Politics & Issues

Office of Administration / Kelvin Simmons
11:41 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Simmons resigns as Mo. administration commissioner

Kelvin Simmons.
(Missouri Public Service Commission website)

The head of Missouri's Office of Administration is stepping down effective Feb. 1.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Tuesday that Administration Commissioner Kelvin Simmons was leaving the position. In a resignation letter dated Monday, Simmons said he was pursuing an "opportunity outside of state government" but did not elaborate.

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Missouri Redistricting
1:35 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Mo. proposal calls for open redistricting meetings

State Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, is proposing a constitutional amendment to require redistricting commissions to follow the state's public meetings and open records law.
(Harrison Sweazea/Mo. Senate)

Updated 1:48 p.m. with quote from Crowell, more information.

A Missouri senator wants to change the secretive process used to draw new legislative districts.

Republican Sen. Jason Crowell, of Cape Girardeau, is proposing a constitutional amendment to require redistricting commissions to follow the state's public meetings and open records law.

He said redistricting is fundamental to the democratic process, and new boundaries for state legislative seats should not be drawn behind closed doors.

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Illegal immigration
4:46 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Enforcement of immigration laws in Mo. at issue in to-be-debated bill

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

Legislation to be considered by lawmakers next year would require Missouri’s Attorney General to sue the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws.

The bill is sponsored by GOP Senator Will Kraus.  He says whenever state or local authorities arrest someone who happens to be in the US illegally, the feds release that person about 60 percent of the time.

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Mo. House/Sen. redistricting
4:40 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Panel tweaks redrawn Mo. Senate redistricting map

The revised version of the Missouri Senate map released today by a six-judge panel. Click on the links in the story below to explore the full map.
(Missouri Office of Administration website)

A six-judge panel that redrew Missouri’s State House and Senate districts has made a few changes to the Senate map.

The original map had raised constitutional concerns because it divided rural Johnson County in western Missouri among two separate Senate districts.  The county is represented in the Senate by Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg.

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Mo. Congressional redistricting
7:00 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Lawsuits challenging Mo.'s congressional redistricting maps to be tossed

A Cole County judge has decided to dismiss a legal challenge to the congressional redistricting maps passed this year by Missouri lawmakers.

Two suits were heard jointly Thursday, one from St. Louis-area Democrats and the other from Kansas City-area Republicans.  Both stated that the so-called Grand Compromise Map was geared to protect incumbents, and would weaken the political voices of St. Louis and Kansas City.  Attorney Gerry Greiman represents the St. Louis area plaintiffs.  He says they’ll appeal directly to the State Supreme Court.

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Higher Education
10:52 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Mo. panel wants performance funding for colleges

The campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.
(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

A task force is recommending that funding for universities and community colleges in Missouri be based in part on graduation rates and other performance-based criteria.

The recommendation was presented today in Jefferson City to the state’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education.  State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Senate Education Committee.

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Disaster response
5:29 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Mo. House committee releases disaster recommendations

A car remains on its top, three days after a tornado devastated the area of Bridgeton, Mo., on April 25th, 2011.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A Missouri House committee that’s been looking into natural disaster response has released a list of recommendations for lawmakers to take up next year.

One of them would create a joint House-Senate committee that would have oversight into the use of the state’s Rainy Day fund for disaster expenses.   Speaker Pro-tem Shane Schoeller (R, Willard) supports the idea.

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Schweich v. Nixon
6:08 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Judge won't dismiss Schweich's lawsuit against Nixon

Mo. State Auditor Tom Schweich (R).
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Cole County judge has denied a motion by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon to dismiss a lawsuit filed against him by Missouri’s Republican State Auditor, Tom Schweich.

Schweich is suing the Governor over his decision to withhold $170 million from the current year’s state budget.  Schweich says Nixon can only withhold funds if state revenues are coming in below estimates, and that there was no evidence at the time that that was the case.

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Term limits resolution
5:02 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

All Mo. statewide officeholders would be term limited under proposal

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

All statewide officeholders in Missouri would be limited to eight years in office, under legislation pre-filed in the State Senate.

The Governor and State Treasurer are the only statewide office holders in Missouri limited to two four-year terms.  The rest – Lt. GovernorAttorney GeneralSecretary of State and State Auditor – can run for re-election as often as they want.  The measure is sponsored by State Senator Brad Lager (R, Savannah), who is also running for Lt. Governor.

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Education / Public Schools / Transfers
4:18 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Mo. lawmakers to consider potential school transfer flood with legislation

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Missouri lawmakers will again push legislation aimed at preventing an exodus of Kansas City and St. Louis students from their failing schools and overwhelming neighboring districts.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled last year that students living in unaccredited districts are owed free transfers and that accredited schools must take the students. The courts continue to work out the details.

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