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St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson has given members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians a special dispensation to allow them to eat corned beef with their cabbage on Friday, but most Catholics in the archdiocese will be required to abstain from meat on this Lenten St. Patrick’s Day.

Rita, an undocumented woman living in St. Louis, fills out a power-of-attorney form with the help of a volunteer attorney and interpreter at a workshop organized by immigrant advocacy groups in south St. Louis Mach 11, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

In response to high anxiety among St. Louis immigrants living in the United States without authorization, a Catholic charity and two immigrant advocate groups have organized a series of legal workshops.

Some workshops teach immigrants their rights in case of arrest; others help participants establish powers of attorney.

Tim Bommel|Missouri House Communications

Placing more restrictions and limiting access to abortion in Missouri remains a high priority for Republican leaders in the Missouri General Assembly, although the issue has taken a bit of a back seat lately to getting right-to-work passed and other workplace and labor issue.

That may be about to change.

Lyda Krewson in a February 2017 file photo.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

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On Friday’s "Behind the Headlines" on St. Louis on the Air, we discussed St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson’s historic Democratic primary win in the St. Louis mayoral race — which puts her one step closer to becoming St. Louis’ first mayor who is a woman.

This is Franks' first time running for office.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated with statement from Tishaura Jones)

State Rep. Bruce Franks will not run for St. Louis mayor.

Franks, a St. Louis Democrat, currently holds office as the State Representative for the 78th District of Missouri. On Thursday, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was making the necessary moves to become a write-in mayoral candidate in the April 4 general election. That would have put him on a collision course with Alderman Lyda Krewson, who narrowly won Tuesday’s Democratic primary for mayor.

But, on Friday morning, Franks then told St. Louis Public Radio he was reversing course and will not be pursuing the mayor’s office. He said he was concerned Republican Gov. Eric Greitens would leave the 78th House District seat vacant until 2018 if he prevailed.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

A scaled-back version of a bill that targets crimes committed by people who are in the U.S. illegally is now in the hands of the Missouri House, after the Senate passed it 27-6 on Thursday.

The new version of Senate Bill 34 makes it a Class C felony for someone who had been deported to illegally re-enter the U.S., come to Missouri and commit “any dangerous felony,” such as manslaughter or rape. But the Senate removed language that required local jailers to turn suspects over to federal immigration authorities as soon as possible.

Missouri House members debate legislation to undo St. Louis' minimum wage law on March 9, 2017.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court is OK with St. Louis raising its minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018. Missouri lawmakers are a different story.

The House passed combined House bills 1194/1193 that would block St. Louis, Kansas City and other cities from boosting the minimum wage above the state’s, which is currently $7.70 an hour. That wage is adjusted for inflation every Jan. 1.

Hillary Frey, Maria Clay and Melanie Kenny discussed youth employment on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

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No matter the experience, whether lifeguarding at the pool, busing tables at a local restaurant or doing odd jobs around the neighborhood, summer jobs in our youth hold a special, nostalgic place in the lives of many Americans. But finding those jobs, which give the young employee important work experience going forward in life, is not as easy as it once was.

It is estimated that about 40,000 young people in the St. Louis region are unemployed and not in school. That’s according to STL Youth Jobs executive director Hillary Frey. The non-profit organization, which is entering its third season, is dedicated to helping 16 to 24-year-olds from struggling St. Louis city and county neighborhoods find summer employment.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:30 a.m. March 9 with comments from Michael Barrett — A new lawsuit alleges the state of Missouri routinely violates the rights of people who need public defenders because of those attorneys’ large caseloads.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday alleging that public defenders cannot pay enough attention to their clients, who have been charged with crimes ranging from stealing to murder. That, the ACLU claims, violates the state and federal constitutions.

Alderman Tammika Hubbard was the sponsor of the stadium financing package.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis politics has long been a family affair, especially when it comes to the Board of Aldermen. Outgoing Mayor Francis Slay, for example, got his start as the 23rd Ward alderman, and his father was the ward’s Democratic committeeman for 45 years. 

But the power of political families may be waning. Tuesday’s Democratic primary saw two families retain control, while two other families lost and the fourth stepped away entirely.

