Kevin Engler

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri House has passed all 13 budget bills with an estimated $26.6 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins July 1.

During Thursday's round of budget votes, House Democrats began sharply criticizing this year's budget writing process. Along with Gov. Jay Nixon, they disagree with House Republicans about how much revenue they think the state will take in.  State Rep. Margo McNeil, D-Hazelwood, accused GOP leaders of crafting an unnecessarily low budget.

(UPI)

One of two bills that would limit punitive damages in lead contamination cases is on its way to Governor Jay Nixon (D).

(Flickr Creative Commons User essygie)

St. Louis-area police say a revised law is encouraging thieves to steal older cars and sell them for scrap, causing a big rise in auto thefts. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the law, which took effect last August, made it legal to sell a nonfunctioning vehicle 10 years or older without a title.

St. Louis County police Sgt. Tom Naughton says thieves can make $200 to $500 for each car, at a time when other laws have made it harder to sell stolen wire or gutters for scrap.  

(Courtesy Engler's Office)

Nine State Senators won’t be returning to Jefferson City next year due to term limits.  Among them, Republican Kevin Engler of Farmington, who made a failed bid two years ago to become President Pro-tem after serving as Majority Leader.  Since then, he has been outspoken on the way the Senate works, or in the views of some political observers, doesn’t work.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin talked with Engler on the final day of the regular session.

(via Flickr/Daniel Morrison)

An attempt to replace Missouri’s presidential primary with statewide caucuses has failed in the State Senate, meaning the February 7th Democratic and Republican primaries will go on as scheduled.

Before the vote, some amendments were offered, including one that would have moved the primary forward to January.  None of them passed, but they reflected efforts by several Republicans to preserve the state's primary.  State Senator Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale) said that caucuses result in fewer people having a say in who they want for president.

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

The Missouri Republican Party is abandoning the presidential primary and will use the caucus system to choose delegates for next year’s presidential race.  The decision comes as a bill that would move the party primaries from February to March remains stalled in the Missouri Senate.

The national GOP had given the state until midnight on October First to move the presidential primary to March, or else risk losing half its delegates.  State GOP Executive Director Lloyd Smith says if Missouri goes ahead with a presidential primary in February, it will not count.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has delayed debate on a bill that would move the state’s presidential primary from February to March.

The holdup involves a pending amendment that would scrap the primary altogether and return Missouri to its former status as a caucus state.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A Missouri Senate committee heard testimony today on the St. Louis police local control bill that easily passed the Missouri House last month

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told the committee on governmental organization that an overwhelming majority of voters support local control, and that under state control, city residents have no input into how the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is run.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers are considering moving back the state's 2012 presidential primaries.

A bill by Republican Sen. Kevin Engler, of Farmington, would change next year's primaries from early February to early March.

Missouri has held presidential primaries in February under a state law.