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A sign shows support of transgender students at the St. Louis LGBT rally. ( Feb. 25, 2017)
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

It appears Missouri’s Republican legislative leaders may be hesitating over whether to allow the so-called “bathroom bill” to move forward in its current form, though the measure’s sponsor says that isn’t the case. 

Senate Bill 98 would require transgender students at K-12 public schools to use restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities that correspond to their gender at birth. Schools could designate alternate facilities for transgender students, but if those students choose to use other facilities, it would have to be for their gender at birth.

Bruce Arena, head coach of the U.S. Men’s National soccer team, has a beer with the owners of the Amsterdam Tavern after speaking with reporters and fans.  (Feb. 28, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bruce Arena, the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National soccer team, is bullish about how devoted St. Louis-area residents are to his sport.

 

Arena spent part of Tuesday morning fielding fan questions at the Amsterdam Tavern in St. Louis. He was in town to appear at an event with a team sponsor, as well as visit St. Louis-based Enterprise, which he described as a “potential sponsor” for Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer.

 

 

Nimrod Chapel, the president of the Missouri Chapter for the NAACP (far right), hosted a news conference on Tuesday about workplace discrimination bills on Feb. 28, 2017. Also shown (from left to right): Michael Louis, Jeff Stack and Jeanette Mott Oxford.
Krissy Lane | St. Louis Public Radio

Two weeks after Missouri NAACP President Nimrod Chapel was silenced by a House Republican committee chairman on bills he believes are discriminatory, he stood at the Missouri Capitol to decry the “hyped-up Jim Crow” measures that are “fundamentally flawed.”

A day after after he wasn’t allowed to speak at the Feb. 13 hearing, Chapel said House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, told him the chamber was not at its best and assured Chapel he'd be given the opportunity to share his complete testimony. But no hearing has been scheduled yet.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signs an increase in the St. Louis minimum wage into law on Aug. 28, 2015.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:50 p.m. Feb. 28 — St. Louis' minimum wage can go up to $11 by 2018, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Its unanimous opinion ruled that a 2015 ordinance does not conflict with the state’s minimum wage of $7.65 an hour.

Six candidates for St. Louis mayor participate in a forum on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Last Wednesday, on Feb. 22, St. Louis Public Radio, in collaboration with 13 other community and media organizations, hosted a mayoral forum with six candidates who qualified ahead of the March primary. Joining the forum were: Antonio French (D), Lewis Reed (D) Lyda Krewson (D), Jeffrey Boyd (D), Tishaura Jones (D) and Andrew Jones (R).

St. Louis St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed won a landslide victory in the Democratic primary. His lack of real competition may have affected voter turnout throughout the city.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson has raised more than $500,000 in just the last month, far more than her Democratic rivals to be the city’s next mayor. But Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed is heading into the final week of campaigning with the most money in the bank.

That’s the two biggest takeaways from the final campaign-finance reports, which were due Monday, for the March 7 primary. 

Tayler Leverenz, 19, is from Illinois, but is taking advantage of the University of Missouri-St. Louis' offering of in-state tuition for Illinois residents.
Ryan Delaney / St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a tug-of-war happening across the Mississippi River for students in the St. Louis region, with some colleges erasing the borders of in-state tuition prices to help navigate tough financial times.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale was the vanguard in the area, offering Missouri students a reduced price in 2009, a move that’s resulted in 95 more students from west of the Mississippi in the last five years. And the University of Missouri-St. Louis, which for five years has offered in-state tuition for Metro East residents, is expanding that benefit to all Illinois residents.

But the big winners in all of this are the students, who now have more colleges to choose from and at more affordable prices.

Handout photo from Washington University

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is optimistic that the United States can be the 21st century's leader — unless “Washington messes things up." 

Speaking at Washington University on Monday, Romney said the key is for the U.S. to be “not just strong and powerful, but a nation that is good. Because I’m convinced that goodness is essential to greatness.”

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

While St. Louis voters decide among mayoral and aldermanic candidates in the city’s primary election next Tuesday, they’ll also answer a question about short-term lenders.

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Janie Oliphant, left, fixes a LGBT rights flag held by Cody Copp and Samuel Taylor so they can have their picture taken at a rally and march in St. Louis on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Two of the three people arrested at Saturday's LGBT march in St. Louis were transgender women. And allegations made by one of them have raised questions about how transgender prisoners are treated in St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Radio could not independently confirm claims made by activists on social media that corrections officers threatened to put a transgender woman in a cell with men and deliberately used the wrong pronoun to identify her.

