Jill Schupp | St. Louis Public Radio

Jill Schupp

Eric and Sheena Greitens hold their sons, Joshua and Jacob, while speaking to reporters after casting their ballots the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5 p.m. Friday with more data from state agencies: At least 580 Missouri state government employees have taken advantage of paid family leave since Gov. Eric Greitens’ executive order in March.

While some state lawmakers are glad the benefit is available, they worry about what it’s costing the state.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, and Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, discuss abortion regulations on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3 p.m. on Wednesday with information about Greitens signing the bill: JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Physicians will have to meet with women seeking abortions three days before the procedure and Missouri’s attorney general will have the ability to enforce abortion laws under the bill that Gov. Eric Greitens signed into law on Wednesday.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden confirmed that the Republican governor signed Sen. Andrew Koenig's bill into law on Wednesday afternoon. Koenig's bill, which will go into effect in late October, passed on Tuesday by a 22-9 vote and came after a Democratic filibuster. Supporters say the legislation will make clinics safer, while critics contend it will make it harder for women to obtain abortions. The legislation may also complicate Planned Parenthood’s bid to expand throughout the state.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to reporters after the 2017 adjourned. Greitens didn't have the smoothest relationship with legislators — including Republicans that control both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens’ successful campaign to become Missouri’s governor was based on the premise that politicians were ruining the state and that an outsider’s help was needed.

But with the 2017 legislative session in the books, some of the elected officials Greitens decried believe he got in their way and took an unwarranted, heavy-handed approach — despite the fact that the Republican stands to implement policies his party waited generations to complete.

State Senator Rob Schaaf addresses Lt. Gov. Mike Parson on the last day day of the General Assembly's legislative session.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans had a lot to be optimistic about when the General Assembly convened in January. For the first time nearly a decade, the GOP held the reins of power in the executive and legislative branches — giving the party a prime chance to pass longstanding policy initiatives.

That optimism turned out to be warranted, especially when it came to overhauling the state’s labor and legal climate. But the process was anything but smooth. 

Gov. Eric Greitens and his wife, Sheena, brought their two children to a polling place before the November general election. Greitens signed an executive order extending paid parental leave for some state employees.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

With Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issuing an executive order extending parental leave to some state employees, the question naturally arises: What’s next?

While important to the thousands of state employees it affects, the Republican governor’s executive order is not comprehensive. It provides paid time off for people who give birth or adopt a child, but only applies to “executive” state agencies run by gubernatorial appointees. It doesn’t affect or every state employee — or private sector workers .

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.

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. David Pearce answers questions from reporters on the last day of the legislative session.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If there’s one constant about the last week of the Missouri General Assembly’s session, it’s that nobody in the Capitol has to search very hard to find delicious pie.

For several decades, senators have served up rhubarb pies, French silk pies, and even gooseberry pies to hungry legislators and staff. The uncontroversial and widely celebrated “Pie Day” event provides a big boost to proprietors like the Rolling Pin in Glasgow, and a bit of levity within the General Assembly's intense final days.

Quadrangle at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
(Flickr Creative Commons User Adam Procter)

A review commission designed to implement changes to the University of Missouri System is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 would create an eight-member commission to recommend changes in the wake of last year's campus unrest. And refusal to implement any changes from the commission would result in future budget cuts.

People mill in the hallway leading to the Missouri Senate chamber.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

At the tail end of a recent episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, state Sen. Jill Schupp was asked a fairly straightforward question: Had her colleagues learned anything from the resignations of John Diehl and Paul LeVota, two lawmakers who stepped down last year amid accusations of inappropriate behavior toward female interns?

The Creve Coeur Democrat provided a pessimistic response:

Rep. Don Gosen, R-Ballwin, resigned suddenly from the Missouri House on Wednesday.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

A GOP state representative from Ballwin has resigned suddenly for unspecified personal reasons.

It’s the latest reverberation for a legislature still reeling from scandals that led to two resignations last session.

Mizzou's Columns
File Photo| Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Sen. Kurt Schaefer ventured into electoral politics, the Columbia Republican promised to be a zealous advocate for his hometown university.

Moments after finishing off his victory celebration in 2008 over state Sen. Chuck Graham, Schaefer told this reporter about how he would champion higher education funding in the midst of a national economic collapse. After all, he said, "an investment in the University of Missouri is not just an investment for Columbia — it is an investment for the state."

Sen. Jill Schupp
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, Sen. Jill Schupp returns to the show for the third time to talk about the Missouri General Assembly’s fast start.

The Creve Coeur Democrat was elected to the 24th District Senate, which encompasses more than 20 municipalities in St. Louis County. Schupp is part of an eight-person Democratic caucus that’s seen its influence wane as the GOP made gains in the General Assembly’s upper chamber.

Sen. Jill Schupp, at the podium, introduces The Missouri Earned Family and Medical Leave Program.
Mallory Daily | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Two Democratic legislators from St. Louis County, Rep. Tracy McCreery and Sen. Jill Schupp, are introducing The Missouri Earned Family and Medical Leave Program. 

President Bill Clinton’s Family and Medical Leave Act has been around for 23 years. And these two legislators think it’s time for a change. 

Steve Stenger, left, and Rick Stream
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio intern

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger outspent Republican rival Rick Stream by more than three-to-one in what appears to have been the closest contest for that office in decades.

Stenger — a Democrat who won by less than 1,900 votes — spent $3.34 million in his successful bid for the post, according to the final campaign-finance reports due Thursday. Stream reported spending $959,395.

