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Nick’s Picks | Missouri’s Transgender Restrictions and KC’s Charter Changes Graduation Week for Many

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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Just one signature now stands in the way of Missouri enacting new restrictions on the transgender community. 

As we begin our week, two bills currently sit on Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.  

One would prohibit transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports. A second measure bans transition-related medical care for minors.  

In a pre-emptive move, the Kansas City Council has voted to create a “safe haven” for transgender residents. The council ordinance would block police and local prosecutors from enforcing the new state rules.  

But it’s a decision that could face heavy repercussions from state lawmakers. 

One legislator is threatening to cut state tax dollars flowing to Kansas City. And the Missouri attorney general may appoint a special prosecutor to take over Kansas City cases if local officials defy the state transgender laws. 

Last Week, Reviewed

Missouri Set to Ban ‘Texting and Driving’ 

Did you know that there are only two states in the country that have refused to pass laws banning “texting and driving?” 

Montana is one of them. The other is Missouri. 

While Missouri prohibits drivers under the age of 21 from texting in their vehicles, the law doesn’t apply to adults. 

Is that about to change this week? 

Before wrapping up their session Friday, lawmakers sent to the governor’s desk a bill that for the first time will make it illegal for all motorists to text, watch a video or search something online while driving. 

If signed into law, the penalty for violating the ban would be a fine. A person could be charged with a felony if they violate the law and kill someone. 

Fake Illnesses 

How are you feeling today?  

Will you call the boss and say you’re not feeling well enough to work? 

According to a new national survey, Missourians win the trophy for being the most likely to fake illness to avoid work.  

In all, 45% of Missouri residents say they’ve called their boss to say they’re ill when they weren’t actually sick. 

It’s one of the nuggets in a survey of more than 6,000 Americans to uncover the extent of dishonesty in the U.S. 

Hawley’s ‘Manhood’ on Display 

Josh Hawley’s much-talked-about book on manhood hits the shelves this week. 

Actually, that’s the book’s title.  

“Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs” is released today. 

While some see the book as a sign that Hawley is ready to run for president, the fist-pumping senator from Missouri has repeatedly claimed he has no interest in launching a campaign for the White House. 

Charter Changes 

This might be your last chance to weigh in on some big election changes being considered in Kansas City. 

If you haven’t been paying attention, Mayor Quinton Lucas wants to move local elections from April and June. Instead, you would decide on mayoral and council races at the same time you vote for bigger offices like governor and congress in August and November.  

Lucas also wants to ditch local run-off elections if a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote in their primary.  

The last scheduled public hearing on changes to the city’s charter is tonight at 6 p.m. at the Gregg/Klice Community Center, 1600 E. 17th Terrace. 

The mayor is in a rush to get the changes approved so they can be put before voters on the August ballot. 

Graduation Week 

The class of 2023 is ready to take on the world. 

This is graduation week for thousands of area high schoolers on both sides of the state line. 

Kansas City Public Schools begins its graduation ceremonies today. Most Kansas-side high schools have commencement ceremonies planned for this weekend. 

Co-Living Ban  

A federal judge could rule this week on a new “co-living” ban that’s now being challenged in Johnson County. 

Shawnee passed the law last year. It blocks more than three unrelated people from living together in the same home. 

A lawsuit filed in federal court claims the measure violates residents’ rights in a “discriminatory and arbitrary manner that bears no relation to any legitimate government interest.” 

With affordable housing in such short supply, the lawsuit’s backers claim Shawnee is making matters worse. They claim the ordinance even outlaws the living arrangement of television’s “The Golden Girls.” 

Willie Nelson 

How many 90-year-old performers are still taking the stage most nights of the week?  

How many 90-year-old entertainers are still packing out venues on national concert tours? 

Here’s one. Country legend Willie Nelson.  

Nelson just celebrated his milestone 90th birthday and he’s bringing the party to Kansas City. 

Nelson performs this Saturday at the Azura Amphitheater. That’s the concert venue most Kansas Citians still call Sandstone.  

Celebrating Asian Americans 

It’s Asian American Heritage Month and Kansas City is throwing a big party. 

It’s this weekend at Columbus Square Park. 

The second annual Kansas City AAPI Festival features a full day of music and dance performances, food trucks and more than 20 booths from Asian American makers and artisans. 

It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. 

Celebration at the Station
The climax of Celebration at the Station. (Contributed | Eric Williams)

Free KC Symphony 

You can catch the Kansas City Symphony in a park near you this week. And best of all the pop-up chamber concerts are free.  

Here’s the outdoor concert schedule: 

Tuesday, May 16, at 6 p.m. 

English Landing Park 

8701 McAfee St., Parkville  

Wednesday, May 17, at 6 p.m. 

Kill Creek Park Shelter 2 

11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe  

Sunday, May 21, at 6:30 p.m. 

BluHawk Development 

7951 W. 160th St., Overland Park  

And don’t forget you can see the full KC Symphony perform at the granddaddy of all outdoor concerts on Memorial Day weekend. The Celebration at the Station is Sunday, May 28, at 8 p.m.  

Kansas City PBS will broadcast the event live. 

Nick Haines tracks the week’s most impactful local news stories on “Kansas City Week in Review,” Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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