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.

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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.

Missouri Capitol
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given final approval to a proposal that would ask voters later this year to put right-to-work language into the state’s constitution.

Monday night’s action is part of a two-pronged effort by predominantly Republican supporters to protect a right-to-work law they passed last year.

Under right to work, unions and employers are barred from requiring workers to pay dues or fees. Supporters say right to work would give workers more freedom and attract more business to the state. Opponents say such a law drives down wages and is a GOP effort to hurt unions because they primarily support Democrats.

State Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis
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 state Rep. Peter Merideth to the program.

Merideth is a St. Louis Democrat who represents south-central portions of the city in the Missouri House. He was elected to his seat in 2016 and is running for re-election later this year.

The Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has given first-round approval to ballot proposals that would end the city’s residency requirement for most workers, and block the scheduled cut in the board’s size.

But as yet, Mayor Lyda Krewson has not taken a position on either proposal. And Friday’s vote for either measure wouldn’t be enough if she decides to exercise her veto.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison speaks with a reporter as St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts escorts him into the courthouse on May 10, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann, Marshall Griffin and Jo Mannies break down all of the developments this week in Gov. Eric Greitens’ political and legal saga.

This week’s episode gives a preview of the governor’s felony invasion of privacy trial, which is slated to get started next week. We also get an update on whether legislators will impeach the governor — and the status of Greitens’ second felony charge for computer data tampering.

Political consultant and lobbyist Mike Hafner
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Within days after Mike Hafner began work in January 2015 as a full-time campaign staffer for Republican Eric Greitens, Hafner says he was presented with a copy of the donor list for The Mission Continues, the charity that Greitens helped found.

“We had set a meeting to discuss the donor list, so I could get notes from Eric and build a fundraising plan for his potential candidacy,” Hafner said in an interview Wednesday.

With elections looming, tensions continue between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Stenger.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County voters will be asked in August whether to expand the County Council’s powers and impose campaign donation limits on candidates running for county offices.

The council gave final approval Tuesday to the proposed charter change, which embraces a number of issues.

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