Politics & Issues

Food Stamps/ Drug Convicts
10:36 am
Fri March 2, 2012

Mo. bill would allow drug felons to get food stamps

Missouri is one of nine states where felony drug convicts are ineligible for food stamps.
(via Flickr/clementine gallot)

Supporters say a bill that would allow convicted drug felons to be eligible for foods stamps is gaining momentum among Missouri lawmakers. The bill would repeal the state's lifetime ban on food stamps for drug felons.

Three Republicans and one Democrat in the House are sponsoring the bill, according to The Kansas City Star. The sponsors say it isn't fair that child molesters and murderers are eligible for food stamps, but people with felony drug convictions aren't.

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State Auditor's duties
6:00 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Mo. judge forbids State Auditor from calculating costs of ballot initiatives

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Missouri judge has struck down the State Auditor's authority to prepare financial estimates for ballot initiatives.

The ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem comes in a challenge to a proposed tobacco tax initiative for which supporters are not gathering signatures. But attorneys who specialize in initiative petitions say the ruling ultimately could affect other initiatives.

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Death Penalty study
5:35 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

ABA study says death penalty too broadly pursued in Mo.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

It may be easier to be sentenced to death in Missouri than in other states, according to a study released today and sponsored by the American Bar Association.

It finds that aggravating circumstances used by prosecutors are so broadly defined that virtually any homicide case in Missouri can qualify for the death penalty.  University of Missouri -- Columbia Law Professor Paul Litton is on the panel that conducted the study.  He says the state’s wide latitude on capital punishment goes against the recommendations of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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"Safe Haven" law
11:02 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Mo. lawmaker backs expansion of 'Safe Haven' law

A sign designating a location as a "safe place" for parents to surrender newborns within a certain period of time, no questions asked.
(via Flickr/joelk75)

A Missouri lawmaker says parents of newborns should get more time to decide whether they want to surrender their baby to the state.

State law allows a parent to leave their a child at a hospital, fire station or police station within five days of the child's birth.

Rep. Kevin McManus, a Kansas City Democrat, is sponsoring legislation that would give parents up to 60 days to safely surrender a newborn.

Missouri State Budget
1:10 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Mo. Gov. releases additional education funding

A sign posted outside the office door of Mo. House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City).
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released an additional $5 million withheld from this year’s K-12 and Higher Education budgets.

The Nixon Administration says $3 million of the withheld funding will help keep school buses on the road, while just over $2 million will go toward universities and community colleges.  Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the move was made because state lottery sales have been better than expected.

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Mo. candidates filing begins
4:43 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Candidates line up on 1st filing day for Aug. primary

Candidates wait in line at the Mo. Sec. of State's office to file to run for state and federal offices. Fans were set up along the 3rd floor hallway as hundreds waited in line.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Candidates for the U.S. Senate, Congress, Missouri General Assembly, Governor  and other statewide offices can now file to run.

Hundreds flocked to Jefferson City today and lined up outside the doors of the Secretary of State’s office to file their paperwork. Among those filing on the first day was Republican Peter Kinder, who’s seeking a third term as Lt. Governor.  Kinder had originally planned to challenge incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon for Governor, but changed his mind last fall.

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veterans homes / state lottery
1:13 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Mo. House backs increase in veterans homes funding with cut to state lottery prizes

War veterans salute as an American flag passes by during Memorial Day services at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis on May 30, 2011.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a plan that would cut the amount of money available for state lottery prizes to increase funding for state-run veterans homes.

The legislation would reduce lottery prize funds by about 3.5 percent and put the money toward early childhood education programs that currently get funds from the Missouri Gaming Commission. Gaming Commission money now used for early childhood education would instead go to veterans' homes.

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Education
12:31 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Mo. teachers rally at Capitol on tenure measure

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

About 300 teachers are at the Missouri Capitol lobbying lawmakers over a measure that includes phasing out the state's teacher tenure system.

The teachers held a brief rally Tuesday the Capitol rotunda Tuesday. Among other things, the bill would not allow the state's tenure law to apply to teachers hired after June 2013.

Ralf Trusty, president of the Missouri State Teachers Association, says that teachers are an important part of a child's development. He says teachers need to know that their jobs are secure so that they can do those jobs well.

Buck O'Neil
9:17 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Buck O'Neil inducted into Hall of Famous Missourians

(l-r) Mo. House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville), former KC Royals player Frank White, and Negro Leagues Museum President Bob Kendrick, unveil a bust of KC Monarchs legend Buck O'Neil.
(Tim Bommel/Mo. House Communications)

Major League Baseball's first black coach has been inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians.

The late Buck O'Neil, who played first base for the Kansas City Monarchs and went on to become a leading ambassador for Negro Leagues Baseball, was praised by former Kansas City Royals player Frank White and others during a ceremony Monday.

A bronze bust of O'Neil will now be included in a display at the Capitol.

Mo. House redistricting
8:29 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Mo. Supreme Court hears State House redistricting map lawsuit

Mo. Supreme Court
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a lawsuit challenging the new State House redistricting map.

The map’s opponents raised similar objections as those who’ve challenged the congressional and State Senate district maps drawn up last year:  Like the Senate map, plaintiffs claimed, in written statements, that the six-judge panel that drew up the House map did so behind closed doors and thus violated the state’s Sunshine law.  Robert Hess, one of the attorneys defending the map, said the panel was not subject to the Sunshine law.

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