Jason Kander

(via Friends of Shane Schoeller)

It took about 18 hours to tally the results, but Shane Schoeller (R, Willard) appears to have won the Republican primary for Missouri Secretary of State.

It was a close race the whole night, with fellow GOP contenders Scott Rupp (R, Wentzville) and Bill Stouffer (R, Napton) occasionally grabbing the lead – but in the end Schoeller came in first with 35.3 percent of the vote.  The Secretary of State's office confirmed the unofficial results shortly after 1:00 p.m. today.

“We sensed that we had the number of votes we needed, but we didn’t want to declare victory until the final results came in and we were confident that they would trend our way, and we’re just grateful that they did," Schoeller said.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

House Democrats are backing legislation they say would toughen Missouri’s ethics standards.

The bill would restore many provisions recently struck down by the State Supreme Court:  They include banning committee-to-committee money transfers and giving the Missouri Ethics Commission the authority to launch its own investigations.  The High Court struck them down because they were tacked onto another bill that had nothing to do with ethics.  State Rep. Tishaura Jones (D, St. Louis) says she’s filing a new bill because GOP leaders have so far done nothing following the Supreme Court ruling.

Tim Bommel / House Communications Office

A state representative has announced plans to introduce a bill to increase penalties for human trafficking convictions in Missouri.

Democratic Rep. Jason Kander said the measure he plans to introduce this week would boost Missouri penalties for human trafficking to the same level as federal statutes. He said federal penalties for human trafficking range from fines to five years and up to life in prison. Most Missouri human trafficking penalties go up to 15 years in prison.