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Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas House debated a new school finance plan for five hours Wednesday, taking up two dozen amendments and finally voting 81-40 to advance a bill not much different from the one that had come out of committee. The measure is slated to get a final vote Thursday in the House. Then it will be the Senate’s turn.  

Missouri Department of Transportation / Flickr--CC

Harrisonville, Missouri, has too many special taxing districts – and according to Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway, they’re not generating enough revenue to pay for the projects they were created to fund.

“Overall, my team found a city that has overextended itself and overcommitted on a number of special taxing district projects across the city,” Galloway says.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The president of the Kansas City, Missouri, chapter of the NAACP told reporters and members of the community Tuesday that there was an “ugly urgency" to call on Governor Eric Greitens to veto Senate Bill 43.

The bill weakens protection for minorities and women, Rev. Rodney Williams said, by making it harder to prove discrimination is the cause of an employer’s disciplinary behavior.

courtesy ArtsKC

After conducting a national search, ArtsKC, the regional arts council, on Monday announced a new president and CEO: Dana Knapp. 

Since January 1, 2017, Knapp has served as the interim leader of ArtsKC, a nonprofit arts organization that "promotes, supports and advocates for the arts across a five-county region." According to ArtsKC, Knapp "begins her new role immediately."

UMKC

Some of Kansas City’s largest health organizations announced on Friday the launch of a collaboration centered on Hospital Hill.

The “UMKC Health Sciences District” includes the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Truman Medical Centers, Children’s Mercy Hospital and the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department, among other partners.

Kristen Rechtlich / St. Louis Public Radio

Six clergymen who were found guilty of trespassing in the Missouri Senate gallery after they protested Missouri’s failure to expand Medicaid were sentenced today to one year of unsupervised probation.

The six, including well-known Kansas City clergymen Sam Mann, Wallace Hartzfield Sr. and Vernon P. Howard Jr., were part of the so-called Medicaid 23, who were charged with trespassing and obstructing government operations after leading a group of about 300 protestors in the Senate gallery three years ago.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 3:12 p.m. to include a statement from Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. 

A federal judge has denied Missouri’s request to stay his order blocking two statewide abortion restrictions, making clear he takes a dim view of the state’s arguments.

In a three-page ruling on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs rejected out of hand Missouri’s claim that the restrictions protect abortion patients’ health.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James last week unveiled a plan for a new terminal  at Kansas City International Airport funded privately by engineering firm Burns & McDonnell.

The firm proposes to foot the bill for the terminal in exchange for exclusive rights to design and construction. They’d be paid back over time with airport fees usually collected by the city. 

James and other city leaders hope to get the project approved by voters in November, and they're anxious to get moving. 

Nicholas Rau / U.S. Air Force

Vastly expanding the scope of an investigation of video and audio taping of attorney-client meetings and phone calls at the detention center in Leavenworth, a federal judge now wants to know whether the government obtained and used such recordings.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

A highly-anticipated election will soon be underway in Kansas City, Missouri, but you might not know about it — and most Kansas City residents won't get to vote in it.  

In fact, the immediate future of the UMKC streetcar extension is in the hands of about 30,000 registered voters who live in the area roughly between the Missouri River and 53rd street, and State Line Road and Campbell. 

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

City leaders say Kansas City can get a new, single-terminal airport at no risk to tax payers.  Burns & McDonnell, one of Kansas City’s big engineering firms, is offering to take on the project at Kansas City International Airport, not just the design but the financing as well. 

Kansas  City Mayor Sly James says the deal would leave the city completely out of the project’s funding.

wp paarz / Flickr — CC

As expected, Missouri has appealed a federal judge’s ruling blocking two abortion restrictions enacted by the Legislature in 2007.

Attorney General Josh Hawley had said he would appeal the preliminary injunction entered by U.S District Judge Howard Sachs last week.

The injunction blocks Missouri’s laws requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and abortion clinics to be outfitted like ambulatory surgical centers.

Intropin / Wikimedia Commons

Another major pharmacy chain in Missouri now offers naloxone, the potentially lifesaving drug that prevents opioid overdose deaths, to Missourians without a prescription.

Hy-Vee announced Wednesday it will now sell the drug to customers in Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

President Donald Trump today named Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to help lead a commission on voter fraud and suppression, a body he has promised to create since taking office nearly four months ago.

