Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

Political news

Echo Bluff State Park
Courtesy of Missouri Department of Natural Resources

The Missouri House approved a measure last week that would block the creation of state parks until maintenance on the nearly 100 existing parks is completed.

Rici Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in 16 years, St. Louis is welcoming a new mayor into office.

The shift in power from Francis Slay to Lyda Krewson led Curious Louis participant and St. Louis native, Whitney Panneton to ask St. Louis Public Radio: What exactly does the mayor do?

Basketball players take advantage of the Fox Park courts in April 2017.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Jeffrey Perry doesn’t mind having to leave his St. Louis neighborhood to shoot some hoops with friends.

“It’s not the hoop, it’s the company,” Perry said as he and Calvin Lonzo played a little one-on-one in Fox Park recently. But he remembers when he didn’t have to go as far away from his home in Shaw to find a court in a public park.

U.S. Rep Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, raised $804,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

While Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and potential GOP rival U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner collect millions of dollars in campaign donations, many Missouri officials are raising far less as they adjust to new state campaign donation limits.

Campaign finance reports from Jan. 1 to March 31 also showed that Gov. Eric Greitens spent more than a half-million dollars in that timespan, with a large chunk going toward a media services firm run by Georgia-based consultant Nick Ayers, who also has done work for Vice President Mike Pence.

Forward Through Ferguson's Nicole Hudson is joining St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson's administration.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Hudson I Lindy Drew

St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson has hired a woman who’s twice worked to help institute policy changes in Ferguson after Michael Brown’s 2014 shooting death.

Jim Craig, James Petersen, Heath McClung, and Jonathan Hurly, all veterans, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss what it is like to be a student veteran.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

When people think of the issues faced by veterans in their return to civilian life, the mind often goes to stereotypes: trauma, PTSD, disability. That’s not the only story to tell, said Jonathan Hurly, president of the Saint Louis University Veterans Association.

Judge Jimmie Edwards swears in members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The ceremony had to be moved outside after a bomb scare at City Hall.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

On Friday’s "Behind the Headlines" on St. Louis on the Air, we  took an in-depth look at one of the top news stories of the week.

On this week’s program, St. Louis Public Radio Statehouse Reporter Marshall Griffin joined us to give us an update on the political happenings Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. No Missouri budget has yet been passed, but the the General Assembly has been busy passing other bills.

Read more of Marshall's reporting this week here

File photo | Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio / Uber, MTC

Updated at 1:35 p.m. with bill passing — The three-year battle to get a ride-hailing bill to the governor’s desk is finally over.

The Missouri House overwhelmingly passed HB 130 on Thursday by a 144-7 vote, which would craft statewide regulations for Uber, Lyft and other app-based companies to operate anywhere in the state.

File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

After hours of debate Thursday evening, the Missouri Senate passed the bill that would create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program by a 22-9 vote. But opponents added language that could be problematic when the bill returns to the House in the final weeks of the 2017 session. 

Missouri is the only state in the U.S. without a prescription drug monitoring program, and Gov. Eric Greitens has said he backs the creation of one.

Forest Park Trolleys will operate on two routes beginning Saturday, April 13 2017.
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

Beginning Saturday, the Forest Park bus trolley will have two routes instead of one. The blue route and green route will serve attractions in the western and eastern parts of the park separately.

 

The two different routes will help with passenger convenience and easier navigation through the park, said Ray Friem, executive director of Metro Transit.

 

Today marks the 274th anniversary of the birth of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson.
Rembrandt Peele | Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, April 13, 2017 marked the 274th anniversary of the birth of American founding father Thomas Jefferson.

On St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh looked back on the complicated legacy of the United States' third president and explored the impact of his presidency regionally with Washington University professor Peter Kastor.

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:30 p.m. with specific date by which federal crime victims money must be used — Missouri legislators have three weeks left to get the state’s $27.8 billion budget for the next fiscal year across the finish line, and aren’t moving as quickly as they did in 2016.

The 13 budget bills currently reside in the Senate’s budget committee, which worked on several of them in the past week. Here’s the breakdown of the changes they’ve made compared to the House budget and what they’ll look to finish next week:

A media advocacy group and the ACLU are asking Missouri's highest court to settle whether the state's prison officials must publicly reveal the source of the drug used to execute prisoners.

The nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs wrote in a filing Wednesday with the Missouri Supreme Court that that court can resolve the issue that's produced conflicting rulings.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to law enforcement officials Friday morning at the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. (March 31, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been more than a week since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he wanted to review all agreements between the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and local police departments — a move that could have a major impact in Ferguson.

If the consent decree that came after the August 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown goes away, there would be no independent monitor to oversee the significant changes to the police department’s training and operations, including a new use-of-force policy. It’s not clear who would pick up the accountability baton.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The leaders of St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Clair County say they are working with law enforcement to make it safer to ride MetroLink.