The transgender woman was never in a cell with men, said Maggie Crane, a spokeswoman with Mayor Francis Slay's office. The city houses prisoners based both on sexual identity and where they feel safest, not on biological sex, Crain said.

Donald Brewer starts raking trash on 7th Boulevard just after sunset on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Mardi Gras crowd was thinning out, and drunk revelers zigzagged in the middle of the street, kicking cans and shivering in the 35-degree weather. As they left the big party, Donald Antonio Brewer meticulously raked bits of confetti, beads, and plastic cups from the median onto Seventh Street for the street sweepers to catch later that Saturday night.

A crowd waits to enter Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery for a volunteer clean-up event in February 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of vandalism at a historic Jewish cemetery last week, the St. Louis region showed an outpouring of solidarity that reflects its long-standing interfaith relationships.

But some faith leaders also said they have renewed urgency to build on these existing bridges and further spread their message of tolerance to a region of diverse religions and backgrounds.

Andrew Jones, Feb. 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis Republican mayoral candidate Andrew Jones to the show for the first time.

Jones is a utility executive and one of three GOP candidates vying to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. Andrew Karandzieff appeared on the podcast last week, while efforts to reach Jim Osher to appear on the show were not successful.

Missouri's chief public defender, Michael Barrett (right), appears before the House Budget Committee on Monday, Feb. 27, 2071.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The head of Missouri's Office of the State Public Defender has been seeking more money for years, to no avail. Now, he says it's crucial: Outposts around the state may have to close, including the division that handles death penalty cases.

For the coming fiscal year, Michael Barrett asked for $67 million — a $27 million increase over the current state allocation of $41 million. But Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposed budget only allots $40 million for next year, a million less.

Six candidates for St. Louis mayor participate in a forum on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Last Wednesday, on Feb. 22, St. Louis Public Radio, in collaboration with 13 other community and media organizations, hosted a mayoral forum with six candidates who qualified ahead of the March primary. Joining the forum were: Antonio French (D),  Lyda Krewson (D), Jeffrey Boyd (D), Tishaura Jones (D), Andrew Jones (R), and Lewis Reed (D).

Tishaura Jones 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome back St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones to the show.

Jones is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. All seven contenders in the March 7 primary have now taped an episode of the podcast.

Jones, the daughter of former St. Louis Comptroller Virvus Jones, made her first bid for public office in 2008, when she successfully ran for a state House seat  slice of eastern St. Louis.

Event Flier for Mayoral Town Hall for Arts and Culture on February 27 depicts a mass of people and the dates.
Provided by Citizen Artist STL

As the St. Louis Mayoral Race heats up, a group of artists are insisting candidates address how policy makers will make sure that the city makes the arts a priority.

Artist and educator Pacia Anderson's life revolves around the arts — from her friends to her work life and projects with civic leaders.  “There’s so much overlap between arts and policy, just when I wake up in the morning,” she said.

And yet, Anderson thinks politicians don't address the intersection of the arts and policy enough. To make sure that happens in a new city administration, she and other members of Citizen Artist STL have organized tonight's Mayoral Town Hall on Arts and Culture, where candidates will be pressed on how their policies and administration would focus on the arts and the support creative people need.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been a violent couple of years in the city of St. Louis, one measure being the 188 homicides in 2015 and 2016.

A decrease in property crime drove the overall crime number down between 2015 and 2016, but violent crime was up more than four percent in 2016 compared to 2015.

All of the Democratic candidates for mayor know addressing crime will be a top priority if they’re elected. Most of them have very similar plans. Not all of them have faith in current Police Chief Sam Dotson to implement those plans.

Contractors move the house north on Jefferson Avenue on Sunday morning. (Feb. 26, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Charlesetta Taylor was a 10-year-old when she and her family moved into the home at 2530 North Market St.

That was back in 1945.

But now, it's her house that's moved, not the octogenarian. 

"It's crazy to see any house move," Taylor said Sunday as she stood outside watching her three-story brick home roll up Jefferson Avenue to its final destination at 2200 St. Louis Ave. 

LGBT rights activists at a St. Louis march on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated, 2:15 p.m. Feb. 27 — Three people were arrested toward the end of  Saturday’s LGBTQ rally in downtown St. Louis, according to the city police department and event organizer Keith Rose.

Two of them, 21-year-old Edward Pingleton and 19-year-old Aideen O'Brien, face misdemeanor charges. O'Brien is accused of jumping on the back of an officer who was trying to arrest another protester, and Pingleton allegedly attempted to punch an officer. Neither had attorneys listed in court records. They're next due in court April 5th.

A third person was arrested, issued city summonses for "Interfering with a Police Officer" and "Resisting Arrest" and released.

