Chris Koster

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).

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated noon, Thursday, Oct. 9)

Although a number of Missouri’s top Republicans are blasting state Attorney General Chris Koster over same-sex marriage, it’s unclear what his critics plan to do about it.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, summed up the conservative predicament. “Having already disregarded the voice of the people when they amended our constitution in 2004, it is unlikely (Koster) would pay any attention to the legislature,” Dempsey said Wednesday.

Wikimedia Commons

(Updated at 5:45 p.m. with quotes from the ACLU and additional information.)

Attorney General Chris Koster will not appeal a Kansas City judge's ruling that ordered the state of Missouri to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples who wed outside of the state. 

"Our national government is founded upon principles of federalism – a system that empowers Missouri to set policy for itself, but also obligates us to honor contracts entered into in other states," Koster said in a statement.  Missouri's future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion."

Wikipedia

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has lost the first round of a legal fight to protect Missouri egg producers from stricter California regulations.

A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit filed by Missouri and five other states on behalf of their egg producers. Those states oppose a California law, set to go in effect in January,  that would bar the sale of eggs from states that allow hens to be housed in enclosures deemed too cramped.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer nearly two months ago once again shed light on the deep racial divisions that exist in the St. Louis region. Nowhere is that more apparent than in local police departments, which often don’t look like the communities they serve. 

Janice Barrier (left) and her wife Sheri Schild were one of the 10 couples who sued the state to have their marriage recognize in Missouri.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:30 p.m. to reflect the correct number of couples involved in the suit.

Ten same-sex couples from Missouri will head to court in Kansas City on Thursday for the first day of a case seeking recognition of their marriages.  

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

Most of the region’s major political and law-enforcement figures are taking part in a special roundtable that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has set up to discuss how to increase the number of minorities going into law enforcement.

The three-hour session begins at 9 a.m., Wed., Oct. 1 in the J.C. Penney Conference Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Wednesday’s roundtable will be followed by a similar gathering in Kansas City on Oct. 14.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Budget leaders in the Missouri House and Senate say they’ll try to override at least 50 of Gov. Jay Nixon’s line-item vetoes in the state budget in the veto sessions starting Wednesday.

But the governor and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster say legislators may be wasting their time. And the legislators acknowledged that such override attempts may indeed be symbolic.

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 plans to host a two-day public workshop this fall – in St. Louis and Kansas City – to probe ways to improve the minority makeup in both region’s law-enforcement agencies.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Although the Missouri Highway Patrol is overseeing the police presence in Ferguson, it quickly has become apparent that neither the patrol nor Gov. Jay Nixon is in control of all law-enforcement actions.

That lack of control already is leading to unwanted surprises that revolve around a central question:  Who is in charge?

That question also applies to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who are battling over who should control a local probe into the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown. 

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed has an idea about what’s driving the frustration about Michael Brown’s death. 

As federal and local investigations into Brown’s shooting death unfold, Reed said more and more people want details and quick action. They want to know what really happened when a Ferguson police officer shot the 18-year-old last Saturday.

“We need to get some information out, some good solid information out,” said Reed on St. Louis on the Air on Monday. “The people need to know what direction we’re taking. Not we, but the department is taking.”

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Secretary of State Jason Kander is throwing his supporting behind the so-called “right to farm” amendment. 

Friday afternoon Kander’s office sent out a statement indicating that he will vote for Amendment 1. Supporters say that it enshrines the right to farm within the state constitution, but opponents say it would make it harder to stop industrial farms from polluting. (Read more about the debate over the amendment here.)

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.  This week the trio discusses the last-minute money surge to the state’s primary candidates, as well as key races in St. Louis. 

The Politically Speaking crew also talked about U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s big donation to the state Democratic Party and what it means for state legislative contests in the fall.

On the show:

Parth Shah/St. Louis Public Radio

Let’s not mince any words: If he's elected later this year, neither St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley nor Councilman Steve Stenger will have any power to alter Missouri’s abortion policies. 

The county executive essentially has no authority to enact or repeal restrictions on abortion – the state does. And it’s highly unlikely that Stenger's or Dooley’s power of persuasion will change the course of a Missouri legislature overwhelmingly opposed to abortion rights.

flickr/yomanimus

The seven or eight people who love watching political ads will be in for an exciting three weeks.  

Everybody else in Missouri may want to become familiar with the “fast forward” button on their DVRs.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

The group backing the proposed transportation sales tax is the biggest money-raising operation in the state – but it has yet to air a single TV ad.

Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, the campaign committee for the sales tax known as Amendment 7, appears to be entering the final weeks of the campaign with more than $2.5 million to spend.

Chris Koster
(Official Portrait, Missouri Attorney General's office)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s decision to endorse the proposed “Right To Farm’’ constitutional amendment is resurrecting a split within Democratic ranks over the issue – and him.

Koster, a Republican-turned-Democrat, now is seen as the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor in 2016.  He also has become the de facto leader of the state Democratic Party, in part because he’s currently the party’s largest single donor.

Bill Greenblatt/UPI

(Updated 11:40 a.m. Friday, June 27)

Just a few weeks ago, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster  was publicly exhorting Missouri Republicans to change their party’s platform, which endorses the state’s 10-year-old constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

 UPDATED 6/20/14 to correct description of radioactivity testing along waste haul routes.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has reached a new agreement with Bridgeton Landfill owner Republic Services.

It includes additional measures that Republic must take to monitor the movement of an underground fire at the landfill and to control the foul odors ― and potentially toxic gases ― emanating from it.

Those measures include:

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

(Updated 10:50 p.m., Sat., June 7)

Seven years after leaving the Republican Party, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has in effect taken the reins of the Missouri Democratic Party. 

That point was underscored Saturday night when -- shortly before the Democrats' annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner --  Koster presented the state party chairman a check for $100,000.

That's the second such six-figure donation that Koster has given the state Democratic operation in the past year -- making him the largest single donor to the state party.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Attorney General Chris Koster reached an agreement with Walgreens regarding overcharging consumers. 

Koster sued the pharmacy giant last year, contending that stores around the state were charging more than the prices displayed on shelves. His office’s lawsuit stated that the company was violating the state’s consumer-protection laws by “engaging in false, misleading and deceptive advertising and pricing schemes.”

Judge Hears Arguments Over Missouri Execution Secrecy

Jun 4, 2014
(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

In a court hearing Wednesday, the Missouri attorney general's office defended the secrecy that just last week Attorney General Chris Koster expressed concerns over.

Inmate John Winfield is scheduled to be executed on June 18 for murdering two people in St. Louis County in 1996. His lawyer, Joe Luby, argued in the Cole County 19th Judicial Circuit Court that the Missouri Department of Corrections is violating the sunshine law by keeping secret the identity of the supplier of the execution drug.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says that his speech last Thursday to fellow lawyers, where he laid out the challenges facing Missouri and other states with the death penalty, had everything to do with policy, not politics.

“The purpose of the speech was to continue a serious public policy discussion regarding one aspect of perhaps the most profound act conducted by state government,”  Koster wrote in a statement Friday to St. Louis Public Radio.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

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.”

The announcement comes at a time when there are few willing suppliers, which Koster admitted in his speech.

File photo

(Updated 5 p.m. Tues., April 15)

The latest campaign-finance reports show Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat running for governor in 2016, handily outpacing his potential Republican rivals when it comes to raising money – and banking it.

In reports due today, Koster had raised $539,364 so far this calendar year and had amassed just over $2 million in the bank.

That compares to $251,596 that state Auditor Tom Schweich reported raising since Jan. 1, with a bank account totaling $834,747 as of March 31.

(Shula Neuman/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster today announced criminal charges against a St. Charles man accused of falsely collecting donations for the Wounded Warriors Project, a national nonprofit organization that assists wounded American veterans. 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Roughly a thousand labor union members crowded onto the south lawn of the state Capitol Wednesday to rally against legislation to turn Missouri into a "right-to-work" state.

Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on 3/20/14 to add a statement from landfill owner Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, a subsidiary of Republic Services.

Preliminary tests by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have found radioactive waste closer to the underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill than previously thought.

File Photo

HANNIBAL, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster –  now running for governor -- dove straight into the health-care debate Saturday when he attacked his former Republican colleagues for opposing Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act.

“The Affordable Care Act was a Republican idea, for goodness sakes,” Koster declared. “They’re just pissed that we stole it.”

Wikipedia

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s effort to protect Missouri's egg producers from stiffer California mandates is getting support from five states that have joined Missouri’s suit.

The five states are Nebraska, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Iowa. Combined with Missouri, the six states “produce more than 20 billion eggs per year, 10 percent of which are sold to California consumers,” Koster’s staff said.

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