Samuel King | KBIA

Samuel King

Samuel covers Missouri government and politics for KCUR. He comes to KCUR from the world of local television news, where he worked for 14 years in markets like Minneapolis, New York City and Montgomery. Samuel has extensive experience covering elections and state government in states across the country. He has won Associated Press awards for spot news coverage and investigative reporting. A native of Queens, New York, Samuel also spent time growing up in Alabama. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Intergrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

Twenty years ago, the stretch of Belton along U.S. Highway 71, now Interstate 49, looked a lot different than it does now. Only a few major retailers had set up shop in the city, with most bypassing Belton. That forced people who lived in the city to leave the county or even the state to shop at most big box or other stores.

Research from a California-based nonprofit finds Missouri voters are often kept in the dark about campaign spending.


The report from Maplight found independent groups spent $15 million to influence the 2018 state elections in Missouri. It also found that more than 10% of independent spending in candidate races, and more than 35% of spending in campaigns for ballot measures came from groups that are not required by law to disclose their sources of funding.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway’s been busy, looking into Clay County’s finances, the attorney general’s office and raising questions about the state’s tax revenues and budget issues.

She sat down with KCUR's Samuel King on April 15 (Tax Day) to discuss all of these things, as well as what it’s like to be the only Democrat holding a statewide office.

Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley has been in office for 100 days. And in that relatively short time, the Republican has taken on tech giants like Google and Twitter, proposed new regulations for duck boats and co-authored a bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs. 

When Missouri’s medical marijuana program is fully underway, there may be more of the drug produced than consumed. That’s according to researchers at the University of Missouri, who provided the state with an economic analysis of the program Monday.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft was growing frustrated with the limits of his office when it came to investigating voter fraud or election law violations. So, he gave lawmakers a choice.

Missouri Department of Revenue officials may have violated the law when they adjusted the state’s income tax withholding tables once again earlier this year, according to a report from state Auditor Nicole Galloway.

The January adjustment came after two prior adjustments in response to the federal tax cuts that took effect last year.

The two men vying to take over Quinton Lucas’ Kansas City Council seat agree there are challenges when it comes to tackling the 3rd District’s issues such as crime, affordable housing and access to jobs. Where they diverge is their career experiences. 

Missouri has long been a conservative state in its outlook, no matter the party in charge. So in January, when legislative leaders celebrated the 100th General Assembly and the 100th anniversary of the Assembly meeting at the Capitol building in Jefferson City, there were no fireworks over the Missouri River or a grand gala.

Instead, there was a special joint session of the General Assembly and a reception with a “massive” cake in the rotunda.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced the resignation of Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters on Friday morning, a move made after months of criticism over the agency’s handling of income tax withholdings.

Any member of the public can go to the debates in Missouri House or Senate. And in November, voters said the discussions about legislation and strategy that lawmakers have in emails and other documents should be public knowledge, too.

But some legislators are looking to once again shield those records from public view, a move that opponents say is a step backward for government openness and transparency.

The acting head of the Missouri State Highway Patrol may soon have the job permanently. Governor Mike Parson appointed Lt. Colonel Eric Olson as superintendent on Tuesday. Olson will continue to serve as acting superintendent until his appointment is confirmed by the Missouri Senate.

“This is certainly a humbling experience for me, and I would do my best to represent the patrol in a manner that’s consistent with those who have gone before me,” Olson said.

The founder of the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City backs legislation that would move it to Jefferson City.

Kansas and Missouri are accustomed to throwing millions of dollars in tax incentives at businesses to lure them across state lines. But under a bill unanimously approved Thursday by the Missouri Senate, the “border war” would stop in the Kansas City metro area — only if Kansas officials agree. 

The Missouri House of Representatives voted 117-39 Wednesday to approve a bill that would effectively ban abortions in Missouri except for medical emergencies. 

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks of pregnancy.

Some residents of Clay County, Missouri, are so frustrated by what they say is a lack of transparency in county government that they've asked for a state audit of the Clay County Commission. Now, two Clay County legislators have introduced bills that would give Missouri voters the right to remove county commissioners through recall petitions.

One bill, filed by Republican Rep. Kenneth Wilson of Smithville, was heard in a House committee on February 20. The other bill, filed by Democratic Sen. Lauren Arthur of Kansas City, is awaiting action.

A Kansas City-based project aimed at helping end homelessness among veterans was touted as a national model Wednesday by United States Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, who toured the campus of the Veterans Community Project in south Kansas City.

A Missouri House committee heard testimony Monday evening on a bill that would extend annual state appropriations for the Truman Sports Complex and the Kansas City Convention Center, better known as Bartle Hall. Without action from legislators, the funding expires this year.

The majority of Missouri state representatives decided Thursday to subject local officials to the same lobbying and campaign contribution limits that state legislators face, as well as limit the amount of official records that can be made public.

Missouri remains the only state without a statewide prescription drug monitoring program, though it is a step closer. Again. 

The Clay County Commission is looking to limit the scope of an ongoing, resident-requested state audit of the county’s finances and operations.

The county filed a lawsuit Thursday just hours after Auditor Nicole Galloway issued a subpoena to force the county to turn over documentation from all Clay County Commission meetings in 2017 and 2018.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s budget plan includes a raise for all state employees, who on average are the lowest-paid in the nation.

“We're going to invest in the state workforce,” state budget director Dan Haug said. “We have had some studies done and we had employees below what the market minimums were, so we're going to try to get almost all of our employees up to that.”

Two Missouri lawmakers are looking to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected — similar to laws that have been struck down in at least three states, most recently Iowa.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is planning to close Crossroads Correctional Facility in Cameron and transfer prisoners to the nearby Western Missouri Correctional Facility.

Former Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said she’s “doing great” after losing her re-election bid. She’s known for being outspoken, and seems even more so now that she’s out of office.

She addressed a number of topics in a wide-ranging interview Friday on KCUR’s Up to Date with host Steve Kraske. Here are the highlights:

All over Kansas City, its suburbs and outlying areas, new Missouri lawmakers will be taking their seats this week in Jefferson City. Who are the people representing you? Read on.

Missouri’s lawmakers return to the Capitol in Jefferson City this week for the first session under Gov. Mike Parson. There’s a host of issues on the agenda for General Assembly’s 100th session, and here’s a look at the major ones.

The $2.9 billion settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government could bring newer buses to Missouri’s roads, but it’s up to local transit authorities and bus companies to apply. 

When the 100th Missouri General Assembly starts Jan. 9, more than 30 percent of the seats will be filled by new lawmakers. Many are finding that it’s one thing to run for state office, it’s another to actually serve. 

Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill expressed both her love for and frustration with her colleagues Thursday as she gave her formal farewell speech to the Senate.

Pages