Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Missouri voters will likely decide later this year whether to amend the state’s Constitution so that the General Assembly can require that all voters show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.

The state House is expected to take final action today on the ballot proposal, called SJR53, after the Senate passed it late Wednesday by a vote of 24-8.  House approval is expected.

Gov. Jay Nixon has no voice in the proposed constitutional amendment, other than deciding whether it goes on the August or November statewide ballot.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Backers of medical marijuana want Missourians to decide if doctors can be allowed to prescribe the drug to critically ill patients.

Two ballot initiatives that would do just that were filed on Thursday.

Marshall Griffin/ St. Louis Public Radio

Sporting new shoes, convicted felon Jeff Mizanskey has left prison – and a life sentence -- to embark on what he hopes is a new life.

A native of Sedalia, Mizanskey has become a national symbol of the movement to decriminalize pot.

peter.a photography | Flickr

(Updated June 17 with latest arrest figures from Missouri Highway Patrol)

In the next week or so, pollsters will be contacting Missouri residents to ask if they support the idea of legalizing marijuana -- and, if so, under what circumstances.

Their responses could determine whether such a proposal appears on the 2016 statewide ballot.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is pardoning five people for non-violent offenses, some of them committed decades ago.  One of those pardoned was convicted for stealing $1.46.

But most of the attention that Nixon is receiving for Friday's announcement is focused on his decision to commute the life sentence of Jeffrey Mizanskey, who has become a major figure in the movement to decriminalize marijuana.

sign for medical marijuana
Wikimedia Commons

JEFFERSON CITY — Members of Show-Me Cannabis are hoping to persuade lawmakers to support legislation legalizing some marijuana use in Missouri. 

On Tuesday, the group, and dozens from around the state, roamed the capitol advocating for six bills the Senate and House will debate later this session.

John Payne, executive director of the group, said the bills are a sign that legalization is becoming more acceptable.

State Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome state Rep. Shamed Dogan to the podcast for the first time. 

  Dogan, R-Ballwin, is a Northwoods native who worked in Washington, D.C. after graduating from Yale University. Among other things, Dogan worked for former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will deliver the annual State of the State address on Wednesday night. Ahead of the speech, “St. Louis on the Air” asked its listeners to weigh in on what they want to hear from the governor.

Following are some of the responses we received. They have been edited for length and clarity.

Pam E.: I want to see Medicaid expanded, legalization of marijuana and improved infrastructure.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Missouri advocates for legalizing marijuana are hoping to capitalize on momentum after several Election Day wins across the country.

The organization Show-Me Cannabis filed a petition Wednesday to amend the state's constitution to allow the recreational use, possession and regulation of marijuana for adults over 21. The group would have to get about 165,000 signatures in order for an amendment initiative to be put on the 2016 statewide ballot, according to executive director John Payne.

Payne said he is confident Show-Me Cannabis can get the needed signatures.

sign for medical marijuana
Wikimedia Commons

The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new industry has a Metro East entrepreneur moving forward with plans for a medical marijuana operation, even though there is no guarantee of being granted a license by the state of Illinois.

Mitch Meyers is a partner with NCC LLC, which stands for Nature's Care Company. She says the company has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a potential cultivation center and dispensary near Marissa in St. Clair County.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Illinois legalized medical marijuana in January. Missouri lawmakers tossed around a few marijuana bills in their last session. Voters in Alaska, Florida, Oregon and Washington, D.C., will cast ballots in November on marijuana initiatives.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of a Missouri prison inmate serving life without parole for a marijuana conviction are stepping up their efforts to persuade Gov. Jay Nixon to grant clemency.

Jeff Mizanskey, 61, of Sedalia, had two prior nonviolent convictions for possessing and selling marijuana when he was convicted a third time and sentenced in 1996 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He had been arrested in 1993 in a drug sting involving five pounds of marijuana. His brother, Mike Mizanskey, says all of Jeff's appeals have been exhausted.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Should marijuana be legalized? More than 50 percent of Americans think it should, according to a 2013 Gallup poll, but the issue is far from settled.  

peter.a photography | Flickr

Updated 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15

Advocates for partly legalizing the growing and use of marijuana in Missouri have gotten the go-ahead to circulate 13 different initiative petitions in the state.

But that doesn’t mean any of the proposals will be on this fall’s ballot.

On Wednesday, the Missouri secretary of state's office said it had approved all 13 initiatives for circulation. Nearly 158,000 signatures from registered voters will be needed to put any of the proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot.

sign for medical marijuana
Wikimedia Commons

With the start of the new year, hundred of laws are taking effect in Illinois. The marquee issues include marijuana, cell phone use, sex education and littering. But all sorts of laws will become enforceable, dealing with everything from special license plates to health-and-safety requirements. For a comprehensive list, go to the Quincy Journal.

