Politics & Issues
Fri May 30, 2014
The Rundown: From Guns In The Classroom To Lethal Injection Under The Microscope
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Let some sunshine in
Lethal injection has come under increasing scrutiny, both for the secrecy surrounding the compounding pharmacies who manufacture the drugs and the quality of the drugs themselves. Numerous lawsuits challenging the secrecy have been filed in states across the country. Now, in Missouri, the attorney general has offered a new proposal.
In a speech Thursday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster expressed concern over the execution secrecy that his office has previously fought hard to defend. The Democrat is calling on the state to create a state-run laboratory to produce the lethal injection drugs itself. Koster says the expanding secrecy surrounding Missouri’s lethal injection methods should "concern all of us deeply.”
Two for the road
Term limits has forced out two prominent members of the legislature -- state Sens. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and Brad Lager, R-Savannah. Jolie is staying in politics; she's running for city council in Kansas City. But Lager is heading into the private sector.
The Missouri Senate had seven new members after the smoke cleared from the 2006 election cycle. Only two served for the maximum time allowed under term limits – Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah. The two lawmakers are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Justus entered the General Assembly as a combative fighter who fought tooth-and-nail against the Republican majority.
Northwest Missouri will have a new state senator next year, as Brad Lager prepares to leave office. The Republican from Savannah can't run again because of term limits, but he says he's ready for the next chapter in his life -- which for now does not include politics. Lager sat down recently with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin to talk about his time in office and about what he considers to be roadblocks toward making Missouri better.
Up in arms
When it came to education this past session, legislators focused largely on bills to deal with unaccredited schools and the student transfer situation. But another bill that passed could also have a big impact on schools.
A bill on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk to authorize Missouri school personnel to carry guns has at least one teachers group up in arms. The sponsor says it’s designed to help protect schools in areas where police response to a shooting may take too long to be effective. Nixon, who came out strongly against guns in the classroom after the school shooting in Connecticut in 2012, isn’t saying what he’ll do with the legislation that awaits his action. It contains numerous provisions affecting the state’s concealed-carry law.
For the sake of all
Sixty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against school segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education, and 50 years ago, the landmark Civil Rights Act was signed. Still, many black St. Louisans remain separate and unequal when it comes to health and educational disparities.
If your skin isn’t black, why should you care about the health and well-being of African Americans in the St. Louis region? That’s just one of the questions Washington University researcher Jason Purnell and his team set out to answer in a project called For the Sake of All. Purnell, along with colleagues from Washington University and St. Louis University, assessed racial health disparities in the region and their impact over 14 months.
Lullaby of Birdland
Thanks to the bird cage, which goes back to the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, the Saint Louis Zoo made its home in Forest Park.
The residents of the big birdcage aren’t as flashy or exotic as many of the 19,000 animals at the Saint Louis Zoo, but they do put on a show. At ground level, a row of small ruddy ducks with bright blue bills follow the leader, making rippling curlicues in a swamp-like pond. Double-crested cormorants hang out on a wooden bridge, striking a pose with their outstretched wings, as visitors reach for their camera phones.
Eugene Redmond, known as the poet laureate of East St. Louis, had a decades-long friendship with poet Maya Angelou. He said they shared common roots here in the St. Louis area, which, he added "always remained part of her – and of her writing.”
The passing on Wednesday, May 28, of world-renowned poet, novelist and activist Maya Angelou has been a major news and social media topic. Here in the St. Louis area, where Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, as Marguerite Johnson before moving away to Stamps, Ark., at an early age, she leaves behind her “brother in spirit,” East St. Louis-born poet and scholar, Eugene Redmond.
St. Louis on the Air looks at a program that helps students prepare for college.
There’s a lot more to going to college than getting an acceptance letter. There’s financial aid and housing. There’s tuition and then the big question of what college makes the most financial sense for your family. To help poor students make sense of it all, St. Louis Graduates opened a High School to College Center last summer in the Loop. After helping more than 200 St. Louis students make the transition to college last year, the center is back again this year.
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