Politics/Elections

2016 Ballot Initiatives
5:00 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

New Marijuana Legalization Petition Filed In Jefferson City

Two separate ballot initiatives are trying to present marijuana legalization to Missouri voters in 2016. One would regulate marijuana the same as alcohol, the other would make it available to all residents regardless of age.
Credit Dank Depot / Flickr-CC

Last month, Missouri marijuana legalization group Show-Me Cannabis filed a ballot initiative for 2016 that seeks to regulate marijuana consumption the same as alcohol. Now, another petition is trying to give Missourians a broader option.

The Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act of 2016 seeks to fully legalize marijuana use and cultivation for all residents of Missouri, with no age limit.

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Politics/Elections
7:26 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Political Experts Recap Contentious Kansas Campaigns

While Kansas had other high profile campaigns in 2014, the race for U.S. Senate in Kansas was so unusual that it attracted a lot of attention. Political staffers and experts weighed in Thursday on that and the governor’s race as part of a panel by the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas.

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Politics
8:27 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Poverty Numbers Used By Brownback Campaign Were Inaccurate

A couple of weeks before the election, the Kansas Department for Children and Families issued a press release that poverty in the state fell almost two and a half percent under Gov. Sam Brownback.

Brownback wasted no time incorporating those figures into the narrative of his success as governor.

“And just yesterday, poverty rates going down in the state of Kansas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,” said Brownback at the gubernatorial debate in Wichita. “We are moving in the right direction and getting things done."

But the poverty rate information was wrong.

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Politics/Elections
5:57 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Gay Couple Says Marriage Decision Delay Is Election-Year Politics

Donna DiTrani (left) and Kerry Wilks, a Sedgwick County couple who were denied a marriage license, are now plaintiffs in a federal case.
Credit CJ Janovy / KCUR

A federal judge on Friday did not rule on a case filed by two gay couples who want marriage licenses in Kansas. One of the couples blamed the state's delay on election-year politics.

The case, originally filed Oct. 10, was heard in open court by U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, who did not say when he would announce a decision.  The couples are seeking marriage licenses, which would, in effect, overturn the Kansas gay marriage ban.

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Elections
8:11 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Missouri Auditor's Race: Is Tom Schweich Actually Running For Governor?

Tom Schweich, R, is seeking a second term as Missouri Auditor.

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 9:31 pm

The only statewide political office up for grabs in Missouri this year doesn't appear to be anywhere near up for grabs.

State Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, is facing only token opposition from the Libertarian and Constitution parties, and the Democrats are not fielding a challenger. This contest may serve more as a campaign for Schweich's next political goal:

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Politics
6:46 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Sen. Moran Pushing For Travel Ban From West Africa

Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran is pushing for a travel ban to stop people coming from west Africa into the United States. While visiting the University of Kansas Hospital, Moran said he hopes a travel ban could help stop the spread of Ebola from Africa.

Moran says there aren't currently any direct commercial flights from west Africa to the U.S. He says a travel ban would need to be a cooperative effort between the U.S. and countries that may send people from west Africa to America.

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Up To Date
5:09 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Kansas Secretary Of State Candidates Kobach and Schodorf Debate

Democratic secretary of state nominee, Jean Schodorf debated Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the KCUR studios.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

The office of Kansas Secretary of State is usually a sleepy, bottom-of-the-ticket office that doesn't draw big attention at election time.

Not this year. Kris Kobach has been a high-profile, stir-it-up secretary of state in his four years in office where he's made cracking down on voter fraud a central concern.

His opponent, Jean Schodorf, is a former 10-year Republican state senator who later switched to the Democratic Party. She calls the way Kobach has handled the office an "embarrassment" to the state.

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Politics
4:30 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

ACLU Seeks Rush On Gay Marriage Ruling In Kansas

Putting a rush on a ruling, the ACLU on Monday filed a request in federal court for a temporary halt to Kansas’ enforcement of its ban on gay marriage.

