Eric Schmitt

Democrats Judy Baker and Pat Contreras are each running for state treasurer.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’re wondering why there’s a competitive battle for Missouri state treasurer, look no further than the innards of the Missouri Constitution.

If the Show Me State’s pre-eminent legal document didn’t restrict a state treasurer to two terms, it’s a good bet that incumbent officeholder Clint Zweifel would be running for re-election – and probably without competition from his fellow Democrats. But it does. And with Zweifel taking a hiatus of sorts from electoral politics, two Democrats – former state Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, and Kansas City native Pat Contreras – are seeking to capture the weighty, but slightly low profile, statewide office.

Normandy Mayor Patrick Green, center, speaks to the media after a judge struck down numerous aspects of SB5.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

As he stood with his fellow mayors in corridor of the historic Wilson Price Hunt House, Normandy Mayor Patrick Green declined to gloat over the judicial body blow dealt to a landmark overhaul of municipal governance.

Instead, Green took the opportunity to extend a hand to lawmakers who had substantially restricted the percentage of fine revenue St. Louis County cities could keep in their budgets. The truce offer, though, had a caveat: St. Louis County cities had to be treated the same as the rest of the state.

Attorney David Pittinsky stands with mayors of numerous St. Louis County cities on Thursday. Pittinsky is leading a lawsuit against a state municipal overhaul.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated with decision to appeal - A Cole County judge has rejected major parts of the most significant public policy achievement in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death.

It’s a decision that serves a major victory for African-American-led St. Louis County municipalities, and likely places the future of municipal governance overhaul in the hands of the Missouri Supreme Court.

(via Flickr/Mooganic)

Updated 3/3/2016 - Legislation designed to expand the sales of cold beer in the Show-Me State is now on tap in the Missouri House.

The Senate on Thursday voted 18-14 to pass Senate Bill 919, with support and opposition coming from both sides of the political aisle.

The bill would allow beer companies to lease portable refrigeration units to grocers and convenience stores, and allow those same stores to sell beer in reusable containers known as growlers.

Eric Schmitt, left, a state senator from Glendale, will be opposed by Dan Brown, a state senator from Rolla, in the Republican primary for state treasurer.
File photos | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

(UPDATED 12:40 p.m. Thurs, Feb. 25) The biggest surprise of Missouri’s statewide candidate filings so far is that the GOP apparently will have a primary for state treasurer, despite expectations that state Sen. Eric Schmitt’s huge financial edge would give him a free ride.

And the Republican rival who filed against Schmitt, R-Glendale, had publicly endorsed him just three weeks ago.

Sen. Eric Schmitt
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 6:40 p.m. Jan. 26 with Senate vote - The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would place further limits on cities using fines to collect revenue. Last year's municipal court reform law restricted the percentage of money from traffic fines that could be used in city budgets. The sponsor, Republican Eric Schmitt of Glendale, says this bill would place fines from municipal code violations under the same caps:

Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy stands near a grassy path near South Florissant Road. She says a new state law limiting traffic fine revenue will make it harder for her city to pay for new sidewalks.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Viola Murphy can’t afford a new sidewalk for her town. For now, she’ll have to settle for a grassy path created with the imprints of pedestrians.

Murphy is the mayor of Cool Valley, a 1,200-person north St. Louis County municipality that borders Ferguson and Normandy. She was able to get a federal grant to create a sidewalk along one side of South Florissant Road. But because of a new state law that caps traffic fine revenue, her city can’t afford the match for the other side.

Provided by campaign

Former state Rep. Judy Baker, a Democrat from Columbia, Mo., announced her 2016 bid for state treasurer with support from close to 50 current or former legislators around the state. Another Democrat, former federal official Pat Contreras of Kansas City, announced his bid last year.

Sen. Eric Schmitt
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A Republican lawmaker is taking another look at how municipalities govern themselves around the state — and especially in St. Louis County.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, handled legislation passed in the spring that reduced the percentage of traffic fine revenue cities could have in their budgets. But the legislation did not restrict non-traffic revenue, such as fines for not keeping up a property. (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch pointed that out earlier this year).

