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Mayoral hopeful Lyda Krewson, the 28th Ward alderman, selects the number that will set her position on the March 2017 ballot at the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners on November 28, 2016.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Police Officers Association has endorsed Alderman Lyda Krewson, D-28th Ward, for mayor.

"This particular election is probably one of the most important that we're going to see here in the last decade," union president Joe Steiger said at the Wednesday afternoon announcement. "As police officers, it's extremely important to us, with the rising violent crime here in St. Louis. Lyda was, by far, the candidate that was most friendly with law enforcement."

This November 2016 photos shows the front of Zack and Brie Smithey's shipping-container home in St. Charles.
Zack Smithey

As Zack Smithey began building his shipping-container home in St. Charles last May, the controversy around it grew along with the house.

Compliments came, but also complaints: Even after Smithey painted the red metal gray, it just didn’t look like other homes in the neighborhood.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted to categorize such dwellings as “conditional use” buildings. That means anyone who wants to build one will have to seek city approval to do so. The council also decided that container homes must include a pitched roof, and be fully sided — using vinyl siding, brick, wood or some other material.

Mike Parson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Of all the new statewide officeholders elected this year, only one comes from rural Missouri

Mike Parson has represented eight counties in west and central Missouri in the Senate for the past six years, and prior to that served in the House for six years. For 12 years, he was sheriff of Polk County, and he currently owns a cattle operation near Bolivar.

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens hugs Rev. Ken McKoy, a pastor with Progressive Zion A.M.E. Church. Greitens walked with McKoy as part of NightLIFE, a group that seeks to curb violence in north St. Louis neighborhoods.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The bone-chilling streets of north St. Louis were largely empty last Friday night. An icy mist brought both automobile and foot traffic on Kingshighway to a halt, with the exception of a few cars and trucks – and a governor-elect.

On pavement that at times resembled an ice skating rink, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens walked methodically through the sidewalks and on the streets with a medium-sized scrum. The Republican chief executive-to-be was out with NightLIFE, a group seeking to curb violence in Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods.

The vast bulk of the 100 or so demonstrators at the Missouri Capitol today called on electoral college voters to reject Trump and send the presidential race to the U.S. House of Representative.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

No surprise: Missouri has officially cast its 10 presidential electoral votes for Donald Trump.

Roughly 100 demonstrators showed up at the Capitol to call on the state's presidential electors to vote against Trump and send the election to the U.S. House of Representatives. But in the end, all voted Trump for president, then Mike Pence for Vice President.

House Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard spent time talking in the Senate chamber on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photos

House Speaker Todd Richardson joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast.

In his third appearance on the show, Richardson – a Republican from Poplar Bluff – lays out his key objectives for the coming legislative session. For the first time in eight years, the GOP will control the legislative and executive branches of Missouri state government.

Jeannine Chanerl, left, talks with poll worker Peter Orth outside of the Pine Lawn municipal court. Chanerl is one of more than 750 people surveyed in 2015 by SLU researchers conducting an opinion poll of St. Louis County municipal courts.
File photo | Kameel Stanley | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of Pine Lawn is still struggling to properly manage its municipal court.

Nicole Galloway, auditor for the state of Missouri, released the follow-up review on Monday. An previous audit, from June, gave the Pine Lawn court a "poor" rating, which triggered the need for a second look.

"Municipal courts have an obligation to conduct themselves with fairness. This court has a long way to go to meet the standards that any citizen should have of a local government," Galloway said.

The proposed office building would be on the west end of Ballpark Village, across the street from Busch Stadium.
St. Louis Cardinals

Updated Dec. 19 with Greitens opposition to public stadium funding - The St. Louis Board of Aldermen considered millions of dollars in economic development incentives Friday, sending some to Mayor Francis Slay while setting others up for approval in the New Year.

At a meeting that stretched over three hours, aldermen gave final approval to $56 million in incentives for the second phase of Ballpark Village and to an agreement with Saint Louis University that gives the school control over the development around its planned new hospital.

University City lions at city hall (2010)
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Fair housing advocates in University City are planning to bring back a bill the City Council killed this week. The proposal would have protected people who use Section 8 vouchers from discrimination.

Had it passed, the bill would have made the municipality the second in the St. Louis region to ban housing discrimination based on a renter’s source of income.

“We’re disappointed,” said Glenn Burleigh, a community engagement specialist at the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council who helped create the bill. "University City has always touted itself as being extremely progressive and pushing forward toward integration, [but] has not taken the charge from the Ferguson Commission and helped moved us forward here.”

