Politics & Issues

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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State of Missouri Budget
4:01 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Mo. revenue increases through November, but falling short of expected numbers

(via Flickr/_J_D_R)

Missouri tax revenues have increased this year but are falling short of what was expected in the state's budget.

The state Office of Administration reported Friday that state revenues through November increased 2 percent, to $2.84 billion from $2.78 billion last year. So far, sales tax collections are up 3.4 percent but corporate income taxes are down 10.7 percent.

Nixon on Mamtek, MOSIRA
3:51 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Nixon comments on Mamtek hearings, MOSIRA lawsuit

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) says his administration wisely handled the vetting of a Los Angeles-based company that began building an artificial sweetener plant in Moberly, then pulled out after missing its bond payment to the small northeast Missouri town.

Moberly officials told a State House committee this week that the governor’s Department of Economic Development withheld emails from a DED consultant revealing that he could not verify whether Mamtek had a functioning plant in China.  Nixon did not address that accusation when talking with reporters today, but he did say no taxpayer dollars went to Mamtek.

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Mo. 2012 pre-filed bills
4:31 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Mo. lawmakers begin pre-filing bills for 2012 session

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

Missouri lawmakers began pre-filing bills today for next year’s legislative session, which begins January 4th.

One bill was influenced by the deadly Joplin tornado.  If passed, it would allow Missouri residents to deduct up to $5,000 from their state income taxes for building storm shelters on their properties.  It’s sponsored by State Representative Terry Swinger (D, Caruthersville).

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Cole McNary / Election 2012
3:10 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Rep. McNary from Chesterfield to run for Mo. treasurer's office

Missouri state Rep. Cole McNary, R-Chesterfield.
via Flickr/KOMU News

A state House member from Chesterfield is the first Republican to officially enter the Missouri treasurer's race.

Rep. Cole McNary said Thursday that he will seek to challenge Democratic Treasurer Clint Zweifel in the 2012 elections.

McNary cast himself as a fiscal conservative while announcing his candidacy. But he told The Associated Press that he has no particular complaints over the way Zweifel has run the office.

Zweifel had more than $720,000 in his campaign account at the end of September. McNary had a little over $28,000.

Missouri Redistricting
4:14 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

New Missouri State House, Senate Redistricting Maps Released

A small cutaway of new Missouri House of Representatives district map submitted to the Missouri Secretary of State. This view shows a portion of the St. Louis region. For more maps and to explore further, see the maps and links in the story below.
(Missouri State Redistricting Office)

Updated at 6:42 p.m. with comments from Mo. Sen. Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield).

New redistricting plans and maps for the Missouri General Assembly have been filed with the Missouri Secretary of State's office.

Redistricting occurs every 10 years, and is based on results from the census. Missouri's most recent census data, with shifts and increases in population, required significant changes to be made.

“We have worked collaboratively to draw maps that comply with the constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and other legal requirements,” Lisa White Hardwick, chair of the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission, said in a release.

The St. Louis area has lost a State Senate district.  The 7th District is represented by Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) and mainly consists of western St. Louis County.  Starting in 2013, it will consist of six counties to the north and west of the metro area and a small portion of St. Charles County.  Cunningham says she’ll now run for the 27th District Senate seat, which will include parts of St. Louis and Jefferson Counties.

“I had expected much of this area to be mine anyway, I’ve already been working in many of what would be new areas, and so they know me," Cunningham said.  "Our home is in another area, but this is my stomping grounds.”

Cunningham will have to move to a new home in order to live in the new 27th District, which she calls a minor inconvenience.  The new State Senate boundaries also have Cunningham’s current home in the same district as fellow Republican Senator John Lamping

Here are the newly submitted maps for the St. Louis region (click within each to expand and explore):

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