Schmitt’s pre-filed bill, according to a release from his office, would “limit how much revenue they can keep from not only traffic violations, but also other ordinance violations — such as letting your grass grow too high.”

Attorney David Pittinsky stands with mayors of numerous St. Louis County cities on Thursday. Pittinsky is leading a lawsuit against a state municipal overhaul.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A dozen St. Louis County cities are challenging a far-reaching municipal overhaul, which was arguably the most significant state action taken in response to the unrest in Ferguson.

The lawsuit, filed in Cole County Court where the state offices are located, takes aim at a new law, still referred to as Senate Bill 5, that lowers the percentage of traffic-fine revenue cities can keep. It also sets standards for St. Louis County cities and provides new guidelines for how municipal courts should operate.

St. Louis Alderwoman Donna Baringer, D-16th Ward, is considered an ally of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. But she says voters should have a say in whether to extend bonds for the new stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Even though Missouri’s primary elections are a year away, some contests for St. Louis area state legislative seats are beginning to take shape.

St. Louis Alderman Donna Baringer announced Wednesday morning that she will run for the 82nd District House seat, which encompasses most of southwest St. Louis.  And Wednesday night, Republican Rick Stream of Kirkwood -- who narrowly lost a bid for St. Louis County executive last fall -- officially kicked off his campaign for the 15th District state Senate seat.

A man with an American flag stands in front of a Ferguson Police car earlier in July.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

If you’ve developed an interest in legislation inspired by the unrest in Ferguson, then you’ve probably seen some strong adjectives attached to a law known as Senate Bill 5.  

Sen. Eric Schmitt’s legislation has been described as “sweeping,” “multi-faceted,” “massive,” “broad” and "significant.” It lowers the percentage of traffic fine revenue cities can keep; prompts St. Louis County cities to adhere to certain standards; and provides new guidelines for how municipal courts should operate.

Sen. Eric Schmitt
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking podcast team welcomes Missouri state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, the chief sponsor of the broad court-reform bill known as Senate Bill 5.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill into law last week. Among other things, it restricts the percentage of income that a municipality can collect from traffic fines and related court fees.

Northwoods Mayor Everett Thomas says a recently-passed bill curtailing municipal courts could prompt his city to cut staff or services.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Jaquin Holmes has had his share of frustration with the way municipal courts in St. Louis County operate. During a meeting of the Ferguson Commission last year, the St. Louis resident talked about being treated harshly for what deemed to be minor traffic offenses.

Holmes said he’s encountered a broken system. And he wanted the Missouri General Assembly to step up.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, wait out the final hours of the Missouri Senate's session. Both men were strong proponents of "right to work" legislation, which is opposed strongly by labor unions.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It wasn't particularly surprising that state Sen. Bob Onder was pushing hard to get so-called "right to work" legislation through a seemingly intractable Missouri Senate.

The Lake Saint Louis Republican campaigned last year in support of right to work, which bars arrangements that force workers to pay union dues if a majority voted to organize. He supported that measure even though the population of union members has steadily increased in St. Charles County, which may be why his two unsuccessful GOP rivals opposed right to work during the campaign.

Sen. Eric Schmitt's legislation limiting traffic fines could make it easier for cities to dissolve. The current process involves collecting hundreds -- if not thousands -- of signatures, and is only available to certain classes of cities.
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

There are times the Missouri General Assembly can be a factory of cynicism. Simple proposals can get massaged, manipulated and altered so much that the end result satisfies no one.

Some thought that that would be fate of state Sen. Eric Schmitt’s legislation lowering the percentage of fine revenue a city could have in its budget.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Legislation to cap the amount of revenue from traffic fines cities and towns in Missouri can include in their budgets is getting early attention in this year's regular session.

