Dave Schatz

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal walks out of the Senate chamber as the Senate adjourns for the session last week in Jefferson City.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in parts of St. Louis County won't get a chance to vote anytime soon on a sales tax increase for St. Louis County Police Department. And St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is not happy with a Democratic state senator for prompting that outcome.

For the past couple of legislative sessions, Stenger has wanted Missouri lawmakers to authorize a vote for a sales tax increase in unincorporated St. Louis County. The proceeds would go to the St. Louis County Police Department, and could be used for a number of initiatives, including making sure each patrol car contains two police officers.

Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, was a major supporter of changing St. Louis County's sales tax distribution system.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate has approved a change to St. Louis County’s complicated and controversial system for distributing a 1-cent sales tax.

Now, it’s up to the Missouri House whether to support or reject the idea.  And then Gov. Jay Nixon will decide whether to agree.

People mill in the hallway leading to the Missouri Senate chamber. The Missouri Senate often moves slower than the Missouri House -- and can also be where the fiercest legislative fights occur.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

At the tail end of a recent episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, state Sen. Jill Schupp was asked a fairly straightforward question: Had her colleagues learned anything from the resignations of John Diehl and Paul LeVota, two lawmakers who stepped down last year amid accusations of inappropriate behavior toward female interns?

The Creve Coeur Democrat provided a pessimistic response:

Construction on I-70
Missouri Department of Transportation

Even though transportation experts have been sounding the alarm for years, lawmakers and voters haven’t come to a definitive solution to get money funds for the state's roads and bridges. A bid to raise the state’s sales tax foundered badly in 2014, while initiatives to institute tollways have gone nowhere.

Dave Schatz
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Sen. Dave Schatz to the program for the first time.

Schatz is a Republican hailing from rural Franklin County. The Sullivan native’s state Senate district encompasses western St. Louis County and all of Franklin County.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House and Senate have both passed a scaled-back version of a workers’ compensation reform bill.

The measure would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses, but it leaves occupational disease claims within the court system and does not address the state’s ailing Second Injury Fund.  State Rep. Dave Schatz (R, Sullivan) sponsored a different workers’ comp bill that addresses the fund and would move occupational disease claims to the workers’ comp system.  He hopes it will pass, too.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has passed its version of a workers’ compensation bill that also proposes to fix the state’s ailing Second Injury Fund.

The vote again fell mostly along party lines, passing 92 to 56, with one lawmaker voting "present."  The measure would place occupational disease claims back within the workers’ comp system and would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses.  Democrats, including Kevin McManus of Kansas City, objects to moving claims out of the courts and back to workers' comp.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to another workers’ compensation bill.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a similar bill last month that originated in the Senate.  The House version contains most of the same provisions – it would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses, and it would restore occupational disease claims within the workers’ comp system.  State Rep. Jacob Hummel (D, St. Louis) debated with the bill’s sponsor, Dave Schatz (R, Sullivan).

The Missouri House has passed legislation requiring driver’s license exams to be given in English only.

The final debate boiled down to safety versus respect for immigrants.  State Representative Tishaura Jones (D, St. Louis) says she represents constituents from several different nationalities, and added that every member of the House descended from immigrants.