Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Jo Mannies

Political Reporter

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter.  She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

Ways to Connect

Josh Hawley takes part in a debate.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says he has rented an apartment in Jefferson City, to end accusations from Democrats that he has been violating state law by commuting from his home in Columbia.

At issue is a phrase in state law that requires the Missouri attorney general to reside “at the seat of government.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaks to students about Middle East policy approaches at Nerinx Hall High School in Webster Groves.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ask most Americans what they think of the Middle East, says former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and their assessment can be boiled down to two words:

“A mess.”

But Albright, who served under President Bill Clinton, says the Trump administration’s travel ban has just made things worse.

Addressing Nerinx Hall high school students on Wednesday, Albright called the ban “one of the worst things I’ve seen’’ during her years as a diplomat.

Logo for 2017 St. Louis election coverage
Graphic by David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio

Most of the candidates vying to become St. Louis' first new mayor in 16 years are focusing on the city’s problems more than its successes.

Their forums frequently discuss the 253-year-old city's long-lasting crime and race issues, or how best to improve the city’s neighborhoods and bolster downtown. 

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' first state budget targets higher education for more cuts — $160 million less than the current spending plan. 

In effect, the Republican is continuing such cuts that he made shortly after taking office last month.

Greitens' general revenue budget, which funds most state services, calls for spending about $345 million more than in the current fiscal year.  But acting state budget director Dan Haug said  Thursday that a number of state departments will see a total of about $600 million less than what they currently receive.

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis mayoral candidate Lyda Krewson appears to be heading into the final stretch of the primary contest with a huge financial edge over her Democratic rivals.

Krewson’s latest report, filed Thursday, shows the 28th Ward alderman with $576,199.41 in the bank.  She began running TV ads on Wednesday. A spokesman says she will be running the ads until the March 7 primary. About a quarter of Krewson's money was raised during the last three weeks.

The Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo. Legislative action here on Thursday by Sen. Jason Crowell would refer the "right-to-work" issue to voters next year.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 26 with Senate approval of right-to-work bill - The Missouri Senate has approved a bill to make Missouri a "right-to-work state,'' but a fight could still loom with the House over what union contracts would be affected.

Josh Hawley
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley plans to be in court today to support a federal lawsuit that challenges former President Barack Obama’s order to expand the nation’s overtime rules to cover about 4 million more workers.

It’s the second time Hawley has targeted the federal government since he took office Jan. 9 – and in line with his campaign pledge to challenge any federal action that he believes is illegal or against Missouri’s interests.

Tim Bommel I House Communications

(Updated January 18)  Members of the Missouri House have taken a big step toward delivering a right-to-work law to Missouri.

On Wednesday, the House initially passed state Rep. Holly Rehder’s legislation, which would bar unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues. The Sikeston Republican’s bill, which passed 101-58, also paves the way for criminal penalties for anybody that violates the proposal.

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated with Wednesday's Senate hearing) Heartened by the November election, Missouri’s abortion opponents are considering a raft of bills – some old, some new – to expand the state’s restrictions on abortion-related matters and their enforcement.

The measures could heighten Missouri’s longstanding status as a key battleground when it comes to abortion rights.  A state Senate committee examined four of them Wednesday.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

Missouri’s budget problems could be getting worse, just as the state is grappling with phasing in a tax-cut package approved several years ago.

New Gov. Eric Greitens and legislative leaders announced that they’ve reached a consensus on how much more money the state government is expected to collect during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo. Legislative action here on Thursday by Sen. Jason Crowell would refer the "right-to-work" issue to voters next year.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens, Missouri's new governor, has issued his second executive order in 24 hours. The latest one bars any new government regulations without approval of his office. It also calls for a mandatory review of all existing state regulations.

Greitens said in Tuesday’s announcement, "Burdensome regulations hurt businesses and they hurt working families across the state of Missouri. Today, I'm signing an executive order that immediately freezes all regulations. We came here to cut government and help people."

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to the crowd after taking the oath of office outside the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City on Jan. 9, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Eric Greitens took the oath of office as Missouri’s new governor today, he ushered in an era of complete Republican control of the state’s legislative and executive branches. It’s an opportunity that many members of the GOP are relishing – even though some warn that the party risks taking all the blame if it can’t govern to Missourians’ liking.

Missouri Gov-elect Eric Greitens offers a thumbs-up to supporters at his final 'thank you' rally, held in Maryland Heights Jan 7, 2017
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

As Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens prepares to be sworn in Monday, he’s completing a week filled with thanking the folks who helped get him there.

“I will always remember that I am standing here because of you,’’ Greitens said Saturday as he addressed supporters gathered in a Maryland Heights warehouse for his last official rally before taking office.

State Treasurer Clint Zwiefel
Courtesy of Clint Zweifel's office

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Treasurer Clint Zweifel to the program.

The Democratic statewide official was kind enough to record the show on his last working day in office. He’s departing from elective life on Monday, primarily because state treasurer is one of two statewide offices that have term limits.

The U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
(via Flickr/Wally Gobetz)

Missouri’s U.S. senators may have been on opposite sides during the 2016 presidential contest, but both plan to be present when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a fellow Republican, is overseeing the proceedings as chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., criticized President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday for his criticism of U.S. intelligence experts.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.,  contends that members of Congress in both parties – and the public – should be disturbed by President-elect Donald Trump’s recent comments criticizing the nation’s intelligence community.