Faizan Sayed, executive director of Missouri’s branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, organized a news conference to speak out against current events in Syria.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Several of the 300 families of Syrian refugees who have settled in the St. Louis area this year are still afraid to publicly condemn their former government's attacks on Aleppo — even living so far away from their native country.

“They’re worried that someone’s going to see their picture or their [social media] feed on TV, they’re going to find out who [they are] and they’re going to hurt their family in Syria,” said Faizan Sayed, executive director of Missouri’s branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Sayed reached out to at least 20 Syrian families asking them to speak at CAIR press conference Thursday denouncing the bombardment of rebel-held neighborhoods in Aleppo. Every single one turned him down.

The agreement between the St. Louis County Family Court and the Justice Department, almost a year and a half in the making, is aimed at correcting violations in young people's due process and harsher treatment directed at black children.
Bloomsberries | Flickr

Updated at 5 p.m. Dec. 15 with comments from juvenile justice advocates. - The U.S. Department of Justice and the St. Louis County Family Court have reached a deal to settle claims that the court routinely violated the civil rights of juveniles it served.

"We applaud the St. Louis Family Court for taking these important steps to begin implementing critical reforms," Vanita Gupta, the head of the department's Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. "We hope that juvenile courts around the country review this agreement and use it as a model to protect the constitutional rights of all children."

State court rejects request by Wilson grand juror to speak about the process.

Dec 15, 2016
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announces that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson on any of five counts that were presented to it.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

This story has been updated to reflect events since it was initially published. A member of the grand jury that decided not to charge former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August 2014 death of Michael Brown will not be able to share information about that experience.

A St. Louis County judge dismissed the grand juror’s suit on Tuesday. Judge Ellen Ribaudo wrote that the juror had not shown why the state laws around grand jury secrecy should not apply in his or her case. And while prosecutor Bob McCulloch chose to make some evidence from the grand jury public, Ribaudo said, not every detail needed to be released.

John Hancock Dec. 2016
Jason Rosenbaum 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 back Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock, as he prepares to leave that post in a few weeks.

Hancock, a former state legislator from St. Louis County and a political consultant, has been state chairman for arguably two of the most eventful years in the Missouri GOP’s modern history.

MetroLink trains make about 300 trips across the Eads Bridge each day.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Separate initiatives designed to be on the city's April ballot could fund a host of projects, including MetroLink expansion and a professional soccer stadium.

Two St. Louis Board of Aldermen bills were introduced on Wednesday. The first would have voters decide on a one-half cent sales tax increase. The proceeds, estimated at more than $20 million annually, would go toward things such as a North-South MetroLink line, infrastructure improvements and security cameras:

State Rep. Kip Kendrick
Nathan Lawrence | KBIA | File photo

Democrats in the Missouri House are calling on Gov.-elect Eric Greitens to keep his campaign promise to clean up Jefferson City.

They've pre-filed several bills that range from banning gifts from lobbyists to giving the state ethics commission the authority to prosecute violations. Democrat Kip Kendrick of Columbia said they want to see if the incoming Republican governor is serious about ethics reform.

David Cunningham is a professor of sociology at Washington University. His research centers on hate groups.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In the past few weeks you’ve heard a lot of reports about hate crimes, white supremacy and the ‘alt-right.’ What does it all mean? And, importantly, do hate groups exist here, in St. Louis, and how are they active?

Todd Graves
LinkedIn

Updated Dec. 14 with Graves' comments — Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens is naming former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves, now a Kansas City lawyer, as the new chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.

Graves is the brother of U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, and served as U.S. attorney for Missouri’s western district from 2001-2006, a post filled by then-President George W. Bush.

“Todd Graves is the governor-elect’s choice and he will make a fantastic chairman,’’ a Greitens spokesman said. Graves said in an interview that he's honored to take the job, particularly after the Missouri GOP did so well in the November elections.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles listens to public testimony on Saturday about a proposed consent decree. Knowles and the rest of the city council could vote on whether to accept the 131-page agreement on Tuesday.
File photo |Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

The city of Ferguson took a big step Tuesday night toward a major policy requirement of its federal civil rights consent decree.

Council members introduced legislation that will make changes to the city's civilian review board. The council originally approved the board back in April, but it never met at the request of the Department of Justice, which wanted changes in the way it was set up.

Officials found guilty of stealing public funds will face tougher penalties under a bill pre-filed in the Missouri Senate.

SB 176 elevates punishment for official misconduct in the first degree from a misdemeanor to a class E felony, which could bring up to a four-year prison term.

