Erica Hunzinger | St. Louis Public Radio

Erica Hunzinger

Politics, Education and Criminal Justice Editor

Erica Hunzinger brings several years of editing experience to the politics and education team. Before landing in St. Louis, Erica spent five years on The Associated Press' Central Region desk, handling a wide variety of topics with special emphasis on state government and agriculture and food supply. She also has been a sports copy editor at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, and an assistant news editor at The News Journal in Delaware. Erica holds a master's degree in humanities from the University of Chicago (poetry) and bachelor's in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. If you can't find her, try looking at Busch Stadium — or any other ball diamond in the region.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks during his first State of the State address in Jefferson City.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:15 p.m. with Kansas City Star receiving comment from Chambers — Missouri state Sen. Rob Schaaf has his hands in a lot of important legislation this session, yet he’s still made time to criticize Republican Gov. Eric Greitens over his new nonprofit.

A New Missouri Inc., which isn’t beholden to campaign finance laws and doesn’t have to disclose its donors, is fighting back, publishing a digital ad this week that says the St. Joseph Republican is “siding with liberals” and “playing personal political games.”

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Democrats and Republicans who make up the St. Louis area’s congressional delegation say they support President Donald Trump’s decision to use missiles against a Syrian airbase after this week’s chemical weapons attack that killed dozens.

 

Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri told St. Louis radio station KTRS that the action shows “the president listens … learns” and is “willing to look at new circumstances in a new way.” Missouri U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner chided the Obama administration on Friday for allowing the Syrian crisis to become “the largest war in this century,” adding, “the United States can no longer sit idly by.”

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar listens to U.S. Attorney General  Sessions' remarks. (03/31/17)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County will get an estimated $80 million a year for policing and public safety efforts after voters approved Proposition P on Tuesday.

SIU System president Randy Dunn
File photo | Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:45 p.m. March 29 with more from SIUE chancellor — Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn said Wednesday that the state's ongoing budget crisis is forcing him to propose cutting at least $30 million from the Carbondale campus, $4 million from the Edwardsville campus and $2.2 million from the School of Medicine.

In an online post, Dunn said his proposed cuts should be finalized no later than July 1 and take effect as soon as possible. The actions are necessary, he said, because the schools cannot "reasonably assume state money will be forthcoming anytime soon."  

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:55 p.m. with Rauner administration response — An anti-abortion law firm has sued Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state of Illinois over a law that requires medical providers to tell pregnant patients that an abortion is an option.

 

The lawsuit, filed last week by the Thomas More Society, claims the provision in the Health Care Right of Conscience Act that took effect in January, is unconstitutional and violates religious rights. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction.

Alderman Jeffrey Boyd votes at Laclede School Tuesday afternoon. (March 7, 2017)
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7 p.m. with polls closing — Election officials said turnout was light for Tuesday's mayoral and aldermanic primary elections.

Seven Democratic mayoral candidates and three GOP contenders are vying to move on to the April 4 general election. Blame the city’s longest-serving mayor for such a crowded field; Francis Slay chose against running for a fifth term.

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

Portions of this article first appeared in the St. Louis American. This story has been updated and now includes audio.

This April, St. Louis will elect a new mayor for the first time in 16 years. St. Louis Public Radio, along with 13 other community and media organizations, hosted a mayoral forum Wednesday that focused on how to create a more racially equitable city.

The Forward Through Ferguson report served as a guide for crafting the questions, which gave candidates a chance to hold forth on a wide range of topics, from policing to affordable housing and inclusivity.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (center) speaks at the Proposition P campaign kickoff on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.
Erica Hunzinger | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County voters are being tasked with another request for public funding, this time a half-cent sales tax increase for policing efforts in the April election.

Officials say they’re certain that the measure, which is estimated to bring in $80 million a year, is vital for public safety both in the county and in municipalities. But some communities aren’t sure they’ll benefit much.