Politics & Issues

Aviation Policy
11:28 am
Wed December 12, 2012

McCaskill Wants Electronics On Flights

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. in July 2011.
(via Flickr/Senator McCaskill)

Not being able to use an electronic device on a flight is something that annoys everybody who flies, but not every annoyed flyer sits on the senate committee that presides over aviation policy. But it just so happens that Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill does.

On Tuesday, McCaskill wrote the Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, telling him that he needs to update the "dated" and "absurd" policy. McCaskill threatened to pursue "legislative solutions" if he moves too slowly.

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Seat belt legislation
5:38 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Mo. Senator Prefiles Bill To Raise Seat Belt Fine

(via Flickr/ Drewwh)

A State Senator from St. Louis is continuing his campaign to increase the fine in Missouri for not wearing seat belts.


This will be the fourth time Democrat Joseph Keaveny has sponsored legislation to raise Missouri’s seat belt fine from $10 to $50.  Opponents have either voted it down in committee or never brought it up for a vote each time.  Keaveny says this time his message will focus more on the lack of seat belt use by teenagers.


“In Missouri we average about 77 percent, (and the) teenage buckle-up rate is about 66 percent," Keaveny said.  "The majority of people aren’t killed as a direct result of the collision, but they’re being ejected from the car.”

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Health Care
2:20 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Missourians In Survey: State Responsible For Access To Health Care

Results from a new survey by the Missouri Foundation for Health.
Missouri Foundation for Health

Most Missourians support Medicaid expansion and believe the state government has a responsibility to ensure access to affordable health care, according to a new survey by the Missouri Foundation for Health.

What's particularly noteworthy about this survey is that a majority of the responders agreed this is a responsibility that must be met, even if it means raising taxes. 55 percent of responders say Missouri's state government must act to do so, while 34 percent say we can't afford it.

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Concealed carry
12:36 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Federal Court Throws Out Illinois Ban On Concealed Carry Of Guns

A federal appeals court has given Illinois 180 days to come up with a law allowing gun owners to carry them in public.
via Flickr/Of Small Things

Updated with comments from Illinois officials. Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

Illinois is the only state in the union that bans the concealed carrying of guns.

A ruling today from a federal appeals court may change all that.

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Politics
11:57 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Danforth On Morning Edition: The Lost Art Of Budget Negotiations

Former Missouri Senator John Danforth.
Wikimedia Commons

Former Missouri Senator John Danforth appeared on NPR's Morning Edition this morning to discuss his experiences with past budget negotiations and what lessons can be used in discussions underway today.

Fiscal Cliff
10:40 am
Tue December 11, 2012

'Fiscal Cliff' Could Affect Mo. Economy, Budget

Missouri's gross revenue collection in July was up by .6 percent as compared to July 2010.
flickr/yomanimus

If officials in Washington don't reach a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff," Missouri could see a hit to its economy and budget.

The Federal Funds Information for States estimates Missouri could lose $1 billion of Defense Department spending on contracts and military institutions if federal spending cuts take effect in the new year. The Washington-based organization estimates those automatic cuts also could result in a $125 million reduction in federal grants to state programs, such as public schools and early childhood programs.

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Performance-based funding
5:14 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Mo. Lawmakers Considering Performance-Based Funding For Universities, Community Colleges

(St. Louis Public Radio)

A group of Missouri lawmakers is considering an overhaul of how the state’s colleges and universities are funded each year.

A first draft of recommendations was released today, and it includes basing 10 percent of an institution’s state funding on performance standards such as graduation rates for seniors and retention rates for freshmen and sophomores.  State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Joint House-Senate Committee on Education.

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Politics
5:12 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Democratic Groups Pressure McCaskill To Stand Firm On Entitlements

Earline Jones of the Missouri Alliance of Retired Americans: "Medicare and Social Security are bedrock programs that Missouri's seniors depend on."
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

Lawmakers are hoping to put together a compromise before the end of the year to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff –a series of tax increases and spending cuts, which some economists say would trigger another recession.

But some Democratic groups are pressuring Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to keep entitlements off the bargaining table.

Nearly 50 retired teachers, union members and health care workers assembled at a St. Louis Social Security office Monday, holding up signs like “hands off my social security" and “instead of war, invest in people.”

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Politics
10:04 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Mo. Congressional Vacancy Avoids Partisan Pitfalls

Republican Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson says she is considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2012. (Office of Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson)
(Office of Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson)

There will be no repeat of the big-dollar, negative primary that plagued Missouri's Republican Senate contest when GOP leaders meet next year to select a replacement candidate for retiring Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson.

That's because there will be no primary election at all - no chance for rank-and-file Republicans or Democrats to cast their votes.

Nominees will be selected by committees of party officials from southeast Missouri. Only then will one Republican and one Democratic candidate be submitted to voters in a special election.

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cigarette tax
4:27 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Mo. Tax Reform Proposal Includes Another Cigarette Tax Hike, Flat Income Tax

Next month, SSM Health Care will no longer hire smokers.
Flickr/SuperFantastic

Despite being rejected by voters last month, there’s a new proposal to raise Missouri’s cigarette tax.

It’s part of a bill prefiled in the Missouri Senate that would also raise the state’s sales tax by one-half percent while fixing the state income tax rate at a flat 4 percent.  The proposal would raise the cigarette tax by 26 cents, from its current 17 cents per pack to 43 cents per pack.  It’s sponsored by Republican Senator John Lamping of St. Louis County.

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