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Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

The stakes run high for 130,000-some low-income Kansans who stand to gain from expanding Medicaid coverage — and for the political players who will decide the contentious issue.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly made expansion a centerpiece of the election that put her in office. Two Republican leaders — Senate President Susan Wagle and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning — could see their elevation to higher office also turn on the issue.

Flickr

Missouri Department of Revenue officials may have violated the law when they adjusted the state’s income tax withholding tables once again earlier this year, according to a report from state Auditor Nicole Galloway.

The January adjustment came after two prior adjustments in response to the federal tax cuts that took effect last year.

Missouri Department of Corrections

A narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Missouri death row inmate’s challenge to the state’s single-drug lethal injection method, finding Monday it does not amount to “cruel and unusual” punishment.

A Missouri House committee has approved major changes to the state’s criminal justice system, including giving judges more leeway in nonviolent crime sentencing.

The action Thursday by the House Special Committee on Criminal Justice is just the first step in what its chairman, Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, acknowledges could be a long fight.

file photo / The Kansas News Service

Grievances generated by policy and personality clashes in a southeast Kansas community have spilled onto the statewide stage in the battle over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s nominee to head the state Department of Commerce.

David Toland often found himself at odds with Virginia Crossland-Macha when he was the CEO of Thrive Allen County, a community health-improvement and economic development organization based in Iola.

courtesy HDR

Washington transit officials have rated the Kansas City Streetcar Authority’s $151.6 million federal funding application “medium high,” a vital step toward building the planned extension from downtown to UMKC.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

The first pieces of Terminal A came down Monday as officials broke ground on a new, $1.5 billion terminal at Kansas City International airport.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James delivered the first few blows to the old building before a crowd of hundreds.

He told the group that in 2023, when the new terminal is set to open, visitors will be greeted by a new Kansas City — one drastically different from when he entered office eight years ago.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Council on Thursday passed a budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year that adds more police and funds to fix the city’s roads.

The entire city budget is about $1.7 billion.  It includes a 70 percent increase for road resurfacing — from $10 million to $17 million.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Missouri has long been a conservative state in its outlook, no matter the party in charge. So in January, when legislative leaders celebrated the 100th General Assembly and the 100th anniversary of the Assembly meeting at the Capitol building in Jefferson City, there were no fireworks over the Missouri River or a grand gala.

Instead, there was a special joint session of the General Assembly and a reception with a “massive” cake in the rotunda.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

As Kansas City council members get ready to approve a new budget, the city finds itself with a couple of million dollars more than expected.

City budget officer Scott Huizenga told the Finance and Governance Committee Wednesday that the city has about $2.5 million extra coming in this fiscal year.

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the appeal of a Kansas death row inmate who claims the state unconstitutionally abolished his right to use insanity as a defense for his crimes.

Nobody disputes that James Kahler murdered four family members in 2009. But Kahler's attorneys argued at trial and in subsequent appeals that he had spiraled into a mental health crisis in the months preceding the murders and was psychotic during the attack. The murders took place in Burlingame, about 30 miles south of Topeka.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced the resignation of Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters on Friday morning, a move made after months of criticism over the agency’s handling of income tax withholdings.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Any member of the public can go to the debates in Missouri House or Senate. And in November, voters said the discussions about legislation and strategy that lawmakers have in emails and other documents should be public knowledge, too.

But some legislators are looking to once again shield those records from public view, a move that opponents say is a step backward for government openness and transparency.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Say your final goodbye to the first horseshoe-shaped terminal at Kansas City International Airport. More than a year after Kansas City voters overwhelmingly approved construction of a single terminal at KCI, a groundbreaking has finally been scheduled.

A “groundbreaking celebration” for the $1.5 billion project is set for March 25, at 2 p.m. at Terminal A.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

As Missouri moves toward implementing the voter-approved medical marijuana program, state officials on Wednesday warned potential patients to hold off on paying for a physician certification until June.

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Missouri state Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove is the granddaughter and niece of state lawmakers, but she’s already making her own mark two months into her first term. 

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

The Olathe City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution to promote diversity and equality in the city. However, many community members attending the meeting said it did not go far enough.

