Chris Koster

A farm pond in southern Illinois
Deb Rednour

A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that redefines navigable waterways in the United States is being challenged in federal court by Missouri and several other states.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed suit on Monday. He says the new definition goes too far because it would classify ponds, streams that only briefly flow during rainstorms and channels that are usually dry as waterways.

Attorney General Chris Koster parts ways with the Missouri Democratic Party on the issue of campaign donation limits. His position on the issue may make already difficult road to capping donations impossible if he becomes governor.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Sen. Rob Schaaf probably wouldn’t be classified as bleeding heart liberal.

Throughout his tenure in the Missouri General Assembly, the St. Joseph Republican took sometimes-provocative conservative positions in battles over Medicaid expansion and unemployment benefits. He's encountered rightward plaudits and gubernatorial jeers for his latest stance against a St. Louis stadium funding plan.

But Schaaf parts ways with his party on campaign donation limits.

Missouri Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar
MoHorizonNews | Flickr

(Updated, 9:40 p.m. Thursday, April 30)

In a move long expected, Missouri Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, announced today that he’s running for Missouri governor in 2016.

And his top issue, he said in his kickoff address, "will be about protecting and fighting to expand the number one industry in our state - agriculture."

His entry also is expected to kick off a likely parade of rural GOP rivals.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has called Amendment 5 "a disaster." She's been heaping criticism on the "gun rights" measure for months.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Amendment 5 was put before voters last August, 602,863 Missourians cast their ballots in favor of a measure aimed at bolstering the Show Me State’s gun rights.

It’s safe to say St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce was not among those voters.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller talk to reporters on Thursday in Brentwood about the No Call List's limitations.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster warned that technology advances have made it more difficult to clamp down on annoying phone calls. He convened a conference on “No Call Lists” in Brentwood. Missouri was one of the first states to implement such a list, which quickly spread across the country.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has maintained a large financial lead in his 2016 quest for governor, despite new self-imposed rules that prompted him to return $45,000 in donations.

Koster, a Democrat, reported over $3.2 million in the bank in his latest campaign filings, due Wednesday.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Ordinarily, candidates for governor would go out of their way to publicize a major fundraising event that attracted 400 people.

But not so Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the state’s only major Democratic candidate for governor, who opted to quietly hold the $500-a-couple (and up) gathering this week at the Renaissance Grand hotel downtown.

An audit released Tuesday finds that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's office has not instituted a policy to guard against conflicts of interest. In response, Koster noted that his campaign organization had instituted changes following earlier news reports about possible conflicts.

Friends of Tom Schweich

For different reasons, both Missouri Republicans and Democrats have found themselves engaged in some introspection -- even soul-searching -- as they struggle to assess and reconsider their words, actions and policies in the face of some direct challenges from within.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is calling for a sharp increase in the state’s tobacco tax — now the nation’s lowest — to pay for a scholarship program to lower tuition at the state’s colleges and universities.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles reads from a prepared text reacting to a Department of Justice report on his city. Knowles did not answer questions from the media.
Bill Greenblatt, UPI

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles provided little indication how his city would respond to a scathing Department of Justice report documenting pervasive racial bias in the city’s police department and municipal court system. But he listed several steps the city was already taking to deal with allegations of bias.

Roy Temple
Official photo

As expected, leaders of the Missouri Democratic State Committee have re-elected Roy Temple as state party chairman, despite the party’s poor showing last fall.

Temple faced no major opposition during Saturday’s vote, held at the Truman Hotel in Jefferson City. He is close to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and state Attorney General Chris Koster, who had supported his initial ascension to the top party post in 2013.

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green was re-elected as the state party’s vice chairman.

Attorney General Chris Koster, center, with Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, right, at area high school during height of unrest in Ferguson.
Missouri Attorney General's Office

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has released six recommendations he says provide the best road map for improving police-community relationships across the state. 

Friday's report compiles ideas Koster heard during two summits in St. Louis and Kansas City in October. The attorney general's office had originally planned to release its recommendations sometime last year.

Schweich launches his campaign for governor on January 28, 2015
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich launched his campaign for governor by lashing out at the man who he says is a symbol of the “rampant corruption” in the state Capitol -- wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield.

Schweich said that Sinquefield, the state’s top political donor, has been engaging in “corrosive tactics’’ with “an army of mercenaries.’’  Their aim, he said, is to advance proposals – such as the elimination of Missouri’s income tax and replacing it with a huge sales tax -- that he says would help the wealthy but hurt small business and middle-class Missourians.

Attorney General Chris Koster announced the lawsuit in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Update on March 24, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. with cities dropped from lawsuit:

Attorney General Chris Koster says he has voluntarily dismissed claims against eight municipalities he previously sued for allegedly violating the Mack's Creek law.  The dismissal came after those cities submitted or re-filed annual financial reports to the state auditor that detailed revenue derived from traffic fines and court costs.  The lawsuit against Hillsdale, Moline Acres and Normandy is still pending. 

Updated at 4:00 p.m. with comments from Koster, additional details.

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has ended months of speculation by declaring that she’s definitely not running for governor in 2016 and is endorsing Missouri Attorney Chris Koster instead.

