Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Update 11:20 p.m. with statement from Michelle Nasser -- Rep. Jay Barnes has thrown down the gauntlet, as has the rest of the Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens.

The Republican committee chairman announced Friday that they’ve issued a subpoena for the governor to appear and testify under oath on June 4.

Members of a committee looking into Gov. Eric Greitens' conduct listen in on Thursday, May 24 to testimony.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies go over this week’s big developments in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ political and legal saga.

This week’s episode zeroes in on how the woman at the heart of the scandal, identified only as K.S., spoke semi-publicly for the first time. A T.V. interivew with the woman on Monday came as lawmakers read depositions where she was asked provocative and personal questions about her interactions with Greitens.

John Ellis of Belleville is profiled in WBEZ's report on  inadequate housing options for prisoners with disabilities in Illinois.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A report by Chicago public radio station WBEZ recently revealed how the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) keeps prisoners with disabilities in prison beyond their release date.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with WBEZ criminal justice reporter Shannon Heffernan about how the state of Illinois regularly keeps prisoners with disabilities because of inadequate options for housing.

St. Louis attorney Al Watkins testifies Thursday before the Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Greitens. May 24, 2018
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Updated at 8:15 p.m. with comments from the House committee's attorney.

The attorney representing the ex-husband of the woman with whom Gov. Eric Greitens had an affair made an explosive appearance Thursday before the Missouri House committee investigating the governor’s conduct.

St. Louis attorney Al Watkins contradicted testimony given on Wednesday by Missouri Times publisher Scott Faughn.

Faughn said the $120,000 he gave to Watkins in January was his own money. But as Watkins has told St. Louis Public Radio and other media outlets, he said that Faughn told him the money came from a disgruntled political donor.

St. Louis/East St. Louis native Harry Edwards is a renowned sociologist, specializing in sports protest.
Wikimedia Commons

The NFL on Wednesday announced that it would require players to stand during performances of the national anthem or remain in the locker room.

The announcement stems from a protest that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started in 2016, when he kneeled during the anthem. Other players followed suit.

Protests during sporting events, however, are a decades-long tradition.

Latasha Johnson’s story is at the heart of a new “We Live Here” episode and a legal case that aims to level the playing field between Missouri tenants and landlords.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

What makes a particular place a liveable one?

That’s the question at the center of “Housing Defenders,” We Live Here’s newly released episode. It explores legal issues facing St. Louis landlords and tenants and is part of the podcast’s broader focus on fair and affordable housing this season.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with We Live Here co-host/producer Tim Lloyd about why such concerns are especially relevant for renters on a local level and how several attorneys are working on their behalf to try and change things.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger to the program.

The Democratic chief executive of Missouri’s largest county is running for a second four-year term. His main opposition is in the Democratic primary this August, where businessman Mark Mantovani is seeking to oust him. There are no well-known Republicans seeking the office.

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens is undertaking an unusual spectacle this week: reading hour upon hour of legal proceedings out loud, together.

Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Newspaper publisher Scott Faughn emphasized repeatedly to a state House committee that he used his own $120,000 to pay a lawyer — in cash — for a recording of a woman tearfully describing her initial sexual encounter with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

But chairman Jay Barnes wasn’t buying it: “No one believes this was your own money.”

Variations of those exchanges continued for three hours Wednesday as the committee investigating possible wrongdoing by Greitens probes whether his political enemies are trying to bankroll an effort to force him out of office.

Autoworker Chris Paplanus says umpiring helped him stay afloat after he was laid off from Chrysler during the recession. (April 11, 2018)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On a breezy spring evening, Chris Paplanus donned his umpire gear to work the plate at a girls softball game at the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex.

It was a long first inning, with the 14-year-old pitchers on both teams struggling mightily. Each time Paplanus called a strike — Hup! — the sidelines erupted in supportive cheers.