“A proclamation is nothing but lip service,” Olathe resident Chad Palmer told the city council, expressing that they needed to go further in making a stand against discrimination.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

The acting head of the Missouri State Highway Patrol may soon have the job permanently. Governor Mike Parson appointed Lt. Colonel Eric Olson as superintendent on Tuesday. Olson will continue to serve as acting superintendent until his appointment is confirmed by the Missouri Senate.

“This is certainly a humbling experience for me, and I would do my best to represent the patrol in a manner that’s consistent with those who have gone before me,” Olson said.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Protesters withstood single-digit temperatures on the steps of City Hall Monday to share horror stories about landlords kicking their families out after a serious illness or being left with no safe, permanent housing options after an eviction. KC Tenants, a new group advocating for tenants' rights, intends to make housing a central issue in the upcoming mayoral election.

“Housing needs to be the next mayor’s airport,” said activist Tiana Caldwell to cheers of approval.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

The founder of the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City backs legislation that would move it to Jefferson City.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

The Kansas City Council on Thursday took a crucial step toward building a new terminal at Kansas City International airport.

By a vote of 11 to 1, the council approved a project agreement with developer Edgemoor, setting the stage for design and construction to begin in earnest. Edgemoor managing director Geoff Striker said he expects demolition of Terminal A to begin within four or five weeks.

“Clearly the council said, ‘We recognize how important this is to Kansas city,” and they put citizens first and moving forward with the project, so it’s a great day,” Stricker said.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Kansas and Missouri are accustomed to throwing millions of dollars in tax incentives at businesses to lure them across state lines. But under a bill unanimously approved Thursday by the Missouri Senate, the “border war” would stop in the Kansas City metro area — only if Kansas officials agree. 

Big Stock

Missouri will have to reform its parole policies after a federal judge ruled in favor of thousands of current and former parolees who sued the state, claiming those policies are unconstitutional.

Many parolees have been sent back to prison for technical violations of their parole such as crossing a state line, missing a parole appointment or losing a job because their employer found out about their criminal record.

Missouri House Approves Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bill

Feb 27, 2019
File photo / Creative Commons

The Missouri House of Representatives voted 117-39 Wednesday to approve a bill that would effectively ban abortions in Missouri except for medical emergencies. 

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks of pregnancy.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

The company hired to provide health care in Kansas prisons is getting paid millions less than its contracted amount after failing to meet the agreement’s terms.

State officials reduced payments to Corizon Health because the company failed to hire enough nurses and other health workers. Corizon lost additional money after audits found it fell short of performance standards for a range of medical services.

Now, the Kansas Department of Corrections says the contractor has one more year to look after the health of 10,000 people in its prisons.

Missouri’s health department has already fielded more than 400 pre-applications from potential marijuana growers and sellers.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which will administer the state’s medical marijuana program, won’t begin accepting formal applications for dispensaries, cultivation facilities and manufacturing plants until summer.

That hasn’t stopped potential businesses from paying more than $3 million in application fees to the state.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Some residents of Clay County, Missouri, are so frustrated by what they say is a lack of transparency in county government that they've asked for a state audit of the Clay County Commission. Now, two Clay County legislators have introduced bills that would give Missouri voters the right to remove county commissioners through recall petitions.

One bill, filed by Republican Rep. Kenneth Wilson of Smithville, was heard in a House committee on February 20. The other bill, filed by Democratic Sen. Lauren Arthur of Kansas City, is awaiting action.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Officials got some long-awaited airport news today — the Federal Aviation Administration has signed off on the environmental assessment, a crucial step before construction of a new terminal can begin.

Sonia Schlesinger

After numerous rounds of snow and ice, cities across the Kansas City area are struggling to keep their residents happy by clearing the streets of ice and snow and stay within their budget.

Twitter user @PrairieCzar applauded his town’s snow removal process last week: “I can see pavement and the street is cleared curb to curb,” he wrote. “Thank you City of Lenexa!” Meanwhile, Kansas City, Missouri, residents have been frustrated by what they say are clearer roads across the state line.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Republicans in the Kansas Legislature handed Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly her first defeat this week.

On Valentine’s Day, no less.

They soundly rejected her plan to extend the timetable for covering the unfunded liability of the state pension system, KPERS.

Kelly hoped to lower the state’s annual payments by extending the timetable for amassing 80 percent of the dollars needed to pay all future retirement benefits.

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