Politics & Issues

MO Statehouse
10:25 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Mo. revenues higher than expected for 2012 budget

(via Flickr/kevindooley)

Missouri closed out its 2012 fiscal year with slightly better-than-expected revenues. But that doesn't necessarily translate to a budget surplus.
 
Figures released Tuesday show Missouri had more than $7.3 billion in general revenues during the fiscal year that ended June 30. That's up more than 3.2 percent compared with the 2011 fiscal year. And it's also better than the 2.7 percent growth rate upon which the budget had been based.

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Politics
10:15 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Clay says he wasn’t behind consolidating congressional districts

Congressman Lacy Clay speaks at a media event promoting a veteran jobs training grant awarded to the City of St. Louis and the St. Patrick Center.
Tim Lloyd St. Louis Public Radio

Congressman Lacy Clay is asking fellow St. Louis Democrat Russ Carnahan to knock it off with claims that he was in cahoots with Republicans to consolidate St. Louis's two congressional districts

Both Clay and Carnahan are vying for the Democratic nomination for the 1st Congressional District.

The issue has become a bit of a he-said-he-said between the former congressional allies, and Clay says he's just trying to get the facts straight.

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Veterans / Jobs
3:45 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Nixon signs job-training bill for veterans

Gov. Nixon and Heather Condon of Kirksville talk via Skype with her husband, Lt. Jacob Condon, who is serving in Qatar with the Missouri National Guard. The Governor honored the Condons’ business for hiring veterans, and signed a related bill there.
(via Gov. Nixon Official Website)

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation offering job training incentives for military veterans returning to the private sector.

The legislation enacted Monday allows employers to be reimbursed for half the wages paid to military veterans during an on-the-job training period. Lawmakers who backed the measure said it taps into federal money to offset part of the job training costs.

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St. Louis Board of Aldermen
5:11 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Bill to halve St. Louis Board of Aldermen moves forward

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen debate on June 29, 2012.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

A measure to cut the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in half moved a step closer to reality at City Hall today.

The bill cleared a procedural hurdle with more than enough votes to eventually approve the legislation.

South city alderman Steve Conway supports the cut. He says he understands that some of his colleagues prefer smaller wards because it's easier to provide hands-on service.

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Federal Health Care Law
1:37 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Visualize this: a health care ruling word tree

A screen capture from an interactive word tree of today's Supreme Court heath care law decision. Explore the word tree yourself below.
(Visualization: courtesy Matt Stiles)

For a different look at today's health care ruling, check out this fun word visualization. It's an interactive word tree put together by Matt Stiles and posted on his blog, The Daily Viz.

(Matt also happens to be Data Editor of News Apps at NPR).

Try out the tool below with your own phrases, maybe "health" or "cost" or "tax" - you decide.

Federal Health Care Law
11:34 am
Thu June 28, 2012

The Supreme Court's health care decision: what does it mean for the St. Louis region?

The United States Supreme Court building in Washington, DC.
(via Flickr/Phil Roeder)

Will be updated.

Updated 5:06 p.m. with more information.

As we reported this morning, the Supreme Court has held that the federal healthcare law is constitutional.

That includes the individual mandate that requires almost all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014.

The Court called the penalty that someone must pay for refusing to buy insurance a kind of tax that the Congress can impose under the Constitution.

Health Insurance Exchanges

Some will turn to the online marketplaces known as health insurance exchanges to fulfill the mandate.

The director of health policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health, Ryan Barker, says Missouri is one of a couple dozen states that have resisted setting up a state health insurance exchange.

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4:59 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

McCaskill among 12 'major' Democrats to skip national convention

Lead in text: 
As we've reported, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri is skipping this year's Democratic National Convention. Here's a look from NPR this evening about the 11 other "major Democrats" skipping "Obama's renomination party."
This year's Democratic National Convention has already shrunk by a day. Now it appears the attendance for the event is shrinking, too. At least a dozen prominent Democrats say they won't be able to make it. All are facing tough election campaigns in places where President Obama's popularity lags.
Immigration
3:47 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Mo. immigrant advocacy groups on Arizona's mostly-nixed law

St. Louis County police chief Tim Fitch.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Immigrant advocacy groups in Missouri say that while they are pleased the US Supreme Court struck down most of a controversial Arizona immigration policy, they remain concerned about a provision that had the support of the justices.

The five-to-three ruling on Monday allowed Arizona law enforcement officials to check the papers of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. Opponents say that will lead to biased policing.

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Chris Koster
12:13 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Questions raised by Auditor over Koster office contracts

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster.
(Mo. Atty. General's Office)

Will be updated.

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich is questioning the process for awarding contracts to private attorneys representing the state in lawsuits.

The attorney general's office can award contingency fee contracts by requesting bids or asking the state Office of Administration to request bids and establish an independent panel to choose the winner.

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Monarch Fire District
4:45 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Monarch Fire District making improvements, Mo. Auditor's follow-up finds

Mo. Auditor Tom Schweich (R).

The State Auditor’s Office is pleased overall with efforts by the Monarch Fire Protection District in Chesterfield to implement changes recommended in a recent audit.

In February, Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich (R) gave the Monarch Fire District a “C,” in part for its early retirement incentives package that violated the State Constitution.  Spokesman for the Auditor’s office, Spence Jackson, says their recommendations there have yet to be implemented.

“They told us that that’s not something that they’re going to have to deal with again for another couple of years," Jackson said.  "But they did indicate that they would apply more due diligence with how future retirement incentives are handled, and we’re pleased with that.”

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