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Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III listens to public comments on Saturday during a public hearing at the Ferguson Community Center.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson residents will consider raising taxes next week to fill a big budgetary gap, a potentially critical decision for the beleaguered city.

Before the city approved a consent decree with the federal government, members of the Ferguson City Council placed a sales tax increase and a property tax hike on the April 5 ballot. The sales tax proposal would boost the city’s sales tax rate by 0.5 percent. The property tax item would increase the city’s property tax rate by 40 cents per $100 assessed value.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Shortly after the Missouri General Assembly returns Tuesday from its weeklong recess, lawmakers are expected to attempt their first override this session of a bill vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

And either way, the vote could be close.

The bill in question – dubbed by backers as “paycheck protection’’ and by critics as “paycheck deception” – would make it tougher for many public-employee unions and teacher groups to collect dues or fees.

car lot
Martin Kleppe | Flickr

On April 5, all St. Louis County voters, and residents of more than four dozen municipalities in St. Louis and St. Charles will see a variation of the following proposition, known as Proposition B  (A, V, or 1) on their ballot.

Michael Brown Sr. and organizers with his Chosen for Change Foundation talk outside the Ferguson Community Center after the City Council's vote to approve the terms of the Department of Justice's consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A few months ago, Starsky Wilson ended his time on the Ferguson Commission with stirring and strong words for politicians who would have to do the work ahead.

“If the win for you is getting elected, we don’t need you,” said Wilson, the president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation. “If you eat steak because you got what you wanted in the community that’s still fighting for a generation, you’re not the one.”

The Missouri Senate Chamber
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

The Missouri Senate will take up the state budget when it reconvenes from spring break.

The $27 billion budget was passed by the House the same week Democratic senators orchestrated a 37-hour filibuster to stop a vote on a bill that would provide legal protections for businesses that refuse wedding-related services to same-sex couples. Due to the high tensions that resulted, Senate leaders decided to wait until after vacation to start discussing the budget.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay back to the program for the second time.

The Democratic citywide official has been in office since 2001 and already is the longest-serving mayor in the city's history. Slay has developed a sophisticated and successful political organization, and he’s often played a big role in helping other candidates and ballot issues succeed.

On the Eleven Point
Charlie Llewellin | Flickr

In the wilderness of southern Missouri, 44 miles of the Eleven Point River is part of the National Wild and Scenic River system. Part of the river is nestled between the Mark Twain National Forest and a historically rich parcel called the Irish Wilderness. As the river descends to the Missouri-Arkansas border, cattle grazing intermingles with the edge of the forest.

Now, Missouri is considering developing the southern part of the river into a state park. But the park has become controversial -- both for its very existence and for the money used to buy it.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them and contributed to them.

Both sides in the earnings-tax campaign are mailing fliers.
Scanned documents

If you are a wage earner and live or work in the city of St. Louis, you pay the city’s 1 percent earnings tax. No exceptions.

Ads and fliers that claim otherwise are “a big lie,’’ says Mary Ellen Ponder, chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay. 

The ads and fliers come from the group, Vote No On The E-Tax. It is running a vigorous campaign to persuade St. Louis voters to decide on April 5 to phase out the city’s earnings tax, which has been in place since 1959.

Justin Alferman
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 are pleased to welcome state Rep. Justin Alferman to the show for the first time.

The Hermann Republican is serving his first term in the Missouri House. His heavily-GOP seat includes parts of Franklin, Gasconade and Osage counties, and it takes in most of Washington, Mo.

(Jerry W. Lewis' Flickr page)

Missouri has the highest growth rate in the Midwest when it comes to creating clean energy jobs – so says a new survey released Tuesday by a group of clean energy advocates.

And a coalition of advocates, consisting of the Missouri Energy Initiative (MEI), Clean Energy Trust (CET), and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), is pushing for the Show-Me State to adopt President Barack Obama's Clean Energy Plan.

State Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Black Jack, filed to run for the St. Louis County Council. She could pose a stiff challenge to incumbent Councilman Mike O'Mara.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

If St. Louis County Councilman Mike O’Mara wants to return to the council for another four years, he’ll have to ward off a potentially serious challenge from a fellow Democrat.

Both O’Mara, D-Florissant, and state Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray recently filed to run for the 4th District Council seat. That north St. Louis County-based district takes in portions of Florissant, Black Jack, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Riverview and unincorporated St. Louis County.

zhu |Flickr | http://bit.ly/21DUy2Q

A large body of study has amassed over the past 20 years looking critically at enrollment, retention and persistence rates of African-American men in higher education. The statistics are startling. Enrollment numbers are dwindling, with African-American male college enrollment around 34 percent, compared with 39 percent of African-American women.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

When Shante Duncan founded Sisters Helping Each other to Reach a Higher Height (S.H.E.R.A.H.) in 2004, three women came to her house to share their dreams and goals and to “become better versions of themselves.” Duncan was in her early 20s, a native of north St. Louis who returned to the area to help her community, and she was going through a difficult breakup.

“I was a woman hurt and I wanted to reach out to other sisters to say, ‘This hurts, are you hurting? What can we do to heal? Once we do that, how do we take this to heal our community?’” Duncan explained.

