Jane Cunningham

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.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, has announced that he’s not running for the Missouri state Senate – setting the table for a possible candidacy by former state Sen. Jane Cunningham.

Jones and Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, have been touted as likely candidates after state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, made the surprise announcement that he’s not seeking re-election to his 26th District seat.

Provided by Mrs. Cunningham

Former state Sen. Jane Cunningham, a Republican from Chesterfield, announced Wednesday that she’s not going to run for St. Louis County Executive – ending several weeks of speculation.

Cunningham said she was doing so because the county GOP is “unifying around our best candidate” who she declined to identify.

“I don’t want him to feel like he has to run against me in order to be the Republican candidate,” Cunningham added.

File photo

(Updated 9:55 p.m. Wed., March 12)

The commission currently overseeing fire dispatching for most of St. Louis County has rejected a move by some fire districts to shift operations to St. Louis County's new emergency center.

Three protection or ambulance districts on the commission for the Central County Emergency 911 had sought the change. But the districts' request appears to be dead, for now, because four votes were needed on the panel before any talks with the county could move forward. 

The commission deadlocked at 3-3 Wednesday night.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul, who was at the center of a high-profile effort last year to oust him from office, is now seeking to be elected to a new job on the St. Louis County Council.

Paul filed Monday afternoon for the 7th District seat that’s now open, since longtime incumbent Greg Quinn announced that he wasn’t seeking re-election this fall.

Tim Bommel, Mo. House of Representatives

Until this week, most of the attention directed at state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, has focused on his outspoken conservatism and his efforts to block some federal gun laws.

But now the chief question is whether Nieves is preparing to quit the state Capitol.

Nieves said in two text messages this week, the latest on Friday, that he’s not yet ready to discuss the situation -- but many others are.

Jason Rosenbaum, 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.

Former Mo. Senator Jane Cunningham joins us on this week's show. Cunningham discusses how her district was lost with redistricting, and what she's been up to since. She recently won a contentious race for the Monarch Fire Board, and tells us about her public fights with the local union.

Missouri Senate Official Website (Cunningham) and Flickr/KOMU News (McNary)

On Tuesday, two political heavyweights will go head to head after a hard-fought campaign in which tens of thousands of dollars have been spent. The office they’re attacking each other over? A seat on the Monarch Fire Protection District Board in West St. Louis County.

You might remember Cole McNary from his failed bid for state treasurer a few months ago – or from his father, former St. Louis County Executive Gene McNary. You might remember Jane Cunningham for her reputation as being one of the most conservative members of the Missouri House.

Jane Cunningham official website

A long-time St. Louis County lawmaker is leaving office this year because her Senate district was moved to the Kansas City area.  Republican Jane Cunningham of Chesterfield has spent eight years in the Missouri House and four in the Senate, making a name for herself as an outspoken social conservative. 

During her last visit to the Capitol as an elected official last week, she sat down with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin to talk about her record in office and where she goes from here.

Education reform & Proposition C

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 5-17-2012, 2:31 p.m.

Missouri Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) has been released from a Jefferson City hospital and is resting at her Capital-area residence.

She left the State Capitol Wednesday afternoon after becoming light-headed during debate on an education bill.  Her Chief of Staff, Kit Crancer, did not disclose the nature of her illness.  He described it as a serious but non-life threatening situation.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would double the amount of time required for public school teachers to earn tenure.

Currently, a teacher has to work in the same school district for five years to earn tenure.  The bill sponsored by State Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) would expand that requirement to 10 years.

“As long as the teacher does not own their job, if you will, then they’re going to be really working to prove (themselves) and do a good job," Cunningham said.  "It gives us five more years of encouraging and giving motivation to teachers to really produce.”

Jane Cunningham official website

St. Louis County Senator will not seek re-election

Jane Cunningham had initially filed to run for the 7th District seat, even though the new Senate map places that district in the Kansas City area.

