Jolie Justus

Missouri Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Beacon.

Mike Colona is getting his wish. Two months ago, the Democratic representative from St. Louis attended a Senate committee hearing on Senate Bill 237. The bill bars discrimination in Missouri based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But after the hearing, Colona was upset because he hadn’t seen similar action from the House.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Tod Martin wasn’t going to let 20 words keep him from marrying David Gray.

While it took more than 20 years, St. Louis officials last week issued Martin and Gray a marriage license. They’re among eight people who are testing the state’s nearly 10-year-old, 20-word ban on gay marriage.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate had seven new members after the smoke cleared from the 2006 election cycle. Only two served for the maximum time allowed under term limits – Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah.

The two lawmakers are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Justus entered the General Assembly as a combative fighter who fought tooth-and-nail against the Republican majority. Lager, who was arguably more conservative than his Republican counterparts, seemed on a course for higher office.

Missouri Senate

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation containing the so-called "fixes" that Gov. Jay Nixon wants added to the criminal code revision.

jay nixon 81814
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

  Gov. Jay Nixon has allowed a comprehensive rewrite of Missouri's criminal code to become law without his signature.

Nixon says the 645-page bill contains drafting errors that could weaken both DWI laws and laws to combat methamphetamine production.

(via flickr/jimbowen0306)

The Missouri Senate passed the rest of the state budget Tuesday, after taking care of the first five bills on Monday. Those debates were routine for the most part, with the Senate approving the budgets for K-12 schools and Higher Education.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers have sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill to rewrite the state's criminal code for the first time in more than 30 years. The wide-ranging proposal took several years and two legislative sessions to hammer out, but it's unclear whether Nixon intends to sign it.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

With roughly a month left to go before adjournment, many of the Missouri General Assembly’s big issues remain unresolved.  

That’s not too surprising. Big-ticket legislation often passes — or dies — in the last weeks of the session. With about a month to go before the final gavel falls, legislation dealing with tax cuts, the state’s criminal code and the student transfer situation are all still up in the air.

The resolution of some conflicts could hinge on unity from Republicans, who control the legislature, while others may fall along less predictable fault lines. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon says he's wary about signing a wholesale revision of the state’s criminal code. 

For the past few years, the state’s legal community has made overhauling the code a major priority. The legislation being considered by the Missouri General Assembly reassesses punishments for certain crimes, including eliminating jail time for some misdemeanors. 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The second half of Missouri's 2014 regular session is underway. Leaders in both chambers and from both parties remain focused on crafting a state budget and on easing the burden of the state's student transfer law — but they remain divided on expanding Medicaid.

Medicaid expansion a 'nonstarter'

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Rob Schaaf is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to health-care policy. But some believe that this staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion holds the key to ending the legislative impasse over it.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon says he hopes Missourians get another chance to vote on same-sex marriage.

The Democrat made that comment Thursday in response to a reporter's question during the annual Missouri Press Association/Associated Press Day at the Capitol.  The governor said that he's in favor of repealing the 2004 constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Credit Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics. 

It's another two-part edition of the podcast. Marshall Griffin joins the Politically Speaking crew to talk about Gov. Jay Nixon's State of the State speech and the latest developments involving Missouri's death penalty. Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, joins Chris, Jo and Jason for the second part of the show. 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Republicans in the Missouri Senate have scaled back a proposal to cut state taxes in order to emulate tax cuts in neighboring Kansas and Oklahoma.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has strongly objected to the bill's sales tax hike, saying it would hurt the poor and elderly the most.  That provision has been dropped.  House Bill 253 would now cut the personal income tax rate by half a percentage point and the corporate rate by three points, and phase them both in over the next 10 years.  Republican Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit is handling the measure in the Senate.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly a full month of hearings wrapped up Monday into a Missouri Senate bill that would revise the state’s criminal code, but it may already be too late to get the bill to the Governor’s desk this year.

Almost all of the city's murders in 2015 involved guns.
(via Flickr/alancleaver_2000)

A Missouri Senate panel is beginning work on an effort to overhaul the state's criminal code.

The legislation is the work of a Missouri Bar panel that began meeting five years ago to give the code its first makeover since the 1970s.  

The measure would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors and give judges more flexibility in sentencing.

(via flickr/jimbowen0306)

Children leaving the foster care system after their 18th birthday would be able to return to state custody under a bill passed by the Missouri Senate.
Current law allows children to remain in the foster care system until they are 21, but prevents re-entry if they leave after turning 18.
The measure sponsored by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus of Kansas City would allow those who leave the system to re-enter until they turn 21.
 Justus says it allows children to come back home if they have a hard time in the "real world."

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Lawmakers have returned to Jefferson City and begun the new year’s regular Missouri legislative session. 

So, what do they want to get done?

Senate Republicans are focused on:

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate will be led by new people when it convenes for the 2013 session.

Majority party Republicans on Thursday nominated Sen. Tom Dempsey, of St. Charles, to serve as president pro tem - the top position in the chamber. Dempsey still must be elected by the full Senate when it convenes in January, but that is expected to be a mere formality.

(Mo. Senate)

Stickers with rifle target crosshairs printed on them have been found in the office doorways of several Missouri lawmakers.

They were discovered Tuesday afternoon outside the offices of five Democratic State Senators and one Republican State Representative.  The stickers were twice found outside the Capitol office of Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal of University City.