Government

Kansas Statehouse
7:55 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Kansas Bill Would Bar Local Governments From Restricting Firearms

A bill in a Kansas Statehouse committee would bar local governments from restricting the open carry of firearms in public.The bill would also invalidate any current rules regulating open carry.

In Kansas, local governments are already banned from regulating firearms in many ways, but they can still pass rules regulating open carry.

Representative Jim Howell, a Derby Republican, says the goal of the bill is to create consistency across Kansas when it comes to open carry.

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Lethal Injection
8:28 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Missouri Carries Out Execution After Supreme Court Removes Stays

Missouri inmate Herbert Smulls was put to death late Wednesday night after the U.S. Supreme Court removed two stays.

Smulls was executed for the 1991 shooting death of Stephen Honickman, a Chesterfield jeweler.

Stephen Honickman’s wife, Florence Honickman, was also shot by Smulls. Following the execution, she said the appeals process went on far too long.

“It was a long day. And it could have been done a lot easier — and it was easier on Mr. Smulls. Much more so than it was on my husband and myself,” Honickman said.

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Government
7:56 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Brownback Acts On Propane Costs, Shortage

Gov. Sam Brownback is taking steps to help reduce a shortage of propane needed for home heating. He's easing trucking regulations and directing state officials to provide help to poor families.

Brownback and the state fire marshal say Kansans who are running low on propane should not try alternate heating methods that could be unsafe.

"There's a temptation sometimes to do almost anything to stay warm and some of those things, like using a stove to keep warm or hooking up a five gallon propane tank to your house, is dangerous. It can cost lives,” said Brownback.

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Government
7:48 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Kansas City Police Chief Answers Racial Bias Questions

Police Chief Daryl Forte addresses council racial bias questions
Credit KCCG Channel 2

Kansas City's police chief answered questions about bias in enforcement of the city's youth curfew Wednesday. Chief Darryl Forte gave his report to a city council committee.

Only 62 young people were hauled in city-wide for curfew violations last year, and only 20 of those involved congregating and rowdy behavior in entertainment districts.

But the fact that about 90 percent were African-American caused concern for some council members. Chief Forte' said those concerns were unfounded.

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Kansas Statehouse
3:27 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Kansas Day Marked With Statehouse Dedication

Hundreds of people filled the first floor of the Statehouse for the ceremony.
Credit Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Hundreds of Kansans gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday to celebrate the end of the building's 13-year-long restoration project. The event coincided with Kansas Day, the state's 153rd birthday.

School children, members of the public and former and current state officials attended the ceremony. Historians learned that the Kansas Statehouse was never formally dedicated after its initial completion, so Gov. Sam Brownback took the opportunity to unveil a plaque and officially dedicate the Kansas Capitol.

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Up to Date
11:16 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Kansas City Sounds Off On The State Of The Union

Steve Kraske talks with political science professor Bob Beatty on Up to Date about President Obama's State of the Union address.
Credit Christopher Dilts / Obama for America

President Obama's Tuesday night State of the Union address focused on various domestic issues, with a dash of foreign policy.

In the last part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about the speech and what it means for governmental policies this year. 

Guest:

  • Bob Beatty, professor of political science at Washburn University
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Up To Date
11:06 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Kansas' New State Capitol: Bright, Shiny And Majestic

The renovation of the Kansas statehouse is complete.

Work began on the Kansas Capitol in October 1866 when the cornerstone was laid for the east wing. Thirty-seven years later, it was finished. The cost? $3,200,588.92.

Fast forward to today.  After 13 years and nearly $330 million, the statehouse, with its French Renaissance architecture and Corinthian details,  has undergone a renovation. 

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Government
7:42 am
Wed January 29, 2014

President's Call To Hike Minimum Wage Ignites Swift Response, Pro And Con

U.S. Capitol

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 1:22 pm

(Updated 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29)

President Barack Obama’s call to increase the nation’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour is part of his broader focus on attacking income inequality.

But that approach swiftly ignited strong reaction, pro and con, as soon as he outlined his initiative during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.

Fellow Democrats praised Obama for addressing issues that they say threaten the nation's economic recovery.   Republicans accuse the president of playing politics leading up to a crucial mid-term election.

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Government
7:41 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Missouri Carries Out Execution After U.S. Supreme Court Removes Stays

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 1:28 pm

Updated at 1:41 a.m., Thurs., Jan. 30

Missouri inmate Herbert Smulls was put to death late Wednesday night after the U.S. Supreme Court removed two stays. He was pronounced dead at 10:20 p.m.

