Politics & Issues

Illinois Prisons
9:26 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Quinn Defends Prison Director's Reappointment

Credit (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is defending his decision to reappoint the director of the state's prison system to a second two-year term.

Republicans have criticized Corrections Director S.A. "Tony" Godinez for prison overcrowding and understaffing. But Governor Quinn, a Democrat, says Godinez has done a good job leading the department.

"They understand the importance of public safety for everyone. For the prison guards, for the public, and for the inmates, and Tony understands that, and he's going forward," Quinn told reporters.

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Illinois Pensions
9:25 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Ill. Senate Passes Pension Overhaul For Some Teachers

Credit (Flickr/ Jason Dunnivant

The Illinois Senate has passed a pension overhaul, but it only affects suburban and downstate teachers. It doesn't touch state employees' and university workers' retirement benefits.

The measure was approved by the Illinois Senate and forces teachers to choose between taking a reduced pension, or retaining access to state-backed health care upon retirement.

It took two tries, passing only after Democratic Senator Dave Koehler of Peoria switched his vote.

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Sequester
3:07 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Sequester Won't Stop Tuition Help For Military Students At Webster, Lindenwood Universities

(via Flickr/j.o.h.n. walker)

Members of the military enrolled at two St. Louis-area universities will continue to get a break on their tuition, despite the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester.

Four of the five branches of the military suspended future grants earlier this month to meet the sequester requirements - but Lindenwood and Webster universities say they'll use their own resources to replace the federal tuition assistance program. 

Here are a few fast facts about what's involved:

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MO Statehouse
11:40 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Mo. Auditor Questions Welfare Expenses In Audit

(via Flickr/-Marlith-)

Updated 2:48 p.m.

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich is questioning millions of dollars of welfare payments made to low-income residents.

Schweich released an annual audit Tuesday examining Missouri's use of $12.7 billion of federal funds during the 2012 budget. He raised concerns about $68 million of expenses, mainly through programs run by the Department of Social Services.

(We have the full audit for you below)

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O'Fallon City Council
9:48 am
Mon March 18, 2013

O'Fallon City Council Measure Would Invalidate Federal Gun Control In Town

Credit (via Flickr/kcdsTM)

The city council in a St. Louis area town is considering a bill that would declare any federal, state or local laws prohibiting guns to be in violation of the U.S. and Missouri constitutions, rendering them invalid in the town.
 
The measure has been proposed in O'Fallon. The Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis reports it could be the subject of a vote on March 28.
 

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McCaskill Pay Cut
5:02 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Sen. McCaskill Promises To Take Pay Cut

Credit (Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she will take a cut in pay as a show of solidarity with those federal workers who face furloughs due to the sequester.

McCaskill and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida have proposed a bill that would reduce congressional salaries once the furloughs begin. McCaskill says she wants to hold lawmakers accountable for not coming up with an alternative to the sequester as a means of cutting federal spending.

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2013 Mo. Legislative Session
4:56 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Missouri Lawmakers Discuss 2nd-Half Priorities As Legislative Spring Break Arrives

(l-r) Mo. Sen. Pres. Pro-tem Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles) and House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) address the media after the Mo. Gen. Assembly adjourned for spring break on March 14th, 2013.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Spring break has arrived for Missouri lawmakers, as they take a week off before returning to Jefferson City on March 25th.


They’ll have plenty of items on their plate when they get back -- among the House’s priorities is debating and voting on the state budget, which still does not include Medicaid expansion. Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) says the federal health care law does not require states to add more people to the Medicaid rolls.

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Politically Speaking
4:17 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Politically Speaking: Taxes And Tenured Teachers Debated In First Half Of Mo. Legislative Session

The Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo. Legislative action here on Thursday by Sen. Jason Crowell would refer the "right-to-work" issue to voters next year. (St. Louis Public Radio/Marshall Griffin)
(St. Louis Public Radio/Marshall Griffin)

Jason Rosenbaum is out this week, so we have St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin filling in. Marshall joins Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Beacon and Chris McDaniel of St. Louis Public Radio to discuss the week in politics.

On this week's show: Marshall fills us in on the first half of the legislative session, talking about proposed changes to taxes and tenured teachers, and then Jo discusses the developments with the Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

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Transportation
8:21 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Mo. Senate Passes 1-Cent Sales Tax For Transportation Needs

Interstate 70 in Columbia, Mo. Around $1B would be earmarked to expand I-70 to 6 lanes between Wentzville and Blue Springs under SJR 16.
via Flickr/KOMUnews

A proposed constitutional amendment that would create a temporary one-cent sales tax to fund transportation needs has passed the Missouri Senate.

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St. Louis on the Air
7:37 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Budget Woes And Other News From Washington D.C.

U.S. Capitol
Evan C. Parker Via Flickr

The St. Louis Beacon’s Washington Correspondent Rob Koenig was Don Marsh’s guest on “St.

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