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Eric Greitens, one of four Missouri GOP candidates for governor, sought Sunday night to clarify his position when it comes to a proposed Missouri law that would bar government penalties against “individuals and religious entities who refuse to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies due to sincerely held religious beliefs.”

During a candidate forum at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Greitens said his opposition to the measure — known as Senate Joint Resolution 39 — stems from its approach, not its aim. Greitens said he wants Missouri to avoid the economic backlash that has hurt socially conservative states like North Carolina and Mississippi, which recently passed laws deemed anti-gay.

Kurt Schaefer
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Kurt Schaefer to the program. The Columbia Republican, who usually sports cowboy boots, last was a guest of the show in late 2014.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Supporters of legalizing marijuana for medical use in Missouri now have only one option this year – the ballot box.

That comes after the state House last week defeated House Bill 2213. In its original form, the measure would have allowed for medical cannabis centers in Missouri, which would have sold medical cannabis to patients with a "debilitating medical condition."

Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

A showdown is looming in the Missouri statehouse over an effort to make Missouri the final state in the nation to gain a prescription drug monitoring program.

State Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, has promised to filibuster House Bill 1892, which would let doctors check a database before giving patients a prescription for opioid painkillers, and require pharmacists to report filling opioid prescriptions within 24 hours.

Shona Scott's sewer bill has a $359 adjustment for under-billing.
Shona Scott | provided

Some Kirkwood residents are getting a shock when they open their sewer bills this month. The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is charging a one-time fee to correct a billing error, jacking up bills several hundred dollars in some cases.

Shonda Scott’s bill jumped up more than $400.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic has agreed to hand over some documents to the Missouri Senate on how it disposes of fetal tissue.

As part of the negotiated agreement the Senate will suspend contempt proceedings against Planned Parenthood regional director Mary Kogut. The contempt measure was sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The only task the Missouri General Assembly is required by law to accomplish has been accomplished and, for the second year in a row, accomplished two weeks before deadline.

Lawmakers have sent a roughly $27.2 billion state budget to Gov. Jay Nixon that increases spending on higher education as a whole, while specifically cutting funding from the University of Missouri System.

Curran | Flickr

For all the talk about increasing Missouri’s tobacco tax to provide more money for education and transportation, the state’s two dueling tobacco-tax proposals appear caught in a longstanding dispute that has nothing to do with their objectives.

Tobacco companies are the chief donors to both initiative-petition campaigns that seek to increase the state’s 17-cent-a-pack tobacco tax, now the nation’s lowest. One would raise the tax by 23 cents a pack to pay for transportation improvements, while the other would hike the tax by 60 cents a pack to pay for early childhood programs.

Jacob Norlund / Flickr

The following questions recently came into Curious Louis from someone who wanted to be anonymous: Why do we (St. Louis residents) pay our personal and real estate taxes directly to Gregory F.X. Daly and not a department? How does that compare to other cities?

Daly, the collector of revenue for St. Louis, receives the questions so frequently that his office has set up a webpage to explain.

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Gary Fuhr, right, announced his upcoming retirement at this week's Board of Election Commissioners' meeting.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County’s Republican election chief will likely retire later this year.

During this week’s meeting of the county’s Board of Election Commissioners, GOP Elections director Gary Fuhr announced that he was planning to retire. It came as commissioners mulled over whether to punish anybody for ballot shortages at more than 60 polling places earlier this month. (A Democratic director and a Republican director run the elections board. Whichever director shares the governor's party typically is in charge.)

Vanessa Hughes, right, releases purple balloons in honor of her son Justin, who received a heart transplant in 1997.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Raido

In their own ways, Larry Hughes and Cara Spencer are St. Louis celebrities.

Spencer just finished her first term on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, representing the 20th ward in south St. Louis. Hughes was a basketball standout at Christian Brothers College High School and then for a year at Saint Louis University before embarking on a 14-year professional career.

FDA

Prescriptions for opioids like hydrocodone and Vicodin that have been dispensed have quadrupled since 1999. Because these drugs are highly addictive, 49 states have implemented a drug monitoring program to ensure doctors don’t over-prescribe their patients. 

Just one state lags behind: Missouri.

The police-involved shooting took place near the 3200 block of St. Louis Avenue late Tuesday morning.
ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO | MAPBOX, OPENSTREETMAP

Updated 2:50 p.m. April 20 with identity of young man shot by police: St. Louis police have identified a 15-year-old as the victim of a fatal police shooting during a chase involving a car that authorities say had been stolen at gunpoint.

Jorevis Scruggs died Tuesday morning after reportedly pointing a stolen gun at two St. Louis police officers who were following the suspected stolen car.

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

The city of St. Louis has announced a location for a new 24-hour homeless shelter intended to replace embattled downtown shelter New Life Evangelistic Center: 1211 N. Tucker Blvd.

The city is currently looking for an agency to run the new shelter, located in a city-owned building on the near north side about seven blocks north of New Life on the corner of Biddle Street and Tucker Boulevard.

Eric Greitens
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Let there be no ambiguity anymore: GOP gubernatorial hopeful Eric Greitens opposes a so-called “religious shield” amendment that’s dominated the Missouri General Assembly’s attention.

It's a stance that sets him apart from his Republican rivals — and has stoked questions about the former Navy SEAL and author’s conservative credentials.

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Eric Fey was suspended without pay on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners suspended its top official, a move that comes after dozens of polling places ran out of ballots during this month’s municipal elections.

After the four-person election board went into closed session on Tuesday, it voted to suspend Democratic director Eric Fey for two weeks without pay. Commissioners also suspended elections coordinator Laura Goebel without pay for one week. The board did not exert any punishment against Republican director Gary Fuhr.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that allows caps on some damages in wrongful death lawsuits.

Shannon Dodson died five years ago at Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis County after an artery was punctured during a heart catheter test. Her family received nearly $11 million in damages, including $9 million in non-economic damages.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles sits with City Council members as residents comment on the consent decree in February.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:40 p.m. with comments from the U.S. Justice Department — Ferguson's police department and municipal courts are officially operating under a consent decree.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry on Tuesday approved the document, settling a federal civil rights lawsuit. Attorneys for both the city of Ferguson and the Department of Justice had asked her to accept the consent decree, which will implement vast changes in the city's municipal code and policing practices.

Anders Krusberg | Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Ted Koppel, former “Nightline” anchor and commentator for NPR, joined guest host Steve Potter to discuss the responsibility of the media during the 2016 election.

“It certainly has the atmosphere of a three-ring event,” said Koppel. “The tone of it probably owes as much to entertainment as it does to the serious pursuit of politics. … I don’t think it has ever been at a lower level of politesse as it has been in the last fifteen years.”

Missouri's five major gubernatorial candidates
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The so-called religious shield law, SJR 39, has already made a big impact on the Missouri General Assembly’s session. And depending on what the Missouri House does in the next couple of weeks, the proposed constitutional amendment could loom very large over the race for Missouri governor.

The proposal would legally shield people from participating in or selling services to a same-sex wedding. To say the measure stoked controversy would be an understatement, especially after GOP senators used a parliamentary maneuver to cut off debate and get it to the House.

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