In following up on a complaint filed Friday, the ACLU asked the U.S. District Court to force the state to comply with a decision from Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. That ruling, made in June, overturned such bans in Utah and Oklahoma and said a state may not deny a marriage license based “solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.”

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Politics
11:15 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Court Order Halts Marriage Licenses For Gay Couples In Johnson County, Kansas

This photo of "Kelli and Angela" was posted on Equality Kansas' Facebook page, saying Oct. 10, 2014 was "an historic day for equality in Kansas."
Credit Equality Kansas

The Kansas Supreme Court late Friday ordered a Johnson County judge to immediately halt issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Acting on a request from Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the court said it was concerned about "statewide consistency" on marriage laws, given the state's constitutional ban on gay unions.

The court said it would take briefs on the subject until Oct. 28 and make a ruling later. However, the order states that clerks may continue to accept marriage license applications from same sex couples in the interim.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Avila Students Hear From Sen. McCaskill About Sexual Assault

Students from Avila University helped Senator Claire McCaskill understand the problem of campus sexual violence.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Avila University students said a meeting with Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill Wednesday afternoon taught them important things about the definition of sexual assault, what their school was doing to combat it and how to involve law enforcement in the event of an attack.

With the national spotlight on the issue of sexual violence on campuses, McCaskill has been touring Missouri schools to discuss pending legislation she has co-sponsored on the issue.

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Politics
10:42 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Gay Marriage Ruling Increases Chances Of Overturning Ban In Kansas

The ten gay couples married in other states and some of their children after arguments in Jackson County, Mo., court on Sept. 25, 2014.
Credit ACLU-Missouri

A U.S. Supreme Court decision expected to expand gay marriage laws could be good news for those advocating for same-sex unions in Kansas and Missouri.

In a surprise move, the high court on Monday declined to intercede in five pending cases, a move seen as increasing the number of states allowing same-sex marriage from 19 to 24, along with the District of Columbia.

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Politics/Elections
3:58 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Judge: Missouri's Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, talks to reporters after oral arguments in Jackson County Court on September 25. With him is one of the couples who brought the lawsuit, Randy Short (left), and his partner Eric Goodman-Short.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

A Jackson County judge ruled Friday that the state of Missouri must recognize same-sex marriages made in other states, saying Missouri’s gay marriage ban denies gay couples equal rights.

Missouri’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs wrote in a 20-page decision, because the state “recognizes the marriages of similarly-situated opposite sex couples.

The lawsuit was brought by ten gay couples, represented by the ACLU of Missouri.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:14 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Dole Campaigns For Roberts Despite Vote Against UN Disability Treaty

U.S. Sen Pat Roberts
Credit File photo

Former Sen. Bob Dole is campaigning for Pat Roberts in his Senate re-election effort, but on the issue Dole has been most vocal about lately — the U.S. signing on to a United Nations agreement solidifying the rights of people with disabilities — Roberts’ opponent seems more in line with Dole's views.

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Politics/Elections
3:34 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Kansas Budget Director: Job Growth Will Eventually Restore Revenues

A $21 million shortfall in September tax collections has renewed the debate on Gov. Sam Brownback’s economic policies heading into the last month of the 2014 campaign.

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Education
5:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Davis Says Education, Brownback Says Tax Cuts To Grow Kansas Economy

Will the Kansas economy get a bigger boost from tax cuts or additional spending on education? That's a major issue in the race for governor.
Credit city-data

There are two big issues in the race for Kansas governor this year: How to fund education and how to grow the economy.

Republican incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback is standing firm on cutting taxes to boost the economy.

Brownback has cut income taxes for individuals and eliminated them for small businesses. He says this will spur business development and thus the economy will grow.

But House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Davis has a very different idea.

Davis says he will drive economic growth by spending more on education.