The Missouri Department of Corrections purposely violated the state’s Sunshine Law when it refused to turn over records revealing the suppliers of lethal injection drugs for executions, a state court judge ruled late Monday.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon E. Beetem’s decision came in three parallel cases, including one brought by five news organizations: The Kansas City Star, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Springfield News-Leader, The Guardian and the Associated Press.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Anna Crosslin is one of two people that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has nominated to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. On Monday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” host Don Marsh talked with Crosslin, the CEO of the International Institute of St. Louis, about her experience for such a role.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks a roundtable Monday at Metro High School in St. Louis. She was joined by St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is venturing out across Missouri to gather input and garner public support about making college less expensive.

The Democratic senator kicked off a statewide tour on college affordability at Metro High School in St. Louis. She spent time Monday morning talking with college administrators from local institutions -- including Washington University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Webster University and St. Louis Community College.

Proposition B asks to voters to allow their local city or county to continue collecting sales tax on cars bought out of state
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

City voters may have noticed something new at their polling place last week. Tuesday marked the first time elections officials used iPads at every precinct to check in voters.

The city launched a pilot program in a third of its precincts in August 2014. Mary Wheeler-Jones, the Democratic director of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners, said they allow the city to eliminate the large binders of paper, which streamlines the check-in process.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Peace and quiet have descended on the Missouri Capitol as lawmakers are on spring break.

House Republicans are touting quick action on such things as ethics reform, a stricter abortion requirement for parental notification, and getting the state budget through the chamber. But Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, laments the Medicaid spending hike they passed for the current fiscal year.

Tim Woodson shows off his pirate ship at the Progressive Insurance St. Louis Boat and Sportshow. The event was held at the Edward Jones Dome, the former home of the St. Louis Rams.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ever since the St. Louis Rams started packing up for the Los Angeles area, local policymakers have tried to embrace a potential silver lining – more space on the calendar for lucrative events. When the Rams weren’t losing lots and lots of games in the Edward Jones Dome, the facility was used for conventions, trade shows, monster truck rallies and awesome boat shows. The thought was that with the Rams no longer occupying the Dome during the fall, non-football events could fill the void.

Crews contracted by the Environmental Protection Agency pick up flood debris in Pacific, Mo. in January 2016.
FEMA | provided

Monday is the last day Missourians affected by the mid-winter floods can apply for federal aid.

According to Federal Emergency Management Administration spokesperson, John Mills, FEMA teams have canvassed all the neighborhoods known to have been impacted by the floods and handed out application instructions in English and Spanish.

Shelia Price marches against violence with her grandchildren Saturday, March 19, 2016 in north St. Louis. She lost her son to a gun shot 20 years ago.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Last year, black-and-white "We Must Stop Killing Each Other" signs began popping up in yards across St. Louis.

The organization behind the signs, Better Family Life, had just received $55,000 from the city of St. Louis to continue its efforts to reduce violence in targeted city neighborhoods.

Civic Progress President Tom Irwin stands with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon at the St. Louis Regional Chamber. Business groups held a presser condemning the amendment.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s business organizations are waging an all out attack on an amendment aimed at allowing clergy and business owners to refuse services to same-sex weddings. 

The measure, known as SJR39, was the central focus of a nearly two-day-long filibuster by Missouri Senate Democrats. Republicans employed a rarely used parliamentary procedure known as the "previous question" to squelch the talk-a-thon, and now the amendment awaits action in the Missouri House.

Michael Brown Sr. shakes hands with Ferguson's City Council members after a special session in which the council voted to agree to the terms of a Department of Justice consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them.

Provided by Missouri Department of Conservation

Organizers are expecting hundreds of volunteers at the annual Confluence Trash Bash on Saturday morning to clean up trash and debris from riverbanks and streams in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County.

The Trash Bash focuses on the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and has nine work sites stretching from the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge to Creve Coeur Lake. This is the eighth year for the event, which is one of the largest litter cleanups in the St. Louis area.

Eric Greitens found himself fending off questions about a controversial donor at Thursday's Missouri Republican gubernatorial debate in Columbia, the first one this year to be televised.

Both Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder called on Greitens to return a $1 million campaign contribution from Michael Goguen. The California venture capitalist is being sued by a woman who accuses him of holding her as a sex slave for 13 years.

Missouri Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster is joining three of his Republican rivals in calling on the fourth — Eric Greitens — to return $1 million donations that he’s received from a California businessman who’s accused of keeping a woman as a sex slave for 13 years.

Greitens’ three rivals — Peter Kinder, John Brunner and Catherine Hanaway — are expected to bring up the issue during their forum tonight in Columbia, Mo.

Photos by Carolina Hidalgo, Willis Ryder Arnold and Bill Greenblatt

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, a very weary political duo – St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies – break down the results of shockingly close presidential primaries in Missouri.

Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A Missouri Senate Committee is considering legislation (SB 1036) that sets up a pilot program to reduce and prevent violent crime in St. Louis. Sen. Joseph Keaveny, D-St. Louis, says the city needs a comprehensive approach.

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