Washington – For Democrats determined to pass a health care bill, U.S. Sen. Roland Burris can no longer be ignored.
The Illinois Democrat said he'll only vote for a bill to provide health care to millions more Americans as long as it allows the government to sell insurance in competition with private insurers, and he said he will not compromise.
That's caught the attention of the same Democratic leaders who tried to keep Burris out of the Senate after he was appointed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Jefferson City, Mo. – If early fundraising is an indication, Missouri could have competitive races for nearly half its U.S. House seats next year.
Recent campaign finance reports show several races to watch. One is the 3rd District in St. Louis, where Republican challenger Ed Martin raised more money than Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan from July through September.
In the 7th District in southwest Missouri, at least four candidates are raising money in a Republican primary to try to succeed Rep. Roy Blunt.
Jefferson City, Mo. – Governor Jay Nixon has dismissed a long-time aide, but will reinstate the head of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in the ongoing controversy over the delayed release of E. coli test results from the Lake of the Ozarks.
Nixon has rescinded the appointment of Joe Bindbeutel to serve as an Administrative Law judge, in effect firing him, because he made the decision to delay the release of E. coli test results from the Lake of the Ozarks while serving as DNR Deputy Director.
Springfield, Ill. – With one former Illinois governor in prison and another facing corruption charges, the state Senate has decided to let voters choose whether they want the power to recall governors in the future.
The Senate's vote means a constitutional amendment will be placed on the ballot in November of next year. If it passes, Illinois will adopt a complex mechanism for recalling governors seen as corrupt or incompetent.
Jefferson City, Mo. – Mark Templeton is still on leave from his job as Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director, even though it's now been two weeks since his two-week suspension was handed down by Governor Jay Nixon.
Templeton was suspended without pay after the governor learned E. coli-contaminated beaches at the Lake of the Ozarks remained open during Memorial Day weekend, despite being told after the fact that they were closed.