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

The St. Louis County Council passed a resolution Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, asking municipalities to spend Proposition P solely on policing. The resolution is non-binding.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council plans to recommend that federal or state law enforcement agencies investigate whether County Executive Steve Stenger broke any laws when he moved some county operations to the old Northwest Plaza shopping center.

The 26-page report circulated this week by the council’s Ethics Committee takes aim at Stenger over his administration’s efforts to help redevelop the Northwest Plaza site in St. Ann.

The report – to be formally presented to the full council next week -- calls for the state attorney general or the U.S. attorney to look into the matter.

File | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

New Missouri Gov. Mike Parson called for “debating with respect’’ as he pledged Monday to set a new tone in the state Capitol while staying true to the Republican Party’s conservative policies.

To illustrate his point, Parson met privately with Republicans and Democrats – including most of the state’s members of Congress – before addressing the General Assembly to formally mark his takeover of state government.

Parson’s 15-minute speech was conciliatory in its message, even as it was filled with veiled criticisms of his predecessor, fellow Republican Eric Greitens. The former governor resigned less than two weeks ago amid scandal and controversy over his personal and political behavior.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A few weeks ago, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill headlined a packed campaign event in St. Louis that attracted lots of supporters but few reporters.

That episode reflected what had been the norm for months for many candidates running for office. McCaskill, a Democrat, noted that the public and the press have been almost exclusively focused on the troubles plaguing the state’s Republican governor, Eric Greitens.

“What has happened in Missouri is kind of what’s happened in Washington,” she said. “It ends up being about the governor’s indictment, or the payment to the porn star. And then it makes it harder to get the information out on the positive things I’ve gotten done.”

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks during a news conference after the end of the 2017 legislative session. Greitens used this opportunity to compare lawmakers to third graders for not passing enough bills.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

While movers were emptying out the executive mansion, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was busy during his final day in office clearing off his desk.

And that includes signing at least 77 bills into law.

He also issued pardons for five people in prison and commuted the sentences of four others to prison time already served. Pardons wipe the crime off a person’s record, while commuted sentences remain — even though the person is freed.

Gov. Eric Greitens walks back into the Civil Courts Building in downtown St. Louis after delivering a statement to reporters. May 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann reflect on Gov. Eric Greitens’ decision to resign from office.

The move marks a stunning end to what appeared to be a fast-rising political career that began with presidential ambitions and ended with a wave of scandal.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson in his office on Wednesday, May 30, 2018; on Friday, he'll become the state's next governor.
Harrison Sweazea | Missouri Senate Communications

Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson will officially leave his old job and become the state’s 57th governor when he is sworn in at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

His low-key events, closed to the public but open to the press, include a 4 p.m. prayer service at the First Baptist Church in downtown Jefferson City. A public reception will be held at a later date, a spokeswoman said.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The morning after Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced he was resigning, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Josh Hawley was in Springfield highlighting his endorsement from the political arm of Missouri Right to Life, the state’s top anti-abortion group.

The attorney general’s apparent aim was to reach out to social conservatives – and quickly change the subject from the political cloud that Greitens’ sex scandal has cast over Missouri Republicans for months.

That move fits in with the advice offered by former state Republican Party chairman John Hancock.

“There’s no question but that a lot of the grassroots were divided on how they felt about things,” Hancock said. “So I think Job One for candidates is to get the base to coalesce and unite.”

The St. Louis County Council passed a resolution Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, asking municipalities to spend Proposition P solely on policing. The resolution is non-binding.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County voters will likely weigh in this summer on the ongoing power struggle between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Steve Stenger.

The council voted 6-1 today to override five of his vetoes. Three of the measures are proposed changes to the county Charter that will be placed on the August ballot.

One of the changes would set campaign-donation limits of $2,600 for candidates for countywide office or the council. All three have provisions that would increase the council’s powers.

ONE TIME USE ONLY - DO NOT USE AS A FILE PHOTO
Robert Cohen | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who once aspired for national office, has announced he will resign after months of swirling controversy surrounding an extramarital affair and subsequent investigations about his campaign finances.

Greitens said Tuesday afternoon from his office in Jefferson City that he will step down at 5 p.m. on Friday. The move will elevate Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, a former Republican state lawmaker, to the governor’s office.

"I came to office to fight for the people of Missouri, to fight for the forgotten," Greitens said. "I love Missouri. And I love our people. That love remains."

Members of a committee looking into Gov. Eric Greitens' conduct listen in on Thursday, May 24 to testimony.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies go over this week’s big developments in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ political and legal saga.

