Politics & Issues

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Mayor Francis Slay, along with officials from his administration and non-profit partners, announces new resources targeted at inmates awaiting trial at the Medium Security Institution on Sept. 8, 2015.
Nassim Benchaabane | St. Louis Public Radio

A six-month-old program designed to prevent young adults from returning to jail has been wildly successful, its supporters say.

St. Louis corrections officials and social service agencies launched Prison to Prosperity in September. It targeted social services and job training to young adults locked up at the city's medium security jail known as the Workhouse and had enough funding initially to help around 100 inmates.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation designed to allow business owners and clergy to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings is being blocked in the Missouri Senate.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar the state from "penalizing clergy, religious organizations, and certain individuals for their religious beliefs concerning marriage between two people of the same sex."

Attorney General Chris Koster kicks off his gubernatorial campaign at Missouri Democrat Days.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

In the latest Politically Speaking podcast, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum use a different format to focus on Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the likely Democratic nominee for governor.

Last weekend at Democrat Days in Hannibal, Koster delivered his first major speech since filing for office. Afterwards, he talked with Jo Mannies extensively on a variety of issues – from campaign-finance reform to the Ferguson unrest.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's proposed $27 billion budget for next year is up for debate this week in the Missouri House.

Last week, House budget writers cut $7.6 million from the University of Missouri System's proposed budget over the way it handled last fall's racial protests and over a perceived cozy relationship with Planned Parenthood. Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, was unable to persuade House budget writers to restore the funding, but he plans to try again this week.

Emanuele Berry
Provided by Emanuele Berry

We originally aired this podcast on what its like to be multi-racial about six months ago. The project was the brainchild of Emanuele Berry, one of the founding producers of We Live Here, and it's still one of our favorite episodes — not just because we miss Emanuele (who is on a Fulbright in Macau, China), but also because the stories and interactions in this podcast are poignant and thought provoking.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger signed the prescription drug monitoring bill into law on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Don’t look now, but St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and company may be trailblazers – at least when it comes to setting up a prescription drug monitoring program.

With the Missouri General Assembly unlikely to approve a statewide drug tracking program, Stenger and the St. Louis County Council gave their blessing to a county database last week. It’s aimed at stopping someone from getting certain controlled substances at multiple pharmacies, which database supporters say is a big precursor to heroin abuse.

Council member Wesley Bell answers questions from reporters.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A member of the Ferguson City Council says his colleagues will likely reconsider a sweeping consent decree implementing major changes to the beleaguered city’s police department and government.

The move comes roughly a month after the council rejected aspects of the decree, which came about in the aftermath of Michael Brown's shooting death.

Attorney General Chris Koster kicks off his gubernatorial campaign at Missouri Democrat Days.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:45 p.m. March 5 -HANNIBAL, Mo. - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the likely Democratic nominee for governor, has launched his sharpest public attacks yet against his former GOP brethren when he accused Republican leaders nationally and in Missouri of embracing irresponsible and “economically stupid’’ actions because of their hatred of President Barack Obama.

Pruitt-Igoe, with the Vaughn Housing Complex at right
U.S. Geological Survey

A researcher with the Economic Policy Institute says the federal government needs to recognize that it played a deliberate role in creating racially segregated neighborhoods in cities like St. Louis.

At a Missouri History Museum Symposium Saturday, the think tank’s Richard Rothstein drew a direct line between today’s segregated schools and neighborhoods and two federal housing programs from the 1930s, 40s and 50s: public housing and subsidized construction.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner talks with reporters in O'Fallon, Illinois. Rauner expressed enthusastic support for bringing the NGA headquarters to the Metro East.
File photo | Katelyn Petrin I St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is pledging $115 million in infrastructure improvements as part of his state’s attempt to coax the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to their side of the river. At a press conference near Illinois’ proposed St. Clair County site, the Republican said he can guarantee the money. That’s despite the fact that Illinois is now entering its ninth month without a fiscal budget.

“We don’t have a budget in Illinois but we do have an appropriation bill that I signed that the General Assembly agreed, and we’re going to do that every year,” Rauner said from a podium set up in the baggage claim of the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

BILL GREENBLATT | UPI

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh discussed some of the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week with the reporters who covered those stories.

Joining the show were St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jo Mannies, Marshall Griffin and Jason Rosenbaum.

Some of the stories we talked about include:

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses nearly five thousand people on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois on March 4, 2016.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Inside a packed basketball arena in southern Illinois, Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders’ made Weasel Forsythe’s day.

Forsythe was one of several thousand people who saw the Vermont senator speak Friday on the campus of Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. When Sanders was through with a roughly 50-minute speech, he gave Forsythe a hug.

Kelly Sikkema | Flickr

Though the age-old question remains unanswered (you know, the chicken-egg thing), it is certain that urban agriculture will not be expanding in St. Louis any time soon.

The Board of Aldermen soundly rejected Scott Ogilvie's measure on Friday that would have boosted the number of backyard chickens allowed from four to eight, and let residents keep sheep, goats and emu on larger lots.

Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Retired U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., is endorsing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – a move that could single a shift by more Missouri backers of  Jeb Bush, who has dropped out.

In a statement first given Friday to St. Louis Public Radio, Bond said:

“I’ve carefully looked at all the candidates running for President and it’s clear to me that Marco Rubio is the strong conservative we need as our nominee. As a former governor and senator, I know about leadership, and I’ve come to see that Marco is a born leader who will steer our country in the right direction.”

File Photo

Northeast Missouri no longer votes for many Democrats, either to the General Assembly or for statewide office.

Even so, many of Missouri’s most prominent Democrats will be in Hannibal this weekend to participate in a tradition that has gone on for decades. Some of northeast Missouri's remaining Democrats will be hosting the 45th annual Democrat Days, the first of a series of regional gatherings around the state that go on for months.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

The Missouri Senate has expanded one of the proposed ethics bills passed by the House in January.

Originally, House Bill 2203 required that any money held by former lawmakers be held in bank accounts that could make that money readily available.  It was part of the House Republican leadership's approach to reforming Missouri's ethics system.

Rexsinquefield.org

Updated 10:45 a.m. March 4 with second Sinquefield donation - A new campaign committee is targeting St. Louis’ earning tax, the continuation of which will go before city voters next month. And like the last time, wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield is financing the opposition.

The group is called Vote NO on the E-Tax. A spokesman confirmed that Sinquefield will be underwriting the group’s campaign operations. The Missouri Ethics Commission has reported that Sinquefield donated $618,360 to the group on March 1.

A spokesman for Vote NO said the donation amount reflected the city's population in 1970, one of its peak years. However, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded the city's 1970 population at 622,236.

On Friday, Sinquefield gave the group another $452,804 -- for a total of $1.07 million in less than a week. The city's population never reached 1 million.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers raise their weapons at a preshift meeting 3.23.15
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department likely won't be wearing body cameras until sometime next year.

A 90-day pilot program with about 70 sergeants wraps up next week, St. Louis Chief Sam Dotson told the city's public safety committee on Thursday. He'll then get feedback from the officers involved and the public, and decide whether to sit down and negotiate a camera policy with the St. Louis Police Officers' Association.

Russ Carnahan
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 are pleased to welcome former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat recently declared his return to electoral politics when he announced his lieutenant governor bid.

voting booth for paper ballot
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

St. Louis Public Radio's Curious Louis was recently asked about the Village of Country Life Acres. The 2010 census lists the tiny west St. Louis County village as having 74 residents. Yet, it had 92 registered voters at the end of that year.

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