After meeting privately for more than an hour Wednesday, St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said they have a framework to improve security along the light-rail line that connects the three counties.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers questions after the Democrat held a town hall event Wednesday in Jefferson County.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill was prepared Wednesday for a repeat of the hostile reception she received at her last town hall in politically volatile Jefferson County in 2009.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to Republican supporters in East Alton on April 12, 2017.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner made a stop Wednesday in East Alton as part of a statewide push against the state’s epic budget impasse, which has led to underfunding of social services in the Metro East.

 

The Republican’s re-election campaign paid for the tour, which comes more than a year before he’s up for another term in 2018. He expressed frustration to the crowd of primarily GOP activists about how he hasn’t been able to reach a budget deal with Democratic-controlled legislature for nearly two years.

Esther Shin, the new president of Urban Strategies, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss what the non-profit is working on in neighborhood revitalization.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded a $29.5 million grant to a team of developers to revitalize and transform the Near North Side neighborhood, which encompasses an area directly north of downtown St. Louis. The area runs from the riverfront to Jefferson Avenue on the west side and Washington Avenue on the south side to St. Louis Avenue near the Old North neighborhood on the north side.

new stadium, St. Louis Rams
Courtesy HOK | 360 Architecture

The saga of the Rams' decision to leave St. Louis is not over. The city, St. Louis County and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority are suing the National Football League and all of its member teams over the Rams' move to Los Angeles.

The suit was filed Wednesday in St. Louis Circuit Court. It accuses the NFL and Rams' officials of violating the league's relocation guidelines. The relocation guidelines, according to the lawsuit, "bind the NFL, NFL team owners, and NFL teams to follow certain procedures before allowing them to relocate."

Travis Fitzwater, April 2017
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Travis Fitzwater to the program for the first time.

 

The Holts Summit Republican represents the 49th House District, which covers parts of Callaway and Cole counties in central Missouri. Before running for office, Fitzwater worked for the Missouri Pharmacy Association, first as the marketing coordinator, and, later, chief operating officer.  

 

 

 

School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Republicans hope the omnibus education bill in front of the Senate will take care of major priorities for Gov. Eric Greitens’ and themselves.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner takes the oath of office at the Old Courthouse on January 6, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner  is wrapping up 100 days in office this week as the first African-American to hold the position.

Gardner, who is the city's top prosecutor, has used most of her first weeks trying to improve the relationships between law enforcement and people of color.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens delivers his first State of the State address last week in Jefferson City.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:45 p.m. with Greitens' office comment Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has set up a task force that’s meant to examine which of the state’s hundreds of boards and commissions are necessary and which ones are not.

Last week, ProPublica and Consumer Reports released a first-of-its-kind analysis of car insurance premiums in California, Illinois, Texas & Missouri showing some minority neighborhoods pay higher auto insurance premiums than white areas with similar risk.
Gateway Streets | Flickr

Last week, ProPublica and Consumer Reports released a first-of-its-kind analysis of car insurance premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri. Following a nearly year and a half investigation into premiums in those states, ProPublica found that residents of minority neighborhoods, on the whole, had to pay more for their car insurance premiums compared with white areas with similar “riskiness.”

Jack Speer, a newscaster with NPR, joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh on Tuesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, NPR Newscaster Jack Speer joined host Don Marsh to discuss his career, reporting from Washington D.C. post-election and how things are going at NPR.

Speer, who prior to joining the newscast unit in 2007 worked for NPR’s business desk since 1998, has covered the nation’s top business and economic news.

Dozens of cannabis clones grow under high-intensity lights at BeLeaf's growing and processing facility in Earth City, Missouri.
File photo | Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

For the third year in a row, the Missouri House passed a bill that would legalize the growing and production of hemp for purposes like soap and rope. But its fate is likely to be the same as before: A slow death in the Senate due to the short time left in the 2017 session and the bill’s low priority for Republicans running the chamber.

The Missouri Farm Bureau also strongly opposes House Bill 170, and sent individual letters to every member of the House before Monday night’s 126-26 vote.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth I St. Louis Public Radio
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth I St. Louis Public Radio

In a region as fragmented as St. Louis, there’s one commonality uniting scores of towns and cities: high sales taxes.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated April 11 with accusations from Black Caucus over the bill sponsor — The Missouri General Assembly's Black Caucus is attacking a bill that makes it harder for fired workers to prove discrimination, citing a racial discrimination lawsuit that's pending against the measure's Senate sponsor.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, photographed on April 4, 2017 in St. Louis Public Radio's studios, one week before leaving office as St. Louis' longest-serving mayor.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by St. Louis’ longest-serving mayor, Francis G. Slay. This interview happened during Slay’s last week in office, after his 16-year tenure at the helm of the city.

Pages