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Gov. Jay Nixon made expanding Medicaid a top priority when he first ran for governor. While he made some small steps, he was largely unsuccessful in achieving that goal.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

After Gov. Jay Nixon placed his signature on legislation that could expand Medicaid for Missourians who are disabled or elderly, I couldn’t help but think back to when the Democratic official visited Bob Pund’s apartment.

Nixon was a mere attorney general when he ventured into Pund’s residence back in 2007. Pund is paralyzed from the shoulders down and had been critical of major cuts made to Medicaid in 2005. As Nixon sat in Pund’s living room, the aspiring governor vowed to make reversing those reductions a priority of his eventual administration – even if he was faced with a Republican-controlled legislature.

Illustration by Susannah Lohr I St. Louis Public Radio

Meredith Anderson spent most of her life in Maryland before relocating to the Show Me State a couple of years ago. The O’Fallon resident got a surprising "welcome to Missouri" letter in the form of a personal property tax bill on her well-worn van.

Needless to say, Anderson was more than a little confused. She didn’t pay personal property taxes on her vehicle in her old state. And she didn’t get why you needed to pay such a tax in Missouri.

Updated Sunday, June 12, with details from the march — People from throughout St. Louis marched through the Grove neighborhood in south St. Louis late Sunday to hold a vigil for the people killed and wounded in an attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.

A gunman opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday morning, killing at least 50 people in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history before being shot dead by police.

LawrenceOP | Flickr

President Barack Obama said the killing of 50 people at an Orlando nightclub was an act “terror and hate.” It was largest mass shooting in U.S. history with at least another 53 wounded. The president also called for flags to be flown at half staff.

In St. Louis, a vigil is planned in the Grove neighborhood on Sunday evening at 8:30 p.m.

Chad Sabora of the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform & Recovery watches as the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approve the Good Samaritan bill he supported.
Liz Schlemmer | St. Louis Public Radio intern

A bill that aims to reduce fatal heroin overdoses is on its way to Mayor Francis Slay’s desk.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved the so-called Good Samaritan bill. It offers immunity from drug possession charges for those who seek medical help for someone experiencing an overdose.

Individuals could still be arrested for other crimes, or if they have outstanding warrants.

Dave Robertson, Jo Mannies and Vivian Eveloff discuss the presidential race on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed the current state of presidential politics.

Joining us:

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

The final audit has begun in a series of cyber security checks of five of Missouri's K-12 school districts.

Orchard Farm in St. Charles County is the fifth school district getting this type of review.It began this week, so there is no information yet on any findings or issues.

ID checks might be more difficult for residents of Missouri, Illinois and two other states.
Department of Homeland Security

Missouri IDs do not meet the federal standard, and lawmakers are dragging their feet to do something about it. 

After 9/11, Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 as an extra security measure in airports and military facilities. The Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Driver’s Licenses web page includes a quote from The 9/11 Commission Report, “For terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons.”

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster greets attendees at the Truman Dinner, the Missouri Democratic Party's annual gathering.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 13, 2016 with statement from Carrier, in response to Koster speech  -- Over dinner and drinks Thursday night at Busch Stadium, hundreds of Missouri Democrats exuded more optimism than they have in years.

Everyone seemed happy with Hillary Clinton as their party’s presidential nominee. But many were even happier that Donald Trump is leading the opposition.

Current and Jacks Fork rivers
National Parks Service

Legislation now before Gov. Jay Nixon could give corporate agriculture more input into the state’s water resources. It could lead to more industry representatives, which would mean fewer public voices on the Missouri Clean Water Commission.

Near the end of session, it’s not unusual for controversial amendments to be tacked on to bills. This change, sponsored by Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, fits that description.

St. Louis Alderwoman Donna Baringer, D-16th Ward, is considered an ally of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. But she says voters should have a say in whether to extend bonds for the new stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A commission that would accept ethics complaints against elected officials in the city of St. Louis could have its duties expanded.

The commission is part of Alderman Scott Ogilvie's, D-24th Ward, measure capping campaign contributions $10,000 for both citywide and aldermanic races. As the bill is currently written, members of the panel would investigate complaints about financial disclosure or conflicts of interest.

The LG PAC is airing an ad attacking Missouri Republican gubernatorial hopeful John Brunner.
Screen capture | YouTube

Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor each claim to be shocked by the emergence of a new political group, LG PAC, that has launched a $1 million TV ad campaign this week.

That spending is more than all of the state’s gubernatorial candidates have spent on TV so far -- combined.  LG PAC also is just the latest of a series of groups, with unknown donors, that are spending money to aid or attack Missouri’s statewide candidates.

Join St. Louis Public Radio on July 6 for a live broadcast debate between Missouri GOP gubernatorial candidates.
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio.

You’re invited: On July 6, St. Louis Public Radio has assembled Missouri’s GOP gubernatorial contenders ahead of the August primary so you can hear their stances during a debate. The event with be moderated by St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh, with St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies serving as fellow questioners.

Gov. Jay Nixon's criticism of the legislature was relatively low key. 5.15.15
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday signed several bills into law, including one designed to prevent identity theft.

Senate Bill 624 makes it a class A misdemeanor to possess stolen credit card information or devises, even if the info or devise has not been used after being stolen.

Budget director Paul Payne gives a presentation at a public hearing on the city's 2017 spending plan on May 18, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

For the past two weeks, the heads of city departments have come to the Ways and Means Committee asking the aldermen for additional money to cover their needs.

