Politics/Elections | KCUR

Politics/Elections

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed into law a measure allowing faith-based adoption and foster care agencies to get state reimbursement for placement services — even if they turn away prospective parents on religious grounds.

Colyer and the head of Kansas’ child welfare agency, Department for Children and Families Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel, have said they want to keep Kansas open to as many adoption agencies as possible as the state grapples with a record number of kids in foster care. As of April, there were 2,540 Kansas children in DCF custody up for adoption.

Jo Mannies / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Missouri’s 2018 General Assembly session will likely be remembered most for the legal and ethical travails of Gov. Eric Greitens. But the Republican-dominated legislature managed to approve numerous policy initiatives — the impact of which may last longer than Greitens’ tenure.

Dank Depot / Flickr - CC

A measure that would have narrowly legalized medical marijuana died in the final week of Missouri’s legislative session, meaning the issue will be left entirely up to voters in November.

YouTube screenshot

Updated May 18, 2018 — Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is under intense scrutiny for several reasons. Lawmakers are calling for him to resign (and considering impeachment) after the release of a sexually explicit, state-issued report tied to a now-dropped felony charge. He still faces a felony relating to fundraising for his gubernatorial campaign.

Updated at 10:22 p.m. May 18 with the latest on the special session. 

Missouri’s special legislative session to consider whether to impeach Gov. Eric Greitens has officially begun, but so far nothing much has happened.

House and Senate members briefly opened the session Friday to make a few motions, then adjourned until Tuesday to hold technical sessions, which last a couple of minutes and only require two or three lawmakers per chamber. But the committee that’s been investigating Greitens is meeting twice next week.

Kansas Historical Society

The Missouri General Assembly is scheduled to convene a special session Friday to consider impeaching Gov. Eric Greitens.  

Only 14 governors have ever faced impeachment.

So who was the first governor to be impeached in America?

That would be Charles Robinson, the  first governor of the State of Kansas. He took office in February 1861, just a few weeks before the Civil War started.

Standing in a light rain in the shadow of the state Capitol, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens blamed “rip-off artists” in the state’s low-income housing program “who thought they ran Missouri” for many of his legal troubles and the threat of his impeachment.

But recalling his past as a Navy SEAL, Greitens declared Thursday that they won’t succeed because he was taught to never quit.

Larry F. Levenson / Innocence Project

Richard Jones spent 17 years in a Kansas prison for a robbery committed by his doppelganger. When he was exonerated and released last June, he had little to his name other than what had been donated by members of the public who had heard his story.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Josh Svaty picked a political no-name to team with in his run for governor.

But the pick is someone who checks off boxes that Svaty can’t with voters in the Democratic primary and, if things play out right for him, in the general election.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

The State Objections Board said with a 2-1 vote Tuesday that New Yorker Andy Maskin can’t run for the state’s highest office because he doesn’t live in Kansas.

Maskin paid a fee and filed to run for governor earlier this month. A Kansas Republican Party official challenged his candidacy on the basis of his New York City address.

Several other out-of-state candidates have created campaign committees, but haven’t yet officially filed.

In a stunning move, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has dropped the felony invasion of privacy charge against Gov. Eric Greitens — short-circuiting the unprecedented trial of a sitting Missouri chief executive.

While Gardner’s office is promising to refile the case with a special prosecutor, the governor’s attorneys are confident that another prosecutor won’t touch the case.

Arthur and Corlew
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Reps. Lauren Arthur and Kevin Corlew are fighting over an exceedingly rare prize in Missouri politics: an open Senate seat in a district that doesn't have a clear partisan leaning. Whether voters choose the Democratic Arthur or the Republican Corlew in a June 5 special election could speak volumes about the mood of the electorate at a turbulent time.

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of three stories profiling the main legal figures involved in the trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A profile of the defense attorneys will run Wednesday and the judge on Thursday.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner made history in February when she charged Gov. Eric Greitens with felony invasion of privacy. It was the first time a Missouri governor had been indicted.

In the indictment made public Feb. 22, Gardner said that in 2015, Greitens took a photo of the woman with whom he was having an affair, while she was semi-nude, and then transmitted it so that it could be viewed on a computer.

file photo / Kansas News Service

A federal judge will now review whether it’s reasonable for an ACLU legal team to charge Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach $52,000 for the time it spent asking a court to hold him in contempt.

The bill for attorneys fees and related expenses came Monday after the ACLU team won that contempt finding last month.

Greitens
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Another week, another raft of bad news for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A new report details his use of a charity donor list for campaign fund-raising and the possibility he lied about it to the state ethics commission. We get up to speed with Bryan Lowry of the Kansas City Star. And even as legislators call a special session to consider impeachment, they march on with the state budget and other bills unrelated to gubernatorial scandals. House Democratic Caucus Secretary Rep.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 4:20 p.m. Monday:  The committee who interviewed the five candidates for interim sheriff narrowed that list down to three Monday.

  • Retired Kansas City Police Department Chief Darryl Forte
  • Retired KCPD Major Rosilyn Allen
  • Captain Michael Rogers, who commands the Jackson County sheriff’s patrol division

The original post continues below.

