News about politics and government from KCUR.


Kansas City, MO




News about politics and government from KCUR.






4825 Troost Ave, Ste 202 Kansas City, Missouri 64110 (816) 235-1551


How Missouri Allows Just About Anyone To Get A Medical Marijuana Card

A few minutes of your time and about $100 gets you certified for Missouri’s medical marijuana program. A clinic near St. Louis even offered a “Pot of Gold Legalization” discount for St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t want to leave your house? Try an online appointment, no medical records needed. Missouri’s fledgling program, approved by voters in 2018, is under an intense amount of scrutiny — and not just by lawmakers. Physicians themselves are concerned about loopholes like telemedicine and a lack of...


Coronavirus Closures Send Kansas Unemployment Claims Soaring

The coronavirus continues to spread in Kansas. The result of emergency orders is that many people are staying in their homes. The shutdown of businesses across the state has triggered a record wave of people seeking unemployment benefits. The public health emergency has also forced politicians off the campaign trail. On this week’s Statehouse Blend Kansas, Jim McLean talks with the manager of one U.S. Senate campaign to find out how that candidate is adapting.


Kansas Lawmakers Question Kelly's Use Of Emergency Powers Before Fleeing Coronavirus Threat

Kansas lawmakers approved a basic budget this week before heading home to await whatever the coronavirus has in store for the state and their communities. They’re hoping to reconvene in late April to wrap up their work for the year. But they left knowing they might not have an opportunity to resolve their differences on several big issues, including Medicaid expansion and a constitutional amendment on abortion. On their way out of town, some Republican lawmakers questioned whether Democratic...


Kansas Gets A Budget, And Lawmakers Leave Early In A Session Changed By Coronavirus

TOPEKA, Kansas — The week started with a Kansas House Democrat making an unusual request to not just his fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but to the Lord: “Please nudge our counterparts in the Senate. Please help them to work with a little more urgency.” With the threat of the new coronavirus growing by the day — businesses were shutting down, universities moving fully online — legislators knew time was running out to pass the state’s budget for the next fiscal year. The action...


With Talk Of Shortened Session, Kansas Lawmakers Still Stuck on Abortion And Medicaid

Kansas lawmakers are making contingency plans in case the spread of the coronavirus forces an early end to the 2020 legislative session. A shortened session would lessen the chances of lawmakers resolving their differences on abortion and Medicaid expansion before heading home. Susan Wagle, the Republican president of the Kansas Senate, is blocking consideration of a bipartisan expansion bill until the House approves a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. Attempts by...


Kansas Officials Steel For Coronavirus; Lawmakers Seek End To Stalemate

Kansas health officials say the state is ready to deal with the new coronavirus now that Kansans are starting to get sick. Lawmakers still aren’t ready to move past a dispute on abortion and Medicaid expansion that is blocking progress on both issues. Host Jim McLean talks with a legislator at the center of that dispute about why he cast a decisive vote against the anti-abortion amendment. Also featured on this week’s episode: an interview with the state’s chief health officer on...


Halfway Through But A Lot Left To Do - Plus, Getting Young Kansans To 'Nerd Out' On Politics

Kansas lawmakers sped through dozens of bills this past week to keep them alive past a “turn around” deadline marking the midpoint of the session. Measures to legalize sports betting and to give citizens more control over property taxes were among bills that made the cut. Still, many of the biggest issues remain for lawmakers to tackle in the session’s final months. Among them, Medicaid expansion and a constitutional amendment that supporters say is needed to preserve the state’s ability to...


How Abortion Battle Could Boost Wagle's Lagging U.S. Senate Campaign

Conservative Republicans at the Kansas Statehouse are attempting to block passage of Medicaid expansion until lawmakers send a constitutional amendment on abortion to voters. The amendment, which would overturn a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling that declared abortion a right protected by the state’s Bill of Rights, has passed the Senate but remains a handful of votes short in the House.


Kansas Could Ban Discrimination Against Workers For Black Hairstyles Like Dreadlocks And Braids

Emily Brown runs a nonprofit in the Kansas City area. She is a black woman who wears her hair naturally. In 2016, she was invited to speak at a national conference, but one of the board members pulled her aside. "'You know, I think you’re smart,'" Brown told the story recently on KCUR's Central Standard . "'But I’m concerned, you know, that people in the room may not fully hear you because of your hair. You should consider straightening your hair, you know, before you take this trip.'"


