Good Wednesday Morning, thanks for joining me for Up First in the Four States, from KRPS. I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. Let’s first take a look at local weather,
Sunny and hot once again today throughout Southeast Kansas, highs in the mid and upper’90s. Clear skies tonight, calm winds, lows in the lower’70s. Clear and dry conditions will remain in the area Thursday, Friday and Saturday, highs remaining in the mid and upper’90s. Mostly sunny with a slim chance of rain on Sunday, highs in the lower’90s.
Kansas Republicans are ending the COVID-19 state of emergency Tuesday. As Abigail Censky of the Kansas News Service reports, things like National Guard assistance and expanded food stamps will now come to an end.
On Tuesday, Governor Mike Parson signed a bill into law limiting the power of local governments. House Bill 271 passed by legislators last month is a reaction from Republican lawmakers to reign in metro, high populated areas and heavily Democratic parts of Missouri over coronavirus closures and local mask requirements. The bill limits the scope of local health departments to force businesses to close in Missouri to only 30 days over a 6 month time span. The closures would then have to be extended every 30 days by a majority vote of the city or city council. HB 271 also prohibits vaccine passports in the state. Saying in a post on Facebook, quote, “while we encourage all Missourians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is not the government’s job to force them.” unquote. Previously, Parson said that he wouldn’t supersede stricter local rules imposed in cities such as Kansas City and St. Louis.
Thousands of Kansans have snapped up health insurance plans or switched to cheaper or free ones in recent months. Celia Llopis-Jepsen of the Kansas News Service explains why and how.
The number of Covid 19 cases in Joplin is creeping up. One year ago today, according to the Dartmouth University Atlas Project the Joplin area had the highest Covid 19 case growth rate. At the time, testing was scarce and the first vaccine still six months away. Consider this, on Monday of this week, the Joplin Health Department reported more new cases, 21, than it did on June 16 of 2020, with just 6. Today, Joplin is 2nd in the state at 45.2% of residents who have initiated a vaccine. And 2nd in Missouri in residents who have completed their vaccines 39.4% To contrast, Greene County only has only 36% of their residents receive their first Covid 19 dose and 31.9% complete their vaccinations. All Missouri residents over the age of 12 are eligible to receive a free Covid 19 vaccine. Visit CovidVaccine. mo.gov for more information.
And now our feature of the day,
This summer marks the third year that Kansans have grown hemp for industrial uses. It required some risk-takers. And it has proven risky. Brian Grimmett of the Kansas News Service explores why it’s been more difficult than some expected and how they’d like a little more help from the government. Clip 98105
Thanks for joining me for the up first in the Four States podcast. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.