Chuck Gatschenberger

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 8 p.m. on Monday with news about Schneider repaying her loan.)

Vicki Schneider got on the phone earlier this year with Bob Onder after he loaned himself $200,000 for his state Senate bid. 

She said she asked a fairly simple question of one of her opponents for the St. Charles County-based 2nd District seat: "Do you want me to help you spend that?"

“And he just laughed,” she said.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Running for a seat in the Missouri Senate is tough. It takes months of door-to-door campaigning, an endless dash for cash, and a thick skin to win a competitive race. 

But Chuck Gatschenberger and Vicki Schneider may have a secret weapon: Both candidates in the race for the western St. Charles-based 2nd senatorial district had their campaign logos and faces imprinted on their trucks.

Schneider said she wrapped her truck because she “wanted people to know that they’re voting for someone that is just like them.”

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has passed legislation that would bar local governments from interfering with the day-to-day operations of alternatives to abortion agencies.

The bill would forbid municipalities from regulating advertising and advice given out by crisis pregnancy centers run by pro-life groups.  Supporters say they’re trying to protect the First Amendment free speech rights of volunteers and staff at the centers.  The sponsor, State Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R, Lake St. Louis), admits it’s a preemptive move.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would expand tax breaks for auto parts manufacturers.

Ford and General Motors already have access to the incentives.  State Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R, Lake St. Louis), the bill’s sponsor, says it would expand the benefit to smaller auto parts builders.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) says more than 75 percent of the state has access to broadband Internet service.

The governor provided an update on the state’s efforts to expand access to rural portions of Missouri during today's second annual broadband summit, held in Jefferson City.  He told the audience of more than 300 business and government leaders that his broadband initiative has enabled small businesses and larger corporations across the state to compete for grants to expand broadband access.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Missouri House committee has wrapped up a series of hearings on improving 911 communications systems used by emergency responders.  Supporters of proposed upgrades admit, though, that they have a hard case to sell to both politicians and the public.

Lawmakers and local-level officials at today's meeting stressed the need to use 911 systems that can integrate text messaging and even video communications.  “Doc” Kritzer is a county commissioner from Callaway County.