By day, Paplanus, 60, is an autoworker at the General Motors Assembly plant in Wentzville, where he began working after a life-changing layoff a decade ago.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger confers with Councilman Pat Dolan at a Dec. 19, 2017, meeting of the St. Louis County Council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is refusing to go along with legislation providing raises in the Justice Center — which includes the jail.

At issue is whether nurses that work in the Justice Center should get raises from a half-cent sales tax known as Proposition P.

Augustus Tolton was born into slavery in Missouri in 1854 and is considered to have been the first African-American priest in the United States. He ministered in Quincy, Illinois.
Wikimedia Commons

A diverse group of people were once parishioners under the ministry of Father Augustus Tolton in Quincy, Illinois, during the late 19th century. That is until the African-American priest was advised to get out of town. Tolton, who would eventually return to be buried in Quincy, suffered much controversy and isolation in his day.

“Through it all, he kept open arms for everyone, white or black,” Joseph Perry, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, said during St. Louis on the Air, “and was kind of mistreated because of that openness and accused of creating a situation of integration that society and the church was not ready for.”

On a bitter cold January day in 2014, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker met a crowd of cameras, microphones and shouting reporters on the steps of the Nodaway County Courthouse in Maryville, Missouri.

The story had been raging for months about why a hometown football player had been charged with raping an underage girl – and why charges were mysteriously dropped – in a case that made international headlines.

Rep. Stacey Newman (left) and St. Louis circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce (center) listen to Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker as Baker announces her support for Newman's legislation on February 29, 2016.
File photo I Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

An attorney for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens believes a special prosecutor won’t end up charging the GOP chief executive with any crimes.

This comes as Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has latitude to look beyond whether Greitens took a semi-nude photo of a woman he had an affair with, without her consent.

Taja Welton is ready for her daughter to be born. She’s moved into a bigger house, one with room for a nursery. She has a closet full of pink, Minnie Mouse-themed baby clothes. Her baby bag is packed right down to the outfit she plans to bring her baby home in that reads, “The Princess Has Arrived.”

“I can’t wait to put it on her,” Welton smiles. The princess even has a name: Macen.


Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens helped engineer a freeze on low-income housing tax credits. And that decision is likely to stand unless the legislature makes substantial changes to the program.
File photo I Carolina Hidaglo | St. Louis Public Radio

The woman at the center of a scandal that has rocked Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has spoken out publicly for the first time, saying she’s been dragged into a fight she didn’t want.

“I wasn’t out to get anyone,” the woman told 5 on your Side TV in an exclusive interview aired at 10 p.m. Monday. “I was really just trying to live my life.”

Gov. Eric Greitens makes a statement to reporters after his invasion of privacy case was dropped in this on May 14, 2018 file photo.
File photo I St. Louis Public Radio

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker will serve as a special prosecutor in the invasion of privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

The move comes as St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner bowed out on Monday from being involved in the matter. And the decision to appoint a special prosecutor left open the possibility that Greitens could be charged with another offense.

How To Stop Gun Violence? Just Ask

May 21, 2018

Conversations around gun violence often revolve around long-term solutions, like improving schools or the local economy.

But even if those things were easy — and they’re not — it would take a generation to realize the benefits.

And for the Illinoisans living and dying in these communities — mostly low-income, black communities — they don’t have time to wait.

Students and supporters call for racial justice as they march toward St. Louis Metropolitan Police headquarters on Olive Street. (May 19, 2018)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Students in St. Louis raised their voices on Saturday morning to protest racial profiling and systemic police violence against African-Americans.

More than 50 people attended the Black Lives Matter youth protest in downtown St. Louis. Police cars flanked the marchers as they walked down the center of Olive Street to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, chanting and carrying signs with slogans like “Students for Black Lives” and “Don’t Shoot.”

Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson addresses the House on the final day of the legislative session. May 18,  2018
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

For the first time in memory, the Missouri House skipped its traditional end-of-session celebratory paper toss at 6 p.m. Friday.

And outgoing House Speaker Todd Richardson quoted from Shakespeare’s great tragedy, “Macbeth.”

Such were some of this session’s significant differences, large and small, from its predecessors.

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