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.

In baseball circles, the St. Louis Cardinals organization is known for its so-called “The Cardinal Way,” a manual of sorts that players and managers adhere to in the quest for consistency. 

Since August 2018, Missouri state government has been teaching “The Missouri Way,” a leadership training program that’s already indoctrinated more than 1,000 employees from the 16 executive departments. Statewide-elected officials like the secretary of state, auditor and attorney general are not required to take the training, and neither is their staff. 

To minimize the risk that an undercount could negatively affect future federal funding for the Kansas City metropolitan area, a regional effort is underway to boost participation in the 2020 Census.

When it comes to fighting blight in his east Kansas City neighborhood, Dale Fugate sometimes takes matters into his own hands during neighborhood clean-ups.

“I'm a little bolder than a lot of people, and I just take a trash bag up and clean the front yard up and somebody might complain, I don't know,” said Fugate, who helped start the McCoy Park Neighbors group. “But usually in a situation like that, it's an abandoned house. There's nobody there. And actually the neighbors are all glad you do it.”

Under a bill passed by the Missouri General Assembly with just hours left in this year’s session, Fugate would have the ability to do those clean-ups without any legal consequences.

Jackson County, Missouri, officials urged an evacuation of the town of Levasy on Saturday after a levee broke leaving parts of the town under water.

The town of 80 people is about 25 miles east of Kansas City, along the Missouri River.

A direct hit from last Tuesday's EF4 tornado didn't stop Pendleton's Kaw Valley Country Market from making its usual weekend appearance at the Lawrence Farmers' Market. The bounty was smaller than usual, but it included asparagus, flowers and lots of tomatoes.

Redevelopment of a portion of the former Bannister Federal Complex site in south Kansas City, Missouri, could begin as soon as late this year, according to the firm handling the project.

Counties across Missouri hoped this was the year that the Department of Corrections would make headway on the $20-$30 million they’re owed for housing inmates who eventually go to state prisons.

But legislators allocated only $1.75 million more to address the backlog. Missouri's practice of reimbursing counties in this way is unique in the United States, and local sheriffs and county leaders say it’s time for a better solution.

In this very special episode of KCUR’s Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, we joined forces with St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking podcast to round up the 2019 session of the Missouri General Assembly.

The Missouri General Assembly beat the Friday evening deadline to pass the $29.7 billion state budget, but took the long way there, with the Senate’s final vote coming at just after 2 a.m.

In a day dominated by tensions between the chambers, the House also made quick work of legislation that came up just Thursday that offers $50 million in tax incentives to General Motors. The automaker is considering a major expansion at its plant in suburban St. Louis.

The Missouri House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Monday to advance a joint resolution that would have voters decide whether to make changes to the redistricting process outlined by Amendment 1, otherwise known as Clean Missouri. Voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment last November.

The Missouri House and Senate have approved their versions of the $29 billion budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. But there’s still work to be done ahead of the May 10 deadline to get it to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk, namely by the conference committee that’ll figure out how to square everyone’s desires.

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.

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