Kurt Schaefer

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.

OnMessage Inc.

Another Republican has tossed his hat in the ring for Missouri attorney general.

Josh Hawley is a 35-year-old associate law professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

City attorney Winston Calvert
File photo Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Trying to best describe the legal status of local minimum wage increases is like wrapping your arms around an eel.

That’s because discussions around St. Louis and Kansas City minimum wage hikes have proceeded under the cloud of a now-vetoed bill, known as HB 722, that would have banned local minimum wage increases. And legal arguments around local wage hikes get decidedly slippery depending on whether that bill goes into effect or dies on the vine.

Fast food workers prepare to march around a McDonalds restaurant, taking part in a massive one day fast food industry strike demanding higher wages in St. Louis on December 5, 2013.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Allan Katz has a pretty good idea of what St. Louisans should expect when the debate over raising the minimum wage begins in earnest.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

With three weeks left in the 2015 legislative session, Missouri lawmakers have passed all 13 bills that make up the state's $26 billion spending plan for Fiscal 2016, which begins July 1.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has called Amendment 5 "a disaster." She's been heaping criticism on the "gun rights" measure for months.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Amendment 5 was put before voters last August, 602,863 Missourians cast their ballots in favor of a measure aimed at bolstering the Show Me State’s gun rights.

It’s safe to say St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce was not among those voters.

Kurt Schaefer 2014 mo senator
Official photo

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said his bill restricting university appointments is meant to prevent potential conflicts of interest the public might see as unethical. The Senate gave first-round approval Wednesday to the bill, which bars the University of Missouri System's Board of Curators from appointing the governor who named them to the board as president.

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Tim Lloyd welcome St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman to the show.

Zimmerman grew up in St. Louis County — attending Clayton schools — before attending Claremont McKenna University and Harvard Law School. He worked for Attorney General Jay Nixon and former Gov. Bob Holden before getting elected to a state House seat in 2006.

Mary Nelson
St. Louis Community College

In recent weeks, the Missouri Senate has considered the nomination of four lawyers to be members of the University Missouri Board of Curators, but only three of them won confirmation.

The fourth, Mary Nelson of St. Louis, was rejected by a committee vote. State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said that if she joined the board, that would mean that eight of nine curators – all but David Steward of St. Louis – would be lawyers. He said that would be too many members from one profession.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s edition of Politically Speaking uses the magical power of radio to speak with Sen. Kurt Schaefer from his office in Jefferson City. 

The Columbia Republican chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which makes him one of the most influential figures in the budget-crafting process. He’s also chairing a special committee looking into Gov. Jay Nixon’s performance during the unrest in Ferguson.

(Courtesy Zimmerman Campaign)

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman has announced he’s running in 2016 for Missouri attorney general, setting up a primary with state Sen. Scott Sifton, a fellow Democrat.

In a telephone interview early Tuesday, Zimmerman said he was making his intentions public now because “2016 will be a critical year in Missouri politics.”

Sifton, from Affton, announced his candidacy a couple months ago. At present, the only announced Republican is state Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia.

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking trio welcomes back state Sen. Scott Sifton. The Affton Democrat won election to the Missouri Senate in 2012 in a hard-fought race against then-Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay. 

Most recently, Sifton, an attorney with Husch Blackwell, made waves in the Missouri Senate with his filibuster during the fall veto session of legislation mandating a 72-hour waiting period for abortions. He’s also been part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers calling for curbs on meals, travel and entertainment paid by lobbyists.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Scott Sifton became the first Democrat to jump into the 2016 race for attorney general. 

In an e-mail this weekend to supporters, the Affton Democrat cited his experience working in the attorney general’s office and his tenure in the legislature as rationale for his statewide run. 

His campaign sent out an e-mail on Monday morning officially announcing his candidacy. He said in a statement that "as attorney general, I will work to make Missouri safer for every family, consumer, community and business.”

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

House and Senate budget negotiators have finalized the 12 remaining bills that make up Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

Both sides signed off on increasing funding for K-12 schools by $114.8 million. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue projections hold true, school spending would get a $278 million spending hike. Higher education would increase by $43 million, about 5 percent. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairs the House Budget Committee. He said they also put money in next year's budget to help finance a new state mental hospital at Fulton.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate has so far passed five of the 13 bills that make up the state budget for next year.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have begun their review of the state's spending plan for Fiscal Year 2015.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate has begun debate on a compromise tax cut brokered last month between Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 1:20 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20)

Missouri legislative leaders and Gov. Jay Nixon are disagreeing on what revenue estimates should be used in drawing up the state budget for the coming fiscal year – an argument that could affect the General Assembly’s deliberations when it goes back into session in a few weeks.

But the specifics of the budget dispute aren’t clear because most of the parties involved are commenting only through press releases and offering -- at least so far -- few additional details.

State Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia has become the first big-name Republican to officially toss his hat in the ring for the 2016 Missouri Attorney General's race.

(via Flickr/Mooganic)

Legislation to redefine the relationship between liquor distributors, wholesalers and retailers has stalled in the Missouri Senate.