Politics & Issues

Race / Law Enforcement
12:14 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

In Missouri, black drivers 72 percent more likely to be pulled over, report says

via Flickr/davidsonscott15

Updated 12:34 p.m. with link to full report and information about 2010 data.

Black motorists are stopped by Missouri law officers at an increasingly disproportionate rate.

An annual report released Friday by the attorney general found black drivers were 72 percent more likely than white motorists to be pulled over in 2011. Black drivers were stopped 2.5 times more often than Hispanic drivers.

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Cell phone tracking legislation
5:25 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Cell phone tracking bill in Mo. Gov. Nixon's hands

(via Flickr/papalars)

Among the more than 110 bills passed by Missouri lawmakers this year is one designed to help law enforcement officers track a missing person through the potential victim’s cell phone signal.

If signed by Governor Jay Nixon (D), the bill would require cell phone companies to provide police with the location of any customer who’s been reported missing or believed to be in danger.  The sponsor, State Rep. Jeanie Lauer (R, Blue Springs), says it’s in response to the 2007 kidnapping and murder of Kelsey Smith in the Kansas City area.

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St. Louis Board of Aldermen
4:10 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

St. Louis Board of Aldermen mulls halving its numbers

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen's Legislation Committee meets to discuss cutting the number of aldermen on the board from 28 to 12.
Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

The size of St. Louis's ward districts could more than double under a proposal moving through the Board of Alderman's Legislation Committee this week.

Members discussed a bill today that would eliminate about half of the city's aldermanic seats - from the current 28 down to 12.

Alderman Scott Ogilvie supports the change but says the board must consider how the duties of aldermen would be affected. 

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MO Statehouse
2:06 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Missouri veterans homes get casino money

Gov. Nixon addresses nursing home residents
Adam Allington St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri veterans homes are getting a significant boost as a result of new legislation establishing a dedicated source of funding.

Governor Jay Nixon attended a ceremonial bill signing at the St. Louis Veterans Home on Thursday.

Missouri currently has seven nursing homes which serve some 1,300 veterans. The legislation will allocate $32 million to the Missouri Veterans Commission annually, up from just $6.6 million, and will be paid for through per-patron fees paid by casinos.

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Michael Madigan
8:25 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Madigan reflects on his role, regrets for Ill. pension system

Illinois House of Representatives

Illinois lawmakers are scheduled to debate today a massive overhaul of the state’s pension system.

The measure’s revival was made possible last night by a surprise move from House Speaker Michael Madigan, who calls an overhaul necessary.

Madigan told Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky he regrets his role in passing an early retirement package a decade ago that added to the state’s $83 billion unfunded pension liability – and what he wants to do about it now.

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Ill. pensions
5:52 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Surprise move by House Speaker Madigan could clear way for pension overhaul

(via Flickr/AnneH632)

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

Illinois lawmakers will take a shot today at passing a massive overhaul of the state's pension system.

It's a move permitted by a surprise decision last night by House Speaker Michael Madigan, who handed control of the measure over to the top Republican in the House, Tom Cross.

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Missouri Gaming Commission
5:04 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Mathewson makes it official, will step down Friday from Mo. Gaming Commission

Jim Mathewson
(Mo. Senate website)

The Missouri Gaming Commission is looking for a new chairman.

Jim Mathewson (D) announced today he’s stepping down, one month after his three-year term officially expired.  He was appointed chairman by Governor Jay Nixon (D) in 2009, but chose not to serve a second term in order to spend more time with his family.  During his tenure, Mathewson oversaw the bidding process for the state’s 13th casino license, which eventually went to developers in Cape Girardeau.

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The Two-Way
3:16 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

VIDEO: 'Let my people go:' Illinois state Rep loses cool on house floor

Illinois State Rep. Mike Bost.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 3:19 pm

We already know that budgets and austerity measures are controversial, especially when it concerns the pensions of public employees. Wisconsin is solid proof. But if you need another reminder of just how combustive it gets when you mix politics, unions and public employees, just take a look at this video:

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Casinos/Veterans Homes
2:12 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Casino fees to be redirected from early childhood programs to Mo. veterans homes

(via Flickr/Hakan Dahlstrom)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation redirecting casino fees to nursing homes for military veterans.

The legislation signed into law Wednesday provides a dedicated funding stream for the state's seven nursing homes that serve about 1,300 veterans.

Casinos already pay a per-person fee to the state. Most of that money has gone to early childhood programs. But the new law redirects the bulk of those fees to veterans homes.

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House of Worship Protection Act
7:11 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Bill sent to Gov. Nixon would criminalize disturbance of worship services in Mo.

A house of worship in Jefferson City, Mo.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Among the 115 bills sent to Governor Jay Nixon (D) this year is one that would make it a crime to deliberately disturb worship services in Missouri.

The measure would make it a misdemeanor to use, “profane discourse, rude or indecent behavior,” or make loud disruptive noises within or just outside a public or private building where a worship service is being held.  It was sponsored by Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter).

“It’s important for citizens here in Missouri to have their First Amendment rights protected," Mayer said.  "There (have) been instances across the country where there have been actual disturbances in churches and synagogues.”

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