(via Flickr/peter.a photography)

Federal prosecutors are cracking down on businesses in mid Missouri that allegedly sold synthetic marijuana.

(via Flickr/Roomic Cube)

Illinois has become the 20th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law Thursday at a new University of Chicago medical facility.

Illinois' law takes effect Jan. 1, but it'll take several months before medical marijuana will be available for purchase. The measure outlines a four-year pilot program for patients suffering from more than 30 serious illnesses or diseases.

Quinn says he's heard compelling stories from seriously ill patients - including veterans - and says medical marijuana will provide many people relief.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: End state involvement in public education. Curb the state’s use of federal grants. Cut taxes to reduce state income. And legalize marijuana.

Those were among the most frequent suggestions posed Tuesday morning by many of the roughly 50 area residents – some of them state lawmakers -- who showed up in Clayton for the first in a series of hearings around the state this week by the Missouri House Committee on downsizing state government.

(Mike Matney)

Legal questions surround the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing who was captured on Friday.

What is the role of the public safety exception as it relates to Miranda rights? Were civil rights violated as a result of the lockdown?  Should Tsarnaev be tried as an enemy combatant as some Republican legislators have suggested?

The questions surrounding the surviving suspect of the Boston Marathon bombing were discussed by a panel of legal experts, as part of our monthly legal roundtable discussion.

The panelists included:

(via Flickr/Roomic Cube)

Possession of small amounts of marijuana would, under some circumstances be handled by city prosecutors under legislation sent to Mayor Francis Slay today.

Under Ald. Shane Cohn's legislation, first and second-time offenders carrying less than 35 grams of pot would automatically receive a citation and face a maximum $500 fine. It would not apply to those with recent felony convictions, with two or more misdemeanor possession convictions, or if the marijuana possession is part of another crime.

(via Flickr/Roomic Cube)

An Illinois House committee has approved a measure that would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The House Human Services Committee voted 11-4 Wednesday to move the proposal to the full House for consideration.

The measure would allow patients over the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions to obtain marijuana.

Cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV are among the illnesses.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen met today for the last time ahead of the mayoral and aldermanic elections in March and April. Here's what came out (and didn't) of a hectic day at City Hall:

Foreclosure mediation

Aldermen sent Mayor Francis Slay a measure that would require lenders to offer homeowners foreclosure mediation. The homeowners do not have to accept, and there's no requirement to reach an agreement.

(via Flickr/Roomic Cube)

A measure outlined in the Missouri House on Tuesday could give first-time offenders for marijuana possession the opportunity of community service, instead of jail time.

After completing the sentence, the bill would also allow for the convictions to be removed from the offender’s record.

Representative Rory Ellinger, a criminal defense lawyer from St. Louis, hopes that the bill will help youth offenders to get jobs by not having to disclose the conviction to employers.

(via Flickr/Torben Bjorn Hansen)

A St. Louis-area State House member is proposing legislation that would lessen penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Missouri, and would allow for some misdemeanor criminal records to be expunged.

(via Flickr/Roomic Cube)

It'll take another week for supporters of a bill reducing some marijuana possession penalties in St. Louis to get first-round approval for the legislation.

The city's Health and Human Services committee today delayed a vote on the measure, which allows police officers to issue citations to individuals with small amounts of marijuana.

(via Flickr/peter.a_photography)

A St. Louis alderman wants the city to reduce the penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana. Alderman Shane Cohn plans to introduce a bill Friday that would allow St. Louis police to send people with a small amount of marijuana to municipal court. Currently, marijuana offenders are charged under state laws.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the municipal violation would bring a fine of $100 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail. The proposal also would exempt anyone from another state who has a prescription for medical marijuana.

(via Flickr/peter.a_photography)

The Drug Policy Alliance bills itself as the “nation’s leading organization promoting alternatives to current drug policy that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.”

The organization believes the war on drugs is doing more harm than good and among other things, the DPA supports the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Host Don Marsh talks with Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Out-migration is costing St. Louis County money

More people are moving out of St. Louis County than moving in – and they’re taking money with them.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch cites Internal Revenue Service figures that show those who left the county between 2001 and 2010 earned on average $8,000 more than those who moved in. And about 52,000 more people left the county than moved in.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Police chief outlines plan to preserve patrol officers despite cuts

The St. Louis police chief says he’ll reduce the department’s command structure and turn some desk jobs currently held by officers over to civilians in an effort to blunt the impact of budget cuts.

Chief Dan Isom unveiled his budget plan to a Board of Aldermen committee yesterday.

(via Flickr/peter.a_photography)

A Missouri marijuana advocacy group is protesting the citation of two petition gatherers in St. Charles over the weekend.  The volunteers for Show-Me Cannabis Regulation say they were detained by police shortly after midnight while collecting signatures. 

Dave Roland, an attorney representing the two, says no ordinance was violated because collecting signatures is a First Amendment right.