Politics & Issues

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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Campaign Finance
12:39 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Mo. Gov. Nixon Spent $15.5M On Re-Election

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) talks with reporters at a press conference at the State Capitol.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon spent $15.5 million on his re-election campaign and still has hundreds of thousands of dollars left over.

Campaign finance reports released Thursday show Nixon's fundraising committee had a balance of nearly $414,000 at the start of December.

Nixon has changed his committee to indicate that he now is seeking an unspecified statewide office in 2016 and has given it a new name - "A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon."

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Campaign Finance
10:28 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Despite Condemning The Candidate, The NRSC Funneled Money To Akin

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-St. Louis) announces he will challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill for her seat in 2012 on May 17, 2011.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated at 2:02 with McCaskill's finances.

In spite of repeated assurances that they wouldn't support Congressman Todd Akin's senate bid after his damning comments regarding "legitimate rape," the National Republican Senatorial Committee funneled $756,000 into Akin's campaign during the days before the election.

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Politics
4:41 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Blunt Votes To Block Ratification Of Disability Treaty

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt in 2010.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Republicans in the Senate have blocked ratification of a United Nations treaty that would have helped countries protect the rights of disabled people.

Although it’s modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act - which was passed over twenty years ago - 38 Republicans voted against the treaty.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt voted against it, and told reporters Thursday that he objected to it being brought up during the lame duck session.

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Politically Speaking
3:54 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

This Week's Politically Speaking Podcast

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: We discuss Representative Jo Ann Emerson's early departure, and who's on the short-list to replace her, where we stand on Medicaid expansion, and Senator Claire McCaskill's recent PR tour.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

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Politics
2:10 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Blunt Stands To Move Up In Seniority After DeMint's Retirement

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) both serve on the Senate Commerce Committee.
U.S. Senate

South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint announced Thursday that he’s stepping down after the end of the year to take a job with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank. DeMint has long been a voice for the tea party movement, and a senator fond of the filibuster. But Missouri Senator Roy Blunt isn’t worried about a conservative void being left after his peer’s retirement.

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Mark Kirk
1:32 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

After Suffering Major Stroke, Sen. Kirk To Return To Work Jan. 3

U.S. Sen. for Ill. Mark Kirk.
(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk will return to work in Washington on Jan. 3, a year after suffering a major stroke that required months of intense rehabilitation.

Kirk has indicated previously that he'd return to work next month but hadn't specified a date. The Republican's spokeswoman, Erin Athas, confirmed the date on Thursday. She had no further details.

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Politics
4:44 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Sifton, Environmental Group To Congress: Pass Credit For Wind Energy

Stuart Keating of Environment Missouri (left) and state Senator-elect Scott Sifton gathered at City Hall to call for the PTC to be extended.
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

The federal wind Production Tax Credit supports nearly 2,000 Missouri jobs, but is set to expire at the end of the year. If Congress doesn’t act to renew the subsidy that could change, which has some Missouri policy-makers worried.

State Senator-elect Scott Sifton of St. Louis joined representatives from Environment Missouri, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization, on Wednesday to call for Congress to approve the incentive.

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Illinois Prisons
2:18 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Some Illinois Prisons, Facilities May Close As Budget Cuts Stand

(Flickr/neil conway)

Gov. Pat Quinn's budget cuts that will force the closure of some prisons and other state facilities will stand.

The Illinois House didn't consider an override vote Wednesday before adjourning on the last day of veto session. A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says the speaker didn't think it was necessary action to take.

Last week, the Senate voted to reject cuts of $56 million to funds for the Tamms high-security prison and other sites.

Quinn opposed the override.

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Medicaid expansion
6:52 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Social Service Advocates Ask Mo. Lawmakers To Expand Medicaid

(l-r) Alice Kliethermes and Cynthia Keele of NAMI Missouri testify before a Mo. House budget subcommittee on Dec. 4th, 2012.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

People and groups who work with Medicaid clients urged Missouri lawmakers today to expand coverage in next year’s state budget.

Cynthia Keele from NAMI Missouri (National Alliance on Mental Illness) told a State House budget subcommittee that expanding Medicaid would help families dealing with medical debt.

“Missouri medical debt is responsible for about 40 percent of the bankruptcies in Missouri, and I know that because I’m a banker’s wife," Keele said.  "Those bankruptcies and medical debt kill jobs.”

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