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DIY Democracy: How to read a government budget and why you might want to

Do you wonder whether your local government is prioritizing the things that are important to you, like policing, affordable housing, walkability or public health? Official budget documents offer a peek into what elected officials are prioritizing. The budget outlines how much money the city or county plans to spend in every department, and it’s reported…

Why is Kansas City’s transit agency involved in housing?

Over the past year, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) has considered tax exemptions for a string of mixed-use housing developments across the city. Among them are an apartment building in Waldo, a downtown high-rise building and two developments coming to midtown — one along…

How committees pull the strings in the Missouri legislature

The Missouri General Assembly is in full swing, and legislators are beginning the arduous process of lawmaking through months of hearings and negotiations in legislative committees.  Although bills need approval from majorities in both the House and Senate before they are sent to the governor’s…

DIY Democracy: How to follow the Missouri General Assembly

Members of the 2023 Missouri legislature are in Jefferson City to begin the spring legislative session. Much of the work happens behind closed doors, but floor debates, bill hearings and other legislative happenings are easy to tune into online.  Lawmakers meet from January to May,…

DIY Democracy: How to follow the Kansas Legislature

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include revisions to the legislature’s website made after this story published, and to add more information sources available to the public. When the 2023 Kansas Legislature convenes on Jan. 9, lawmakers will begin writing, revising and debating…

How to get involved with your local school board in 2022

Under open records laws in Missouri and Kansas, school districts must open their meetings to the public unless they’re discussing specific protected topics. But policies for accessing meeting recordings and signing up to make a public comment can vary from district to district or even…

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