Politics & Issues

Missouri Budget
12:38 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Mo. budget negotiators back 2 percent pay raise for state employees

House and Senate budget negotiators resumed talks today, but still have not resolved differences over how to fund veterans homes and health care for the blind.

They agreed on numerous budget items that have garnered little to no controversy.  The House won out on its proposed pay raise for state workers – those earning under $70,000 a year would get a 2 percent raise starting in July.  Kirk Schaefer (R, Columbia), the Senate’s chief negotiator, says he didn’t mind accepting the House’s position on pay raises.

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Missouri state budget
4:50 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Impasse over Mo. budget with one week left to pass it

House and Senate budget conferees meet briefly Thursday, 5-3-2012, at the Mo. Capitol.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

House and Senate budget negotiators remain at an impasse on what’s become the main barrier to reaching an agreement:  finding a way to fund veterans’ homes.

The House this week passed legislation that would fund veterans homes with gaming revenues currently designated for early childhood programs, and replace it with money from a tobacco settlement.  The Senate has so far refused to take up the measure.  House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) accuses Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) of playing games.

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Clay and Carnahan face off
4:53 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Clay and Carnahan disagree on impact of primary race

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-St. Louis) and William "Lacy" Clay (D-St. Louis) (R).
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri congressmen Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan have some differences of opinion when it comes to the potential political impact of their Democratic primary battle. 

Both are running for the Democratic nomination in the 1st congressional district, which Clay has represented since 2001. Carnahan decided to challenge Clay after Carnahan’s south St. Louis city and county district was split up following the 2010 census. Clay calls the situation “unfortunate".

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Transportation
2:54 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Mo. Senate opts for highway study over I-70 toll road debate

Interstate 70 near the exit to Providence Road in Columbia, Mo.
(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

It appears unlikely that Missouri lawmakers will pass any legislation this year that would turn Interstate Highway 70 into a toll road.

Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer (R, Napton) says the proposal has gotten a lot of negative feedback.

“We had excellent hearings this year, but it became very clear that until we raise the awareness of the public and the need in the public that we would be spinning our wheels to move any further," Stouffer said.

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Education
1:42 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Mo. House narrowly OKs changes to teacher layoffs

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri House has narrowly approved legislation that would prohibit seniority and salary from being considered when laying off teachers.

The bill would require school administrators to make teacher performance the most important factor in teacher layoffs, rather than starting layoffs with teachers who have not earned tenure.

Training and certification also could be considered.

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Roy Blunt at Mo. Capitol
11:49 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Blunt tells Mo. lawmakers to guard against big govt., declines to endorse in U.S. Senate race

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
(via Flickr/Senator Roy Blunt)

Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R) briefly addressed the Missouri House today.

Blunt spent most of his nine-minute speech criticizing government growth and overregulation.  He was especially critical of the federal government’s attempts to regulate family farms.

"We don’t need people in Washington DC deciding what farm kids can do on family farms," Blunt said to applause.  "We don’t need the EPA trying to spend all this time figuring out how you can farm without dust.”

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Missouri Budget
10:22 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Mo. budget talks on hold over veterans' home money

Mo. Capitol
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Negotiators working on a final version of Missouri's budget are taking a wait-and-see approach dependent on a new funding plan for veterans' nursing homes.

A conference committee of House and Senate members convened briefly Thursday, but only to say they are not going to meet further until the Senate takes action on the veterans' legislation.

The House passed a bill Wednesday that would provide a dedicated funding stream for Missouri's financially strapped veterans' homes.

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Zachary Wyatt / Sexual Orientation
4:00 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Rep. Zachary Wyatt: on coming out, and speaking against 'don't say gay'

Republican Missouri State Representative Zachary Wyatt, from Kirksville.
(via Office of Rep. Wyatt)

A Republican member of the Missouri House announced today that he is gay during a press conference on a bill that would limit public schools from discussing sexual orientation in the classroom.  Zachary Wyatt of Kirksville told reporters he has deep regrets for not taking stands earlier against school bullying, and called for lawmakers to shelve the so-called “don’t say gay” bill.

With his disclosure today, Wyatt becomes the only current openly gay Republican state legislator in the nation.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin talked with Wyatt about the bill and his decision to come out.

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Zachary Wyatt / Sexual Orientation
11:28 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Mo. lawmaker Wyatt says he is gay, denounces school bill

Republican Mo. state Representative Zach Wyatt speaking this morning.
(screen capture via Progress Missouri video)

Will be updated.

Updated at 11:59 a.m. with information that Wyatt is the only current openly gay Republican state legislator in the nation.

A Republican Missouri House member has announced publicly that he is gay and called upon GOP leaders to end legislation that would limit discussion of sexual orientation in public schools.

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Mo. State budget
7:26 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

No "binding" for the Missouri Senate on budget negotiations

Mo. Capitol
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate took the next step Tuesday toward beginning final negotiations with the House on next year’s state budget.  But Senate members struggled with whether to bind themselves to various positions they support.

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