Under the current law, known as the Macks Creek law, local municipalities can receive up to 30 percent of their income from speeding tickets and other traffic citations.  That would drop to 10 percent if the proposed measure becomes law. 

Missouri State Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Just after the sun set on Nov. 24 — the day that then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s fate would be disclosed to the world — Missouri's Gov. Jay Nixon faced a throng of reporters at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

Appearing before cameras that would simulcast his words across the globe, the Democratic governor talked  at length about how law enforcement officials were ready to respond to the grand jury’s decision. 

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, Nov 11, 2014
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

A Republican state senator has pre-filed legislation that would lower the amount of traffic fines a city can keep. 

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, wants to lower the amount of traffic tickets and fines a city can keep.
Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking podcast team this week welcomed back state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale.  He was the podcast’s first political guest back in June 2013.

Now, he’s ending his second term in the state Senate and already has launched a bid for state treasurer in 2016.

Schmitt also has the distinction of being the Missouri General Assembly’s tallest member.

DO NOT USE too small
Missouri Senate website

State Sen. Eric Schmitt, R- Glendale, has amassed more than $1.5 million in the bank in his bid to become Missouri’s next state treasurer – a notably hefty campaign war chest aimed in part in unsettling any potential 2016 rivals.

Schmitt provided St. Louis Public Radio with an advanced copy of his latest campaign-finance report, due today with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

His latest report, coupled with one he filed in late July right before the Aug. 5 primary, shows that Schmitt has raised $726, 700 since July 1.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

A fundraising quarter before an election is when Missouri politics starts getting real. 

And by “getting real,” I mean getting "real expensive.”

Tuesday is the deadline for campaign committees to turn in their fund-raising reports. These are the documents showing how much money political candidates and ballot initiatives have for the final push to the Aug. 5 primary.  They can also reveal how much cash is being shelled out in competitive primaries.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

The first week of July has been a boon for the main group campaigning for the proposed transportation sales tax on the Aug. 5 ballot and for just-announced Republican state treasurer candidate Eric Schmitt.

In the last 24 hours alone, Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc. has collected at least $410,000 – much of it from road construction firms and related unions.

DO NOT USE too small
Missouri Senate website

Missouri state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, has changed his expected political plans by announcing Wednesday that he’s running for Missouri state treasurer in 2016.

Schmitt had been a key player in the last two GOP legislative battles for tax cuts -- one successful, and one not.

Schmitt, a lawyer, is the first from either major party to officially announce for state treasurer, which will be up for grabs in 2016.  Democratic incumbent Clint Zweifel can’t run for a third term because the office, along with governor, is limited to two terms.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, duke it out in a very public fashion, a lower-key primary is transpiring on the Republican side. Missouri House Budget Chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, and Green Park Alderman Tony Pousosa are angling to reach the November election, with both emphasizing their professional experience and personal styles.

Since 1991 when Buzz Westfall became county executive, the office has been in Democratic hands.  But some prominent Republicans are bullish about the party’s chances this year.

Harrison Sweazea, Mo. Senate

Stephen Schmitt is the 9-year-old son of Mo. State Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale.  Stephen suffers from epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis, and has also been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He is unable to speak and requires near-constant care.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A proposed tax cut that conformed to conditions laid out by Gov. Jay Nixon was radically altered Monday in an effort to move the overall proposal forward.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Five identical bills that would each revamp Missouri's student transfer law were examined Wednesday by a State Senate committee.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Jay Nixon's (D) proposal to land production of Boeing's 777X passenger jet is two steps closer to success, as the Missouri Senate gave it both first-round and final approval Wednesday.

(via Flickr/bradleypjohnson)

A proposed rule change that would have allowed more ethanol to be blended into gasoline sold in Missouri has been shot down by a joint legislative committee.

Earlier this week, the Missouri Department of Agriculture asked the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to allow the change, saying that E-15 is both safe and good for the state's economy.  But State Senator and committee chair Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale) says the proposal would have violated state law.

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