local control

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri is challenging language on a ballot initiative that would transfer control of the St. Louis Police Department from the state to the city.

ACLU Regional Program Director John Chasnoff says the initiative's summary, as it would appear on the ballot, fails to explain how the new law would restrict public oversight and access to records.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Supporters of a ballot measure that would turn control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department back to City Hall have gotten the go-ahead to start work on getting the proposal in front of the voters.

The decision by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to approve the measure for circulation means local control advocates can start gathering more than 143,000 signatures, which must be collected from multiple districts in the state. They're due on May 6, 2012.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers began pre-filing bills today for next year’s legislative session, which begins January 4th.

One bill was influenced by the deadly Joplin tornado.  If passed, it would allow Missouri residents to deduct up to $5,000 from their state income taxes for building storm shelters on their properties.  It’s sponsored by State Representative Terry Swinger (D, Caruthersville).

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Police Officers Association announced today that the organization and the mayor of the city of St. Louis, Francis Slay, have come to a compromise regarding a local control ballot initiative.

The issue of local control of the St. Louis Police Department, that is, shifting the control of the department from the state of Missouri to the city of St. Louis, was a fixture in this past year's legislative session.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Mayor Francis Slay is fuming over the results of the just-concluded special session.

"Goodbye state legislators. Thanks for (almost) nothing," the mayor tweeted this afternoon, a day after the state Senate adjourned without taking action on a large economic development package and a measure that would end more than 150 years of state oversight of the St. Louis police department.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The special legislative session called by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) could end as soon as Friday without any legislation being passed.

House and Senate leaders continue to butt heads over what should and should not be included in the wide-ranging tax credit bill, and that includes the compromise version that House leaders announced that they’ve reached with the governor.  Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says the chances of reaching a compromise by Friday look very slim.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

 The Missouri House of Representatives today gave both first-round approval AND passage to several pieces of notable legislation, after suspending its rules to allow for both to take place in the same day:

  • Local control of the St. Louis Police Department endorsed

The Missouri House has passed legislation that would end the state's oversight of the St. Louis police department.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that would return control of the St. Louis Police Department to the city has easily passed a Missouri House committee.  Also, the St. Louis Police Officers' Association, a long-time foe, is now supporting the bill.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) has officially issued a call for a special legislative session, which will begin at noon on September 6, the day after Labor Day.

Nixon wants lawmakers to take up 11 items during next month’s special session.  As expected, it includes providing tax credits for turning Lambert Airport in St. Louis into an international air cargo hub (the Aerotropolis proposal), and moving the state’s presidential primary from February to March.

Missouri Senate Website

St. Louis city leaders say that returning control of the city's police department should be a priority during any upcoming special session of the General Assembly.

Speaking Wednesday, leaders of the Republican controlled state House and Senate said they didn't see any problem with passing the measure.

But not everyone is on board with that plan.  

St. Louis County Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal has been a vocal critic of local control in the past and says it should not be part of any special session.

Bill Greenblat / UP

According to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, by this time next year the city could have control of its own police force for the first time since the Civil War.

The announcement came on Wednesday in tandem with an agreement on an package of economic development incentives.

Both issues will be taken up during a special legislative session later this summer.

Slay says the agreement has cleared the way for passage of local control, which now has the backing of the Republican-controlled state House and Senate

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis City police officers have entered into a first-ever collective bargaining agreement with the city.

Jeff Roorda is a former state representative and current business manager for the police union.  He says the agreement removes the main barrier the department had against local control.

“We’ve resisted city control for years and that was because we needed to have a place to resolve our differences and in the past that’s been the state legislature," Roorda said. “Now, we have a union contract and arbitration where we can resolve those differences.”

(Tim Bommel/Mo. House Communications)

Legislation that would have returned oversight of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department back to City Hall has failed in Jefferson City.


So-called "Late-Term" Abortion Ban Goes to Governor Nixon

The bill passed Thursday by the Missouri House would ban abortions after 20 weeks unless two doctors verify that a fetus is not viable, or that it constitutes a medical threat to the mother.  The bill's supporters call abortions performed on viable fetuses barbaric. 

Democrat Tishaura Jones of St. Louis opposed the bill, saying she's pro-life for herself but pro-choice for everyone else:


Another Mountain Lion Roaming Northwest Mo.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says a landowner in Macon County took pictures of large tracks in a muddy creek bed on April 20. The conservation department confirmed that the tracks belonged to a mountain lion.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Some minor progress, but no breakthrough yet in efforts to pass both the St. Louis Police local control and tax credit legislation.

The Missouri Senate this evening confirmed Governor Jay Nixon’s appointment to the state-run board that oversees the St. Louis Police Department.  Tom Irwin’s appointment is seen as a precursor to implementing local control.


Local Control Hits Another Roadblock

Just when it appeared the local control issue was moving forward in the Missouri Senate, the bill has been delayed again.  This time, some Senate Republicans are holding off on advancing the bill in order to force the House to pass the Senate’s tax credit overhaul measure. 

While no one’s openly saying that the local control bill is being held up, Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer indicates they’re willing to delay bills from the House if their leaders continue to sit on Senate bills.

(Rachel Lippmann/ St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners has reached a collective bargaining agreement with the St. Louis Police Officers' Association.

It's a three-year deal that locks in salaries, benefits and department operating procedures. Mayor Francis Slay called the hard work it took to reach the deal worth it.

"I think it gives us a good opportunity to have a stronger partnership and to work together more closely for a better department and one that helps us address crime and other issues in the city of St. Louis," he said.

Missouri Senate Stops Short of Approving Local Control of St. Louis Police Dept.

Missouri senators have embraced a proposal that would allow St. Louis to control the city police force, ending the state's Civil War-era oversight of the department.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri Senate last night stopped just short of approving legislation to restore local control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Some amendments were added to the local control bill.  They include giving two-thirds of the slots on the police pension board to retired officers and those associated with the police retirement system.  GOP Senator Kevin Engler of Farmington says they held off on first-round approval last night in order to give both sides time to review the changes: