Maria Chappelle-Nadal

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking crew welcomes Gregg Keller, a locally based Republican consultant who now runs his own firm, Atlas Strategy Group.

Keller represents a number of corporate and political clients, including state Auditor Tom Schweich, who’s expected to run for governor in 2016.

A graduate of Clayton High School, Keller got his political start after college (Florida State). He began as a volunteer, and later as a staffer, for Jim Talent when he ran in 2002 for the U.S. Senate (defeating Democratic incumbent Jean Carnahan).

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated noon, Thursday, Oct. 9)

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal is the star of Republican Rick Stream’s television ad, an unusual example of cross-party dynamics in the race for St. Louis County executive.  

Chappelle-Nadal, a University City Democrat, appears in an ad promoting Stream’s bipartisan credentials. 

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch was helping Councilman Steve Stenger in his bid for county executive from literally the moment he started running.

McCulloch was the introductory speaker at the Affton Democrat’s campaign kickoff last year. He's contributed close to $100,000 in in-kind contributions to Stenger's campaign. And he's appeared in ads attacking incumbent St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and praising Stenger’s promise to “clean up” St. Louis County.

At the Ferguson Farmers Market August 2014
File photo | Tim Lloyd I St. Louis Public Radio

The protests, town hall meetings and conversations continue, but six weeks after the shooting death of Michael Brown, there are still a lot of unanswered questions in Ferguson.

After facing intense heat from some of his party’s African-American leaders, Gov. Jay Nixon is tapping a former St. Louis-area senator to serve as a liaison to the state’s poor and minority communities. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

When Antonio French noticed social media activity bubbling up about Michael Brown’s shooting death last weekend, the St. Louis alderman got in his car and drove to Ferguson. 

What he said he saw was striking: Police from neighboring municipalities had formed a “human shield” around the scene. Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, was screaming and crying over not knowing what happened to her 18-year-old son. And Brown’s body was still in the street after being shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.

Rachel Lippmann / St. Louis Public Radio

Saturday's shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson resulted in overnight violence, including looting, arson and gunshots. As cleanup began Monday morning, so did discussions about the tension throughout the St. Louis area, the response in Ferguson, and the lack of information about Saturday’s shooting.

“There should be no need anywhere for a young man to lose his life,” said Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III. “We need to start talking about bridging the gap between law enforcement and the young people in the community.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon is taking heat from his own party, especially from women, for appointing Maynard Wallace to the state Board of Education. 

And while Nixon, a Democrat, isn’t backing down, the outcry from several Democratic legislators may not bode well for the appointment to be confirmed.

Wallace is a former teacher, superintendent and Republican state legislator from Thornfield. For a time, Wallace was also a registered lobbyist for the Missouri Association of School Administrators.

State Rep. Joshua Peters, D-St. Louis, campaigns in the Penrose neighborhood of St. Louis. Peters is running for re-election in the 76th District, which encompasses a portion of north St. Louis City.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a slightly overcast day in St. Louis’ Penrose neighborhood, state Rep. Joshua Peters briskly moved from brick bungalow to brick bungalow to get the word out about his re-election campaign.   

Sporting a sky blue polo and dark-rimmed eyeglasses, the 26-year-old exuded the experience of an old political pro when greeting potential voters. Sophia Hubbard told Peters a member of his campaign staff had already come to her door. Oliver Williams told him something similar – and signaled that Peters had his vote on Aug. 5.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, St. Louis Public Radio's education reporter Dale Singer joins Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies as we welcome back state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, to the show. 

The Politically Speaking podcast is diverging from our usual alternating schedule of Republican and Democratic guests. Instead, we are focusing on opposing views on one of the region's hottest issues: the transfer of students from the Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts -- both unaccredited -- to neighboring districts.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal
Missouri Senate

A long-simmering feud between Gov. Jay Nixon and some black politicians, going back to his days as Missouri’s attorney general, flared up again in Jefferson City this week, fanned by the debate over school transfer legislation.

But not all African-American officials are taking sides against the governor. Some, especially in the state House, are urging Nixon to veto the student transfer bill, because they consider its changes in the transfer law harmful to black students.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate has passed the final version of legislation designed to ease the burden of the state's school transfer law. It includes a provision that would end free transportation for transfer students -- a provision that would make it harder for students from failing schools to actually attend other districts.

Carole Basile
UMSL

A task force charged with making recommendations for the future of the Normandy School District finished meeting Monday and plans to send its report to state education officials later this week.

Carole Basile, dean of the school of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said she plans to take the discussions from the task force over the past several weeks and draw up a list of recommendations that she will submit to Chris Nicastro, Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education.

