Jim Howard

Washington correspondent

Howard covers news from Washington, D.C., of importance to the St. Louis region.  His beat includes following the legislative activities of area lawmakers on Capitol Hill as well as developments from The White House, Supreme Court and numerous federal agencies and departments.  Prior to joining St. Louis Public Radio, he was a longtime newscaster and producer at NPR in Washington.  Howard also has deep roots in the Midwest.  Earlier in his career, he was statehouse bureau chief for Illinois Public Radio, where he directed news coverage of state government and politics for a 13-station network.

Members of the Justice Department’s civil rights team will meet with Ferguson residents Thursday night in the first of several such meetings following the release of the department’s investigative report finding patterns of racial bias in the city’s police department and municipal court.

HOK/360 Architecture

An effort to build a new stadium for the St. Louis Rams could hit a snag if a provision in President Barack Obama’s proposed budget makes it into law. Under the president’s budget plan, states and cities would no longer be able to use tax-exempt bonds to help pay for professional sports venues.

Office of Sen. McCaskill

Almost half of working-aged Americans are at risk of having a lower standard of living in retirement than they now enjoy, according to a new study by the National Institute on Retirement Security.

“This retirement security crisis is very real,” said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the ranking member on the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. “In Missouri, only 45 percent of private sector workers are participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and that is not an anomaly.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

Ferguson may already be having an impact on how officials elsewhere respond to incidents involving racial tensions. 

That's the opinion of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that "the fact that lessons have been learned from what happened in Ferguson is a terrific legacy for this event that obviously ripped us apart in St. Louis.”

One lesson officials appear to have learned is the important of a quick, decisive response.

Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday attempted to reconcile the contrasting outcomes of two separate Justice Department investigations stemming from the shooting death of Michael Brown -- one that cleared then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Brown's death, the other that called Ferguson's police and court system racially biased.

Jason Rojas | Flickr

WASHINGTON — Brittany Packnett, the St. Louis area educator and activist on President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, says the work of implementing the panel’s recommendations begins now that she’s back home.

Office of Sen. Durbin

At least half of all prison suicides are committed by inmates held in so-called solitary confinement, according to several state and national studies. 

While a first-of-its-kind report on segregation practices in federal prisons shows improvement, with the number of inmates held in solitary confinement on the decline. Still, said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., “There’s still much more work to be done.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

More than 400 people a day call the national sexual assault hotline, three quarters of whom are college age or younger.

Office of Sen. McCaskill

Missouri officials and businesses have been moving quickly to enter the Cuban market ever since President Barack Obama’s announcement in December of plans to drop the more than 50-year-old trade embargo.

Office of Sen. McCaskill

Just back from a trip to Cuba, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says ending the embargo would be a win-win for both sides.

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