If members of a select committee have their way, a more diverse workforce will be coming to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The committee, which was appointed by Jackson County Executive Frank White to give him a recommendation, interviewed five candidates Friday. Two or three finalists are expected to be announced Monday, and White will make the final decision.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers have approved new restrictions blocking teenagers and out-of-state candidates from future races for governor. The bill says starting next year, candidates must live in Kansas and be at least 25 years old.

The state’s lax laws have led to several teenagers, and residents of other states, joining the campaign for Kansas governor.

A wave of candidates even included a Hutchinson man attempting to enter his dog in the race

Down To The Wire

May 2, 2018

It's the end of the line for Kansas lawmakers. The curtain comes down on the 2018 legislative session Friday — maybe before. We'll talk about the fate of the big tax-cut bill we discussed last week and the school funding plan. Plus, what is the "Truth Caucus" and what are their plans for 2018?

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers on Tuesday dropped an effort to require Secretary of State Kris Kobach to pay a contempt of court fine with his own money, rather than state dollars.

McCaskill-Hawley
File Photo and Office of the Attorney General

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley seems headed for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill this fall. But Hawley's path has been made rougher by his complicated relationship with Gov. Eric Greitens—fellow Republican, fellow first-time-officeholder—and subject of his investigations. In this episode, host Brian Ellison takes an early look at the 2018 race. He talks with KCUR's Erica Hunzinger about Hawley's history and present entanglement with the governor.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Update, May 8 5:20 p.m.:

The Jackson County Legislature approved the proposed changes 6-3 Monday.

The changes will appear on the August primary ballot.

The original post continues below.

When Jackson County legislators convene Monday afternoon, they'll be taking the first step into determining their own future.

At that meeting, legislator Greg Grounds, who represents much of eastern Jackson County and is one of two Republicans in the county legislature, will introduce a controversial plan to change the county charter. 

file photo / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach got a Statehouse rebuke Friday from lawmakers even as they avoided mentioning the combative candidate for governor by name.

During a lengthy debate on a budget bill, state Rep. Russ Jennings offered what at first appeared to be just another in a series of amendments.

Statehouse Blend Missouri crowd
Chris Young / KCUR 89.3

As students rally nationwide for more gun regulation, Missouri legislators are considering — and advancing — several bills to make firearms more legal, for more people, in more places. What underlies the enduring, and seemingly intractable, divide on gun laws in Missouri?

Host Brian Ellison welcomed Rep. T.J. Berry, a Kearney Republican, and Rep. Jon Carpenter, a Gladstone Democrat, and an audience of 75 for a live taping of the podcast April 19 in Kansas City.

Updated April 20 at 7 p.m. with statements from Gov. Greitens and his attorney  St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has charged Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens with a felony related to illegally taking a fundraising list from a veterans charity he co-founded. The charge, a class D felony, is for tampering with computer data. 

It’s the latest legal malady for the GOP governor, who is also facing a felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a revealing photo of a woman without her consent. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A pro-gun rally on the south side of the Kansas Statehouse drew about 200 people to Topeka on Friday morning as students around the country walked out of class to protest gun violence.

The rally was organized by the Kansas State Rifle Association and the NRA.

Speakers repeated familiar slogans, arguing that "only a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun," that progressives want to repeal the Second Amendment, and that if people are old enough to serve in the military, they're old enough to conceal carry.

File Photo / Sam Zeff KCUR 89.3

Editor's note: This story was updated April 20 at 4:20 p.m. to include information about how former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp will be replaced.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is conducting a criminal investigation into the woman caught up in a sex scandal with former sheriff Mike Sharp.

Although Baker confirmed to KCUR that a criminal investigation is underway, she wouldn't say what laws Christine Lynde might have broken.

File photo by Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

This post was updated at 7:50 p.m. Tuesday to include Greitens' latest statement. 

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday that his office has evidence that Gov. Eric Greitens may have committed a felony in obtaining and using a donor list from the nonprofit he founded.

By the end of the night, several top Republican state legislators were calling for Greitens to step down, something the governor tweeted that he would not do.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

They dueled with pens and camera-ready events. The two men split over what could become a defining issue in their battle to win this year’s governor’s race, and over whether Kansas needs to spend more to fix its public schools.

Gov. Jeff Colyer went to a Topeka high school early Tuesday — a performance he planned to repeat later in the day in Wichita — to sign into law a plan to balloon the money sent to local districts by $500 million-plus over the next half-decade.

screengrab / Kansas Republican Party Facebook page

Being the incumbent may give Jeff Colyer a leg up in the Republican race for governor, but it also makes him a target.

His chief rivals, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, used a forum sponsored by the Kansas Republican Party In Atchison to characterize Colyer as a poor manager and weak leader on conservative causes.

Some Missouri lawmakers are questioning the political future of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens after a report from a state House committee. The report details unwanted, sometimes aggressive, sexual encounters between Greitens and his hairdresser. KCUR’s Brian Ellison spoke with House Minority Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty, a Democrat, and Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew, both from Kansas City.

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