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Nick’s Picks | Trans Law in Kansas, Murders in Kansas City Summer in the City

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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Barring a last-minute judge’s ruling, a slew of new transgender restrictions go into effect in Kansas this week.  

Starting on Saturday, transgender people will be required to use bathrooms that correspond with the gender assigned by their birth certificate. The new law also bans transgender Kansans from changing their name or gender on a driver’s license. A separate measure prohibits trans women and girls from playing on women and girls sports teams. 

But the law is unusual in that it doesn’t specify any enforcement measures or create a crime for failing to comply. 

That’s created confusion among businesses, schools and local governments over how best to respond to the law. 

In Lawrence, activists are pleading with the City Commission to declare themselves a transgender “safe haven,” similar to a measure signed by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas last month

Missouri has also blocked trans women from taking part in girls sports and passed a law blocking transition-related medical procedures on minors. It does not go into effect until August 28. 

Transgender Politics

Waiting for Justices 

The U.S. Supreme Court adjourns for its summer break on Friday. But before the justices depart, they’re expected to finally rule on the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program.  

More than 1 million current and former students in Kansas and Missouri have a big stake in the outcome. They want to know whether at least $10,000 of their college debt will be canceled. 

A ruling in the case could come as early as today. 

The justices are also expected to decide whether to tightly restrict or ban race-based affirmative action in college admissions. 

Last Week, Reviewed

Murder and Mayhem 

How many more ways will we eloquently condemn violence this week and promise that change is on the way? 

Get ready for more news conferences that decry Kansas City’s escalating homicide problem after another deadly weekend of violence that included a mass shooting at 57th Street and Prospect Avenue.  

In just a three-hour span on Sunday, five people were killed and five others were hospitalized in three separate shootouts. 

Kansas City is now on pace to hit 100 homicides by the end of the week. That’s more than a 30% jump from where we were last year.  

If current trends continue, Kansas City will end the year with the highest number of murders in the city’s history. 

Help Wanted: A New Jackson County Prosecutor 

How many ambitious Kansas Citians looked in the mirror over the weekend and saw the next Jackson County prosecutor looking back at them? 

In case you missed it, Jean Peters Baker has announced she will not seek reelection after 12 years on the job. She has served longer than any other Jackson County prosecutor in modern history. 

So, will we see an explosion of campaign announcements this week from politically minded attorneys salivating at the idea of taking over the office? 

One likely candidate is former City Councilwoman Alissia Canady, who ran for Kansas City mayor in 2019. She was the Democratic nominee for Missouri lieutenant governor in 2020 and is a former assistant prosecutor in Baker’s office. 

Hot Time 

Many of us have already been withering in the heat, but are we about to hit triple digits this week? 

The National Weather Service says some parts of the metro will likely see 100 degree temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday as a killer heat wave over Texas creeps north into Kansas and Missouri.  

The last time the mercury hit 100 degrees in Kansas City was Aug. 6, 2022. 

Mask Milestone 

Back in March, we marked the third anniversary of the first COVID lockdown in Kansas City.  

This week, we mark the third anniversary of the first mask order.  

Does it seem that long? 

Three years ago today, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced that face covering would be required in all public places.  

None of us could have predicted how long we would be required to wear them. But with the federal government now declaring the pandemic over, state agencies are now trying to unload stockpiles of masks, gowns and other protective gear. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the state of Missouri has been trying to auction them off online. 

As of last week, a case of 50,000 masks had attracted a high bid of $102. A package of 2,000 protective goggles was priced at $110. And an auction item featuring 18,000 hospital gowns was going for $9. 

That was at least until the federal government found out.  

The feds have ordered the state to take down the auction. Apparently, items bought with federal CARES Act money can’t be resold … at least not legally. The state is now working on new uses for its mountain of protective gear. 

Fourth of July 

If people put up Christmas trees at Thanksgiving, is it fine that Kansas Citians want to set off Fourth of July fireworks well ahead of July 4? 

With the holiday falling on a Tuesday, more than a dozen area cities are holding their official fireworks shows this week.  

The Bonner Blast in Bonner Springs will kick things off on Thursday, with Shawnee and Kansas City, Kansas, among the cities hosting big fireworks shows on Friday, followed by Blue Springs and Independence on Saturday.  

Are we more in love with the Fourth of July here than in other parts of the country?  

According to a new survey, Missouri spends more on fireworks than any other state in the country. Kansas is also no slouch in the fireworks department. It comes in third, just behind Nebraska. 

Indiana Jones 

Is it finally the end of the line for Indiana Jones? 

This week at the age of 80, Harrison Ford reprises his role as the intrepid adventurer in the long-awaited fifth installment of the film series.  

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” hits movie theaters on Friday. 

The octogenarian actor first picked up his iconic brown Fedora and whip 42 years ago in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” 

The American Film Institute has ranked Indiana Jones as the second-greatest film hero of all time, just behind Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  

Summer Blockbuster

Deutschland Bound 

How much do you love the Kansas City Chiefs? 

Would you travel 5,000 miles to see them? 

Tickets go on sale Tuesday for the Chiefs’ first regular season game in Germany. 

The Chiefs will play the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Nov. 5, in Frankfurt. 

The NFL is exploding in popularity in Germany.  

When the NFL played its inaugural game in Munich last year, nearly 900,000 people were on the Ticketmaster waitlist to see Tampa Bay take on Seattle. 

The Chiefs are expected to be even more popular. Apparently, Kansas City is the most watched NFL team in the German broadcast market

The only thing left to say is landung! That’s the German word for touchdown. 

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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