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Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters, sponsored the municipal governance overhaul in the House.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers have approved, and sent to the governor, an expansion of last year’s municipal overhaul, a bill that also includes a measure making it easier for cities to disincorporate.

This year’s bill would curb ordinance violations, such as tall weeds or housing code problems. It would also reduce the maximum traffic fine to $225. It would also create a sliding scale for non-traffic fines.

A kit containing the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Missourians working to reduce the impact of the opioid crisis are close to scoring one victory this legislative session: a measure expanding access to the opioid overdose antidote is on its way to the governor’s desk.

But with one day left in the session, another tool many consider vital in the fight against opioids appears out of reach. Missouri is likely to remain the only state in the nation without a prescription drug monitoring database.

This 20 year old is serving the longest sentence from the Ferguson protests

May 12, 2016
Ferguson activist Josh Williams, 20, is incarcerated in the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri, which also holds inmates awaiting execution.
Courtesy of the St. Louis American

“Inmate, where is your name badge?” hollers a guard at Williams, as he enters the prison’s visitor center with a smile on his face. Instead of the neon-green sunglasses and American flag bandana he wore as he protested in and around Ferguson during the protests, he’s wearing a gray scrub suit with white tennis shoes. The 6-foot Williams towers over the guards and other prisoners in the room, as an officer gives him another nametag.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Missouri voters will likely decide later this year whether to amend the state’s Constitution so that the General Assembly can require that all voters show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.

The state House is expected to take final action today on the ballot proposal, called SJR53, after the Senate passed it late Wednesday by a vote of 24-8.  House approval is expected.

Gov. Jay Nixon has no voice in the proposed constitutional amendment, other than deciding whether it goes on the August or November statewide ballot.

Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, was a major supporter of changing St. Louis County's sales tax distribution system.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate has approved a change to St. Louis County’s complicated and controversial system for distributing a 1-cent sales tax.

Now, it’s up to the Missouri House whether to support or reject the idea.  And then Gov. Jay Nixon will decide whether to agree.

Missouri Dept. of Corrections

Updated 11:15 p.m. - Missouri has carried out its first execution of the year.

Earl Forrest was put to death by lethal injection at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre. The execution began at 7:10 p.m., and he was pronounced dead at 7:18 p.m., according to a brief statement from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

St. Louis aldermen began working Wednesday morning on the $1.04 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The budget has very few major changes from last year. The city bridges the gap left by the departure of the Rams by shifting some special funds into the general fund, and spending less on things like ward capital projects and demolition.

Zika virus, here shown as a digitally-colorized transmission electron micrograph, can be transmitted by mosquitoes or sexually.
Cynthia Goldsmith | Centers for Disease Control

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says the Senate is likely to vote by next week on money to be used to fight the Zika virus, the disease spread by mosquitoes and blamed for thousands of debilitating birth defects in South and Central America.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Blunt denied assertions by some Senate Democrats, and the White House, that he and other Senate Republicans have been dragging their feet when it comes to allocating money to battle the insects and the virus.

Blunt acknowledged that Zika, and the mosquitoes that carry it, are likely to arrive in Missouri this summer.

The Missouri Capitol Building at dusk
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

With only three days to go, a few bigger issues have been moving in the Missouri General Assembly, while everyone waits to see whether the Senate will soon come to a screeching halt.

First, the so-called "sequel" to last year's municipal reform bill is one vote away from being sent to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Jake Hummel
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

JEFFERSON CITY - On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are on location in Jefferson City for the final week of this latest Missouri General Assembly’s session.  On Tuesday afternoon, the pair welcomed back House Minority Leader Jake Hummel to the program -- by stopping by his office.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch speaks at a forum about policing post-Ferguson at Saint Louis University School of Law on Feb. 20, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Nearly everyone agrees the grand jury that investigated the August 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown was "unusual."

The jurors started hearing the case before police had finished their investigation. Officer Darren Wilson testified. And after jurors declined to indict Wilson, prosecutor Bob McCulloch made the evidence public.

But is "unusual" shorthand for "failed to do his job as prosecutor?" A group of activists contend yes, and want a special prosecutor to investigate the way McCulloch handled the case.

Activists continue to demonstrate against city attorney Stephanie Karr as a police vehicle idles in front of them near Karr's home on Wesley Avenue Monday evening.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

People calling for the ouster of Ferguson city attorney Stephanie Karr chanted and carried signs in a protest that wound its way from the police department to Karr’s house Monday evening.

It was the very first day on the job for new police chief Delrish Moss. But it wasn't the first time Karr has been the subject of controversy.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss greets residents, supporters and protesters at the city police department hours after being sworn in as chief.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Delrish Moss saw the turmoil and chaos unfold in Ferguson, it hit close to home.

Before he was sworn in on Monday as Ferguson’s top law enforcement officer, Moss spent several decades in the Miami Police Department. He said the unrest that followed Michael Brown’s death was reminiscent of what he’s witnessed firsthand in Miami.

StanJourdan | Flickr

For now, it’s all over but the counting. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will be busy the next few weeks determining whether five initiative-petition proposals collected enough valid signatures to get on the state’s August or November ballot.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Barring another sex scandal, the Missouri General Assembly could be facing a low-key final week.

The thinner-than-usual final schedule reflects, in part, legislators' success this year — and last — in passing the state's bloc of budget bills early. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was required to approve or veto by last Friday the state's planned spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1. He only used his line-item veto on two items on Friday; lawmakers overrode last week his earlier veto of their new school-funding formula.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The rest of Missouri's budget for the next fiscal year has been signed into law.

