Chris Koster

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.

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