On Monday, it was the aldermen's turn to have their say on the spending plan for 2017.

Lawmakers in St. Louis are limited in how they can affect the budget. The city's budget must be balanced, so any addition to one department has to be balanced by a subtraction from another area.

Josh Hawley
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome attorney general hopeful Josh Hawley to the program.

Hawley is one of two Republicans running for attorney general. His GOP rival, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, was a guest on the podcast a few weeks ago. Two Democrats -- St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman and former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley -- are also seeking the post. (Attorney General Chris Koster is running for governor, which means his office is up for grabs.)

Alderman Scott Ogilvie, D-24th, leveled harsh criticism on the stadium proposal during Thursday's meeting.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

When St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie proposed limiting political donations for St. Louis-based offices three years ago, the 24th Ward Democrat wanted to place curbs on what he felt was an abnormal state campaign finance system.

He’s introducing the legislation again, and there may an added sense of urgency to pass Ogilvie’s bill – especially if a campaign finance ballot initiative makes it into the Missouri Constitution.

Originally built to house the Biddle Street Market, this city-owned building at 1211 N. Tucker Blvd. is slated to house the city's new 24-hour homeless shelter.
William Bailey | provided by the city of St. Louis

For the past decade, the homeless population in the city of St. Louis has hovered between 1,300 and 1,500 people. But a national expert and the CEO of the lead agency selected to run the city’s new homeless shelter say with the right resources and methods, most of those people could be housed.

At a public meeting on Biddle House last Wednesday St. Patrick Center CEO Laurie Phillips said 50 percent of the estimated 1,300 homeless people in St. Louis just need a few months of rental support and help finding a job. That method is called rapid rehousing.

Updated Monday, June 6, with details on Eric Greitens' first TV ad — After raising money for months, or even years, it’s now time for many Missouri candidates to start spending it.

That’s particularly true in the state’s four-way GOP contest for governor, where the contenders are launching their final two-month sprint to woo voters for the Aug. 2 primary.

As of Monday, St. Louis area voters will start seeing more TV ads.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed public outcry about public safety in St. Louis, the NGA announcement and the Illinois budget situation after Illinois’ spring legislative session closed on Tuesday.

Here’s who joined us:

Beth Huebner and Herb Bernsen are in the second year of a MacArthur Foundation grant to reduce the St. Louis County jail population by 15-19 percent.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a discussion about UMSL and St. Louis County’s partnership to reduce the county’s jail population by 15 to 19 percent over two years.

Beth Huebner, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at UMSL, is the lead researcher on a $2.25 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that makes this work possible. She joined the show alongside Herb Bernsen, the director of justice services for St. Louis County, to discuss how the project is going.

Dennis Ball-Bey, Mansur Ball-Bey's father, hugs Shonettda Ball, Mansur's cousin, on the steps outside St. Louis city court Thursday afternoon.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with comments from the family and prosecutor Jennifer Joyce. - Two St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers will not face criminal charges for the August 2015 shooting death of a young man in the Fountain Park neighborhood.

Attorney General Chris Koster speaks a press conference Thursday in St. Louis with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri's Dan Glaizer.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants legislators to make an annual racial disparity data report more impactful. This comes as his latest report, covering 2015, continues to show big discrepancies in how often police stop black drivers compared to white drivers.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Aldermen in charge of St. Louis' budget heard more requests Wednesday from department officials who say they can't do the jobs they should without additional staffing.

Representatives of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the circuit attorney's office and recorder of deeds Sharon Carpenter all asked members of the Ways and Means Committee to find the money for additional positions. The St. Louis Fire Department made a similar request last week.

Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) was started in 1944 by William Trent, Frederick D. Patterson and Mary McLeod Bethune. It was created to help raise funds for scholarships for 37 private historically black colleges and universities.

Now, funding has expanded for scholarships to non-HBCUs. The group predominantly provides scholarships to African American students, but also extends funding to other minorities as well.

Missouri farmers grow rice mostly in the state's Boo theel.
USDA

Gov. Jay Nixon is working to strengthen a trade agreement with Cuba to export Missouri goods. On Wednesday, Nixon returned from Cuba, where he led a delegation of the state's agriculture and business leaders.  

Dan Mehan of the Missouri Chamber testifies against the proposed constitutional amendment, saying it would have a negative economic impact on Missouri.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Legislation designed to expand the number of employee-owned businesses in Missouri is awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon's signature.

House Bill 2030 would give business owners a 50 percent tax deduction if their companies are at least 30 percent employee owned. It was sponsored by House Speaker Pro-tem Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg.

STL Youth Jobs will offer paid summer work to 450 young people over the next several months, but hopes to increase that number to 500.
STL Youth Jobs

STL Youth Jobs launched the first day of its 2016 summer work program Wednesday, while also announcing it has received a financial boost to fund more positions.

Originally built to house the Biddle Street Market, this city-owned building at 1211 N. Tucker Blvd. is slated to house the city's new 24-hour homeless shelter.
William Bailey | provided by the city of St. Louis

Updated on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, 2:00 p.m. to include the city's acceptance of a proposal - The city of St. Louis is one step closer to opening a homeless shelter on the near north side. Tuesday a city committee accepted St. Patrick Center’s proposal to run Biddle House with the help of Peter and Paul Community Services.

Human Services Director Eddie Roth said the next step is to negotiate a contract with the agencies.  

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