Public Radio Reporters Review Tuesday's Election

Nov 5, 2014
St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger talks to St. Louis Public Radio reporters Nov. 5, 2014, during a recording of the 'Politically Speaking' podcast.
Chris McDaniel / St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we gathered our political reporters to recap Tuesday’s election. The consensus: Republicans ruled the night.

“It was a Republican bloodbath, nationally and regionally,” said Jo Mannies, St. Louis Public Radio political reporter. “But it also shows that St. Louis County is definitely Democratic turf because the only two Democratic candidates — big names — who remained standing were Steve Stenger and Jill Schupp.”

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

The 2014 mid-term election is over, but its impact on local and state politics could be long lasting.

That’s because Republicans  -- who were already in firm control of the Missouri General Assembly – expanded their numbers in the House and Senate in part because they were able to crack the Democrats'  once-sturdy strongholds in Jefferson County, southeast Missouri and northeast Missouri. In St. Louis County, Republicans also came close to electing a county executive for the first time since 1990 when Democrat Buzz Westfall ended 28 years of GOP control over the office.

Jill Schupp at her victory party Tuesday night.
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democrats took a beating on Tuesday in contests for the Missouri General Assembly, losing even more ground in the Missouri House and Senate — including a hotly-contested race for a vacant Jefferson County Senate seat.

A bright spot for Democrats was in St. Louis County, where State Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, narrowly won a hard-fought contest for the 24th District Senate seat.

St. Louis Public Radio aired the first public debate between two candidates for St. Louis County executive, Democrat Steve Stenger, left and Republican Rick Stream (right).
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s somewhat instinctual for Missouri political reporters to describe every election as decisive, critical or groundbreaking. And to be fair, it’s not an unnatural impulse – since every Show Me State election year for the past couple of decades has featured a competitive statewide, U.S. Senate or presidential contest.

This year, though, state Auditor Tom Schweich likely won’t lose to his Libertarian or Constitution Party opponents, and the Missouri House and Senate will remain firmly in Republican hands. And there's no U.S. Senate contest.

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis area is home to Missouri’s arguably most competitive – and expensive – state Senate contests on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Both state parties, and their allies, have been pouring money into the battles for the 22nd District and 24th District seats. The 22nd District is in Jefferson County, while the 24th stretches across a large area of central and west St. Louis County.

The 24th District pits state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, versus Republican attorney Jay Ashcroft.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

This week the Politically Speaking podcast crew welcomes Jill Schupp, the Democratic candidate for the state Senate in the 24th District.

The 24th District, which takes in a large area of central and west St. Louis County, is considered a politically swing district. As a result, the contest betweeen Schupp and GOP candidate Jay Ashcroft  is seen as one of the state’s few legislative districts up for grabs on the Nov. 4 ballot. The post is currently held by Republican John Lamping, who is retiring.

Jill Schupp at a recent campaign event with Gov. Jay Nixon
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appears to be offering more political assistance to fellow Democrats competing for seats in the General Assembly, after years of embracing a lower campaign profile that even concerned some within his own party.

Tuesday night, Nixon stopped at a Democratic fundraiser in Frontenac to offer up a rousing endorsement of state Rep. Jill Schupp’s quest this fall for the state Senate in the 24th District, which takes in much of central St. Louis County.

Jay Ashcroft
Provided by campaign

Jay Ashcroft isn't exactly a stranger to the political process. After all, his father ran for -- and, numerous times, won -- congressional and statewide offices during his lengthy tenure in Missouri politics.

But the son of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft admitted he was a bit nervous waiting to see if he emerged victorious in a three-way GOP primary for a St. Louis County-based state Senate seat. He said his "stomach was in knots" until he found out he had won. 

"It was really humbling," said Ashcroft in a telephone interview. 

(via flickr/jimbowen0306)

Jay Ashcroft’s life is steeped in politics, even if he’s never run for political office before.

That may help explain why the son of a Republican icon is already airing TV ads for a state Senate contest that, on paper, leans Democratic. 

Ashcroft is among three Republicans competing in the Aug. 5 primary for the right to challenge the sole Democrat, state Rep. Jill Schupp of Creve Coeur, in the fall.  Also running is Libertarian Jim Higgins.

(via flickr/jimbowen0306)

Any doubts about the political stakes for St. Louis County’s open 24th District state Senate seat should be squelched in the next few weeks, as many of the state’s biggest political players – politicians and donors -- are jumping in on behalf of their parties’ favored contenders in this fall's election.

The bipartisan crowd also signals that the district, which takes in much of mid-county from Creve Coeur to Chesterfield, is deemed now to be politically swing turf up for grabs.

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
Google Maps screen capture

 The Missouri House has passed an amended version of a Senate bill designed to lessen the impact of the state's student transfer law.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate and Missouri House have both passed bills to ban sales of electronic nicotine delivery devices to minors.

House Bill 1690 and Senate Bill 841 would both limit the sales of these devices, sometimes called e-cigarettes, to consumers 18 years old and older, and both versions would not subject the devices to  regulation or taxation as tobacco products. 

Courtesy of Jay Ashcroft

While Jay Ashcroft, the son of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, was always interested in politics, he also said he didn’t consider it “the highest calling.”

“My highest calling in life is to be a good husband to my wife and to be a good father for my kids," said the attorney and engineer from unincorporated St. Louis County. “In the last couple of years when I’ve seen how government has been working at the state level and unfortunately not always working, I kept coming around to the conclusion that I need to be part of the solution.”

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to next year's state budget -- after spending most of Tuesday on amendments to the FY 2015 budget, including two attempts to expand Medicaid.  Both failed, and both were sponsored by state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.

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