Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

Political news

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ budget committee on Wednesday approved the city’s $1.1 billion spending plan that is set to take effect July 1.

Members voted unanimously to send the budget to the full Board of Aldermen, a much different outcome than one last week when the committee deadlocked 3-3. The panel had to approve the budget this week in order for the full board to meet the deadline.

The task force will explore what kinds of affordable housing county residents need and how to finance the trust fund.
Creative Commons

Updated June 20 at 4:30 p.m. with additional comments from County Executive Steve Stenger and a local housing expert. - A key recommendation from the St. Louis Fair Housing Conference in April is prompting action in St. Louis County.

The county has assembled a task force to develop recommendations for promoting housing "equity, fairness and inclusion in our region," St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announced at a news conference Wednesday morning. 

The St. Louis County Council rejected legislation aimed at regulating rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council’s focus on redevelopment efforts at the old Northwest Plaza site – and its related accusations against County Executive Steve Stenger – are now igniting concerns among St. Ann officials and civic leaders.

St. Ann city administrator Matt Conley was among several who contended that the council’s political fight with Stenger is hurting the city’s efforts to attract businesses to the former shopping center site, which once was a regional magnet for shoppers.

Gov. Eric Greitens makes a statement to reporters after his invasion of privacy case was dropped in this on May 14, 2018 file photo.
File photo I St. Louis Public Radio

Attorneys seeking to prove former Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff violated Missouri’s Sunshine Law by using the message-deleting Confide app have an extra hurdle to clear.

Circuit Judge Jon Beetem has issued a protective order, for now, shielding Greitens’ former staffers, including any who still work for the state, from being interviewed under oath by plaintiff’s attorney Mark Pedroli.

The Missouri Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of former state Sen. Mike Kehoe, pictured here on the Senate floor, as lieutenant governor.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 19 at 2:50 p.m. with comments from Attorney General Josh Hawley and additional background — The Missouri Democratic Party is challenging Gov. Mike Parson’s appointment of Mike Kehoe as lieutenant governor.

In a lawsuit filed Monday night on behalf of a World War II veteran, attorneys for the party say Parson had no authority to name Kehoe, a former Republican state senator from Jefferson City, to the office. The lieutenant governor is, by law, an advocate for seniors and by tradition an advocate for veterans.

Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton
YouTube

Updated at 10:50 a.m. with statement from Rachelle Aud Crowe.

The mayor of Edwardsville says he believes a decade-old photo of him wearing blackface makeup released Monday was an attempt to harm his chances to become a state senator.

The Belleville News-Democrat published a photo Monday it received of Mayor Hal Patton wearing a T-shirt, a bandana on his head and dark makeup on his face. The newspaper reported receiving the photo from a Democratic operative.

Former St. Louis County police chief at his campaign kickoff for St. Louis County Council
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch – who’s jumping into the political arena.

Fitch often made headlines in his former job. He didn’t hesitate to go public with some of his concerns, even when it put him at odds with then-County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, was sworn in Monday as lieutenant governor of Missouri.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri once again has a lieutenant governor, despite legal questions over how that vacancy was filled.

Gov. Mike Parson has named state senator and fellow Republican Mike Kehoe of Jefferson City to fill the No. 2 statewide post. Kehoe was sworn in Monday inside the governor’s office by Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce.

The move comes a little more than two weeks after Parson took over as chief executive following the resignation of Eric Greitens.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her best-known Republican rival, Josh Hawley, agree on one thing: health care — including its rising costs — is a top issue in their race this year.

And they accuse each other of misleading the public on the matter.

Take, for example, insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes or pregnancy.

Attorneys Ross Garber and Ed Greim were hired by former gov. Eric Greitens to represent him "in his capacity as governor."
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

One of the lawyers who represented former Gov. Eric Greitens before a state House committee investigating his conduct says the state’s rejection of their bills sets a “terrible precedent.”

“If it works this time, then the next time there’s some sort of politically controversial engagement, you’ll have the same thing happen again,” said Kansas City attorney Ed Greim. “We’re going to have to have officeholders who have deep pockets, because they’re going to have to personally pay for state government work.”

Paul McKee on March 28, 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Original story from 06/13/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 06/15/18.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. June 13 with comments from NorthSide Regeneration — The state of Missouri has sued developer Paul McKee, accusing him of misusing tax credits for his 1,500-acre NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, right, examines equipment as Patriot Machines vice president Robert Burns gives him a tour of the plant.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says he is continuing to investigate former Gov. Eric Greitens for possible wrongdoing.

Hawley said Thursday that his office has two “open investigations” into Greitens, and that he is optimistic new Gov. Mike Parson’s staff will provide help, if needed.

One of the probes is looking into allegations that Greitens and his staff violated the state’s Sunshine Law, in part by using a texting app that erased messages immediately after they are read. At issue is whether office records that should have been retained were destroyed.

State Sen.-elect Lauren Arthur flipped a seat that had been held by Republicans for 12 years.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin go “on location’’ to welcome Missouri state Sen.-elect Lauren Arthur.

A Democrat, Arthur has touched off a minor political earthquake with her June 5 success in handily winning a state Senate seat in suburban Kansas City that had been held by Republicans for 12 years. Both parties are examining her success to figure out how to duplicate it, or cut it short, in November.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers questions during a town hall at Harris-Stowe State University. Jan. 27, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump is joining some fellow Republicans who are attacking U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill for using her family’s private plane to make campaign stops around the state.

Said Trump in a Wednesday-afternoon tweet:

“Senator Claire McCaskill of the GREAT State of Missouri flew around in a luxurious private jet during her RV tour of the state. RV’s are not for her. People are really upset, so phony! Josh Hawley should win big, and has my full endorsement.”

At issue is the senator’s recent campaign tour to visit with military veterans around the state. Although she often traveled on a campaign RV, McCaskill has acknowledged that she also at times used her family plane.

Gov. Mike Parson greets attendees after a meeting with business and community leaders and elected officials at Cortex Innovation Community.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

New Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says that improving the state’s roads and bridges appears to be one of the top issues all over the state that has bipartisan support.

Parson ended his 10-stop listening tour on Wednesday by visiting the Cortex business complex in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis. He said that in all of his meetings — in rural and urban areas — civic and business leaders called for improving Missouri’s infrastructure.

“I think it’s so important that we move forward on infrastructure. We just can’t keep kicking the can down the road and expect any different result,” he said. “And it really does matter how we move forward as a state to do that. So I think we’re going to be working hard on that.”

On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” international journalist and St. Louis native Daniel Estrin (at left) talked with host Don Marsh in front of a live audience at St. Louis Public Radio.
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Like other journalists based in Jerusalem and the region surrounding the ancient city, Daniel Estrin is often associated with one overarching, ongoing news headline: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He’s covered many of the latest developments within that continuing story during his time reporting in the Middle East. But there have been many other stories for him to tell over the course of that decade, too.

“Every day surprises me there,” the NPR correspondent and St. Louis native said Wednesday on St. Louis on the Air. “You meet so many different voices and so many different perspectives … and oftentimes you’ll hear, ‘The Israelis think this, the Palestinians think that.’ But actually there are so many different perspectives among Palestinians. There are so many different perspectives among Israelis. And that’s the kind of texture that I like to bring out in my reporting.”

The St. Louis County Council passed a resolution Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, asking municipalities to spend Proposition P solely on policing. The resolution is non-binding.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council plans to recommend that federal or state law enforcement agencies investigate whether County Executive Steve Stenger broke any laws when he moved some county operations to the old Northwest Plaza shopping center.

The 26-page report circulated this week by the council’s Ethics Committee takes aim at Stenger over his administration’s efforts to help redevelop the Northwest Plaza site in St. Ann.

The report – to be formally presented to the full council next week -- calls for the state attorney general or the U.S. attorney to look into the matter.

Attorneys Ross Garber and Ed Greim were hired by former Gov. Eric Greitens to represent him "in his capacity as governor." June 2018
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

The chairman of a Missouri House committee that investigated former Gov. Eric Greitens doesn’t want the state to pay for his lawyers.

Greitens hired attorneys Ed Greim and Ross Garber to represent him in his official capacity as governor. When questioned under oath by the House investigative committee last month, the two confirmed that they were billing the state for their services – Greim was billing the state $340 an hour, while Garber was billing $320 an hour.

Rev. F. Willis Johnson on "St. Louis on the Air"
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

After serving his community in Ferguson for more than seven years and emerging as a leader following the killing of Michael Brown in 2014, Rev. F. Willis Johnson is being transplanted to Columbus, Ohio, where he will grow a new church.

Johnson was the pastor of Wellspring Church in downtown Ferguson until it recently closed. He is also the co-founder/director of the Center for Social Empowerment and author of “Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community.” On Tuesday, Johnson joined host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air to discuss his time in St. Louis.

Northside Regeneration owns much of the land in the TIF. Looking north from the intersection of Cass and Jefferson Avenues, the future site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is visible at right.” 4-10-2018.
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10 p.m. Tuesday with comments from NorthSide Regeneration — After nearly 10 years, the city of St. Louis wants to cut ties with developer Paul McKee and his NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

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