Politics & Issues

Political news

Mark Christeson
Missouri Department of Corrections

Missouri's execution clock is ticking again.

The state Supreme Court has set Jan. 31, 2017, as the new execution date for death row inmate Mark Christeson. The 24-hour execution window on that date will begin at 6 p.m.

Robin Smith October 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday, St. Louis on the Air welcomed the Democratic nominee for Missouri secretary of state: Robin Smith. We have also invited to Republican nominee, Jay Ashcroft, to be on the program before the Nov. 8 election.

Update: Jay Ashcroft will be a guest on St. Louis on the Air on Thursday, October 20.

Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Association

The St. Louis County Library will explore the disappearance of African-American sites in the region at a presentation tonight.

The panel discussion is the third event in the library's "We Are St. Louis” series exploring the nuanced identities of the region’s residents. It will be held at the Lewis & Clark branch in north St. Louis County.

St. Louis County Parks and Recreation

St. Louis County residents have several opportunities this month to weigh in on the future of area parks.

The County’s Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a series of open houses to discuss a master plan to guide the development and maintenance of parks and park facilities.

Project manager Gerry Biedenstein said residents should take this opportunity to share what they think is important.

Attorneys for Bruce Franks, Penny Hubbard, and employees with the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners examine absentee ballot envelopes during a court hearing on Sept. 1, 2016.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Area voter registration deadlines are fast approaching. Missouri voters must submit a completed application by the end of business on Oct. 12.

Stephanie Fleming, director of communications for Missouri's secretary of state says people can register in person, by mail or online.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

The first of six ballot measures before Missouri voters this November has not generated any controversy – so far. Constitutional Amendment 1 would renew the state's parks and soils tax for another 10 years. 

Jason Kander, left, and Roy Blunt
Carolina Hidalgo and Sen. Blunt's Flickr page

Missouri TV viewers may see a deluge of new ads focusing on the U.S. Senate contest — and those ads may not be from the candidates’ campaigns.

In the wake of Sunday’s presidential debate, political activists in both parties privately say they expect more outside money to be spent in the state shortly on behalf of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

Why? Because of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's latest national surge in the polls. 

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks with reporters before the start of the presidential debate at Washington University. (Oct. 9, 2016)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spent a lot of time during their Sunday night debate dwelling on vulgar comments, leaked speeches, personal income tax payments and tweets of days past.

But one thing the two didn’t talk about at all during their Washington University showdown was Ferguson.

Reporters interview surrogates following the presidential debate at Washington University.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Inside a spin room packed to the gills with reporters, campaign surrogates tried to put their best face forward about the debate.

“The first 20 minutes started out a little rocky,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican from Salem, Missouri. “But the next hour and 10 minutes was focused on a lot of policy and issues that Americans are really paying a lot of attention to: health care, taxation, the Supreme Court vacancies. So I thought that was pretty good.”

But Smith’s colleague, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, had a much dimmer view of Trump’s performance.

Washington University cheerleaders perform on MSNBC before the start of the presidential debate on Sunday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In a debate that started without a handshake and with very sharp attacks, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton ended saying something they admired about the other. They also shook hands.

Sometimes the presidential candidates answered audience questions directly. But on taxes, on Syria, on leaked emails and uncovered video tape, they frequently used their time to try to make predetermined points.

All throughout the day on Sunday, people in and around Washington University became immersed in the events leading up to and following the debate.  

Reny Alfonso, 7, carries American flag pinwheels at the "Forward Together" bus tour kickoff event outside the Missouri History Museum Sunday afternoon.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio has three reporters and a photographer on Washington University’s campus to document and report on what's happening before the second presidential debate of 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Read below for reverse chronological updates from throughout the day on Washington University's campus. You can also stay up-to-the-minute updated by following our Twitter list, embedded below but also available here.

September 17, 2016 - Media Center banners go up and carpet is installed, Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University | Flickr

On Sunday, Oct. 9, the eyes of the world turned to St. Louis as Washington University hosts the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. We’ve laid out some of the things you need to know ahead of the debate (like road closures and the cost of such an event) here, but we’re also working to bring you updates day-of from our reporters and producers with St. Louis Public Radio.

Ann Wagner
St. Louis Regional Chamber | File photo

With Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in crisis mode one day before a pivotal debate in St. Louis, at least two area GOP officials want their party's nominee to step aside.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, and Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, both released statements on Saturday pulling their support for Trump. Their retractions came a little less than a day after the Washington Post’s explosive story detailing Trump’s vulgar comments about women that were captured on tape in 2005.

Workers put on final touches for Sunday's Washington University debate setting
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

At Sunday night’s presidential debate, about 40 St. Louis area undecided voters will get a chance to pose questions to Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

They are being chosen by the Gallup polling organization, which has undertaken the job in previous town-hall debates, at the behest of the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Departments..

But lots of other things have changed, when it comes to the town-hall format, since a similar debate was held in 2004 at Washington University between then-President George W. Bush and the Democratic nominee, then-Sen. John Kerry.

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed some of the news stories on listener’s minds with those who produced the stories.

Workers construct the stage on Friday for the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After a little bit of time away, the national spotlight is back on St. Louis.

Hordes of reporters and political types will venture here this weekend for the second presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

This area has a lot in common with what’s forming the national political discourse. Our racial, social and economic divisions were broadcast to the world after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. And finding tangible solutions to these longstanding gaps has been a slow and frustrating process.

Vince Bantu (left) listens to speaker SueJeanne Koh at the Summit for Future Theological Educators of Color, a conference held in Evanston, Ilinois, in the summer of 2014.
Vince Bantu | Jubilee Community Church

What exactly is an “inter-minority" dialogue?

