Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking
1:55 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

This Week's Politically Speaking Podcast

Alex Heuer

St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

On today's episode: Ed Martin becomes the Missouri GOP's new chairman. How did it happen? Also, an update on the jockeying for Missouri's 8th Congressional seat. And then we close it out with a look toward the Missouri legislature.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

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National Politics
12:44 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

President Obama Nominates Lew For Treasury Secretary

President Barack Obama.
(via White House photographer Pete Souza)

President Obama announced his nomination of Jacob "Jack" Lew for the position of Secretary of the Treasury today.

Among other things, Lew's distinctive "loopy" signature has been a topic of discussion over the past few days. Why? The signature of the Secretary of Treasury appears on US currency.

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MO Statehouse
4:03 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Mo. Lawmakers State Priorities As Fresh Regular Session Begins

The Missouri House chamber at the Missouri Capitol, minutes before the 97th General Assembly convened for the first time on Jan. 9, 2013.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Lawmakers have returned to Jefferson City and begun the new year’s regular Missouri legislative session. 

So, what do they want to get done?

Senate Republicans are focused on:

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Illinois General Assembly
8:58 am
Wed January 9, 2013

New Session Of Ill. General Assembly Begins

Credit Flickr/Jason Dunnivant

Reporting from Amanda Vinicky from Illinois Public Radio.

A new session of the Illinois General Assembly begins today, when candidates who won in November's elections take the oath of office.  The outgoing class of legislators left the incoming one with quite a burden.  

Tuesday night, the previous General Assembly adjourned without doing anything to reduce Illinois' $97 billion pension debt, though there were a few last minute tries.

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Mo. Transportation needs
4:50 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Blue Ribbon Committee Releases 'Options' For Funding Missouri's Transportation Needs

Mo. House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) stands to the left of former Speaker Rod Jetton (R), co-chair of the Blue Ribbon transportation panel. Standing behind Jetton, wearing a beige jacket, is fellow co-chair, former State Sen. Bill McKenna (D).
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A panel appointed by the Missouri House to study the state’s transportation needs released its final report today, one day before the start of the 2013 legislative session.


It states that Missouri needs an additional $600 million to $1 billion a year – for several years – to maintain roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure.  The report lays out several options for meeting that gap, but doesn’t recommend any specific funding methods.  Retired Democratic State Senator Bill McKenna co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri's Transportation Needs.  He says some of the options won’t appeal to the Republican majority.

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Immigration
2:21 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Illinois Poised To Allow Driver's Licenses For Those In U.S. Illegally

(via Flickr/jonrawlinson)

Updated 3:06 p.m. with comment from Gov. Quinn. Will be updated further. Reporting from Brian Mackey used in this report

The Illinois House has approved legislation allowing those who are in the U.S. illegally to obtain driver's licenses.

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Pensions
11:25 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Illinois House Adjourns Assembly Without Pension Vote

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(via Wikimedia Commons)

Updated  5:30 p.m. Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky and Brian Mackey used in this report.

The Illinois House has just adjourned the 97th General Assembly permanently, without taking a vote on the pension legislation.

The commission proposed earlier in the day by Gov. Quinn (more below) was not addressed.

Members of the House approved it in committee, but several said they were doing so only as a show of respect for the governor, and had serious reservations about whether the idea was constitutional.

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Missouri Republican Party
11:00 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Ed Martin On Failed Campaigns, Fundraising And The Future Of The Mo. GOP

Martin during his unsuccessful run against Attorney General Chris Koster.
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

In a narrow victory on Saturday, Ed Martin edged out incumbent David Cole to become the new Missouri GOP Chairman.

Many speculate David Cole was ousted because of the GOP's poor performance in statewide races, where the party lost five out of the six races, in spite of Republican Mitt Romney carrying the state by over 10 points. But it's worth noting that Martin chaired the Missouri GOP's Victory 2012 Campaign, which resulted in only one victory for the party.

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Politics
6:37 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Fate Of Ill. Pension Reform Up In The Air

Credit (via Flickr/jglazer75)

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn has said repeatedly his top priority is dealing with the state’s pensions - the worst- funded in the country. He’s held countless press conferences and made the argument that pension costs take away money for other state programs.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross says proposals to deal with the pension funds have been around for two years.

"We’ve talked about these to a point where we don’t need to talk any more," said Cross. "We’ve got to do this."

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Politics
5:27 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Audit Finds Red Flags At St. Louis County Children's Fund

Seal of St. Louis County

An internal audit of an organization providing children’s services in St. Louis County has turned up a list of serious problems.

The audit of the $81 million St. Louis County Children's Service Fund details questionable relationships between the fund’s former director and some of its consultants.

The fund’s former Director Kate Tansey abruptly left the job last October. 

The audit also details issues such as misuse of purchasing cards by several employees.

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