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Updated 9:20 a.m., Thurs., May 7 with comments from Education Plus -- Even though it doesn’t make changes in student transfers that could save Normandy from bankruptcy, several education groups urged Gov. Jay Nixon Wednesday to sign the school bill approved by the Missouri legislature because it expands options for students in failing schools.

With permission of Marie French | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | 2014

The Missouri General Assembly’s early action on the state budget – approving it two weeks ahead of schedule – sets the stage for a particularly frantic last week of the legislative session.

It also effectively ends the chance for expansion of Medicaid in Missouri during the three-year period that the federal government would pick up the whole tab.

Missouri Governor Mansion
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An audit of the Missouri governor's office finds that Gov. Jay Nixon is still using money from other state agencies to cover some expenses from his office, despite prohibitions by lawmakers from doing so.

Gov. Jay Nixon speaks on Thursday at St. Louis Building Trades headquarters in south St. Louis. Labor unions agreed to work 24-hour shifts with no overtime to build a riverfront stadium in St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The caretakers for the Edward Jones Dome have initiated a lawsuit to see whether St. Louis residents will have to vote to approve public financing of a proposed riverfront stadium.

It’s a legal maneuver that seeks to clarify a sticking point in obtaining the money for a project that could keep professional football in St. Louis.

State Sen. Ryan Silvey shows off his panaromic picture of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Silvey is part of a growing chorus of policymakers that want some sort of vote on extending bonds for a new stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It would be fair to classify Paul Meinhold as a long-suffering St. Louis Rams fan.

The St. Charles native purchased personal seat licenses for the team when players like Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Az-Zahir Hakim constituted the Greatest Show on Turf. But Meinhold bailed out on his season tickets once the team descended into mediocrity.

Bill Greenblatt I UPI

With St. Louis County no longer involved in funding a new football stadium in St. Louis, there’s some uncertainty about the public financing of the project. But during a stop in Earth City on Wednesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon expressed confidence that the money will be there to build the facility.

A rendering of the St. Louis riverfront stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger says county taxpayers will no longer be asked to foot some of the bill for a new football stadium.

It’s a potentially complicating factor in conjuring up public financing to build the open-air facility on St. Louis' riverfront.

Missouri needs more internet service producers to connect underground fiber networks to customers to increase high-speed internet access, a new FCC report says.
Dan Chace | Flickr

Nearly a third of Missourians - or about 1.8 million people - lack access to high-speed internet, according to a report last month from the Federal Communications Commission. That means Missouri ranks 15th among all states for the highest percentage of residents not served by fiber networks that can deliver such high speeds.

Gov. Jay Nixon may soon decide his pick to replace state Auditor Tom Schweich. Nixon appointed John Watson earlier this year as an interim auditor while he mulls a permanent selection.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Filling Tom Schweich’s void in the state auditor’s office may be one of the most important decisions of Gov. Jay Nixon’s tenure. He’ll have to pick somebody who can perform the tasks of an important office – and contend with the rigors of maneuvering through statewide politics.

Missouri governor's office

While in Europe, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s trade entourage has held a lot of meetings, but so far has yet to strike any deals.

That was the message in the governor’s progress report, delivered via a telephone call Wednesday from Munich in Germany.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's two top legislative leaders are among those who will join Gov. Jay Nixon for an eight-day trade trip to Italy, Germany and Spain.

At a news conference Monday in St. Charles, the governor said the trip, which begins Friday,makes sense. The three countries already purchase more than $570 million a year in Missouri products. And Germany  is the state’s seventh top trade partner.

jay nixon 81814
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

After two years of failing to convince Republican lawmakers to expand Medicaid in Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon is pitching an alternative he hopes will sway enough of them to come aboard. But key Republicans remain cool to the idea.

Nixon, a Democrat, unveiled his new proposal Wednesday at appearances in Springfield and Kansas City.

Former state Auditor Tom Schweich speaks at his victory party in Clayton last November. Nixon will select somebody to serve out the remainder of Schweich's term, which runs through the end of 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon is still mulling over a permanent replacement for former state Auditor Tom Schweich.

Nixon appointed his former chief of staff John Watson to serve as interim auditor late last month. Nixon told reporters on Monday in Wentzville that he’s getting more focused on selecting someone to fill out the rest of Schweich’s term.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon has sketched out what he calls "clear areas for improvement" in Missouri's municipal courts in the wake of the U.S. Justice Department's blistering report on the police and city courts in Ferguson.

So far Nixon is focusing primarily on beefing up the 1995 Macks Creek law, which limits cities and towns to basing no more than 30 percent of their budgets on traffic fines. It was named for the former town of Macks Creek, in Camden County, which received more than 75 percent of its budget from traffic fines and was considered to be Missouri's most notorious speed trap.

After Cafe Natasha was vandalized on Nov. 24, artists painted murals on the boarded-up windows. The owner of Cafe Natasha said relief funds, as well as support from the community, helped bring the restaurant back in business.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

While many businesses damaged during Ferguson-related protests have received help, their experiences and prospects for full recovery vary by neighborhood.

File photo

Moving on fast parallel tracks, with the assistance from Gov. Jay Nixon’s office that has absent in the past, the Missouri House and Senate have advanced legislation designed to change provisions of the state’s student transfer law.