It was the state's third execution in as many months. The pace of one a month is a sharp uptick from recent years past, when the state has had problems getting a hold of execution drugs.

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Missouri Statehouse
1:32 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

New Website Tracks The Life Of Bills In Missouri Legislature

This screen grab shows the homepage of MOBillTracker.org
Credit Saint Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

A new website unveiled Tuesday will track the life of some bills introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate during the 2014 legislative session.

MOBillTracker.org, created by Saint Louis Public Radio and the Beacon, will track bills in five categories: health; elections and ethics; guns; education; jobs; and the economy. There is a sixth category that will track bills that have seen recent action.

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Government
8:07 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Missouri Governor Brings School Funding Debate To Younger Audience

Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Coming out of his State of the State call for more education spending, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon brought his case to Kansas City and a younger audience with a stake in the future. 

The forum was an assembly of some 700 Center High School students.

The Governor tried to break down staggering financials to something a less sophisticated economics mind would understand, telling students the system can open more than a local earnings’ future, to world-wide.

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Government
8:01 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Opponents Of Photo ID Bill Dominate Missouri Senate Hearing

A Missouri Senate committee heard testimony Monday on the latest effort by Republicans to require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

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Tell KCUR
7:51 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Tell KCUR: Have You Ever Tried To Get Out Of A Speeding Ticket?

Have you ever tried to get out of a speeding ticket? What worked? What didn't? Tweet us your answer with the #TellKCUR hashtag. (KCUR doesn't condone speeding.)
Credit KCUR

 An effort to increase speed limits in Missouri has us curious about your history with speed in the Show-Me state.

Missouri could become more lead-foot friendly if a proposal to increase the maximum speed limit on rural interstates, from 70 to 75 mph, makes it through the Missouri Legislature this year.

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Government
7:26 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Kansas City Council Axes Controversial Charter Changes

Kansas Citians will vote on changes to their city charter in April. But the two controversial proposals won't be on the ballot.

The council voted against sending voters a proposal from some minority organizations to change the structure of city government.  No one on the council thought smaller districts and no at-large council seats was a good idea. But five, including Mayor Sly James, voted to put it on the ballot.

The mayor says he too, opposed the change.

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Up to Date
10:42 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Ethics Professors: Purple Haze And Protests

The Ethics Professors discuss the implications of Colorado's decision to legalize marijuana.
Credit cannabisdestiny / Flickr-CC

John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” is Colorado’s state song, and the marijuana legalization law that went into effect this year might be what the late musician had in mind.

On Thursday's Up to Date, the Ethics Professors return to discuss the problems that surround marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law, but increasingly accepted in many states. Also on their slate is a look at anti-government protests in Ukraine and Thailand.

Guests:

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Government
8:36 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Nixon Pushes For More School Funding

A day after proposing $278 million for K-12 classrooms during his State of the State address, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon worked to build support for his proposal before students and teachers in Springfield.

Nixon says his “Good Schools, Good Jobs” plan includes targeted expenditures that will put the state on track to fully fund the foundation formula by Fiscal Year 2016.

“Each one looked at very carefully to provide local control in the K-12, to provide budgetary support where it can be, but at the same time we’re continuing to look at rigor,” Nixon said.

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Government
8:29 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Missouri Lawmakers Look At Revamping Student Transfer Law

Five bills that would each revamp Missouri's student transfer law were examined Wednesday by a State Senate committee.

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Up to Date
11:12 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Social Media Policy Making Waves At Kansas Universities

University of Kansas Professor David Guth's tweet is at the center of the debate that led to the new policy.

The Kansas Board of Regents’ new social media policy for university personnel is at the center of heated debate, both inside and outside the education world.

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about the pros and cons of the policy.

Guests:

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Kansas Statehouse
8:09 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Bill Would Speed Kansas Death Penalty Appeals

Death penalty appeals in Kansas could speed up under a bill before a Senate committee. There are currently rules limiting the length of court documents and setting deadlines for the process to move forward, but they often aren't followed. The bill would enforce those rules.

Kris Ailslieger, with the attorney general's office, held up a court document more than an inch thick. He says lengthy court briefs and delays often extend the process.

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Missouri Statehouse
7:53 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Nixon Proposes $278M For Education In 2014 State Of The State

Increased spending on education and another call to expand Medicaid highlighted Gov. Jay Nixon’s State of the State Address before the Missouri General Assembly Tuesday.

