Matt Hodapp | KCUR

Matt Hodapp

Producer, Statehouse Blend Kansas, Statehouse Blend Missouri and Midwesternish

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Jason Kander
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The final slog to the November elections is underway, and Missouri's already wild political year holds the possibility of getting wilder yet. As Democrat Jason Kander pivots from the state and national stage to a Kansas City mayoral run, we get his assessment of the state of Missouri politics. We recap the primary election's top story, the overwhelming defeat of the anti-union "Right to Work" law. And we take a closer look at November's top race: the battle between Claire McCaskill and Josh Hawley that could determine control of the U.S. Senate.

Families living in the Kansas City Public Schools district have more school options than ever before.  Is school choice improving education for all? A special broadcast of a live forum about this issue.

Richardson
Tim Bommel / Missouri House Communications

As the 2018 legislative session careened to an end, we took stock of what legislation passed, what didn't pass, and what was allowed to quietly pass away. It turns out that with all eyes on the accusations against Gov. Eric Greitens, his fellow Republicans were fairly successful at advancing a legislative agenda.

Host Brian Ellison calls on KCUR editor Erica Hunzinger to help recap the session, and Sen. Jason Holsman, a Kansas City Democrat, talks about what went wrong for his party.

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.

Greitens
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

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.

That's A Wrap

May 7, 2018

Kansas lawmakers have ended their 2018 legislative session. School spending, guns, and taxes were at the center of big debates this year. This week we discuss what passed, and what didn't. 

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?

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.

All the commotion around a school funding plan may have overshadowed the fact that Kansas lawmakers are also working on a controversial tax cut bill. Some say it simply returns a federal windfall to Kansas taxpayers. Others argue it’s unaffordable at a time when the state is still recovering from former Governor Sam Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts.

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.

Lawmakers and Governor Jeff Colyer have written another chapter in the story of this ongoing debate by authorizing a $500 million increase in school funding over the next five years. But will that be enough to end the litigation? If not, are we headed for another showdown like the one that rocked the Statehouse in 2005?  

YouTube Screenshot

On Wednesday, a Missouri House committee released an explosive report about an affair Gov. Eric Greitens has admitted having with his former hairdresser in 2015. Many lawmakers have called the details of that report "disturbing" and Greitens’ future as governor may be in jeopardy.  

In this episode, host Brian Ellison and KCUR editor Erica Hunzinger unpack the report's details. We also hear from two lawmakers, Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew and House Democratic Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty, who both think it's time for Greitens to go.

After months and months of debate, it’s finally happened. The Kansas Legislature has passed a school funding plan. Now, the questions are whether lawmakers can fix a mistake in the plan and, once fixed, whether it increases funding enough to satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court.

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

In some states, abortion is on the agenda just about every year. Missouri is one of those states, and it is one where efforts to regulate or restrict abortion are often successful. Last week, the House passed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Host Brian Ellison talks with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, and KCUR's health editor, Dan Margolies, to put the legislation in the broader context of Missouri abortion law and the numerous court challenges it continues to face.

The clock is ticking for the Kansas Legislature to agree on a new school finance formula. One lawmaker in the middle of the debate says while progress is being made, it’s not happening fast enough. On this episode, the story of the legislature’s increasingly frantic efforts to meet the court’s end of the month deadline.

 

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri House has approved its budget for the 2018 fiscal year, and the ball is now in the Senate's court. It's no small thing getting all the numbers to add up to pay for transportation, K-12 and higher education, social services ... and everything else. But how does that work, especially when lawmakers don't share the vision of the governor, whose proposal is their starting place and who ultimately has to implement whatever priorities they set? Host Brian Ellison talks about the process and the results so far with Traci Gleason of the Missouri Budget Project and Rep.

Is this the right time for a new political party in Kansas? Can an independent candidate win the governor’s race? The coming election could give us answers to both questions. The viability of independent candidates and parties in this edition of Statehouse Blend Kansas.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

As the Missouri General Assembly takes a spring break, we take a look at the term so far and what's left to be done. But like everyone else, we have a hard time talking about anything but the indictment and investigations of Governor Eric Greitens. Joining host Brian Ellison with analysis and predictions are KCUR's Erica Hunzinger, the Kansas City Star's Bryan Lowry and Missourinet's Alisa Nelson.

Last year the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state wasn't adequately funding its public schools. What the justices didn’t say was how much more money would be enough. But a new development has potentially changed the debate to the tune of $2 billion dollars. 

 

Elijah Haahr
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Ever since Congress passed major changes to U.S. tax policy, Missouri leaders have been mulling their own changes to the state tax code that might leave your tax bill looking very different next year. We talk with House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, a Republican representative from Springfield, about how his 429-page plan can call itself "revenue-neutral."

Are Kansas’ strict voter registration laws necessary protections against fraud, or are they a nakedly political attempt to disenfranchise certain voters? That question is at the heart of a federal trial going on in Kansas. We explain this complicated issue and get the latest from the Statehouse. 

In the weeks since the shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school, student activists and others have taken to the streets in an effort to spur policy makers to talk about how we regulate guns. But, is that debate happening here in Kansas?

Gina Mitten
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's last impeachment proceeding was in 1994, and it's never happened with a governor. That could change this year as a House committee begins an investigation of Gov. Eric Greitens following his indictment on a felony invasion of privacy charge. Host Brian Ellison talks with a member of that committee, Rep. Gina Mitten of St. Louis.

Statewide criminal registries took off in the 1990s, fueled by crimes against children and a desire to alert people to the presence of sex offenders in their neighborhoods. But some are saying that Kansas’ database has gotten out of hand, that it’s expanded to include too many different types of offenders. So, a debate is beginning about how it might be streamlined.

 

Corlew
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

In these politically divided times, one topic with bipartisan agreement in this year's Missouri legislative session is the need for investing more in transportation and infrastructure. But debate persists on how much investment, and where the money should come from.

Corlew and Razer
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

On Thursday, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony charge of invasion of privacy. The Republican is accused of taking a nude photograph of a woman—with whom he has acknowledged having an affair—without her consent and transmitting it in a way it could be accessed by computer.  Two lawmakers, one Republican and one Democrat, tell us why Greitens will have difficulty governing now and why they think he should resign.

Guests:

The Medicaid Gap

Feb 20, 2018

Kansas is one of a handful of states that have not expanded Medicaid. This has created a gap for patients who are too poor to afford insurance, but make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid. Advocates say that expansion could give coverage to these people, but with consistent legislative opposition, what are the odds of a bill passing this year?

The political divisions in America, and Kansas, appear deeper than ever. Republicans and Democrats can't seem to work together on anything. One candidate for Kansas Governor thinks an independent party might help our polarized politics. We talk with Greg Orman on this episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas.

Flipped

Feb 12, 2018

This week on Statehouse Blend Missouri, we meet the eastern Missouri district that supported Donald Trump with 61% of the vote in 2016, but in a special election last week elected a Democrat to the Missouri House for the first time since 2008. We also meet the Democrat they elected, Rep.-Elect Mike Revis, a 27-year-old first-time candidate from Fenton, Mo. And we talk with political science professor Patrick Miller about how much we should read into special election results like these.

How important is the tone a Governor sets in state politics? Can a tenor of optimism or the opposite affect policy? As Kansas transitions from former Gov. Sam Brownback to new Gov. Jeff Colyer, we discuss what practical difference this change in leadership might make in the statehouse.

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