Office of Sen. McCaskill

Missouri officials and businesses have been moving quickly to enter the Cuban market ever since President Barack Obama’s announcement in December of plans to drop the more than 50-year-old trade embargo.

Gov. Jay Nixon's zest for a new stadium on St. Louis' riverfront isn't necessarily extending to members fo the GOP-controlled legislature. That could make a difference if a bill requiring a legislative vote before extending bonds becomes law.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt I UPI

If somebody listened to Gov. Jay Nixon talk about a new stadium on St. Louis riverfront, they’d get the sense that it's an opportunity too good to pass up. Not everyone agrees.

Gov. Jay Nixon speaks on Thursday at St. Louis Building Trades headquarters in south St. Louis. Labor unions agreed to work 24-hour shifts with no overtime to build a riverfront stadium in St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis labor unions are willing to work 24-hours-a-day without overtime to build a stadium on the city’s riverfront.

It’s a move that Gov. Jay Nixon said showcases how serious the city and state are about building a stadium aimed at keeping professional football in the Gateway City.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon talks with reporters in St. Louis. Nixon was on the defensive Wednesday about not having National Guardsmen in Ferguson after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon remained on the defensive Wednesday about his decision not to station the National Guard in Ferguson after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson.

Ferguson City Manager John Shaw, left, and Mayor James Knowles on Nov. 30, 2014.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Over the past six months, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III found out what it was like to be transformed from a part-time mayor of a mid-sized suburb to a political figure on the international stage.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles testifies in front of the joint Senate and House committee on Government Accountability on Wednesday.
Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles says his city needed help from the Missouri National Guard but didn’t get it -- and he doesn’t know why.

During more than two hours of testimony Wednesday, a legislative joint committee heard testimony on the state’s response to the grand jury announcement following the shooting death of Michael Brown by former Officer Darren Wilson.

Ray Howze / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Highway Patrol Superintendent Ron Replogle will retire on May 1, Gov. Jay Nixon announced  Wednesday.

The news came hours before the state legislature began its probe into the governor's handling of the unrest in Ferguson. The grand jury's decision not to indict former Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown touched off a violent night of rioting in Ferguson on Nov. 24.

But Nixon said the timing of the announcement and the hearing were not related.

new stadium, St. Louis Rams
Courtesy HOK | 360 Architecture

Nothing ventured ... a lot to lose.

That was the message from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon Tuesday morning, as he touted efforts to build a new football stadium in St. Louis.

"If we do nothing, then we’re not an NFL city. If we do nothing then $10 million in taxes is gone. If we do nothing then people will stand right here 10 years from now and that will look exactly like it looks right there," Nixon said during a news conference on St. Louis’ north riverfront near the proposed stadium site.

Ray Howze/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon made it official Thursday when he announced that he'll be leading an agricultural trade mission to Cuba in March.

Last month, Nixon, a Democrat, ordered his Agriculture Department to explore trade opportunities with the island nation, following President Barack Obama's decision to normalize relations with the communist regime.  Nixon says Missouri's farmers and livestock owners have a lot to gain by doing business with Cuba.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon sits with school children from Marion Elementary School as they discuss the school's "Lead the Way," program in Overland, Missouri on January 22, 2015. Lead the Way is a project-based program that provides hands-on learning exp
Bill Greenblatt | UPI / UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon sat in the library of Marion Elementary School in the Ritenour School District as fifth graders learned about the robots they would build this semester.

The class is part of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a national nonprofit that uses hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The overwhelming number of Missouri schools with PLTW programs offer it only at the high school level. Nixon was at the school to promote his plan to expand this type of learning into 350 grade-school classrooms across the state.  

Gov. Jay Nixon speaks during last year's State of the State address. The governor's speech comes amid heightened scrutiny of his actions during the Ferguson unrest and unprecedented GOP majorities in the Missouri General Assembly.
Tim Bommel, House Communications

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivered his seventh State of the State address Wednesday night. On Thursday, “St. Louis on the Air” asked a panel to analyze the speech and the Republican response, starting with the headline they would have put on the speech.

“Nixon’s speech more subdued in places,” said Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio’s Missouri statehouse reporter.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon shakes hands with legislators as he exits the House of Represenatives after delivering the annual State of the State address at the state capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri on January 21, 2015.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A former basketball player himself, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon used the sport Wednesday to illustrate ways that the state can advance racial healing as it seeks to get beyond the months of protests prompted by last summer’s police shooting in Ferguson.

In Wednesday’s State of the State address, the governor recounted how Highway Patrol officers assigned to keep order pooled some of their own money to pay for a basketball net and new basketball. That generosity, Nixon said, later led to a pickup basketball game.

Nixon at a press conference in August
Bill Greenblatt / UPI

This is where you can follow St. Louis Public Radio reporters' tweets, comments and observations of the governor's State of the State speech. Governor Nixon is expected to begin speaking at 7 p.m., which is when we'll start things rolling here, too.

Listen live with us at 90.7 FM or online.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will deliver the annual State of the State address on Wednesday night. Ahead of the speech, “St. Louis on the Air” asked its listeners to weigh in on what they want to hear from the governor.

Following are some of the responses we received. They have been edited for length and clarity.

Pam E.: I want to see Medicaid expanded, legalization of marijuana and improved infrastructure.

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