State Government | KCUR

State Government

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Rachel Shriver is set to graduate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City next year but she’s already thinking about how her two kids are going to pay for college a decade from now. 

She’s had a tough path to this point: She had her first kid when she was young and most of her family never made it to college. “I'm just hoping to have a better life with my kids … that’s the whole reason I’m in school,” Shriver said.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

They may have each spent only a single session in their respective statehouses, but Kansas Rep. Rui Xu and Missouri Rep. Matt Sain have already learned some important lessons about how state government works, why it sometimes doesn't, and what their responsibilities are to the people back home.

Those lessons are colored by the fact that both lawmakers are in the minority party (Sain is in the superminority), but they're still worth paying attention to. Politics is cyclical, after all, and today's legislative rules will affect the way future politicians do their jobs.

Missouri ranks just behind Mississippi for the lowest-paid correctional officers in the country.

The average annual pay for a correctional officer in Missouri was $30,870 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, well below the national average of $47,600. Even with a recent pay bump of $1,050 a year, the department is struggling to retain and attract correctional officers for the state’s 21 prisons.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Joining the state legislature for the first time can be a lot like going off to college. There are orientations, new people to meet, room and board to sort out — comedians might say the jokes practically write themselves.

But for freshmen state legislators, just getting ready to do the work they were elected to do can be a full-time job, with a real cost.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How newly-elected lawmakers get up to speed before taking office.

There's new staff to meet, colleagues to greet, committee assignments, and dorms to move into — well, that last one might not apply, but becoming a new state lawmaker can be a lot like going off to college. We spoke with two freshman lawmakers from the Kansas City area about making the transition to the statehouse.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: New Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly is making the transition with the help of Gov. Jeff Colyer and others.

A large crowd of people outside. They are holding up fists at a protest and there are people with cameras near them.
Tyler Adkisson / KBIA 91.3

Segment 1: With only three of eight seats occupied, Missouri's Board of Education has gone months without a meeting.

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens wasn't short on contentious relationships in Jefferson City. One of them? The state's Board of Education, which lost its commissioner in December and has operated without a quorum since. Today, we learned what the vacancies have meant for the state's public and charter schools, and got some insight about how new Gov. Mike Parson may handle the situation.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

When you think of a relaxing retirement, you don't normally consider hiking more than 2,000 miles. But you are not Deb Vacek, who took on the Appalachian Trail after leaving the professional world. Today, we meet the Kansas City adventurer.

Hawley/Hensley
Courtesy of Hawley campaign; Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Every Missouri attorney general since 1969 has sought higher office at the conclusion of their term, just as gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster is doing this year. Even so, the race to be the next attorney general hasn’t received much attention. Perhaps it should; this year’s two major candidates have completely different ideas about what the job even is.

RebelAt / Wikimedia Commons

So far 2014 has been a banner year for the GOP in both Missouri and Kansas. The Missouri General Assembly passed a major tax cut and expanded gun holders' rights despite opposition from state Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Kansas legislature increased public school spending to the tune of $129 million. 

On Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske sits down with lawmakers from both states to discuss what they did, and didn't do, during the 2014 legislative sessions. 

Guests:

stgermh / Flickr-CC

When lawmakers go back to work in Kansas and Missouri, they’ll have some hot issues to keep them warm.

On Monday's Up to Date, state lawmakers from both Kansas and Missouri join us to talk about those contentious topics. In Kansas, the buzz centers around school funding and how the state’s Supreme Court could change the budget for education.

Tim Bommel / Mo. House Communications

The Missouri House of Representatives has a new speaker: Tim Jones.  Jones is a Republican from Eureka, Mo.

Missouri is the only state where someone could donate $1 million to a political campaign, cover it up, and not have broken the law. It is one of only four states that have no limits on campaign contributions.

Report Cards Rate States' Integrity

Mar 19, 2012

No state gets an “A” in a study of government transparency and corruption risk released by Public Radio International. Kansas ranked fairly high for safeguards, at number 9. Missouri finished at number 21.