Jay Nixon

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.

National Guard members stand at a news conference to discuss "Operation Recovery" at the Jefferson Barracks Division in St. Louis.
Caleb Codding for St. Louis Public Radio

Floodwaters in the St. Louis region have receded, leaving behind an estimated 500,000 tons of debris. Now what?

At a news conference Wednesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon outlined “Operation Recovery," a cleanup effort that will be coordinated by the National Guard, with Lt. Col. Grace Link, a civil engineer, in charge. Contracted trucks will help clear debris in flood-damaged areas throughout the St. Louis region, Nixon said.

St. Louis Public Radio file art

Missouri lawmakers are back in Jefferson City as they prepare to kick off the 2016 legislative session at noon today.

In addition to passing the state budget, they're expected to tackle several other issues, including ethics reform and Gov. Jay Nixon's push to build a new NFL stadium for the Rams.

Volunteers clean-up Odell's Irish Pub and Ale House in Eureka, Mo. on Sat. Jan. 2, 2016. Owner Jerry O'Dell says he hopes to reopen in time for St. Patrick's Day.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

After a formal request from Gov. Jay Nixon Saturday morning, President Barack Obama has signed an emergency declaration for the state of Missouri.              

Nixon asked for the declaration to get federal help removing flood debris.

Gov. Jay Nixon
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As he heads into his final year in office and his last legislative session, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon prefers to focus on the positive.

That means highlighting the state’s balanced budgets and drop in unemployment, and downplaying his political battles with the Republican-controlled General Assembly or the criticisms lobbed his way during the unrest ignited by the Ferguson police shooting in August 2014.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Not all of the news that you see and hear featured on St. Louis Public Radio comes from the St. Louis region itself—some of it comes from our reporters located in Jefferson City and Washington D.C. That would be Marshall Griffin and Jim Howard, respectively.

On Monday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” the two discussed the year’s biggest news from our nation’s capital and the capital of Missouri. 

Here’s some of what they discussed:

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who’s among a crowd of Republicans running for governor next year, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for the latest Politically Speaking podcast.

It's Kinder's second appearance on the show.

A native of Cape Girardeau, Kinder has been a major player in state politics for more than two decades, beginning with his 1992 election to a state Senate seat. He briefly considered a bid for state auditor in 1998.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at World Wide Technology groundbreaking
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

One of the St. Louis region's most prominent technology companies is hoping to use some workplace culture elements of some of the big players in Silicon Valley in its new headquarters in Maryland Heights.

World Wide Technology plans to open the space for 1,000 workers in 2017. It will anchor a $95 million revitalization effort for Westport Plaza.

Company officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.

HOK|360 Architecture

Gov. Jay Nixon met with St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke Monday, one day before NFL owners are scheduled to meet in Dallas to discuss the league's potential return to Los Angeles.

Nixon spokesperson Channing Ansley told the Associated Press that Nixon and Kroenke met, but she did not disclose any details.

The Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have all submitted plans to relocate to the Los Angeles area, which has been without an NFL franchise for more than 20 years.  Kroenke wants to build a new stadium in Inglewood, about 12 miles southwest of downtown LA. The Raiders and Chargers are planning to jointly build and share a stadium in Carson, 14 miles south of downtown.

Alderman Chris Carter, right, has taken a dim view of the stadium situation.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

With several big developments swirling in the background, members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are set to examine a plan funding the city’s portion of a roughly $1 billion riverfront stadium.

HOK | 360 Architecture

There are few fans in St. Louis quite like Ram Man.

Ram Man — whose real name is Karl Sides — wears a hat molded in the shape of a snarling beast with spiraling horns. His jersey is adorned with patches celebrating the St. Louis Rams' achievements. And his unique admiration was worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it will take more than extraordinary fan loyalty to keep an NFL team in St. Louis.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Since taking office in 2009, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has regularly called for stricter ethics laws for public officials – and a return of the state’s campaign-donation limits, which were repealed in 2008.

For the most part, Republican legislative leaders have supported the general idea of limiting lobbyists’ gifts or curbing the legislator-to-lobbyist revolving door. But neither the governor nor lawmakers have put much political muscle behind their proposals.

The coming legislative session – Nixon’s last before leaving office -- may be different.

Gov. Jay Nixon
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A recent court ruling that excuses tobacco companies from making a $50 million payment to Missouri has resulted in the first cuts to the current year's state budget.

Gov. Jay Nixon is withholding approximately $46.1 million from the budget that took effect July 1.

Gov. Jay Nixon says legislators blew their chance to have a say on bonding for a stadium in St. Louis.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Flanked by the heads of two-year and four-year colleges and universities, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Monday in Jefferson City that the heads of Missouri's higher education institutions have agreed to freeze tuition for the 2016-2017 school year. He then said he was proposing a $55.7 million increase in higher education performance funds for the 2017 fiscal year.

This is the fourth time since 2009 that the governor paired a tuition freeze with a boost in higher education funding.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon accepts a copy of the Ferguson Commission's recomendations from co-chairs Rich McClure (L) and Rev. Starsky Wilson during a press conference in Florissant.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

In the turbulent days before a grand jury decided not to indict a former Ferguson police officer that shot and killed Michael Brown, Gov. Jay Nixon was asked why he needed a commission to figure out what ails the St. Louis region. His answer then was personal. His reaction to the actual report issued by the Ferguson Commission is for the entire state.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced drops in workers comp rates in at the Carpenters Training Center in Affton on Thursday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri businesses can expect to pay less for workers compensation insurance.