Among other things, Trump has been firing off comments on Twitter that question the conclusions of intelligence experts that the Russian government was involved in hacking during the presidential campaign.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Missouri state government’s income was almost flat in December, compared to a year ago, a possible sign that Gov.-elect Eric Greitens may face tougher financial decisions than he had expected.

The state’s latest revenue numbers, released Wednesday, show that Missouri’s income growth for the current fiscal year is less than half the increase needed to fully fund the state government’s current budget.

portable metal detector
Reyham Dhuny | Flickr

The Missouri Capitol is restoring security procedures, and metal detectors, that have not been in place at the complex for almost 14 years.

As of  Tuesday, most visitors to the Missouri Capitol – including journalists and lobbyists – will be subject to security searches and be required to go through metal detectors. The new procedures won’t apply to elected officials.

Phyllis Schlafly speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

In a few weeks, the St. Louis area will be Ground Zero for the dueling factions of  the Eagle Forum organization set up decades ago by conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, who died in early September at age 92.

Schlafly’s daughter, Anne Cori, says leaders of the Eagle Forum’s official political arm, which goes by the same name, will gather at the Frontenac Hilton on Jan. 26 for an educational policy conference, followed by a “roundtable’’ of state chairs from around the country.

Jay Ashcroft
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State-elect Jay Ashcroft is planning to overhaul the office’s operations when he takes over Jan. 9.

Transition team member Steele Shippy confirmed Friday that some employees have been told they will lose their jobs, but he denied that most or all of the office’s 270 workers are being targeted.  "There's been no blanket email or communication that says they are all being let go,'' he said.

"Is the office going to undergo changes? Absolutely. We're doing a reorganization of the entire secretary of state's office."

A marching band in Missouri's 2012 inaugural parade in Jefferson City.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens is showing right off the bat that he’s eager to break with tradition. He’s nixing the traditional inaugural parade – featuring high school bands and convertibles – that in the past has snaked through Jefferson City before the swearing-in ceremony, set for Jan. 9 at noon.

Instead, a spokesman told reporters Thursday that Greitens plans to review a formation of National Guard troops on the grounds of the state Capitol.

Fred Wessels Dec 2016
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Rep.-elect Fred Wessels to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat — a former alderman and city official — was elected this fall to represent the 81st House District, which takes in most of southeast St. Louis. He defeated two other Democrats, Steve Butz and Adam Kustra, in August, which was tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic district.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., criticized President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday for his criticism of U.S. intelligence experts.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Less than two months after president-elect Donald Trump  won in November, some of his allied groups are zeroing on U.S. Senate Democrats like Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

She’s among 10 Democrats in the Senate  who represent so-called “red states” where Trump won big – and who will be on the 2018 ballot.

A new TV ad is airing on cable stations in the St. Louis and Kansas City markets this week that seeks to pressure McCaskill to support Trump’s agenda, notably his calls for tax cuts and his promise to repeal the health-insurance program known as Obamacare.

Peter Kinder December 2016
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder back to the show for the third time.

Originally from Cape Girardeau, Kinder is rounding out roughly 24 years in elected state government. He served three terms in the Missouri Senate, eventually becoming the first GOP Senate President Pro Tem in generations. Many Republicans credit Kinder for turning a largely Democratic Senate into a Republican stronghold. 

Once perceived as all-powerful, Missouri’s two major political parties have been relegated to the balcony ever since the state got rid of campaign-donation limits in 2008.  That change allowed the bulk of the state’s political cash to flow directly to the candidates. 

The state Republican and Democratic parties found most of their income eliminated, and ended up being beholden to their top politicians for payments just to keep their offices open and staffed. 

But now, unless the courts rule otherwise, Missouri once again has campaign donation limits for some elective offices, courtesy of Amendment 2, which almost 70 percent of the state's voters approved last month. 

House Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard spent time talking in the Senate chamber on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photos

House Speaker Todd Richardson joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast.

In his third appearance on the show, Richardson – a Republican from Poplar Bluff – lays out his key objectives for the coming legislative session. For the first time in eight years, the GOP will control the legislative and executive branches of Missouri state government.

John Hancock Dec. 2016
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock, as he prepares to leave that post in a few weeks.

Hancock, a former state legislator from St. Louis County and a political consultant, has been state chairman for arguably two of the most eventful years in the Missouri GOP’s modern history.

Todd Graves
LinkedIn

Updated Dec. 14 with Graves' comments — Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens is naming former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves, now a Kansas City lawyer, as the new chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.

Graves is the brother of U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, and served as U.S. attorney for Missouri’s western district from 2001-2006, a post filled by then-President George W. Bush.

“Todd Graves is the governor-elect’s choice and he will make a fantastic chairman,’’ a Greitens spokesman said. Graves said in an interview that he's honored to take the job, particularly after the Missouri GOP did so well in the November elections.

Republican president-elect Donald Trump’s victory margin in Missouri appears to have set a state record for a presidential contender, beating out the old one set by Democrat Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

On Nov. 8, Trump captured 523,443 more votes than the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. In 1964, Johnson defeated Republican Barry Goldwater by 510,809 votes.

Trump's number of Missouri votes – 1.594 million – also appears to set a state record for a presidential candidate.

Sen. Brian Munzlinger
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome Sen. Brian Munzlinger.

Munzlinger is a Republican from Williamstown, an unincorporated community in Lewis County in northeast Missouri. He represents a mammoth district that includes Adair, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Pike, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Ralls, and Randolph counties.

Pages