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Politics
1:47 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Couples Ask KC Judge To Lift Missouri Gay Marriage Ban

Trevor Branson, 21, outside a Jackson County District Courtroom Thursday after the hearing on the Missouri gay marriage ban with his mothers, Linda (left) and JoDe (right) Layton-Brinker.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Ten Missouri gay couples – all married in states where same-sex marriage is legal – asked a state court Thursday to recognize their marriages despite the state’s ban on their unions.

The couples sat before the bench, politely listening for an hour and a half to oral arguments in a case that mixes their personal lives with voter politics. Some brought their children, some dressed-up with bow ties and hats, and all seemed overwhelmed by the phalanx of TV cameras that waited outside the courtroom.

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Politics
8:08 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Kansas Supreme Court To Hear Senate Ballot Arguments

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether Democrat Chad Taylor should be removed from the ballot for a U.S. Senate seat.

Taylor dropped out of the Senate race recently and he's trying to get his name removed. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says Taylor's name should stay on the ballot. University of Kansas Political Science Professor Burdett Loomis calls the situation "extraordinarily unusual." He can't remember a legal battle with a high-profile candidate trying to be removed from the ballot in Kansas.

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Virginia Minor
1:33 pm
Sat September 13, 2014

Suffragette Pioneer Virginia Minor Inducted Into Hall Of Famous Missourians

Suffrage leader Virginia Minor is the newest addition to the Hall of Famous Missourians.
Credit Barbara Womack

There's a new member of the Hall of Famous Missourians at the State Capitol. But her story isn't as widely known to Missouri residents as other historical figures in the hall like Bob Barker, Ginger Rogers and Mark Twain.

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Elections
3:51 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

The New Justice In Kansas: Judicial Selection And The Governor’s Race

Justice Caleb Stegall

The candidates for governor in Kansas are sparring over taxes, health care and school funding. But in many ways there’s a more fundamental issue that separates  Gov. Sam Brownback from his Democratic challenger, Paul Davis. Both stand on opposing sides of a running battle over how state Supreme Court justices should be chosen.

Lots of people are influential in one way or another, of course, but Kansas Supreme Court justices really do make a difference, says Michael Kaye, a trial advocacy professor at Washburn University School of Law.

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Elections
11:54 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Kobach, Taylor Take Ballot Battle to High Court

An image from Chad Taylor's campaign website, which has been taken down.
Credit (taylorforussenate.com)

The battle over the U.S. Senate ballot was in full swing Wednesday, with the Republicans and Democrats duking it out in court even as national consultants and lawyers flew in to Kansas.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a supporter of GOP incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, attacked Democrat Chad Taylor in a filing to the Kansas Supreme Court, stopping short of calling Taylor a liar, but calling for "fact-finding."

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Politics
1:13 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Mayor, Prosecutor Say Proposed Gun Law Changes Bad For Kansas City

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James talks to gun control advocates before urging lawmakers to sustain Gov. Jay Nixon's veto on gun legislation.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James and other city officials gathered near 44th Street and Montgall Avenue Tuesday morning to blast gun legislation state lawmakers will consider in Jefferson City on Wednesday.

Missouri legislators already approved a package of gun law changes that would let 19-year-olds obtain concealed carry permits, bar cities from enacting open carry ordinances and allow school districts to arm designated classroom teachers.

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Elections
7:56 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Brownback, Davis Meet For Kansas State Fair Debate

Supporters of Gov. Sam Brownback and opponent Paul Davis gather at the state fair in Hutchinson, Kan.
Credit Stephen Koranda / KPR

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Democratic challenger Paul Davis traded blows at the Kansas State Fair over the weekend as they met for their first formal debate.

It was a packed house in Hutchinson, Kan., in the arena where the debate was held. Before it even started, an energized crowd chanted and cheered. When Davis and Brownback took the stage they hit on some common themes they’ve been repeating on the election trail.