Abortion And Vaping Laws: The Latest At Kansas Legislature

Kansas is slipping to the back of the pack on some critical economic measures. In this episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, host Jim McLean talks with Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland about what the agency is doing to try to reverse those trends. McLean also hears from Kansas News Service reporters about a proposal to ban the sale of vaping flavors, and he asks why Republicans resist Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s proposal to create an independent office on energy...


Abortion Vote Fails, And A Look At The Kansas DOT

The Kansas House of Representatives has stopped — at least temporarily — an all-out push by anti-abortion groups for a constitutional amendment that they say is needed to maintain the state’s ability to regulate the procedure. Supporters fell four votes short Friday of putting an amendment on the August primary ballot to overturn a recent Kansas Supreme Court decision that declared abortion a "fundamental" right under the state's Bill of Rights. We look ahead to how the abortion debate could...


Abortion, Sports Gambling And Rural Kansas

Kansas lawmakers are nearing decisions on two big issues — Medicaid expansion and a constitutional amendment on abortion. They’re also talking about how to raise more money without increasing taxes. One idea is to legalize wagering on sporting events. We talk about all that and with Republican state Rep. Adam Smith, chair of the House Committee on Rural Revitalization, on this edition of Statehouse Blend Kansas.


Introducing Statehouse Blend Kansas 2020

In this episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, host Jim McLean looks at the legislative session. Lawmakers are already at odds on the hot-button issues of abortion and Medicaid expansion. Republican leaders are pushing for quick passage of an anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning are joining forces to break a nearly decade-long stalemate on expansion.


Medicaid Expansion, Abortion In The State Constitution And Taxing Streaming Services

The legislative session in Kansas is just getting underway, but lawmakers are already at odds on the hot-button issues of abortion and Medicaid expansion. Republican leaders are pushing for quick passage of an anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning are joining forces to break a nearly decade-long stalemate on expansion.


A Former Dental Instructor At Kansas' Women's Prison On Trial For Sexual Assault Charges

A 73-year-old Kansas prison dental instructor accused of sexually abusing inmates goes on trial Monday. Tomas Co, 73, taught inmates at the Topeka Correctional Facility, the state’s only women’s prison. He faces six felony counts in Shawnee County of unlawful sexual relations for allegedly kissing students, touching them inappropriately and commenting on their appearances. He was removed from his job in 2018. Nomin Ujiyediin of the Kansas News Service interviewed the Topeka Capital-Journal’s...


Taxes, Weed And Your Health: What Kansas Lawmakers Will Fight Over in 2020

TOPEKA, Kansas — The 2020 Kansas Legislature is underway. And while Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly laid out some of her top priorities during the State of the State address on Wednesday, Republican leaders of the House and Senate (and Kelly's fellow Democrats) have some different goals. Here are five issues that will be top of mind for the governor and lawmakers as the session heats up.


A Two-Year-Old Kansas Law That Kept Kids Out Of Jail May Have Pushed Them Into Foster Care

Holes punched in walls. Car headlights smashed. Windows broken. Weapons, threats, sexual comments. Children who can’t live with other children. Children whom foster parents won’t take in. Children who aren’t able to get the mental health care they desperately need. Kansas foster care contractors and parents say all of these situations have become more common — and more risky — since 2017, when the state made sweeping changes to the juvenile justice system. The changes, they say, removed...


Payday Loans In Kansas Can Come With 391% Interest And Critics Say It's Time To Change

Maria Galvan used to make about $25,000 a year. She didn’t qualify for welfare, but she still had trouble meeting her basic needs. “I would just be working just to be poor and broke,” she said. “It would be so frustrating.” When things got bad, the single mother and Topeka resident took out a payday loan. That meant borrowing a small amount of money at a high interest rate, to be paid off as soon as she got her next check.


Kansas Bets On Wrestling Tournaments, Pickleball And Trampolines With $25 Million In Bonds



In Kansas, Shifting The Power Balance Between Renters And Landlords

Mold. No heat in the winter. Leaking roofs. The most common complaints Teresa Baker hears about rental housing in Kansas revolve around poor living conditions that violate state law.