The Republican from Chesterfield had hoped that the new map would be overturned and that the district she represents would not be moved to the other side of the state.  But that didn’t happen.  Cunningham says she most likely won’t run for a different office, but admits she hasn’t made up her mind yet:

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Candidates for the U.S. Senate, Congress, Missouri General Assembly, Governor  and other statewide offices can now file to run.

Hundreds flocked to Jefferson City today and lined up outside the doors of the Secretary of State’s office to file their paperwork. Among those filing on the first day was Republican Peter Kinder, who’s seeking a third term as Lt. Governor.  Kinder had originally planned to challenge incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon for Governor, but changed his mind last fall.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that’s designed to stop a potential mass exodus of students from unaccredited schools in St. Louis and Kansas City to nearby suburban schools was heard Tuesday before a Missouri Senate committee.

The bill’s provisions include scholarships for kids in unaccredited public schools to attend private schools, and it would allow accredited schools to open charter schools in unaccredited districts.  Tina Hardin of St. Louis spoke in favor of the bill.  Her son was accepted into a Catholic school, but says she can’t afford to send him there.


Occupy STL members say movement still strong

The tents are gone from Kiener Plaza, along with the big crowds. But people involved in the Occupy St. Louis movement say they're still going strong.

Today marks the two-month anniversary of the movement that began in New York and spread to several other cities. At one point in St. Louis, more than 100 people were camped in Kiener Plaza, a downtown park.

(Missouri State Redistricting Office)

Updated at 6:42 p.m. with comments from Mo. Sen. Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield).

New redistricting plans and maps for the Missouri General Assembly have been filed with the Missouri Secretary of State's office.

Redistricting occurs every 10 years, and is based on results from the census. Missouri's most recent census data, with shifts and increases in population, required significant changes to be made.

“We have worked collaboratively to draw maps that comply with the constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and other legal requirements,” Lisa White Hardwick, chair of the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission, said in a release.

The St. Louis area has lost a State Senate district.  The 7th District is represented by Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) and mainly consists of western St. Louis County.  Starting in 2013, it will consist of six counties to the north and west of the metro area and a small portion of St. Charles County.  Cunningham says she’ll now run for the 27th District Senate seat, which will include parts of St. Louis and Jefferson Counties.

“I had expected much of this area to be mine anyway, I’ve already been working in many of what would be new areas, and so they know me," Cunningham said.  "Our home is in another area, but this is my stomping grounds.”

Cunningham will have to move to a new home in order to live in the new 27th District, which she calls a minor inconvenience.  The new State Senate boundaries also have Cunningham’s current home in the same district as fellow Republican Senator John Lamping

Here are the newly submitted maps for the St. Louis region (click within each to expand and explore):

Updated at 6:23 p.m. to include comments from the bill's sponsor, and Gov. Nixon's criticism of the bill, despite signing it

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation repealing a contentious law, known by some as the "Facebook law," that had limited online discussions between teachers and students.

Nixon's signature Friday will delete a law enacted earlier this year barring teachers from using websites that allow "exclusive access" with current or former students 18 or younger. Some teachers raised concerns that they would be restricted from using social media sites such as Facebook, which allow private messages.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Missouri senators have overwhelmingly passed a bill revising a new law that restricts teachers' online conversations with students.

The legislation would repeal a law barring teachers from using websites that give "exclusive access" to students, such as sending private messages on Facebook. Senators voted 33-0 Wednesday to send the bill to the House.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation revising a contentious new state law that limits teacher communications with students over the Internet.

The bill given initial approval Monday would repeal a law barring teachers from using websites that give "exclusive access" to students. The provision already had been temporarily blocked by a judge last month because of free-speech concerns.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri State Senator who sponsored the measure strictly limiting teacher-student contact via Facebook and other social media has filed legislation she says will clear up any confusion over the new law.

The issue was added Tuesday to the call of the special session by Governor Jay Nixon (D), but in his call the governor only stipulated that the language in question be removed, not replaced with new language.