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Nick’s Picks | Stadium Tax, Kansas Primary and March Madness Big Week Ahead

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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4 minute read

For the first time in more than 20 years, Kansans will vote in a presidential primary on Tuesday. 

The state has traditionally held caucuses.  

Kansas is paying close to $5 million to host this week’s election. 

But with President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump already clinching their party’s nominations, it will be interesting to see how many voters bother to show up at the polls.  

If you’re heading to your local polling station on Tuesday, you may notice some surprises on your ballot. 

Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley are still listed among the Republican choices, despite suspending their campaigns.  

And there are four names on the Democratic ballot. In addition to Biden, voters can select from self-help author Marianne Williamson, Minnesota U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, who has officially suspended his campaign, and Maryland based entrepreneur James Palmer. There is no room to write in your own choice. But you can select an option that reads “none of the above.”  

Missouri Democrats also head to the polls this week. The Missouri Democratic Party is hosting its presidential preference primary on Saturday. Missouri Republicans have already made their pick. They overwhelmingly chose Trump in a statewide caucus held earlier this month. 

Last Week, Reviewed

Stadium Tax  

Here are five things to pay attention to this week:  

  • Early in-person voting begins Tuesday for the April 2 stadium tax election.  
  • If you’re still confused or befuddled about what you’re voting on, join me at the Kansas City Plaza Library this Tuesday at 6 p.m. for the stadium tax debate. We’re partnering with the Kansas City Public Library and American Public Square to bring you the proponents and opponents of the tax.  
  • Tuesday is also the deadline for the teams to provide signed community benefit agreements for hiring, wages and affordable housing goals. Several advocacy groups say if they don’t get guarantees from the team’s owners by then, they will mobilize their members to oppose the tax.  
  • The Royals and the Chiefs say they’re still in listening mode. The teams are planning a public listening session today. But if you have to work for a living or don’t have your own set of wheels, it may be hard to attend. The session begins at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.  
  • Get ready for more twists and turns in this stadium saga this week. There are charges and countercharges being lobbed by the hour. The latest volley comes from Jackson County Executive Frank White, who is now demanding the teams reimburse the county for the $1 million cost of putting on the election. White says taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for the payment. Neither the teams nor the ballot campaign committee have yet to directly respond to the request. 
A view of the downtown skyline from inside the proposed Kansas City Royals ballpark.
A view of the downtown skyline from inside the proposed Kansas City Royals ballpark. (Courtesy | Populous)

Supreme Court Considers Missouri Case 

Should the government be able to take down false or misleading internet posts?  

It’s a question at the center of a Missouri case that heads to the U.S. Supreme Court today.  

The justices will decide whether the Biden administration acted lawfully when it worked with social media companies to take down posts dealing with the COVID vaccine and election security. 

The case was brought by the Missouri attorney general, who claims the White House has been coercing tech companies to remove stories it disagrees with to silence conservative voices.  

The White House claims its actions were designed to protect public health and safety. 

World Cup Funding 

Despite early objections to funding a World Cup tournament hosted in Missouri, Kansas lawmakers are expected to send to Gov. Laura Kelly this week a budget that includes $28 million to help put on the global soccer showcase in Kansas City in 2026. 

While the move will be welcome news to the Democratic governor, some of the other budget priorities set to land on her desk will likely make her squirm.  

The Kansas Senate has earmarked $15.7 million to send Kansas National Guard troops to Texas.  

Lawmakers also stripped $35 million from state colleges and universities until they can certify they’ve eliminated diversity, equity and inclusion requirements in admissions and hiring processes. 

More hearings on a re-booted flat tax proposal are scheduled this week in Topeka. And on Wednesday, the House and Senate Health Committees will have hearings on Medicaid expansion. Kansas is one of only 10 states that has refused to take federal dollars to extend health coverage to lower income residents.  

Don’t expect much news out of Jefferson City this week. The Missouri Legislature is on spring break.  

March Madness 

This Tuesday marks the official start of Spring. It also marks the official start of March Madness. 

The biggest event in college hoops begins Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, and will end three weeks later with the NCAA Men’s Championship game at State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 8. 

While 14 venues will host the tournament, none of the games will be played in Kansas City. And only one local team has qualified for this year’s tournament, the University of Kansas. 

The Jayhawks take the court Thursday night against Samford, a private Baptist university in Alabama. Gametime is 8:55 p.m. 

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship also gets underway this week, with two local teams in contention.  

Kansas State University has earned the No. 4 seed in the tournament and will play Portland on Friday in a home game in Manhattan. Gametime is 3:30 p.m. 

The KU women’s team is headed to Los Angeles for a Saturday matchup with Michigan. Gametime is 1 p.m. 

Hitting the Mat in Kansas City  

It may not get as much attention around here as college basketball. But count my son among the thousands who’ll take time off work this week to see the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Kansas City.  

T-Mobile Center hosts the country’s top college grapplers at the three-day event, starting Thursday.  

Visit KC says 90% of the tournament’s visitors will be coming in from out of town, collectively racking up 27,676 bed nights at area hotels.  

Kansas schools don’t have a strong college wrestling tradition, but Mizzou is ranked as one of the top teams in the country. 

This is only the second time in history that Kansas City has hosted the tournament. 

Adam and the Ants? 

Remember Adam and the Ants?  

The British rocker topped the charts in the late 1970s and early 1980s with hits like “Stand and Deliver” and “Prince Charming.” Now turning 70 this year, he’s still performing. 

Adam Ant plays the Uptown Theater on Friday night. 

Want to go for free? Enter 90.9 The Bridge’s giveaway for a chance to win tickets. 

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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