Kobach, who has gained national notoriety for his claims of widespread voter fraud, will serve as vice chair alongside Vice President Mike Pence, who will chair the commission.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

A federal judge has ordered Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to turn over by Friday documents that he shared with then President-elect Donald Trump in a case challenging Kansas’ voter registration requirements.  

A federal magistrate judge had previously directed Kobach to produce the documents, but Kobach sought review of the order. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Wednesday denied Kobach’s request.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Whenever she takes people out on her boat, Vicki Richmond from the Healthy Rivers Partnership likes to ask if they know where their drinking water comes from.

“You’d be amazed how many people don’t know it’s the Missouri River,” says Richmond as members of the media clamber aboard. For Drinking Water Week, the Kansas City Water Department arranged to have Richmond show us the Missouri River.

(This reporter would like to state, for the record, she knew before today where our drinking water came from.)

Tim Samoff / Flickr - CC

Water rates in Kansas City, Missouri, have soared over the last several years. The average water bill has gone from $48 in 2009 to more than $100 today. 

That's due, in part, to infrastructure upgrades mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Those mandatory upgrades were not accompanied by federal dollars, which means the cost fell to rate payers. 

Wikimedia Commons

UPDATED, 4:50 p.m. Monday: The Kansas State University Police Department is investigating after a noose was found hanging from a tree on campus Friday.

The school's Office of Institutional Equity received the complaint. The noose was removed by campus police.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) says he hasn’t read the legislation the House passed Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. What’s more, he says, it doesn’t matter, because the Senate is going to reboot the whole issue.

apalapala / Flickr — CC

A challenge to Kansas’ law requiring residents to provide documentary proof of citizenship when registering to vote may proceed to trial, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson denied Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s motion seeking to throw out the challenger’s main claim.

That claim asserts that the law unconstitutionally burdens residents’ right to vote.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the American Health Care Act, the GOP-backed bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. 

House Republicans approved the plan by a narrow margin, 217 - 213. The measure goes next to the Senate.

In the waning hours before the vote, Indivisible Kansas City, a local branch of the national movement, organized a protest outside Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder's office in downtown Overland Park, Kansas. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Along with another day of rain in the Kansas City area, water levels continue to rise across Missouri, causing flooding and dozens of road closures. While southern and eastern Missouri continue to experience serious flooding the Kansas City area has not seen much impact. 

The closest flooding to Kansas City has occurred on the Missouri River at Napoleon about thirty miles east.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Planned Parenthood Great Plains plans to move quickly to offer abortion services in Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri, now that a judge has blocked two Missouri abortion restrictions that had prevented it from doing so.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is mending fences with its neighbors. 

The museum has reached an agreement with two neighborhood associations about its properties. In dispute were the site of the former Rockhill Tennis Club and four houses on 45th Street just north of the museum. 

Farmers in western Kansas are worried a spring blizzard that dumped as much as two feet of snow destroyed much of this year’s wheat crop.

Kansas is the No. 1 wheat state in the country. About 20 percent of the nation’s wheat crop last year was grown by Kansas farmers.

The heavy snow and cold temperatures delivered a one-two punch to a crop that had been in good shape. Rick Horton, who farms 3,000-4,000 acres of wheat in southwest Kansas near Leoti, says he’s expecting massive losses.

KCUR 89.3 File Photo

The speed limit on U.S. Route 71 just north of the Grandview Triangle increases this week to 65 miles per hour.

Currently, the posted speed limit from a half mile south of 75th Street to 3-Trails Crossing is 55, but most drivers tend to go faster, says Derek Olson, a district traffic engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Johnson County Community College / YouTube

Kansas universities and community colleges have been working for years getting ready to allow campus concealed carry.

Unless the Legislature rolls the change back, and that appears unlikely, Johnson County and every other state school will have to allow almost anyone older than 21 to carry a pistol on campus on July 1.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James won’t commit to a timeline for hiring the next chief of police.

"The goal isn't to do this fast,” James said at a news conference at police headquarters Monday morning. “The goal is to do it right. If it takes us a year to find the best person, it’ll take us a year. If we can find the best person in 30 days, we’ll do that.

Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms over the weekend caused record high flooding in southern Missouri, leading Governor Eric Greitens to declare a state of emergency.

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

About a thousand people rallied in Kansas City on Saturday, calling for action to protect the environment. The People’s Climate March was one of hundreds across the country and overseas timed to coincide with the 100-day mark of President Donald Trump's administration.

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