Top Stories Of The Week
Missouri's governor held back $400 million in spending. A Kansas judge blocked parts of a new abortion law. And the Sprint-Softbank-Clearwire triangle ended with a betrothal. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
Sprint shareholders accept Softbank bid
It had gone on for week: two rival suitors for majority ownership of Sprint Nextel. Finally, this week, Sprint shareholders voted to take Japanese company Softbank's $21.6 billion offer for 78 percent of the company.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse it was a great day for Sprint that results in a stronger, better capitalized company. The jilted Dish Network also stopped its attempt to buy Clearwire before Sprint could.
$20 million challenge grant for downtown arts campus
A big announcement from the city and UMKC about a proposed downtown campus for the Conservatory of Music and Dance turned out to be from Julie Irene Kauffman, who announced that the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation was offering $20 million to start a fund to move the arts campus to downtown location..
The $20 million is a start. To get it, the university has to come up with another $70 million within 3 years.
The proposed new arts campus would be in the Crossroads District.
Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate SUPCO decisions
At a news conference at the Unicorn Theater, attorney Lana Knedlick summed up the reaction of area same-sex marriage supporters on this week's Supreme Court decisions on the subject, given that such marriages are not recognized by either Kansas or Missouri. .
Knedick said advocates feel more hope, but from a legal standpoint the decisions change nothing in this area.
Kansas Congressman pushes for one-man-one-woman amendment
After the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp said the court had “short circuited the democratic process,” and in order to “protect marriage for our children” a constitutional amendment defining marriage is necessary.
Huelskamp says he has the support of conservatives in the House, and will introduce a bill to start the amendment process.
Nixon vetoes bill limiting public employee unions
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill that would have required labor unions to get annual permission to withhold dues and fees from the paychecks of public employees. It required separate written permission from each employee if any portion of that employee's dues was to be spent on political causes. Nixon called it an “unnecessary burden” and an attempt to weaken labor organizations.
Nixon holds up $400 million in spending, blames GOP override plans
On Friday. Nixon signed a budget bill. But as he did so, he alsoh eld back more $400 million from the spending plan in anticipation that Republican lawmakers would override his veto of their tax cuts. Budget Director Linda Luebbering said the cuts include state jobs, and that she would be working with department heads to decide which 1,000 positions to eliminate.
The freeze hit k-12 education hardest, and take big chunks from higher education, Medicaid provider rates, transportation and capital maintenance.
Nixon said he would restore most of the funding if his tax cut veto is not overturned.
Elderly men file suit over Kansas photo-ID law
Two Kansas retirement home residents filed suit over the new photo voter ID law. They say were allowed to cast ballots without having the identification, but when they were unable to get the kind of photo ID's required, their provisional ballots were destroyed.
Many new Kansas voter registrants stuck in “suspense” classification
Proof of citizenship requirements for new Kansas voters were having their problems, too. The Lawrence Journal World reported that one third those who registered since the first of the year still don't have clearance to vote.
Part of the problem was another glitch in a new state computer system. Secretary of State Kris Kobach also blamed potential voters who he said were “in no hurry” to get photo ID.
Kansas judge blocks parts of new abortion law
On Friday a Topeka judge blocked two sections of Kansas new abortion law pending outcome of a suit by two Overland Park doctors.
The parts that will be prevented from going into effect Monday involve providers' required endorsement of the state position on abortion and a tighter of what constitutes and emergency abortion that is exempt from the 24-hour waiting period.
Another suit in federal court is underway. It was filed by Planned Parenthood of Overland Park, which asserts that the new law violates free speech.