Lyda Krewson, surrounded by family, friends and campaign staffers, checks an update after 85 percent of precincts were tallied. (March 8, 2917)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Only two pushed through the crowded field of St. Louis mayoral candidates with enough support to win: Alderman Lyda Krewson and Treasurer Tishaura Jones, who received more than 60 percent of Tuesday’s vote combined.

 

But in the end, Krewson’s 888-vote edge — the closest result in a Democratic primary in decades — prevailed. The 28th Ward alderman chalked up the win to a robust organization and an appealing policy platform.

 

Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the results of the municipal primary election on March 7.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

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Tuesday, March 7 marked the City of St. Louis primary municipal election — when St. Louis residents voted in aldermanic primary races, the mayoral primary, the comptroller primary and on Proposition S.

Campaign workers encourage passers-by to vote for 19th Ward incumbent Marlene Davis. (March 7, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Let the turnover at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen begin. Voters in Tuesday's primary election chose their preferred Democratic candidates for five open seats and turned out one of six incumbents up for re-election.

The evening's upset was Dan Guenther, who won the 9th Ward with 64.2 percent of the vote. He beat longtime Alderman Ken Ortmann, who had the backing of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

Lyda Krewson thanks her supporters, family and campaign staff after winning the Democratic mayoral primary election by 888 votes.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson emerged from a crowded field of candidates, many of them well-known city leaders, to win Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary. 

With all precincts reporting, Krewson had 32.04 percent of the vote to city Treasurer Tishaura Jones' 30.38 percent — just 888 votes.

On the Republican side, utility executive Andrew Jones handily beat out his two competitors — one of whom, Crown Candy Kitchen owner Andy Karandzieff, had said he entered on a whim and didn't really want to be mayor. Both Jones and Krewson move on to the April 4 general election, where they'll face at least five candidates from other parties.

St. Louis voters approve annual fee for short-term lenders

Mar 7, 2017
A payday loan shop on Natural Bridge Avenue east of Union Boulevard. The high interest rate of payday loans can leave people on the hook for paying more in interest than the original loan.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters have passed a ballot measure that will impose an annual $5,000 fee on short-term lenders, such as payday loan and car-title lending establishments.

The measure, known as Proposition S, was approved by about 60 percent of voters. The measure was sponsored by 20th Ward Alderman Cara Spencer.

Krissy Lane | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 8 p.m. with Senate giving first approval to immigration bill — Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Missouri have more on their minds than the revised executive order President Donald Trump put out this week suspending the U.S. refugee program indefinitely.

They also have to monitor the Missouri legislature, which is considering at least one bill that advocates say would make life more uncertain for immigrants and refugees. That’s why roughly 60 people traveled from St. Louis and Kansas City to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers Tuesday.

Alan Greenblatt, a reporter with Governing Magazine, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss President Trump's relationships with U.S. cities.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

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In January, the term “sanctuary city” came back into the spotlight after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would punish local governments that don't comply with federal immigration enforcement. No cities or counties in St. Louis are currently considered sanctuary areas, but some immigration advocates have called for St. Louis to join the ranks of Denver, Chicago, San Francisco and New York in noncompliance with the feds.

Alderman Jeffrey Boyd votes at Laclede School Tuesday afternoon. (March 7, 2017)
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7 p.m. with polls closing — Election officials said turnout was light for Tuesday's mayoral and aldermanic primary elections.

Seven Democratic mayoral candidates and three GOP contenders are vying to move on to the April 4 general election. Blame the city’s longest-serving mayor for such a crowded field; Francis Slay chose against running for a fifth term.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., criticized President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday for his criticism of U.S. intelligence experts.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Missouri’s Democratic U.S. senator, Claire McCaskill, isn’t surprised that she’s already among the prime targets for 2018. Democrats desperately want to get her re-elected and Republicans are committed to knocking her off.

Three men stand at a podium with microphones at St. Louis City Hall.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft kicked off a media campaign in the marbled rotunda of St. Louis City Hall on Monday to inform the public about Missouri's new voter ID law, which takes effect June 1.