During a visit to Nelson Mulligan Carpenters Training Center in Affton on Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon announced that a variety of Missouri businesses would see a drop in their workers comp rates. Companies pay for this insurance to avoid paying big costs when a worker gets hurt.

Áine O'Connor

After the resignations of Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country, and Sen. Paul LeVota, D- Independence, earlier this year following realizations of sexually explicit texts and advances toward college-aged interns, the public’s eye has turned not just to the political decisions of Missouri lawmakers but the culture in Jefferson City as well.

Public faith in those serving the public good at the Capitol seems to have taken a serious hit.

Gov. Jay Nixon says legislators blew their chance to have a say on bonding for a stadium in St. Louis.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon is facing explicit warnings from key legislators that they won’t approve payments on bonds for a new football stadium on St. Louis’ riverfront if they aren’t first approved by a legislative or public vote.

But the Democratic governor is dismissing the threats as too little, too late – pointing to inaction during the past legislative session.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

While lauding a new Canadian trade deal, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon warned that Missouri’s future role in international trade will depend on improving transportation needs back home.

“Not just Missouri, but as a country, we’re going to have to make some decisions,’’ the governor said in a conference call Tuesday with reporters.

“Bridges don’t come for free. Ports don’t come for free. And last I checked, nobody comes out and pours concrete and puts rebar in for free,” Nixon said in an unusually passionate pitch.

Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

A Missouri Senate committee is threatening legal sanctions against a member of Gov. Jay Nixon's cabinet after the first day of hearings into the operations of Planned Parenthood in Missouri.

Committee chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, on Thursday asked Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling to disclose the name of the hospital that has a working agreement with Planned Parenthood's Columbia clinic.  Vasterling refused.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This past week, residents of Ferguson, Mo., and demonstrators from far afield mark the anniversary of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. There were angry-but-peaceful protests.

Steakpinball | Flickr

Court fees – which came under Justice Department criticism after the unrest in Ferguson – are getting attention again.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Gov. Jay Nixon thanked the Missouri Bar for backing his veto of two bills that would have raised some court fees.

Senate Bill 67 and House Bill 799 would have added new fees to court cases to help pay for building and maintaining new and existing county jails around the state.

Gov. Jay Nixon announces that he has asked the state commission overseeing police officer training to update standards around tactical training, cultural competency, and officer wellness on August 6, 2015. Behind him is Mo. State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Training standards for police officers in Missouri will get an overhaul for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that he will ask the Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission to issue new rules around tactical training, fair and impartial policing, and the well-being of officers.

Gov. Jay Nixon, center, listens to an update on efforts to help Riverview Gardens and Normandy at EducationPlus. He is flanked by Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon, right, and Nixon education adviser Mike Nietzel, left.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon says the regional effort by St. Louis area school districts to help Normandy and Riverview Gardens could not only lead to their regaining accreditation but could also strengthen public education in general.

Former Sen. Maida Coleman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

You could say Maida Coleman has come full circle.

The former state senator worked at the public service commission back in the 1980s. There, she was a clerk who certified trucks that traversed across the state.

Flash forward to Thursday, and Coleman is about to return to the agency that regulates public utilities – but on a different level. Gov. Jay Nixon tapped Coleman to serve as a PSC commissioner, effective Aug. 10. She replaces Robert Kenney, a St. Louis attorney who was nearing the end of his six-year stint on the PSC.

Missouri State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, announced he was resigning from office on Friday evening.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Facing heavy pressure from some of his party's top officials, state Sen. Paul LeVota announced Friday night that he was resigning from his seat.

In an announcement posted to his Facebook page, the Democrat from Independence cited "media attention" as being a "distraction from doing the people's work." The Missouri Senate detailed sexual harassment and retaliation allegations in a report released on Wednesday.

Millennium Student Center at UMSL
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Students who have lived in Missouri for nearly all of their lives and graduated from Missouri schools are no longer considered Missourians when it comes to the tuition they must pay at public colleges and universities.

Lilly Leyh, left, and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license in November 2014 at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has issued an executive order mandating that state and local agencies comply with the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriages.

That order is aimed at places like Schuyler County, where county Recorder of Deeds Linda Blessing says she’s exploring options on whether she has to comply with the court’s action or Nixon’s order.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Dozens of bills passed by Missouri lawmakers this year remain unsigned as the deadline for taking action approaches.

They include the sole Ferguson-related bill passed during the 2015 legislative session.

Children at the JSO Summer Learning Enrichment Program line up to play dodgeball last Tuesday. The camp takes place at Greater St. Mark Family Church's school, which had its air conditioning units stolen earlier this year.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a balmy Tuesday afternoon, dozens of young children could feel the competitive spirit floating through the hallways of Greater St. Mark Family Church’s school.

Youngsters enrolled in the JSO Summer Learning Enrichment Program filed into a gymnasium to play a spirited game of kickball. It’s one of numerous activities offered at the camp, which caters mainly to low-income children from north St. Louis County.

But competitiveness wasn’t the only thing wafting through the building. Walk into certain classrooms, and the sticky, sweaty aura of heat is unmistakable.

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