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Missouri Republicans go after ‘woke’ investing to prevent state funds from being used in the fight against climate change

Some Missouri officeholders want to make sure that state funds aren’t used to promote “woke political agendas.” An effort is underway to ban state involvement with banks that prioritize climate action or other socially driven investments.  Conservative legislators have joined peers in other Republican-run states in a movement against environmental, social and governance investing. Known…

Long waits for service and frustrated staffers, how archaic technology hurts Missouri government

For years, Missouri residents have watched the minutes, even hours, tick away as they waited on the telephone to apply for Medicaid, food stamps or other social services in a state bureaucracy hampered by understaffing and antiquated technology.  Within the state’s Department of Social Services (DSS), which also handles the foster care systems, computer programs…

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 desk, committees handle the intricate details. The fate of a…

These lawmakers represent Johnson and Wyandotte counties in the 2023 Kansas Legislature

Johnson and Wyandotte counties are represented in the 2023 Kansas Legislature by more lawmakers during this legislative session than the last, a reflection of the region’s growing population — and political influence.  The region gained three state representatives after last year’s redrawing of political boundaries.  Wyandotte County is now represented by eight members of the…

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, with an occasional extra session if the governor decides a…

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 laws that will impact the lives of all Kansans. But…

Missouri ‘school choice’ bills to watch in 2023

Often framed as ways to increase “school choice” for families, proposals to spread charter schools to more of the state, let students more easily transfer to public school districts they don’t live in or receive financial support for private school tuition and homeschooling aren’t new.

Clean-slate laws could bring sweeping criminal expungements to Missouri

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the number of Missourians who are eligible to have nonviolent marijuana offenses automatically expunged. Thanks to voters’ approval of Amendment 3 in November, thousands of Missourians can look forward to having some marijuana-related crimes automatically erased from their records. Advocates for expungement, including some Republicans in…

Medicaid expansion in Kansas: What to know before lawmakers convene in January

Medicaid expansion is a popular policy among voters, in Kansas and across the country. More than 7 in 10 Kansas voters support expanding Medicaid eligibility, according to a survey from Fort Hays State University.  But that popularity hasn’t been enough to motivate lawmakers to pass Medicaid expansion, despite a decade of trying. Lawmakers introduced dozens…

Legal weed is in effect, but expungements for past crimes may take time

Missouri state courts have begun the process of issuing expungements of most nonviolent marijuana offenses from people’s records, thanks to the November passage of a state constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana and expunge the records of some who had been criminally charged for its use in the past.  But people familiar with the new…

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