Politics & Issues

Turner Fix bill
8:39 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Bill to stem flood of K-12 transfers heard by Mo. Sen. committee

A Mo. Senate committee hears testimony on legislation designed to address the Mo. Supreme Court's ruling in Turner v. Clayton, allowing students from unaccredited districts to transfer to adjacent accredited ones.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that’s designed to stop a potential mass exodus of students from unaccredited schools in St. Louis and Kansas City to nearby suburban schools was heard Tuesday before a Missouri Senate committee.

The bill’s provisions include scholarships for kids in unaccredited public schools to attend private schools, and it would allow accredited schools to open charter schools in unaccredited districts.  Tina Hardin of St. Louis spoke in favor of the bill.  Her son was accepted into a Catholic school, but says she can’t afford to send him there.

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Oil / Jay Nixon
12:16 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Missouri governor backs plans for new oil pipeline

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Jay Nixon is endorsing plans for new oil pipeline that would cut across Missouri.

Nixon said Tuesday that his administration would work to approve whatever permits are necessary for Enbridge (U.S.) Inc. to build a 600-mile pipeline from Flanagan, Ill., to Cushing, Okla. The company is in the early stages of the project but hopes to begin construction in the middle of next year.

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Missouri Redistricting
9:46 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Court hearing starts over Mo. congressional map

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Updated 12:43 with comments from hearing.

Updated 4:29 p.m. with more commentary from hearing, additional information.

A Missouri political science professor says the state's new congressional districts could have been more compact.

University of Missouri-St. Louis professor David Kimball was the first witness during a court hearing about the constitutionality of the state's new U.S. House districts.

Kimball said the districts could be considered divided in a way that gives one political party an advantage, which is known as gerrymandering.

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Workplace discrimination bills
5:41 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Mo. Legislative Black Caucus opposing workplace discrimination bills

(l-r) State Rep. Steve Webb (D, North County) and Tishaura Jones (D, St. Louis) speak out against GOP-sponsored bills that would redefine workplace discrimination in Missouri.
(Tim Bommel/Mo. House Communications)

The Legislative Black Caucus is vowing to fight attempts in both the Missouri House and Senate to pass Republican-sponsored workplace discrimination bills.

Currently, an employee can sue his or her employer if discrimination is found to be a contributing factor in any action taken against that worker.  Both House and Senate versions of the bill would require that discrimination be a motivating factor instead.   Democrat Steve Webb of North County chairs the Black Caucus.

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MO Statehouse
4:20 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Bill to abolish death penalty filed in Mo. House

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Legislation has been filed in the Missouri House that would abolish the death penalty.

If the bill becomes law, any pending executions in Missouri would be halted, and all inmates sentenced to death would be re-sentenced to life without probation or parole.  It’s sponsored by State Representative Penny Hubbard (D, St. Louis).  She says she doesn’t believe that capital punishment is an effective deterrent.

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I-70 toll road proposal
4:45 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

MoDOT Director: Toll roads only option if state wants to rebuild I-70 right now

The head of the Missouri Department of Transportation says charging tolls on Interstate 70 is the only real option for funding reconstruction of the highway, if the state wants to do something about it right now.

MoDOT Director Kevin Keith told a gathering of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry Thursday that converting I-70 to a toll road could have short-term benefits, namely, job creation.

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Missouri Redistricting
1:29 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Mo. Supreme Court declines redistricting case

The Missouri Supreme Court is declining to weigh in on the constitutionality of new state House districts - at least for now.

The high court had been asked in a lawsuit to block a new map for the 163-member House from being used in this year's elections.

The plaintiffs contend the new maps violate requirements that districts have similar populations and be contiguous and compact.

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Workplace discrimination bill
5:17 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Workplace discrimination bill being blocked in Mo. Senate

A group of Democratic State Senators is blocking a bill that would redefine Missouri’s workplace discrimination standards.

Among those taking part in the filibuster are Robin Wright-Jones (D, St. Louis) and Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D, University City).  They talked about several other topics besides the discrimination bill on the Senate floor Wednesday, including America’s immigration policies.

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Texting While Driving
10:05 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Mo. senator Wright-Jones wants texting ban as secondary offense

(via Flickr/MrJasonWeaver)

A proposed compromise to expand Missouri's texting-while-driving law appears to have fallen flat in a Senate committee.

The Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill by that would prohibit all drivers - not just those 21 and younger - from texting while driving. Because similar bills have failed in the past, Democratic Sen. Robin Wright-Jones of St. Louis proposed making texting a secondary offense - meaning police would have to pull motorists over for something else before they could write a ticket for texting.

MO Statehouse
10:00 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Mo. bill allows quicker intervention in failing school districts

(via Flickr/comedy_nose)

Will be updated.

Some Missouri lawmakers want to give state education officials authority to intervene sooner to assist failing school districts.

Districts that lose state accreditation currently are given two years to improve before state education officials can step in. A push to eliminate the grace period comes shortly after the Kansas City School District became the state's third unaccredited district.

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