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Politics
10:48 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Kansas Senate Race Is Battle Of the Ballot

Democrat Chad Taylor, who withdrew from the U.S. Senate race in Kansas.
Credit TaylorForSenate.com

Democrat Chad Taylor's name will stay on the ballot for the U.S. Senate from Kansas, despite his withdrawal from the race earlier this week.

Republicans, in the odd predicament of fighting to keep a Democrat on the November ballot on Thursday, won a legal challenge decided by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Kobach sided with his fellow Republicans, who argued that state law requires that anyone trying to withdraw from the ballot must state the reason why he or she couldn’t serve.

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Politics
8:35 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Nixon Renews His Push For Expanding Medicaid

Gov. Jay Nixon

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 11:57 am

As the state – and his reputation – seeks to move beyond Ferguson, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is rekindling his longstanding pitch in favor of expanding Medicaid.

And Nixon may be seeking to subtly link the expansion with Ferguson’s headline-grabbing racial and economic unrest, by emphasizing what the state has been giving up in federal money – and what he said has resulted in less help to those who need it.

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Politics
8:11 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Davis Focuses On Education In Campaign For Kansas Governor

Paul Davis, the Democratic candidate for Kansas governor, continues to push public schools as the cornerstone of his campaign.

At a stop in Topeka, Davis claimed a second term for Republican Gov. Sam Brownback could mean cuts to public schools.

Davis, speaking at an elementary school, pointed to a report from the non-partisan Kansas Legislative Research Department. It shows the state facing a more than $200 million budget deficit in 2016. Davis says the tax cuts pushed by Brownback will lead to the deficit, which will in turn, lead to funding cuts for education.

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Right To Farm
7:18 am
Mon September 1, 2014

'Right To Farm' Opponents Prepare For Recount

Wes Shoemyer says the Amendment 1 vote was close enough to warrant a recount.
Credit The HSUS

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has granted opponents to the so-called “right to farm amendment” a recount, but those hoping to overturn the amendment have modest expectations.

Amendment 1 passed by just less than a quarter of one percent of the popular vote. Nearly a million votes cast. It enshrines the right to engage in agricultural endeavors in the state constitution.

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Politics
8:13 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Schodorf To Kobach: Release Tax Records

The Democrat running against Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach has released her tax records to the media, and she says Kobach should do the same.

Kobach is occasionally in national headlines for his legal work on immigration. At issue is how much time he spends on that work outside his job as secretary of state.

Former state Senator Jean Schodorf from Wichita, has questioned if Kobach spends too much time working on immigration issues. She wants Kobach to provide his tax documents because she says that would prove how he spends his time.

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Politics
8:14 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Brownback, Davis Clash Over Kansas Education Funding

Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has unveiled some education goals he'll push for if he's reelected to a second term in office. Brownback says he'll aim for 60 percent of Kansas adults to have a college degree or technical certificate.

At events in Topeka and the Kansas City area Brownback also hinted at a clash over education funding between himself and his Democratic challenger in the gubernatorial race, Rep. Paul Davis.

Brownback touted funding increases during his time in office, specifically money targeted at technical education programs.

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Politics
3:13 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Brownback Kicks Off Reelection Campaign With 'Road Map 2.0'

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback presents 'Road Map 2.0.'
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Unveiling his reelection platform at an Overland Park rally Tuesday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said he would work to create 100,000 private sector jobs over the next four years.

Brownback, speaking at the engineering firm BHC Rhodes, told an audience of several dozen enthusiastic supporters that he would continue his policy of keeping tax rates low to attract businesses and boost the economy.

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Politics
7:58 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Poll: Pat Roberts Leads Challenger By Four Points

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is only four points ahead of his Democratic challenger, a new Rasmussen poll says.

A new Rasmussen poll released Monday shows three-term Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is only four points ahead of his Democratic rival.

Roberts beat challenger Milton Wolf by seven points in the Republican primary, and the new poll of 750 voters shows Roberts leading Democratic challenger Chad Taylor 44 percent to 40.

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