City legislative priorities – many needs and wants

state capitalOfficials presented wish lists of needed laws to the city council legislative committee Tuesday.

The committee will meet twice more, hearing more requests, before presenting resolutions to the full city council.

The pared down final lists will become city lobby priorities for the Missouri Legislature and the federal government.

Some requests Tuesday were repeats from the past, such as the city health commission and the Mid-America Regional Council asking support to expand Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

MARC officials also asked to support of a state bill that would give counties the option of taxing cell phones to provide 911 services.

The bill has failed for three years. Missouri is the only state that does not allow such taxes, while 75 percent of 911 calls now come from cell phones.

Some counties outside the Kansas City metropolitan area cannot get 911 calls from cell phones. Some can but cannot locate where the calls come from.

Landline fees often cover the cost of 911 services but fewer and fewer people have the old phones.

Health officials also asked support for more state spending on public health, given that Missouri ranks 50th among states in per capita spending on it.

Nationally, median public health spending is  $31.06 per capita. In Missouri, it is $5.67.

Health officials also asked support for more money for mental health from both the federal and state governments.

And they asked for more federal money for Aim4Peace, a crisis intervention program credited with reducing homicides in a small section of the city where it is used.

Mark McHenry, director of Parks and Recreation, asked support for a federal transportation grant program soon set to expire. The money has been used to help build trails throughout Kansas City, he said.

There were also requests for support for or expansion of economic development tools, and much more.





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