Gina Walsh | St. Louis Public Radio

Gina Walsh

Courtesy of the St. Louis Zoo | Stephanie Richmond

Under a bill that passed the Missouri House on Tuesday, voters in St. Louis and St. Louis County will be able to decide whether to further fund the city's zoo via a sales tax increase.

But, originally, the tax burden — an increase of one-eighth of 1 percent — would have been shared by surrounding counties as well. That option was stripped in both House Bill 935 and Senate Bill 49 for simplicity's sake, according to legislators.

Gina Walsh, April 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome back Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh.

 

The Bellefontaine Neighbors Democrat is the leader of Senate Democratic Caucus, which has shrunk in recent years to nine members after Republicans took over scores of seats in outstate Missouri. Even though Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate, the minority party can still use the filibuster to block or force changes to legislation.

 

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens delivers his first State of the State address last week in Jefferson City.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In just three weeks, Missouri saw the installation of a GOP legislative supermajority, the inauguration of Republican statewide officials and Gov. Eric Greitens’ first State of the State address. These ceremonies came as Missouri’s political leaders appear ready to pass seismic policy changes  – and deal with a worsening budget situation.

As is customary when I spent time at Missouri’s beautiful Capitol, I pulled together some odds and ends to provide a bit more context about the big-ticket items on the state’s legislative and executive radar.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks during his first State of the State address in Jefferson City.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Eric Greitens used his first State of the State address to offer up a fairly conservative policy agenda, a slate of proposals that will likely find favor with Republicans who dominate the Missouri General Assembly.

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, last week.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the Thursday after his resounding victory in the Missouri governor’s race, Eric Greitens spent the morning at the Missouri Capitol meeting with Gov. Jay Nixon and huddling up with the Senate Republican supermajority. Greitens ended up shaking lots of hands of fellow Republicans who could help make his campaign agenda into the laws of the land. 

When he stepped into the Capitol hallways, Greitens could hardly contain his enthusiasm about the months ahead.

File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It didn't take a particularly long time before the legal showdown between Bruce Franks and Penny Hubbard became a rationale for a photo identification requirement. The disputed 78th District House race became part of the discourse to override a gubernatorial veto of photo ID legislation -- especially after the publication of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article detailing potential absentee ballot irregularities.

Sen. Gina Walsh
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Tim Lloyd welcome state Sen. Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, to the program for the second time.

She represents the 13th District, a north St. Louis County area that encompasses portions of Ferguson and Dellwood. Walsh spent nearly three decades as part of the Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local #1, and she's currently the president of the Missouri State Building & Construction Trades Council.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Eric Knost, superintendent of schools in Mehlville, remembers clearly the three words he heard Tuesday evening that could bring big changes to his south St. Louis County district.

KWMU.

It appears that Democrats in the Missouri Senate have successfully stopped legislation that would have redefined what constitutes a maintenance project and exempted those being done on public property from the state's prevailing wage requirement.