For Vince Lee Bantu, it’s a space for where people of color can come share their common cultural experiences and nuanced struggles while building connections.

On Saturday, Inter-Minority Dialogue is an event with workshops that will explore topics that include “Latinos, Immigration, and the Church;” “Being Arab in St. Louis;” and “Partnering with Refugees.” Organized by local faith leaders like Bantu to focus on the experiences of people of color, the event will take place at Comunidad Cristiana Vida Abundante, 1216 Sidney St., in St. Louis.

There is no act more central to a democracy than voting. Electionland is a project that will cover access to the ballot and problems that prevent people from exercising their right to vote during the 2016 election.
Courtesy ProPublica

Editor’s note: St. Louis Public Radio is participating in this national reporting initiative. You can help us monitor the voting process. Whether you are voting absentee, or waiting to go to your polling place on Nov. 8, you may sign up here to let us know about your voting experience.

Election Day is still a month away, but some Americans are already casting ballots. About 20 states and the District of Columbia have early voting programs, several of which have already begun. It’s estimated that about one-third of the country will have voted by the time polls open on Nov. 8.

The Electionland coalition is also beginning its work. We’ve started looking for problems that prevent eligible voters from exercising their right to cast a ballot before the polls close. Using a combination of social media posts, data about web search trends, and call center records from a coalition of election lawyers, we’ll be looking at the process of voting to help make sure that nobody is shut out because of long lines, improper procedures or inadequate resources.

A portion of the audience at a 2016 Washington University student debate. They also are among the millennial voters that candidates seek to attract.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Reaching younger voters may be one benefit of using college campuses for presidential debates.  Which, no doubt, is one of the goals for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as they prepare to take the stage Sunday at Washington University.

A recent campus debate at Wash U between the college Republicans and Democrats offers a window into the candidates’ dilemma, as they seek to woo millennials, many of whom don’t align themselves with either major party.

Nearly 100 people demonstrated outside the Missouri Supreme Court shortly after two cases were argued seeking higher minimum wages in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing two cases, one from St. Louis and the other from Kansas City, seeking to allow higher minimum wages in each place.

At issue is a law enacted during last year's veto session that bars cities from enacting a minimum wage that's higher than that set by the federal or state government. House Bill 722 was passed in response to both cities seeking higher minimum wages, along with Columbia's efforts to ban plastic grocery bags.

Antonio French 2016 photo
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The race to be the next St. Louis mayor is getting more crowded.

A day after St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson jumped in the contest and St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones announced that she had filed paperwork to race money for a mayoral bid, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French revealed he too would seek to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar gives details of a shooting death of Officer Blake Snyder as a photo of the officer is shown during a press conference in Clayton. 10-06-16
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A St. Louis County Police officer has died following an early morning shooting on Thursday. Officer Blake Snyder was responding to a disturbance call when he was shot.

The suspect is an 18-year-old male who is being treated for gun shot wounds at a local hospital. He was shot by a second police officer.

Debate signage installed on the front of the Athletics Complex, Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University | Flickr

Updated Thursday, Oct. 6 at 1:20 p.m. with traffic closure details  Last Monday night featured the first presidential debate of the year and the first time Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off one-on-one over plans and policy. It was the most-watched debate in televised debate history.

But what about the second round? In addition to a different format, a town hall, the second debate is at Washington University. It has hosted more debates than any other institution in history.

Michael Brown Sr. stands at the back of the Ferguson Community Center's event space during the public comment portion of Tuesday's city council meeting.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the presidential campaign began in earnest, it’s become fairly common for candidates to allude to the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer.

But according to officials that represent Ferguson, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has visited the city since announcing their presidential bids. And with both candidates set to debate Sunday at Washington University, some of the city’s elected leaders say it’s time for Trump and Clinton to see the town for themselves.

In just about a month, Election Day 2016 will be here. By the end of Nov. 8, Americans will most likely know who will be the nation’s next president.

But will they be happy?

Probably not, based on what many sources in our Public Insight Network have told us.

Chief Sam Dotson stl police 1.27.15
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern | 2015 photo

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson has filed papers with the Missouri Ethics Commission to explore a possible bid for mayor, he confirmed to The American. Incumbent Mayor Francis Slay is not seeking reelection.

Dotson initially told The American there would be no announcement or social media campaign, and that he intends to quietly raise funds to conduct polls to see how competitive he would be. Then he released an announcement.

Kashif Kamal and Nigar Khurram, two visiting Pakistani journalists, discussed journalism and their impressions of the U.S. on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of 10 broadcast journalists from Pakistan is visiting the United States on a sponsored trip from the U.S. State Department and the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications. The journalists made a stop in St. Louis and we heard from two of them on St. Louis on the Air on Wednesday.

Jay Ashcroft
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 back Republican secretary of state nominee Jay Ashcroft to the program.

Ashcroft was on the show earlier this year when he was running in a competitive GOP primary against state Sen. Will Kraus. Ashcroft defeated the Lee’s Summit Republican in a landslide, and now faces Democrat Robin Smith in the general election.

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster
Carolina Hidalgo and Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the Democratic nominee for governor, says he’s doing no more debates with Republican Eric Greitens unless Greitens releases his tax returns.

Koster made public his last four years of returns last week.

Greitens says he’s keeping his returns private, and he accuses Koster of backing out of any more debates because he’s “running scared’’ after their only joint appearance last week.

St. Louis County's temporary absentee-voting office is in Maplewood's Deer Creek shopping center.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

With Missouri’s largest bloc of votes, St. Louis County often makes or breaks elections, determining which statewide candidates claim victory, and which ballot issues become law.

But with a St. Louis judge imposing more restrictions on absentee ballots, the impact in St. Louis County is significant – and may have statewide repercussions.