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Missouri hospitals forgo family planning funds as abortion rule goes into effect

A new Missouri rule will strip state family planning funds from organizations that provide abortions, including hospitals. But several facilities are choosing to go without the money, instead of providing the state with a letter to certify that they do not offer the procedure.

At issue is a $10.8 million portion of the state’s Medicaid program, which covers pelvic exams, tests for sexually transmitted diseases and family planning services for about 70,000 low-income Missouri women. To prevent violating a federal law that says Medicaid patients must be allowed to choose their own provider, the state is rejecting about $8.3 million annually in federal funds, and paying the difference with money from the state.

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Residents and activists pressure Ferguson's City Council members to agree to the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree during a public forum on the decree in March of 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Numerous challenges await Ferguson’s next mayor, including a tight budget, frayed race relations and an understaffed police department. But the winner of April 4 contest will also face a less tangible quandary: repairing the city’s tattered image.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles is up for re-election for the first time since then-police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in August 2014, an event that placed the north St. Louis County municipality in the international spotlight.

Ferguson Police Department
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It's been nearly a year since the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Ferguson signed a consent decree to reform the city's police department and municipal courts. And both sides acknowledged Wednesday that they aren't as far along as they should be.

Bram Sable-Smith I KBIA

Efforts to get Missouri to comply with the 2005 federal REAL ID law will resume once state lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday for the final seven weeks of the session.

Identical bills in the House and Senate, HB 151 and SB 37/224, would allow the state to issue  driver’s licenses that comply with REAL ID standards while continuing to issue ones that don’t. Backers say allowing both types will respect the privacy rights of a Missouri driver who doesn’t want to share any particular personal data with the federal government as a result of having a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.

Lyda Krewson joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss her bid to become the next mayor of the City of St. Louis. She is the Democratic candidate for mayor.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On March 7, St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson pushed past Treasurer Tishaura Jones and a crowded field of Democratic mayoral candidates to become the Democratic candidate for mayor of the City of St. Louis. On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Krewson joined host Don Marsh to discuss her platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

Vesla Weaver, a Yale professor who studies inequality as it relates to the criminal justice system, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in-studio.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by Vesla Weaver, an associate professor of political science and African-American studies at Yale University, ahead of a talk slated for Wednesday afternoon in Grand Center.

Ten Republican senators voted for at least one bill in the grand bargain. We asked all of them about Gov. Bruce Rauner's role in stopping them from going further.

Less than a week after Chuck Berry's death at the age of 90, his family announced details Wednesday about the rock and roll pioneer's first album in 38 years — and gave us a taste of what it will sound like.

Advocate and author Christine McDonald, right, listens to U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri testify during a public hearing in St. Louis about human trafficking.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Eastern Missouri has four full-time police officers dedicated to investigating human trafficking cases, but convictions are rare.

Law enforcement officials say it's hard to build cases against perpetrators because witnesses are few and victims often are unseen. To improve awareness, Webster University will hold a training session this weekend for law students and the general public. Attendees will hear how people are forced into sex work and other trades, and how to identify warning signs.

Lyda Krewson speaks with reporters after winning the Democratic mayoral primary on March 7, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Lyda Krewson, the Democratic nominee to be St. Louis’ next mayor, acknowledges the obvious: More than two-thirds of the city’s Democrats preferred one of her six rivals.

She also recognizes some tensions likely remain from the March 7 primary. “Campaigns are tough. A lot of skinned knees and scabby elbows after a campaign,” Krewson said. “But fundamentally, we’re all Democrats and we want to elect Democrats in the city in April.”

Judge Paul Herbert stands in his courtroom after one of the court's weekly sessions.
Andrea Muraskin | Side Effects

Originally published July 7, 2016, by Side Effects Public Media. 

It’s not something you expect to see in a courtroom: 35 women, chatting, laughing, eating lasagna. But brunch before the session is a weekly tradition at an unusual court in Columbus, Ohio.

Once the plates are cleared away and everyone sits down in a semicircle facing the bench, a probation officer steps to the center of the room, with an empty plastic bin and a big smile.

“You know I love you so much, right?” she says, as she collects everyone’s cell phones, to a chorus of groans.

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St. Louis on the Air

Ferguson Mayoral Forum

On Wednesday's St. Louis on the Air, we'll hear highlights of Monday's mayoral forum in Ferguson featuring incumbent Mayor James Knowles III and Councilwoman Ella Jones.

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Become part of our Public Insight Network. We use the PIN to get insight from people like you. Today's question: Do you support or oppose using taxpayer money to build a soccer stadium?