Kurt Schaefer

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.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The federal investigator who requested Missouri’s list of conceal carry weapons holders testified under oath Wednesday before a State Senate committee.

Keith Schilb of the Social Security Administration's Inspector General's office told the Senate Appropriations Committee that part of his job is to seek and develop projects that could indicate whether there is enough evidence of fraud to warrant an investigation.  He says that’s how the inquiry into Missouri’s conceal carry database began.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

After nearly eight hours of debate Monday, the Missouri Senate has passed next year’s state budget.

The roughly $25 billion spending plan still does not include Medicaid expansion, but not for a lack of trying by Democrats.  Minority Floor Leader Jolie Justus offered up an amendment that would’ve added $890 million to the Social Services budget, enough to expand Medicaid to around 260,000 Missourians next year.

File photo by Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Senator Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) says the Department of Revenue (DOR) has continued to withhold information from his legislative committee about the list of conceal carry weapons (CCW) holders that the agency compiled for the federal government.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has announced that Brian Long has resigned as Director of the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR). The resignation is effective immediately.

“I want to thank Brian [Long] for his service to the state of Missouri in heading up this department, and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Nixon said in a statement regarding the resignation.  In addition, Nixon's Press Secretary, Scott Holste, said that Long voluntarily stepped down and that he was neither asked nor encouraged to resign.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate turned their attention today Thursday to the Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety as they continue to question why the state’s list of conceal-carry weapons holders was given to the federal government.

Colonel Ron Replogle testified that the Patrol received a request for the list in November of 2011 from the Social Security Administration, which was conducting a fraud investigation.

“And our employees felt this was a legitimate criminal investigation, so therefore they released the information," Replogle said.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Department of Revenue (DOR) officials underwent more grilling Wednesday from a Missouri Senate committee over the agency’s practice of scanning source documents for driver’s license applications, conceal-carry weapon endorsements, and other license applications.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would prohibit the Department of Revenue (DOR) from scanning and storing source documents for driver’s license, conceal-carry, and other applications.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Some concerns have been raised in the Missouri Senate over a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a temporary one-cent sales tax to fund transportation needs.

The one-penny sales tax is expected to raise nearly $8 billion over ten years.  All money raised would go directly to the Missouri Dept. of Transportation (MoDOT), and that provision is not sitting well with some Senators.  Republican Kurt Schaefer of Columbia says lawmakers should have at least some say into how that money would be spent.

Missouri and Illinois have some similar gun laws, but several areas where they diverge.
M Glasgow | Flickr

 (Updated story)

A Missouri Senate Committee has unanimously passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand the State Constitution’s right to bear arms.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol is defending the agency’s purchase of a new airplane.

Colonel Ron Replogle told House budget writers that it was his idea to buy the $5.6 million aircraft.  More than one committee member asked him about the quick timetable on the plane’s purchase, as the bid went out around December 6th and was awarded on the 17th.  Replogle says Beechcraft was offering a discount on that particular King Air 250 because it was a year-old model.

(Courtesy Hawker Beechcraft)

Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) choice to head up his Office of Administration will have to wait a bit longer before permanently taking over.

Acting Commissioner Doug Nelson’s confirmation is being delayed in the Missouri Senate after news broke that the State Highway Patrol spent around $5.6 million on a new airplane, which has been designated for use by the Governor and other statewide officials.  State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia), who sponsored Nelson’s nomination, first wants to know who made the decision to buy the plane, and why.

House and Senate budget negotiators resumed talks today, but still have not resolved differences over how to fund veterans homes and health care for the blind.

They agreed on numerous budget items that have garnered little to no controversy.  The House won out on its proposed pay raise for state workers – those earning under $70,000 a year would get a 2 percent raise starting in July.  Kirk Schaefer (R, Columbia), the Senate’s chief negotiator, says he didn’t mind accepting the House’s position on pay raises.

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