Video allegedly showing the arrests were posted on a couple of social media sites. They show the crowd walking toward and chanting at officers on bicycles. At least one person ends up on the ground and is restrained by officers as people in the crowd pull on her. The crowd soon begins chanting “Who do you serve, who do you protect.” The video that had been on Facebook was no longer posted Sunday morning.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks at Lincoln Days in Springfield, Missouri, on Feb. 25, 2017.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri’s top Republican leaders, who now control most of state government, said this weekend that it’s time to move past applauding the November victories. Rather, they exhorted supporters at their annual Lincoln Days festivities, it’s time for action.

 

“We won the election. Now, we have to win the agenda,’’ state Republican Party chairman Todd Graves told St. Louis Public Radio on Saturday. “It doesn’t do any good to be elected if we don’t implement the agenda.”

Jamie Young and her daughter Maya, 3, listen to a speaker during a demonstration outside of Senator Roy Blunt's office in Clayton. The group delivered petitions in support of Planned Parenthood.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of Congress return to Washington on Monday after a week-long work sessions in their home districts.

Like some other around the country, St. Louis-area representatives are catching criticism for not using the break to host town hall meetings to hear from constituents.

There was one exception; Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., held a listening session Friday in Hillsboro regarding pension funds.

So where are your representatives, and why aren’t they holding public meetings? Here’s what they said.

Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, Ill.

St. Louis/East St. Louis native Harry Edwards is a renowned sociologist, specializing in sports protest.
Wikimedia Commons

No one who speaks out has ever been welcomed with open arms, for the most part, even when people say things like ‘I understand the message.’ The reality is that silence has been evil’s greatest and most consistently dependable ally.

So said Dr. Harry Edwards, a prominent sociologist who specialized his research and activism in the areas of sport, race and protest, on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air. He has also written several books, including “Revolt of the Black Athlete” and “The Struggle that Must Be.”

Edwards also happens to be a St. Louis native.

Missouri Soybean Association via Facebook

Updated March 13, 2017 – Legislators have strengthened a bill designed to curb misuse of herbicides in Missouri.

House Bill 662 easily passed the Missouri House last month. Originally, the bill would have allowed the state Department of Agriculture to issue fines of up to $1,000 an acre for first-time offenses and up to $2,000 an acre for repeat offenders. But on Monday, a Senate committee boosted the fines to $10,000 per violation before passing it unanimously.

A crowd waits to enter Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery for a volunteer clean-up event in February 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s "Behind the Headlines" on St. Louis on the Air, we took an in-depth look at one of the top news stories of the week. This week, we continued the conversation about the vandalism at one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the region, the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery.

Joining the program were three people, all of whom have loved ones buried in that cemetery. They shared their personal reflections on the week's events.

Mayor Francis Slay signs legislation that will ask voters to approve a sales tax increase to fund a Major League Soccer stadium and a north-south MetroLink line. (Feb. 3, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If there’s one issue that’s provoked more fiery passions among St. Louis politicians, it’s using their constituents’ dollars to fund sports stadiums.

From the unsuccessful venture to keep Rams football in St. Louis to a pending proposal to nab a Major League Soccer team, there’s little question that opponents and proponents of the funding method have strong opinions — including the Democratic candidates seeking to become St. Louis’ next mayor.

Hazy photo of the Mississippi River with a tugboat and the Gateway Arch in the distance.
Paul Sableman |Wikimedia Commons

A new agreement between the Port of New Orleans and the St. Louis Regional Freightway aims to boost cargo shipments on the Mississippi River.

Officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding in New Orleans on Thursday to coordinate their efforts in working with regional shippers and carriers. The goal is growing trade and building upon existing and new business relationships between the two regions and critical ports.

Flickr | orangeacid

Illinois State Superintendent Tony Smith is touting the state’s 2016 Advanced Placement test results.

Illinois ranks 4th in the nation for increasing the percent of students who take and pass AP exams according to a report from the College Board, which administers the tests.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
File photo | Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

There will be at least five new faces when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen returns in April — the largest freshman class since 1991. And depending on the results of the March primaries, as many as six others could join them.

That much turnover could change the way the Board works and the policies it passes.

Vacant buildings owned by the Land Reutilization Authority in the 4000 block of Evans Avenue. February 2017.
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ Land Reutilization Authority has nearly 12,000 parcels of vacant land and buildings and just eight and half employees.

That’s far below the ratio of employees to property in other cities, according to a year-long assessment of the LRA released on Thursday. Urban planning firm Asakura Robinson, which conducted the yearlong study, recommends the agency hire four more employees in the next one to three years.

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