The speech received cheers and standing ovations from fellow Democrats, but stony silence from the Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

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Missouri Statehouse
3:36 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

LIVE BLOG: Missouri State Of The State 2014

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will deliver his sixth State of the State address Tuesday.
Credit Courtesy / jaynixon.com

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivered his sixth State of the State address Tuesday evening at the Statehouse in Jefferson City, Mo. He presented his proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and called for an increase of $278 million to K-12 schools and a freeze on undergraduate tuition. 

His speech was followed by the Republican response, delivered by House speaker Tim Jones of Eureka.

Saint Louis Public Radio and the Beacon live-blogged the speech. You can follow along below.

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Up to Date
11:06 am
Tue January 21, 2014

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt On Child Abuse Prevention, Benghazi and Data Security

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt talks with Steve Kraske about international adoption and bipartisan policymaking.

In the wake of the breach of security at Target that resulted in compromised financial data for thousands of consumers, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt is sponsoring a bipartisan bill that aims to help. He's also asking questions about an official report on the Benghazi attack, and seeking to restore funding for child abuse prevention. 

In the first part of Tuesday's Up to Date, he joins Steve Kraske to talk about these topics and more.

Guest:

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Central Standard
9:37 am
Tue January 21, 2014

The Missouri Death Penalty Controversy And Voter ID In Kansas

Will Missouri inmates on death row face death by firing squad someday? After a recent debacle in a Ohio execution and shortages of lethal injection drugs, legislators are considering alternative methods.

Host Brian Ellison talks to death penalty opponents. Later, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will discuss voter identification laws.   

Guests: 

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Tell KCUR
8:38 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Tell KCUR: Should Your Boss Be Able to Fire You For What You Tweet?

Should your boss be able to fire you for what you tweet? Tweet us your answer with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit KCUR

 As the debate surrounding social media and the workplace comes to a head, we’re wondering what you think of a chilling policy out of the Kansas Board of Regents that’s receiving national attention.

Last week, the board rejected a university faculty request to delay the policy, which gives schools the ability to suspend or fire any faculty or staff for using social media for “improper” comments that are “contrary to the best interest of the university.”  

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Missouri Statehouse
8:09 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Nixon Expected To Call For School Funding, Medicaid Expansion

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will deliver his annual State of the State Address Tuesday, during which he’ll officially unveil his proposed budget for next year.

The governor is expected to announce funding increases for both K-12 schools and higher education, along with a warning to House and Senate GOP leaders to not cut taxes.

Kansas Statehouse
7:48 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Brownback Proposes Pay Raises For Some Kansas State Employees

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing a 1.5 percent pay raise for classified state employees. It's one of the budget amendments he's suggesting for next fiscal year.

Interim Budget Director Jon Hummell told the Senate's budget committee that the Republican governor has always wanted a smaller, better-paid state workforce.

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Central Standard
1:32 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

4 Things To Know About North Kansas City

In 1869, North Kansas City didn't exist. It was all rural farmland north of the Missouri River. The one bridge in the scene is the Hannibal Bridge but was only accessible by freight cars.
Credit A. Ruger Merchant Liths. Co. / Madison, Wis., Ruger & Stoner - Wikimeida Commons

There’s a community of more than 4,000 people that sits barely two miles away from Kansas City’s Downtown. It has its own mayor and city agencies and a major hospital, and it’s more than a century old. We're talking about North Kansas City, all 4.4 square miles of it.

On Friday's Central Standard, Monroe Dodd chats with two longtime residents of the city about the history of this town-within-a-town.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:20 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Missouri House Speaker Urging Medical Malpractice Caps

The Speaker of the Missouri House is pushing lawmakers to restore caps on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Missouri law created a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. But that cap was tossed out in 2012 by the Missouri Supreme Court.

House Speaker Tim Jones says without the cap, millions of dollars could be shifted from patient care to legal defense costs.

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Kansas Statehouse
8:07 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Brownback Releases Details Of Kansas Budget Plan

Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing a reversal of some state university salary cuts and a 1.5 percent raise for classified state employees. He's also hoping to rewrite the Department of Corrections budget. 

Andover Republican and Senate budget committee chair, Ty Masters, says most of the governor's proposed $460 million dollar spending increase is allocated for corrections, but some lawmakers will still have concerns.

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Government
7:56 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Kansas City Charter Change Suggestions Advance

Plans for an election on changing the Kansas City, Mo., charter are heading into the home stretch, but there is still some disagreement on what should go on the ballot.

One sticking point as the full city council debated the changes Wednesay was: “why send the voters any proposed change most council members consider a bad idea?” – for example doing away with at-large council seats.

Mayor Sly James's answer: because some citizen groups have proposed the changes and the Charter Review Commission thought the voters should consider them.

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