This week’s episode zeroes in on how the woman at the heart of the scandal, identified only as K.S., spoke semi-publicly for the first time. A T.V. interivew with the woman on Monday came as lawmakers read depositions where she was asked provocative and personal questions about her interactions with Greitens.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger to the program.

The Democratic chief executive of Missouri’s largest county is running for a second four-year term. His main opposition is in the Democratic primary this August, where businessman Mark Mantovani is seeking to oust him. There are no well-known Republicans seeking the office.

Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Newspaper publisher Scott Faughn emphasized repeatedly to a state House committee that he used his own $120,000 to pay a lawyer — in cash — for a recording of a woman tearfully describing her initial sexual encounter with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

But chairman Jay Barnes wasn’t buying it: “No one believes this was your own money.”

Variations of those exchanges continued for three hours Wednesday as the committee investigating possible wrongdoing by Greitens probes whether his political enemies are trying to bankroll an effort to force him out of office.

Gov. Eric Greitens, at top left, faces a state House committee investigation led by Jay Barnes, at bottom left. The other committee members at at right.
File Photos | St. Louis Public Radio, TIM BOMMEL | MISSOURI HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS, OFFICE OF MISSOURI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

The Missouri House committee investigating allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens has rejected his lawyers’ request that they be allowed to cross-examine the panel’s witnesses.

The committee’s decision Tuesday was aimed at preventing what one member called a “filibuster’’ by the governor's legal team in order to slow down their proceedings. The panel noted that the lawyers already had interviewed most of its previous and potential witnesses.

Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson addresses the House on the final day of the legislative session. May 18,  2018
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

For the first time in memory, the Missouri House skipped its traditional end-of-session celebratory paper toss at 6 p.m. Friday.

And outgoing House Speaker Todd Richardson quoted from Shakespeare’s great tragedy, “Macbeth.”

Such were some of this session’s significant differences, large and small, from its predecessors.

Flickr | Mike Mozart

Missouri voters will be asked in November to increase the state’s gas tax by 10 cents a gallon.

The Missouri House approved the proposal Friday, in the final hours of the legislative session, after the Senate had tacked it onto another bill.

The increase would be phased in over 10 years, and would be used to pay for road and bridge projects, and underwrite some of the costs for the Missouri Highway Patrol.

“We just can’t keep putting this off,’’ said state Rep. Kathie Conway, a Republican from St. Charles. “We need the money.”

Gov. Eric Greitens walks away from reporters after making a statement outside the Circuit Court building. May 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann and Jo Mannies detail a dramatic week in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal and political saga.

This was supposed to be the first week of Gov. Eric Greitens’ trial for felony invasion of privacy. But as jury selection trudged along at a glacial pace, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office shocked many observers by dropping the case.

Missouri Capitol
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated Friday, May 18, to reflect change in corporate tax rate)

The Missouri General Assembly has approved significant cuts in income-tax rates for individuals and is expected to do the same for businesses before it adjourns Friday.

But the exact impact on the state’s finances is not quite clear.

State Rep. Elijah Haahr, a Republican from Springfield, is chief sponsor of the bill that drops the individual income-tax rate from 5.9 percent to 5.1 percent over several years. The first rate cut goes into effect next year.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks Thursday in Jefferson City to a group of mostly farmers and students about what he called "rip-off" artists who were out to get him.May 17, 2018
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Standing in a light rain in the shadow of the state Capitol, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens blamed “rip-off artists” in the state’s low-income housing program “who thought they ran Missouri” for many of his legal troubles and the threat of his impeachment.

But recalling his past as a Navy SEAL, Greitens declared Thursday that they won’t succeed because he was taught to never quit.

Lawmakers in the Missouri House work to pass legislation before the close of session Friday evening. May 16, 2018.
Casey Nolan | KSDK, published with permission

The Missouri House has approved a massive tax bill that, among other things, trims the state’s historic tax credit program, and bars any general-revenue spending for sports stadiums.

The bill approved Wednesday also would punish developers who provide false information to obtain state tax credits by barring them from the state aid for 10 years.

And it would require homeowners who rent out rooms under such programs as Airbnb to pay the local tourism taxes already assessed on hotels.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has overwhelmingly approved a wide-ranging criminal justice bill that would revamp the state’s system.

Among other things, the measure ends the statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes when the victim is under the age of 19.

The House also has passed a different bill, which includes a provision that would allow the lieutenant governor to step in and appoint members of boards and commissions if the governor fails to make those appointments within six months after the posts become vacant.

Pages