Missouri Supreme Court

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Court upholds election for earnings tax

The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge to a law that requires residents in St. Louis and Kansas City to vote on their earnings tax every five years.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Six lawsuits involving three ballot initiatives were heard Monday by the Missouri Supreme Court.

At stake are ballot questions that would raise Missouri’s cigarette tax, raise the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, and cap interest rates on payday loans.  The fate of all three may turn on whether the State Auditor has the authority to estimate the financial impact of citizens’ petition initiatives.  Attorney Ronald Holliger argued that the High Court should uphold a lower court ruling supporting the State Auditor’s authority.

With the United States Supreme Court's decision on healthcare expected to come on Thursday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon broke with his party on Monday over a key part of the legislation.

Speaking with reporters in St. Louis, Governor Nixon sounded more like a Republican when asked about the impending decision.

Referring to the Affordable Care Act as the “Washington Healthcare Law” Nixon spoke out against the key ingredient of President Obama’s signature legislation—the so-called individual mandate requiring people to purchase health insurance.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Mo. Supreme Court to decide fate of November ballot initiatives

The Missouri Supreme Court will hear arguments this morning to determine the fate of several ballot initiatives.

Election officials still have yet to determine if supporters of increasing the minimum wage and tobacco tax, and capping the rate of payday loans, have gathered enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Updated 4:34 p.m. with comments from Rep. Sylvester Taylor. 

Usually, the residency requirement for political candidates is just another box to check, but two cases involving St. Louis-area office-seekers have not been so clearly defined - until today.

Will be updated.

Updated 4:42 with Price's full resignation letter.

Updated 4:10 p.m. statement from Gov. Nixon

Missouri Supreme Court Judge William Ray Price, Jr. is to resign, according to Supreme Court Communications Counsel Beth Riggert.

The resignation will become effective Aug. 1. Price says he will return to the private practice of law.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Updated 4:04 p.m. with Diehl's comments.

The Missouri Supreme Court has released its judgment on a challenge to the recent redistricting of the state's new Congressional districts. 

The Court has upheld the new districts, finally providing certainty for candidates in the August primary elections.

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Updated 4: 14 p.m.

Missouri senators have endorsed changes in the procedure for nominating candidates for the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

A seven-member commission screens applicants for vacancies on the state's high court and the three districts of the Court of Appeals. The panel recommends three finalists, from which the governor makes the appointment.

The commission is currently made up of a judge, three lawyers and three people selected by the governor.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt/file photo)

The Missouri Supreme Court has refused to overturn the conviction of Kenneth Baumruk, who was sentenced to die for killing his wife and wounding four others in a 1992 St. Louis County Courthouse shooting rampage.

It wasn't clear if the Missouri Attorney General's office would seek an execution date following the ruling on Tuesday. A spokeswoman declined comment. Baumruk's attorney did not return a message seeking comment.

At 73, Baumruk is the oldest man on Missouri's Death Row.

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Will be updated.

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld new boundaries for state House districts based upon the 2010 census.

The high court issued a one-line ruling Tuesday upholding the new districts and saying a longer opinion would be issued sometime in the future. The ruling came about three hours before Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline for candidates to file for this year's elections.

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The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that the Webster Groves School District in suburban St. Louis County does not have to admit a student from the unaccredited St. Louis Public Schools.

Tuesday's ruling also sent the case - King-Willmann v. Webster Groves School District - back to the trial court, saying "contested issues of fact" had not been resolved.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a lawsuit challenging the new State House redistricting map.

The map’s opponents raised similar objections as those who’ve challenged the congressional and State Senate district maps drawn up last year:  Like the Senate map, plaintiffs claimed, in written statements, that the six-judge panel that drew up the House map did so behind closed doors and thus violated the state’s Sunshine law.  Robert Hess, one of the attorneys defending the map, said the panel was not subject to the Sunshine law.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Missouri's Supreme Court judges will hear arguments this afternoon in a legal challenge to the new districts for the state House of Representatives.

The suit argues that the new map, which was drawn by a judicial commission, creates districts that are not as compact and equal in population as they should be.

(Mo. Office of Administration)

A tentative agreement has been reached on a new redistricting map for the Missouri Senate.

A bipartisan commission appointed by Governor Jay Nixon (D) to draw a new map negotiated for more than 13 hours Wednesday, and reached a consensus after 12:00 this morning.  The "Tentative Plan" map can be viewed here.  Marc Ellinger is the top Republican on the 10-person commission.

(Missouri Senate)

Two lawsuits challenging Missouri’s new congressional district map have been heard for a second time by the State Supreme Court.  The cases returned to the High Court after the map was upheld two weeks ago by a Cole County Circuit judge.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs continued their arguments that the districts drawn on the so-called Grand Compromise Map fails the state constitution’s compactness requirement.  Attorney Jamie Barker Landes criticized the new 5th District, which lumps three rural GOP-leaning counties with urban Jackson County, while also adding a slice of metro Kansas City onto the rural northern Missouri 6th District.

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

The Missouri Senate has unanimously passed legislation to move the filing period for the state’s party primaries back by one month.

The bill is moving rapidly because the filing period is currently set to begin February 28th and end March 27th, and because of the lack of new State House and Senate district maps.  The Missouri Supreme Court tossed out the Senate map, which now has to be redrawn, and a legal challenge to the new House map is also being appealed to the High Court.  Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says those facts alone make it necessary to push back the filing period.

Joseph Leahy/SLPRnews

Police budget cuts 50 officers through attrition

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom's budget proposal calls for cutting 50 officers through attrition, not layoffs. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Isom presented the budget Wednesday to the Board of Police Commissioners.

The department is faced with a $3.8 million shortfall. The city allocated $168 million to the department - a 3 percent increase over last year. But pension costs came in $5 million higher than anticipated.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Supreme Court is deciding whether the Webster Groves school district must enroll a student from the city of St. Louis.

The court heard arguments Wednesday on a case related to Missouri law that allows students from unaccredited districts to transfer to accredited districts. State lawmakers are also considering how to implement or revise the law. Three school systems in St. Louis and Kansas City are unaccredited. 

The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down a 2010 ethics law that took a long and twisted path to its final form.

(Missouri Senate)

The congressional redistricting map passed last year by Missouri lawmakers has been upheld by a Cole County judge.

Following a three-day court battle, Circuit Judge Daniel Green ruled late Friday that the districts in the so-called Grand Compromise Map do comply with the state constitution’s requirement that congressional districts be “as compact as may be.”  Gerry Greiman, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, disagrees.

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