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Missouri Senate committee hears ‘bathroom bill’ for K-12 public schools

Updated at 6:30 p.m. — The debate over which bathrooms transgender students can use has come to Missouri. A Missouri Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on Senate Bill 98 , which would require students at K-12 public schools throughout the state to use restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities that correspond to their "biological sex."

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Protesters gathered in downtown Clayton in February 2016 to show soldarity with immigrants and refugees following the announcement of President Trump's executive orders.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Department of Homeland Security’s latest announcement on the Trump administration’s immigration policies have alarmed local immigrants and their advocates.

In two memos released Tuesday, the department expanded the scope of immigration raids, undermined sanctuary areas and called on local law enforcement to help with federal immigration enforcement.

St. Louis immigration lawyer Jim Hacking said his office phone lines have been ringing off the hook since the announcement, with clients unsure of how to move forward.

“People are really and utterly freaked out,” he said. “They’re wondering if they should carry their papers on them, they’re wondering what they should do, they want to have a lawyer on speed dial. Frankly, people are scared.”

Camile Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Charles County lawmaker seeks to reverse a new ordinance in neighboring St. Louis that bars employers and landlords from discriminating against women who are pregnant, use contraception or have had an abortion. 

House Bill 989 was filed late Tuesday by Republican Rep. Phil Christofanelli in St. Peters. He said in a written statement that it's a direct response to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signing of the so-called "sanctuary city" measure into law, which took effect last week.

Bill Haas, January 2017
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas to the program.

Haas is one of seven Democratic candidates running to become the next St. Louis mayor. Each of the Democratic candidates have been interviewed on the podcast ahead of the March 7 primary election.

The Grand Center Arts Academy is one of Confluence Academy's five charter schools in St. Louis. February 2017
Ryan Delaney / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s State Board of Education has limited power when it comes to charter schools, mostly making sure they meet the state’s requirements, such as staying open a certain number of days. Academic performance is out of its hands.

So when the board considered its continued consent of two charters Tuesday — including Confluence Academy, the largest in St. Louis — with poor student test scores, it was critical but, ultimately, let them stay open.

On Tuesday's St. Louis on the Air, we'll look at the use of tax increment financing in St. Louis.
Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we turned our attention to the use of tax increment financing (TIF) and tax abatement as an economic development tool. Is it used too much in St. Louis? Is it used in the best way possible?

We spoke with two people who have different perspectives on the subject.  

The International Institute in St. Louis helps immigrants to get settled, find housing and find jobs. Feb 2017
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

The International Institute of St. Louis is highlighting a new report that delves into the numbers behind immigrants in the United States.

The national organization New American Economy released the report “Map the Impact” on Tuesday. The report breaks down not just the number of immigrants in each congressional district, metropolitan area and state, but also looks at what they provide in taxes, spending power, education and entrepreneurship.

The location of the Sauget Area 1 Superfund site.
MAPBOX, OPENSTREETMAP

Four chemical companies could have to pay $14.8 million to clean up a federal Superfund site in Sauget.

The settlement, which needs court approval, would address groundwater contamination, cap some of the waste and install a well monitoring system. 

Industrial waste has been dumped in six sites within the Sauget Area 1 Superfund from the 1930s until the 1980s. The Environmental Protection Agency has been investigating the site since the early 1980s.

Christine Brewer
Christian Steiner

Good morning, darling, the sun has just come up. It is a beautiful morning…

So begins a letter from 1944 that 1st Lt. George W. Honts wrote his wife Evelyn Honts, while deployed during World War II.

The text to these letters has been set to music by composer Alan Smith. The song cycle, “Vignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn, from the Private Papers of a World War II Bride,” will be performed by soprano Christine Brewer on March 3 at Concord Trinity United Methodist Church.

Alderman Antonio French, January 2017
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio

On this episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jenny Simeone and Rachel Lippmann welcome Alderman Antonio French to show for the first time.

The 21st Ward alderman is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. 

The St. Louis research team for Mobilizing Millions. From left to right: Debadatta Chakraborty, Neeraja Kolloju, Kristen Barber, Debaleena Ghosh and Trisha Crawshaw. All five work with the Sociology Department at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Provided | Kristen Barber | SIUC

Did you attend the Women’s March on St. Louis? An Illinois professor and her team of graduate students want to hear about your experience.

The Mobilizing Millions study, based at the University of California, Santa Barbara, aims to identify what motivated people to turn out en masse across the nation and around the globe.

“So many people are participating in politics who maybe have never participated before,” said Kristen Barber a sociology professor at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, who is part of the research team. “So, the questions really revolve around how this engagement might impact the size of future protests and participation.”

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St. Louis on the Air

Wednesday: Discussing harassment in the workplace

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh will discuss the issues surrounding harassment in the workplace, whether it’s based on sex, religion or disability.

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