The law that voters gave legislators the constitutional authority to enact in November will require any voter who can’t show a valid photo ID to either provide supplemental documents and their signature or cast a provisional ballot. The first election to be affected takes place Aug. 8.

Susannah Lohr

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On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from St. Louis Public Radio business reporter Maria Altman about a ballot measure St. Louis voters will encounter at this Tuesday’s primary election.

The St. Louis Children's Hospital's logo, which replaces the 'n' in 'Children's' with an image of the Gateway Arch, is printed all over the hospital campus, including the entrance off Kingshighway Boulevard. Spokeswoman Abby Wuellner said the logo represe
File photo|Nassim Benchaabane | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Children’s Hospital is working to help kids avoid being a repeat victim of violence.

Margie Batek, the supervisor of social work at the hospital, developed the program in 2014. She will publicly present three' years worth of data for the first time Tuesday.

Candidate Lyda Krewson responds to a question from the audience.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The melee to get closer to becoming St. Louis mayor is mere hours away from its conclusion.

 

The race has featured an endless amount of twists, turns and surprises. And the contest turned a spotlight on the seven Democratic candidates, who attended an array of forums, conducted scores of media interviews and blanketed St. Louis residents with glossy mailers.

 

 

Missouri Democrats gathered the weekend of March 3, 2017  in Hannibal, Mo.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

HANNIBAL, Mo. – In a political sense, Missouri Democrats gathered this weekend in enemy territory.

The party’s annual Democrat Days, held in Mark Twain’s hometown, now takes place in the midst of Republican turf.  About three-quarters of the ballots cast last fall in northeast Missouri went for now-President Donald Trump. In the Hannibal area, as in the rest of rural Missouri, no Democrat running for statewide office attracted more than one-third of the vote.

Trump supporters hold up signs during a rally at Vlasis Park in Ballwin, Mo on Saturday, March 4, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Trump supporters from St. Louis and around the country rallied in their state capitols Saturday.

The coordinated "Marches 4 Trump" were organized as a response to progressive protests and rallies that have taken place nationwide in recent weeks.

Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf, of St. Joseph, sponsored the Senate drug monitoring bill.
Courtesy of Harrison Sweazea, Missouri Senate Communications

Technically speaking, Missouri is closer to setting up a statewide prescription drug monitoring program with the state Senate passing a bill Thursday.

Realistically, however, Missouri won't be joining the rest of the United States in setting up such a program this year unless the two chambers agree to allow doctors and other health professionals to access a patient’s prescription records.

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

Federal authorities have arrested and charged a man in St. Louis who they say is responsible for making at least eight threats against Jewish schools and organizations across the U.S.

The threats were allegedly part of the suspect's larger cyberstalking campaign against a woman with whom he once had a romantic relationship, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to the crowd after taking the oath of office outside the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City on Jan. 9, 2017.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Eric Greitens says he’s receptive to having Missouri’s transportation department spruce up state land to make way for a professional soccer stadium in St. Louis.

His remarks during a news conference Thursday in Jefferson City appear to be his most direct response regarding the critical state involvement with the proposed stadium, which is on land owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation. For months, Greitens has spoken out against using taxpayer money to build stadiums.

Hundreds of demonstrat0rs gathered in downtown St. Louis to express their disgust, concern and fear with President-elect Donald Trump on Nov. 13, 2016.
File | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, like many parts of the United States, has seen an uptick in marches and protests since President Donald Trump took office.

In late January, thousands took to the streets for the St. Louis women’s march. Many of those participants have also been a part of demonstrations calling for immigrants’ rights and protections for the LGBTQ community.

Priscilla Dowden-White is a history professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis who studies civic activism in the 20th century. She says movements of the early to mid 20th century are rife with lessons for today’s protesters — but that comparing the two too closely can be reductive.

The Missouri Capitol Building at dusk
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate passed a bill along party lines Thursday that would make it harder for employees to prove discrimination when fired from a job.

Under Senate Bill 43, an employee has to prove "race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, or age" was the main reason for dismissal, not just a contributing factor. The measure now goes to the House.

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