Last week, Gov. Jay Nixon signed the budget bill for the Department of Higher Education into law, and on Thursday he signed into law the budget bill for the departments of Mental Health and Health and Senior Services. On Friday, he sign the remaining budget bills into law.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio intern | File photo

The introduction of honored guests is a weekly ritual at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

Residents of the city's 28 wards are welcomed to the chambers, and allowed to sit on the floor rather than up in the gallery. But more often than not, most of the honored guests would be considered lobbyists.

A group of younger aldermen wants to make the weekly welcomes take a lot less time by banning lobbyists from the floor of the Board while they are in session — "if for any reason at all, optics," said Alderman Megan-Elliya Green, D-15th Ward.

La'Shieka White talks about the lawsuit involving her son, Edmund Lee, on May 4, 2016. Attorney Joshua Thompson is at left.
Dale Singer | 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 who produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed the end of the Missouri legislative session, race-based transfers, and what’s going on with Missouri Democrats and Republicans as conventions near and Donald Trump is the de facto GOP nominee.

Joining us:

Jason Rosenbaum|St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would grant so-called "personhood" status to unborn fetuses at every stage of development.

House Joint Resolution 98, if added to the state constitution, would extend the rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" to the unborn.  It's sponsored by representative Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove.

Bev Randles
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome lieutenant governor hopeful Bev Randles to the show.

The Kansas City Republican is one of four major candidates from both parties seeking the statewide office, which is being vacated by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. Randles is squaring off against state Sen. Mike Parson in the GOP primary, while former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan and state Rep. Tommie Pierson are seeking the Democratic nomination.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A judge has thrown out a St. Louis County ordinance that requires municipal police departments to adhere to certain standards.

It’s a temporary blow to a big priority for St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who pushed the law as a way to bolster confidence in public safety throughout the county.

The Missouri House in session on March 17, 2015.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

House members, on Wednesday, overturned Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of House Bill 1891, the so-called paycheck protection bill, which would bar public employee labor unions from withholding dues from workers’ checks without their written permission.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Just days after Ted Cruz’s Missouri backers scored local victories over Donald Trump, the Cruz camp is mulling its next move now that Cruz has dropped out as a presidential candidate.

But Missouri congresswoman Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin who had backed Cruz, is mincing no words about Trump – who she is not ready to endorse.

“I have no intention of supporting Hillary Clinton, now or ever,” Wagner said in an exclusive interview. “However, I’m like any other voter. A candidate has to earn my vote. And thus far, Donald Trump has not.”

The Missouri Capitol Building at dusk
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Several high priority bills moved forward as lawmakers work to push their agendas over the last remaining hurdles before Friday the 13th arrives — which this year happens to be the final day of the 2016 legislative session.

Here's a quick rundown of what got accomplished Tuesday.

Mike Colona
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Rep. Mike Colona to the program. The St. Louis Democrat was a guest on the show back in 2013.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

In the midst of a re-election campaign, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he won’t be attending this summer’s Republican presidential nominating convention in Cleveland.

Blunt has attended most presidential conventions during his congressional career, although he notes that his visits have usually been only for a day or two. His decision to skip this one entirely, he says, has nothing to do with the party’s turmoil over its likely nominee, Donald Trump – nor his heated fall contest against Democrat Jason Kander.

Voting booths
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Democrats in the Missouri Senate have ended their filibuster of a proposal to require photo identification at the polls.

House Bill 1631 was changed to allow voters without a photo ID to cast a regular ballot if they sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, that they are who they say they are. They would also have to present some other form of ID, such as a utility bill.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon at the St. Louis Public Radio offices on April 29, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Portions of the audio interview have been reserved for use in a future segment.

After Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was re-elected in 2012, he said one of the first things he did was go to his father’s home in Arkansas and read a full history of all 54 governors that came before him. He thought he should figure out what he could really do to make a difference in his last term.

However, what he learned then has also impacted his approach to his last months in office and what comes next — Nixon said he will not run for another elected office.

“A couple of things became clear for me: oftentimes you find history but many times, history finds you,” Nixon told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “And so, I want to live my life in a way that if there are other opportunities to serve, I won’t do things to diminish my ability to do so, but I think my next step will be one where history finds me.”

Cheryl Roberts makes her case to become a Democratic delegate for Hillary Clinton. Last week, Democrats and Republicans chose delegates for their national conventions.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With all the focus on the results of primaries and caucuses lately, it’s easy to forget that it’s the delegates — not the voters — who are directly responsible for nominating a president.

Heck, it wasn’t too long ago that being a delegate was more than just a ceremonial honor — it was an invitation to change the course of history. For instance: Venerable Pike County legend Champ Clark looked like the person to beat going into the 1912 Democratic National Convention, only to have that dastardly Woodrow Wilson swipe it away. If not for delegates, Harry S Truman would have been the second Missourian to be president.

Republicans at 2nd District convention at Parkway West High School gather to elect presidential delegates.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Former St. Charles state legislator Carl Bearden is co-chairman of GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz’s Missouri campaign. As of Saturday,  Bearden also is a delegate to the Republican presidential convention — for Donald Trump.

Bearden is among a number of Cruz supporters who were elected Saturday to fill the bulk of Trump’s 15 delegate slots at stake at Republican congressional district conventions around the state. Another nine delegate slots were designated for Cruz.

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