block it. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved construction for the 400 acre project.
The permit will allow one of the largest economic development ventures in the Kansas City area. Developer BNSF Railway plans to build on the 400 acre site off Interstate 35 near Gardner.
Kansas City, MO – Federal and state law exempt combat pay from income taxes, but nobody at City Hall had ever thought of it until Jim Kissinger, a northland resident, suggested it to Mayor Funkhouser and Councilman Russ Johnson.
Kissinger has a son-in-law, Ryan Paulson, who is serving in Afghanistan with the Missouri National Guard. Funkhouser put together an ordinance, and it became of the quickest measures to pass in recent memory.
Kansas City, MO – The idea has been around for several years - make the below-grade sections of I-670 between Wyandotte and Oak disappear by capping the freeway with a big deck more than a third of a mile long.
It recently gained momentum when MoDOT said four bridges over 670 in the area would have to be replaced within the next ten to fifteen years. Why not, said some planners, build the deck in conjunction with the bridges.
Jefferson City, MO – A group opposing abortion and a type of stem cell research they consider to be human cloning has filed a federal lawsuit against Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and State Auditor Susan Montee.
Missouri Roundtable for Life accuses Carnahan of using language in their ballot questions designed to prejudice voters against their initiatives, and accuses Montee of drafting financial impact statements that are also designed to have a negative impact.
Kansas lawmakers are starting the years-long task of redrawing the lines for both national and state political offices. An advisory group began meeting this week in Topeka to look at the redistricting process.
Kansas City, MO – Violation of the Kansas City, Missouri dress code enforcement and public accommodations ordinances now become punishable with a license suspension. The council made that decision Thursday and gave the department of Regulated Industries the power to act on it.
Jefferson City, MO – Missouri lawmakers are being urged to provide moral support, as well as funding, to the state's small business interests during the upcoming legislative session.
Mary Davis is president and CEO of Missouri Enterprise, a non-profit group that advocates for small business interests. She asked a House committee Wednesday to publicly commit to supporting the state's small and mid-level manufacturers:
Kansas City, MO – Voting will soon become easier for military service members stationed in other countries. That's the gist of a report the Secretaries of State of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska gave at Liberty Memorial yesterday.
The four election officials summarized progress on implementation of overseas voting changes passed by Congress in October.
Kansas City, MO – Last Tuesday night, President Barack Obama announced he'll be sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. The morning after Obama's speech, KCUR's Elana Gordon headed downtown to gauge Kansas Citians' reactions to the surge.
Voices heard were David Hill, Mike Reynolds, Lucy Rios, Gayla Curtis and John Biswell.
Kansas City, MO – A 33 million contract with Motorola for new emergency responder radios sailed through the city council Thursday without a dissenting vote. The council also decided unanimously to take one more week to work out the details of a monitoring commission for the Power and Light District dress code... then turned its attention to getting some major bricks and mortar. KCUR's Steve Bell reports.
Kansas City, MO – For the second time this week a member of the Kansas legislature has announced his resignation. Republican Wichita Representative Jason Watkins has said he'll leave the legislature effective later this week.
Lawrence, KS – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback says the Pentagon shouldn't revise the bidding process for a multibillion dollar aircraft contract. Both Boeing and a partnership between Northrop Grumman and European aircraft maker Airbus are seeking the contract to build Air Force refueling tankers. Northrop Grumman and Airbus want the bidding requirements to be changed and is threatening not to bid if they aren't. Brownback says there's a process in place for contracts like this.
Jefferson City, MO – An environmental advocate is calling on Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to return a campaign contribution made last year from a company that owns eleven hog farms in the northern part of the state.
Premium Standard Farms is under a court order to make improvements to its operations.
Ken Midkiff with the Missouri Clean Water Campaign says Koster accepted a $2500 donation from Smithfield Foods, which owns Premium Standard Farms, just days before the 2008 Democratic Party primary:
Topeka, KS – A new report puts the total economic impact from the military in Kansas at nearly $8 billion. The Governor's Military Council released the report. It says nearly 170,000 jobs in 2006 were driven by military installations in the state and defense contracts awarded in Kansas. John Armbrust is director of the Governor's Military Council. Armbrust says the impact in Kansas has likely grown in recent years because of more military presence in the state.
Jefferson City, MO – Bills addressing campaign finance reform in Missouri have been pre-filed, just over a month before the start of the 2010 legislative session
One bill would restore campaign contribution limits that were removed in 2007, restored by the Missouri Supreme Court later that same year, and then removed again by GOP lawmakers and former Governor Matt Blunt in 2008. The proposal to again restore limits is sponsored by Democratic Floor Leader Paul LeVota:
Kansas City, MO – African-American clergy protested the way City Manager Wayne Cauthen was fired. The group, called Concerned Clergy, held a news conference Wednesday in the foyer of a Swope Parkway church at which three ministers spoke.
One was long-time civil rights leader Wallace Hartzfield, who said of the way Cauthen was fired, "It may have been legal, but it was wrong.
Hartzfielda continued by saying that Cauthen was treated in an inappropriate and dehumanizing way.
Kansas City – Those on the inner circle may have known Dennis Moore was considering retirement, but for many who watch the politics of the complicated Kansas 3rd district, it was an abrupt announcement that caught them off guard. Republican National Congressional Committee spokesman Tom Erickson called Moore's decision "a welcome surprise." He said Republicans believe Democrats can't win the 3rd District without Dennis Moore, who has held the seat with the help of moderate Republicans and independents in suburban Kansas Johnson County for six terms.