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Kansas is one of just a handful of states that doesn’t allow a person injured by a drunk driver to sue the retailer who furnished the alcohol.

On Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld that 34-year-old rule, saying it was up to the Legislature to change it.

On March 10, 2015, Jeff Kudlacik was driving down 135th  Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park around 11 p.m. when a Ford Fusion going 70 miles an hour ran a red light and slammed into his Mitsubishi 3000 sedan, slicing it in half.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3 file photo

The Missouri General Assembly beat the Friday evening deadline to pass the $29.7 billion state budget, but took the long way there, with the Senate’s final vote coming at just after 2 a.m.

In a day dominated by tensions between the chambers, the House also made quick work of legislation that came up just Thursday that offers $50 million in tax incentives to General Motors. The automaker is considering a major expansion at its plant in suburban St. Louis.

Carolina Hildalgo / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Updated at 3:42 p.m. with governor's statement  — Missouri’s auditor wants to know whether it’s OK for Gov. Mike Parson’s office to claim First Amendment rights when redacting certain pieces of information from public records.

Jobs For Felons Hub / CC BY 2.0

Kansas may soon turn to private contractors to take the overflow from its crowded prisons, raising questions about growing costs and the reliability of for-profit jails.

That plan ran into complications over the weekend when lawmakers insisted on a closer review from a state commission to OK some of the line-by-line spending. But taxpayers could soon be spending almost $36 million more to deal with a range of problems in the prison system.

As the GOP-controlled Legislature seeks to undo a new state legislative redistricting system, some are pointing to the plan’s potential negative impact on majority-black House and Senate districts.

While those arguments aren’t prompting African American Democrats to vote to get rid of what’s known as Clean Missouri, that doesn’t mean black political leaders are universally embracing the new system. Some believe the language in the new redistricting process won’t prevent a scenario where the percentage of black residents in House and Senate districts get reduced — making it easier for white candidates to win.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Kansas City Democrat DaRon McGee resigned from his seat in the Missouri House on Monday night following allegations that he sought an unwanted relationship with an employee in his office for at least 10 months.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Monday to advance a joint resolution that would have voters decide whether to make changes to the redistricting process outlined by Amendment 1, otherwise known as Clean Missouri. Voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment last November.

file photo / KCUR 89.3

Legalizing sports gambling in Kansas seemed like a safe bet earlier this year. It’s a new source of tax dollars and enjoys bipartisan support.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri House and Senate have approved their versions of the $29 billion budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. But there’s still work to be done ahead of the May 10 deadline to get it to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk, namely by the conference committee that’ll figure out how to square everyone’s desires.

B. Jamie / Public domain

Almost half the people locked up in Kansas prisons admit they have a history of domestic violence — getting the cops called after an argument with a partner, having a restraining order against them or serving time for beating or threatening a family member or partner.

Some of those people end up in batterer intervention programs — sometimes while they’re behind bars, other times during probation or parole. The weekly workshops stretch over months, aiming to pinpoint what drives someone to violence, and searching for ways to break those cycles.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Twenty years ago, the stretch of Belton along U.S. Highway 71, now Interstate 49, looked a lot different than it does now. Only a few major retailers had set up shop in the city, with most bypassing Belton. That forced people who lived in the city to leave the county or even the state to shop at most big box or other stores.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway’s been busy, looking into Clay County’s finances, the attorney general’s office and raising questions about the state’s tax revenues and budget issues.

She sat down with KCUR's Samuel King on April 15 (Tax Day) to discuss all of these things, as well as what it’s like to be the only Democrat holding a statewide office.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley has been in office for 100 days. And in that relatively short time, the Republican has taken on tech giants like Google and Twitter, proposed new regulations for duck boats and co-authored a bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Mike Kane has been talking about a new fire station in the western Kansas City, Kansas, neighborhood of Piper since he was elected to the Board of Commisioners 14 years ago.

But it was his own near-death experience two Halloweens ago that made building the station his mission.

“That lit the fire under me to put the fire under the rest of the community,” Kane said.

Anna Langova / Public domain

 

A new law standardizing Kansas’ response to child-on-child sexual assault could cost $126,000 and result in more than 3,200 treatment referrals a year.

Gov. Laura Kelly signed legislation Friday that directs the Department for Children and Families to immediately refer a minor to treatment if the agency receives a report that the child sexually abused another child.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City voters may be staring down another tax hike come November — this time to try to address the city's lack of affordable housing.

Last year, Kansas City officials established a $75 million trust fund with the aim of creating or preserving 5,000 affordable housing units but didn't specify how it would be funded. On Wednesday, they learned that the city can only come up with about $30 million — enough for just more than 2,900 units. That's according to estimates from the Department of Neighborhood and Housing Services. 

William Johnson / U.S. Air Force Photo

Ruslan Ivanov loved being a public defender. What he didn’t love was the way his work constantly followed him — at home, with friends and family, even on vacation.

On one trip to Colorado, he stood in front of a breathtaking mountain view. And started thinking about a case.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media file photo

When Missouri’s medical marijuana program is fully underway, there may be more of the drug produced than consumed. That’s according to researchers at the University of Missouri, who provided the state with an economic analysis of the program Monday.

Missouri Auditor's Office

A judge ruled Monday that the audit of Clay County's government, which was requested by residents, can proceed.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft was growing frustrated with the limits of his office when it came to investigating voter fraud or election law violations. So, he gave lawmakers a choice.

Robert Sauls

Before getting into the Missouri House, Democrat Robert Sauls was a prosecutor, a public defender and a military lawyer. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that he has focused on criminal justice reform in his first term, cosponsoring bills that seek to change sentencing laws and create special veterans treatment courts.

Sauls spoke with Statehouse Blend Missouri host Brian Ellison about life as a newbie legislator, and where he thinks the state budget, which is advancing through the General Assembly, falls short.

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.

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