In November, Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky announced she would be leaving IPR for a position with WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight” program in early January.

Vinicky has been a correspondent on St. Louis on the Air on many occasions and a correspondent on local newscasts. On Thursday, she joined the program to discuss what she's learned over her tenure with Illinois Public Radio and look back on the state of Illinois politics.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A Republican will hold the office of Missouri attorney general for the first time in 24 years when Josh Hawley is sworn in next month. He defeated Democratic challenger Teresa Hensley in November while styling himself as a constitutional scholar instead of a prosecutor.

As St. Louis Public Radio reported before the election, he stressed his credentials as a constitutional scholar. He served as a law clerk for U.S. Appeals Court Judge Michael McConnell of the 10th circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. More recently, Hawley worked as a law professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Republican president-elect Donald Trump’s victory margin in Missouri appears to have set a state record for a presidential contender, beating out the old one set by Democrat Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

On Nov. 8, Trump captured 523,443 more votes than the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. In 1964, Johnson defeated Republican Barry Goldwater by 510,809 votes.

Trump's number of Missouri votes – 1.594 million – also appears to set a state record for a presidential candidate.

St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie speaks in favor of his bill exempting sheltered workshops from the city's minimum wage law.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Before voting against an incentive package for expanding Ballpark Village, St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie delivered one of the more unusual opposition speeches in recent memory.

In an address that could only be described as dripping with sarcasm, the 24th Ward Democrat claimed he was in support of the tax inducements for the development around Busch Stadium. After expressing his concern that aldermen had “taken our eye off the ball on the essential functions of local government,” Ogilvie said he was relieved that those aforementioned issues "must not be problems that the city faces.”

Sen. Brian Munzlinger
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 are pleased to welcome Sen. Brian Munzlinger.

Munzlinger is a Republican from Williamstown, an unincorporated community in Lewis County in northeast Missouri. He represents a mammoth district that includes Adair, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Pike, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Ralls, and Randolph counties.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, was one of the biggest proponents of using the previous question to pass "right to work."
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will become a right-to-work state. The chief question is how soon the General Assembly will put a version of the anti-union measure on the desk of soon-to-be Gov. Eric Greitens.

The other unknown is what particular form of “right to work’’ Missouri’s new law will take.

Under "right to work," unions and employers cannot require all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues or fees. Although some versions of right to work say a worker cannot be required to join a union, federal law has barred such a requirement for a long time.

St. Louis Police officer Tom Lake (in the blue tie) poses for a picture with St. Louis aldermen on Friday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In some respects, the fact that Tom Lake was able to stand before the Board of Aldermen is breathtaking.

The St. Louis Police Department sergeant was shot in the face less than a month ago while driving in his car in south St. Louis. He survived his injuries, and received a rousing welcome from city aldermen on Friday.

With wounds from the shooting still visible near his cheek, Lake told reporters was “doing as good as anybody could expect after the trauma that’s happened.”

Profile photo of CKE Restaurants Chief Executive Andrew Puzder.
CKE Restaurants Inc.

Donald Trump has chosen a former St. Louis lawyer to lead the U.S. Department of Labor.

The president-elect plans to tap Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Junior, Hardees and other fast food chains, to lead the department which oversees the welfare of wage earners, job seekers and retirees.

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

Governor-elect Eric Greitens appears to have set a record as he outraised and outspent all comers in his successful bid for Missouri’s highest office.  He collected about $31 million and spent about $29 million, combined, in this year's primary and general-election contests.

But the final campaign reports, filed Thursday, show that Greitens, a Republican, was actually outspent during the three-month general election fight by his losing Democratic rival --  Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Courtesy of HOK

The Missouri Development Finance Board is considering whether to award $40 million dollars in tax credits to St. Louis for a potential Major League Soccer stadium.

Otis Williams from the St. Louis development board made the request official Thursday. If approved, the incentives would be spread out over two years.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon remembers Judge Teitelman on Dec. 1, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Speaking with reporters in St. Louis on Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon said he’s “ready to appoint if the chief justice wants to call a commission together.” That’s a reference to how Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge would have to start the process to replace Richard Teitelman, a Missouri Supreme Court judge who died last month.

“I’d be certainly be willing to do that and I think there’s a lot of good candidates for it,” Nixon said. “I have never in my eight years called a commissioner and asked them to put somebody on a panel. And in this situation, that’s up to the courts. I do think with an opening, you could get it done if there’s enough time to. But that’s their choice, not mine.”

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