An empty desk
Bubbles | sxc.hu

Despite opposition from a coalition of Missouri school groups, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers said Friday that to win passage, school transfer legislation needs to include the option of non-sectarian private schools.

State Sens. John Lamping, R-Ladue, and Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, along with House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, discussed the issue at a forum on tax-credit scholarships. With three weeks left in the legislative session, a transfer bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate is now moving through the House.

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

Carl Miles' apartment at Rosie Shields Manor has everything he could want in a home – and then some. 

Miles’ spacious room has sleek wood-like floors and a modern-looking kitchen. He’s within walking distance of a bank and grocery store. And he can even throw parties in the Pagedale facility’s community room or common area – with management’s permission, of course.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful place to live,” said Miles, who is 70 and retired. “It’s got a lot of security. The people are generally pretty friendly. We socialize a lot. And we have a pretty good time.”

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.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Nine bills that either directly addressed or were related to school transfers and accreditation were combined into one bill and passed Thursday by the Missouri Senate's Education Committee.

Mo. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education

A Missouri State senator has filed a remonstrance that calls for the immediate resignation of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro.

DESE website

Missouri’s commissioner of education has been buffeted by two controversies that have led to calls for her resignation but also expressions of support from her bosses on the state board of education.

To explain the controversy swirling around Chris Nicastro, Missouri’s embattled commissioner of elementary and secondary education, state school board member Mike Jones invokes the words of a legendary Texan, Jim Hightower:

The only things you find in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead armadillos.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Five years after she endorsed a Republican for Missouri attorney general, state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal is holding a fundraising event where the headliner is the Democrat she had rejected in 2008: now-Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal knows firsthand about the ins and outs of transferring from one school district to another.

When she was a student growing up in University City, her family moved to the city of St. Louis, where she attended a private school for a year. Then, she took advantage of the area’s voluntary desegregation plan and transferred to school in Clayton.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If this past veto session were judged by the sheer amount of legislative activity, it was an unqualified success.

Whether it met expectations, however, is a completely different story.

Erin Williams, St. Louis Public Radio.

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

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Former state Sen. Jason Crowell, a Cape Girardeau Republican, was -- and still is -- one of the sharpest critics of the state's historic preservation tax credit program. In 2011, he compared the program to when his parents gave him a credit card "only for emergencies."

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation is moving through the Missouri Senate that would strictly limit where Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT cards, can be used in the state.

State Senator Will Kraus (R, Lee’s Summit) is sponsoring Senate Bill 251.  He says a new federal law that just took effect will ban EBT card use in casinos, liquor stores and adult entertainment venues.

“We’re taking that federal law (and) putting (it) into state statute," Kraus said.  "But we’re also adding a few places that we think these cards shouldn’t be used at:  amusement parks, entertainment events, athletic events, (or) to purchase alcohol, tobacco (or) lottery tickets.”

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate spent more than two hours debating legislation Monday that would keep the state’s ailing Second Injury Fund alive.

The proposal being considered would raise fees that businesses across the state currently pay into the fund while placing restrictions on future claims.  State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D, University City) said in floor debate that raising the cap on businesses was a good move, but expressed concern that people with pre-existing conditions would be left out.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation filed in the Missouri Senate would require parents to notify their kids’ schools if they are gun owners.

If passed, parents would have to provide written notification that they own a firearm within 30 days of enrolling their child in school or within 30 days of becoming a gun owner if the child is already enrolled.  Failure to do so would be an infraction and result in a $100 fine.  It would also make it a Class A misdemeanor if the parent or guardian knows that their child is illegally in possession of a firearm and does nothing to stop it or does not report it to police -- and the parent or guardian would be guilty of a Class D felony if their minor child kills or wounds someone with an illegally-possessed gun.  The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D, University City), told reporters today that their goal is to prevent minors from illegally possessing firearms and to also keep them out of the hands of gang members.

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation that could allow charter schools to be formed outside of Kansas City and St. Louis.

In a voice vote Wednesday, the Senate backed a measure that would allow charter schools to be set up in districts that have been declared unaccredited. It would also allow charter schools in some districts that would have been provisionally accredited for three straight years, starting with next school year.

Flickr Creative Commons/Glamour Schatz

Mo. Senate preparing to send workplace discrimination bill to Nixon today

The Missouri Senate is preparing today to pass the House version of the workplace discrimination bill and send it to Governor Jay Nixon. 

Senate Democrats, however, voiced their opposition Wednesday by blocking the bill for nearly five hours. 

The filibuster was led by Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal of St. Louis County. 

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