Morning headlines: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
City Voters Overwhelmingly Agree to Keep Earnings Tax
Now that voters in both of Missouri's large cities have renewed their earnings taxes, leaders of both St. Louis and Kansas City say now is the time for a hard look at how they operate. Kansas City voted Tuesday to keep its 1 percent earnings tax by a 3-to-1 margin. The gap was bigger in St. Louis, where nearly 90 percent of voters favored the 1 percent tax.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says there is no guarantee voters will feel the same way when the tax is on the ballot again in 2016. He wants not only the city but the entire region to look at ways to create cost savings.
Kansas City Mayor-elect Sly James is re-establishing the Citizens Commission on Municipal Revenue to give residents more say in taxation issues.
Heitert Loses Re-Election Bid
Fred Heitert, a 32-year members of the Board of Aldermen and for many years its only Republican, lost his re-election bid by 48 votes to Democrat Larry Arnowitz, a longtime city employee. Heitert is the second sitting alderman to lose his seat this election cycle. Bill Waterhouse, the former 24th Ward alderman, was ousted in the March primary by the man he ousted in a recall, Tom Bauer. Bauer lost tonight to independent Scott Ogilve.
Zimmerman Scores Victory in St. Louis County Assessor Race
In the race for St. Louis County Assessor, Democrat Jake Zimmerman scored a victory over Republican L.K. “Chip” Wood to become the first elected assessor in the county in more than 50 years. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that voter turnout was low, with 17 percent of the county’s 692,289 registered voters going to the polls.
Mo House Gives First Approval to Bill Allowing Pharmacists to Refuse Morning After Pill
The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a bill specifically allowing pharmacists to refuse to sell the morning-after pill. The legislation endorsed Tuesday would apply to emergency contraception drugs such as Plan B.
Critics pointed out that nothing in Missouri law requires pharmacies to sell any drug. They say pharmacies should not be able to deny a woman access to birth-control drugs that must be taken within a certain time period to be effective.
The legislation also addresses the abortion-inducing drug RU-486. Any doctor prescribing the drug would have to give a woman multiple warnings about it and be present when she takes it. The doctor would also have to have at least $3 million in malpractice insurance.