“I have an amazing job. I am challenged every day,” McCaskill said in an interview Monday with host Steve Kraske on KCUR-FM, the public-radio station in Kansas City.

“I love the work, and so at the end of the day, you’ve got to decide. ‘Is the job that you’re thinking about going for, is it a better job than the one you have? And can you do more?’ ”

Attorney General Chris Koster said the fragmented nature of St. Louis may inhibit long-term growth -- and may make policy change stemming from the Ferguson unrest difficult.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In the limbo between Michael Brown’s death and the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the state of the Ferguson Police Department became something of a national obsession.  

Attorney General Chris Koster announced the lawsuit in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is suing 13 St. Louis County municipalities for violating a state law that caps the percentage of ticket revenue that can be in a city’s budget. 

The statute in question – known as the “Mack’s Creek” law – stipulates that traffic fines and court costs can only comprise less than 30 percent of a city’s budget. Anything in excess has to go to schools.

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking trio welcomes back state Sen. Scott Sifton. The Affton Democrat won election to the Missouri Senate in 2012 in a hard-fought race against then-Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay. 

Most recently, Sifton, an attorney with Husch Blackwell, made waves in the Missouri Senate with his filibuster during the fall veto session of legislation mandating a 72-hour waiting period for abortions. He’s also been part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers calling for curbs on meals, travel and entertainment paid by lobbyists.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaking Monday at a news conference before the grand jury announcement on Monday, Nov 25, 2014
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Within minutes after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that the grand jury did not recommend that Darren Wilson face indictment for the shooting death of Michael Brown, reactions from area politicians came quickly. 

Before and after the grand jury’s decision was made public, area officials made clear Monday night that they understood the stakes.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

State Auditor Tom Schweich has yet to decide whether to run for governor in 2016, but he’s making clear that lots of high-profile fellow Republicans want him to do so.

On Thursday, Schweich’s allies released “an open letter’’ signed by more than 120 donors and party activists who want him to run for governor.

The aim of Schweich’s supporters is to portray him as a better choice, backed by more party big shots, than former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, who already has declared her candidacy – and has promoted her own high-profile support.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

To repair his reputation, Missouri Attorney Chris Koster has announced self-imposed guidelines on what campaign donations he will accept as he runs his office while also running for governor in 2016.

In a statement, Koster said he was advancing “sweeping new transparency measures’’ that he acknowledged were intended to address some conflict-of-interest accusations that have been leveled against him.

But he also suggested that the General Assembly consider imposing similar campaign limits on other public officials.

His key restrictions include:

Outgoing Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones announced Wednesday that he has formed the House Oversight Committee on Public Officials and Government Accountability “to conduct a thorough investigation of the numerous alleged improprieties and political shakedowns as outlined in a recent extensive investigatory piece in The New York Times.”

Lilly Leyh and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license on Nov. 5, 2014, at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Last week, a federal judge in Kansas City followed a St. Louis judge and struck down Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“As it stands right now, marriage between same-sex couples is legal in Missouri,” A.J. Bockelman, executive director of Promo, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. Promo is a statewide organization that advocates for equality. “We have licenses being issued in St. Louis, St. Louis County and Kansas City.”

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Scott Sifton became the first Democrat to jump into the 2016 race for attorney general. 

In an e-mail this weekend to supporters, the Affton Democrat cited his experience working in the attorney general’s office and his tenure in the legislature as rationale for his statewide run. 

His campaign sent out an e-mail on Monday morning officially announcing his candidacy. He said in a statement that "as attorney general, I will work to make Missouri safer for every family, consumer, community and business.”

Lilly Leyh and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license on Nov. 5, 2014, at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:50 p.m. with comments from plaintiff Kyle Lawson.

Two days after a state judge in St. Louis came to the same conclusion, a federal judge in Kansas City has struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage.  

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is proposing that the state’s voters be asked once again to increase the state’s tobacco tax, now among the nation’s lowest.

But instead of previous failed proposals that would have directed the bulk of the money raised for health care programs, Koster would use the estimated $400 million a year primarily to pay for state incentives to improve the business climate and attract more jobs.

We're getting close to Election Day, and that means St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum are returning to the show's "classic" format to preview the main races in St. Louis and throughout the Show Me State.

By Missouri standards, Tuesday's election is relatively quiet, especially because the only statewide race for state auditor is essentially uncontested. And Republicans aren't expected to lose their firm hold on the Missouri House or Senate.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In 1991, then-Missouri Attorney General Bill Webster’s ascension to become the next governor seemed inevitable. He had the looks, charisma, campaign cash and the connections.

But then a controversy erupted over whether his office was giving preferential treatment to donors when it came to state contracts. A federal investigation ensued. Webster’s reputation took a huge hit.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking crew welcomes Gregg Keller, a locally based Republican consultant who now runs his own firm, Atlas Strategy Group.

Keller represents a number of corporate and political clients, including state Auditor Tom Schweich, who’s expected to run for governor in 2016.

A graduate of Clayton High School, Keller got his political start after college (Florida State). He began as a volunteer, and later as a staffer, for Jim Talent when he ran in 2002 for the U.S. Senate (defeating Democratic incumbent Jean Carnahan).

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