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

Updated on Wednesday with comments from state lawmakers: In Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander’s view, what happened last week in St. Louis County was an “inexcusable” event that prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots.

The Democratic official launched an investigation into why roughly 60 polling places ran out of ballots during last week’s municipal elections. His findings largely matched up with what St. Louis Board of Elections director Eric Fey said: There were errors in a database detailing the number of ballot types needed at certain polling places.

A view looking out on the rotunda from the second floor of St. Louis city hall.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

With nearly a year to go before St. Louisans pick a mayor to replace Francis Slay, people are floating lots of names.

Now in his fourth term as mayor, Slay announced last week that he would not seek re-election. When it comes to qualifications for his successor, people are looking for someone who supports healthy economic growth, has a keen eye for justice and equity, and who knows how the system works, but isn’t afraid to shake things up.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The latest legislation against the 1 percent earnings tax in St. Louis is on hold in the Missouri Senate.

Late Monday, Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, unveiled a revamped bill that would NOT phase out the tax, but instead would exempt St. Louis residents from paying on the first $10,000 earned. Also, anyone at or below the federal poverty level would not have to pay the tax at all.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

Bicycle enthusiasts in Missouri are breathing a sigh of relief over the fate of one bill while worrying about another.

First, there's House Bill 2046, which would require bicycles to have reflective orange flags mounted on 15-foot-long poles whenever they're being ridden on state lettered routes. The second, House Bill 2047, would allow limited use of golf carts and so-called utility vehicles on the Katy Trail.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signs an executive order  "banning the box" on state job applications at the office of the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon “banned the box” for potential state employees, the Show Me State joined a nationwide trend aimed at helping ex-offenders move back into the workforce.

His executive order would remove application questions about criminal history for most state jobs.

There are exceptions for positions where a criminal conviction is disqualifying, such as a bank examiner. “Ban the box” doesn’t necessarily mean that a person’s criminal history won’t come up in the hiring process — it just wouldn’t be placed on a job application.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Beyond Housing President and CEO Chris Krehmeyer and Normandy Mayor Patrick Green joined host Don Marsh in discussing Senate Bill 5, which deals with municipal court overhaul. Recently, a Cole County judge rejected major parts of the law. More background on that here.

Jason Smith
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbuam and Rachel Lippmann are pleased to welcome U.S. Rep. Jason Smith to the show for the first time.

The Republican lawmaker was elected to represent Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in 2013 in a special election. The 8th District encompasses a swath of southeast and south central Missouri, as well as portions of the St. Louis metropolitan area like Jefferson County and all of Ste. Genevieve County.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The 2016 baseball season finally starts HERE on Monday.

There’ll be a sea of red in the stands at Busch Stadium and Clydesdales circling the warning track, as Cardinals fans put a rocky week of on-the-road baseball behind them and welcome home their 2015 National League Central Division champs.

Scroll down for info on opening day ceremonies -- a highlight will be the first pitch by beloved Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock -- and changes fans can expect at the ball yard this season.

And, because it’s the 10th anniversary of the stadium, we begin with a little quiz.

Steakpinball | Flickr

In the past year and a half, St. Louis County’s municipal courts have a handful of self-reforms like recalling warrants and standardizing traffic fines.

 Now, they’re turning their attention to technology for the newest effort at improving the way courts run.

 Officials are developing a smartphone app that literally puts information about municipal courts into people’s pockets. 

Blues musician Bobby Rush, museum leaders and Mayor Francis Slay celebrate the opening of the National Blues Museum on Saturday, April 2, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

It was just a couple of weeks ago that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay unequivocally told this reporter that he would run for a historic fifth term.

Now, the Democratic official has changed course and won’t be running for another four years in office. And that means next year’s mayoral contest could be a free-for-all of epic proportions.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This week's "Behind the Headlines" segment took a quick turn on Friday morning when St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced he would not run for re-election. Luckily, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Rachel Lippmann and Jason Rosenbaum, were on the story and able to share some perspective into the announcement and what possibly could come next.

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

This is a developing story and will be updated. Mayor Francis Slay is not seeking a fifth term in office.

The longest-serving mayor in the city's history made the announcement Friday at a hastily called press conference at City Hall. He was first sworn in in 2001.

"I will not be a candidate for mayor next year," Slay said. As recently as March 28, he had indicated he would be seeking another term, and said as much on our Politically Speaking podcast.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Working to pass Missouri's state budget ahead of schedule seems to be the new normal.

Usually at this point in the legislative year, the 13 bills making up the state budget would have barely been in the Missouri Senate's hands for a week. But on Thursday the upper chamber passed 12 of the 13 bills, sending them back to the House to set the stage for final negotiations.

Ferguson City Manager De'Carlon Seewood
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson officials say mixed results from Tuesday’s election will not keep the city from complying with its consent decree with the Justice Department.

Voters approved a sales tax increase but a measure to hike property taxes fell short of its needed two-thirds majority.

Bill Kreeb, president and CEO of Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, and Elizabeth Patton-Whiteside, public health administrator at the East Side Health District.
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated 12:00 p.m., April 7 with news of more layoffs — Metro East social service agency Lessie Bates Neighborhood House says it can't afford to continue offering in-home care to 300 seniors from the East St. Louis area.  

If the state is unable to find another agency to provide in-home care, the seniors could have to move into nursing homes when Lessie Bates temporarily closes its in-home care program at the end of the month.

Lessie Bates is also laying off 117 employees who work in the program. 

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

While Donald Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric about immigrants (calling Latino immigrants “criminals” and “rapists,” for example) has scored thousands of headlines across the globe, political scientist Zoltan Hajnal said there is a growing number of white, working class Americans who back up those kind of beliefs.

St. Louis fire chief, Dennis Jenkerson, is all smiles on April 6, 2016 after city voters overwhelmingly approved the earnings tax and a bond issue.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The overwhelming votes in St. Louis and Kansas City to keep the earnings tax may short-circuit efforts at the state level to eliminate it in St. Louis.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is spearheading the measure, which would phase out the 1 percent tax over 10 years. On Thursday, Senate Republican leader Ron Richard said he will not push to bring his colleague's bill up for a vote.

Eric Fey, the Democratic director for the St. Louis County Board of Elections.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It would be an understatement to say that Tuesday was not a good day for Eric Fey.

The Democratic director for the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners is in charge of the largest and most complicated local electoral jurisdiction in the state. And during yesterday’s slate of municipal elections, polling places across the county ran out of paper ballots — even in the early hours of the morning. Things got so dire that a court ultimately extended voting hours — after the polls had already closed.

Charlene Jones, a longtime political and education strategist who managed the Prop 1 campaign, speaks to a cheerful crowd at St. Louis Public Schools' downtown headquarters after watching election results come in.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters easily reaffirmed the city's earnings tax, a solid victory for city leaders and a stinging defeat for retired financier Rex Sinquefield.

And city residents also approved several other propositions, including a $25 million bond issue and a property tax increase for St. Louis Public Schools.

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

Updated as story develops: St. Louis County’s municipal elections got off to a rocky start on Tuesday, with many polling places quickly running out of ballots. An appeals court extended voting until 9 p.m., but the decision came late. Shortly after 5 p.m., Circuit Judge Maura B. McShane denied a request to extend voting. In a hand-written order, the presiding judge in the county said "the court denies petitioners' request and doesn't believe it has authority to extend the hours."

In an email, Eric Fey, Democratic director of the St. Louis County Board of Elections, said, "Any ballots cast after 7:00 pm as a result of the court order will not be counted tonight."

Mary Kogut
Provided by Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is initiating contempt proceedings against Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, for failing to release subpoenaed documents.

Last November, the Missouri Senate demanded six years of documentation about Planned Parenthood’s disposal procedures for fetal tissue. On Tuesday, a state Senate panel discussed two resolutions sponsored by Schaefer (SR 1794 & SR 1793) that summon Kogut and Dr. James Miller, owner of a pathology lab that analyzes fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood, to testify before the Senate chamber at 10 a.m. on April 18. If charged with contempt before the Senate, they could face up to 10 days in jail.

Christopher Buchanan / Insignia Films

Updated April 8, 1:04 a.m. -- A proposed exemption to Missouri's motorcycle helmet law continues moving forward.

The state House passed HB 1464 Thursday by a vote of 103-43.  It's not enough to survive a potential veto from Governor Jay Nixon, who vetoed an outright repeal of the helmet requirement in 2009.

Concordance Academy president Danny Ludeman announces that (from left) St. Louis County executive Steve Stenger, St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, and St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann have committed $2 million to his program over the next three year
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A public-private partnership that tries to help prisoners readjust to society is getting a funding boost from regional government.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, and St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann on Tuesday announced they are committing a total of $2 million to Concordance Academy. The program, which is the brain child of former Wells-Fargo chief executive Danny Ludeman, provides a variety of services to prisoners both before and after they are released in an effort to keep them from re-offending.

Rapper C-Sharp is spreading the word about a voter participation initiative called "YouTurn 2016."
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, we take things in a slightly different direction by interviewing St. Louis musician C-Sharp about his get-out-the-vote initiative.

The St. Louis County native has launched “YouTurn 2016.” In addition to talking with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Willis Ryder Arnold about the importance of voting, C-Sharp is barnstorming across the city to talk about the value of voter participation.

Quadrangle at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
(Flickr Creative Commons User Adam Procter)

A review commission designed to implement changes to the University of Missouri System is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 would create an eight-member commission to recommend changes in the wake of last year's campus unrest. And refusal to implement any changes from the commission would result in future budget cuts.

Normandy Mayor Patrick Green, center, speaks to the media after a judge struck down numerous aspects of SB5.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

As he stood with his fellow mayors in corridor of the historic Wilson Price Hunt House, Normandy Mayor Patrick Green declined to gloat over the judicial body blow dealt to a landmark overhaul of municipal governance.

Instead, Green took the opportunity to extend a hand to lawmakers who had substantially restricted the percentage of fine revenue St. Louis County cities could keep in their budgets. The truce offer, though, had a caveat: St. Louis County cities had to be treated the same as the rest of the state.

Staff, Flickr and Bill Greenblatt

Over the past 10 days, St. Louis Public Radio has presented articles on some of the issues before area voters this week. Most of the municipal elections were not reviewed. But we did look at county- and city-wide propositions, as well as tax issues within the city, some school districts and the municipal election in Ferguson.

We Live Here
Art by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

 Today we’re excited to launch the second season of We Live Here – our multi-media project focused on race, class, power, systems and the people they touch.

We’re calling the first show of the new season “Burden of Proof.” It’s a look at why people don’t believe each other when it comes to race and discrimination. 

Listen to the whole first episode and more on our new website at welivehere.show. Or, subscribe to We Live Here wherever you find your podcasts. 

Democratic National Convention 1876
Cornell University Collection of Political Americana

Donald Trump may have won Missouri’s Republican primary on March 15, but there’s no guarantee he’ll win the delegate war that’s about to get underway.

Later this week, both state parties will begin the three-tier caucus system that will be used to select most of the 84 Democratic delegates and 52 Republican delegates who will attend the parties’ presidential elections.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
NGA

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.

This week, we discussed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's pick of north St. Louis as the 'preferred site' for its new facility and the political/economic implications of such a choice. We also discussed the Missouri legislative session and political climate in Jefferson City as well as Senate Bill 5 and Ferguson's new police chief.

Joining us:

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