Politics & Issues

Mamtek investigation
11:12 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Mo. jobs chief defends review of sweetener maker

Mo. DED Dir. David Kerr testifies at a Mo. House hearing on Mamtek on Nov. 30th, 2011.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Department of Economic Development is defending its role in the Mamtek controversy, in which the town of Moberly issued $39 million in bonds to build an artificial sweetener plant which never opened.

DED Director David Kerr told the House Interim Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability that his agency carefully reviewed Los Angeles-based Mamtek’s request for state incentives, which were not issued – but he also said that it’s not DED’s role to double-check every claim made by every company seeking tax credits.

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Mamtek investigation
5:41 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Mo. House committee begins Mamtek hearings

The Mo. House Interim Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability meeting Nov. 29th, 2011, at the Mo. Capitol.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Two days of hearings are underway at the Missouri Capitol to explore why an artificial sweetener facility in Moberly never opened and why the small town’s bond rating took a hit.

The House Interim Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability is focusing on conflicting documents over the trustworthiness of the company Mamtek. Corey Mehaffy heads the Moberly Area Economic Development Corporation. He testified that the state Department of Economic Development never shared emails with the city revealing that a DED official could not verify whether Mamtek had a functioning plant in China.

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MoDOT winter prep
5:15 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

MoDOT preparing for winter snow removal

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Department of Transportation says snow removal won’t be an issue this winter, despite the agency’s downsizing.

MoDOT’s downsizing includes laying off 1,200 workers, closing over 130 facilities, and selling off hundreds of pieces of equipment.  State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright says, though, that the number of workers assigned to remove snow and ice will remain the same.

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MO Statehouse
3:25 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

Nixon: lack of action by supercommittee could impact Mo. state budget

An interior view of the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City, Mo.
(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he's monitoring the situation in Washington, following the so-called congressional supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement on reducing the nation's debt.  He admits it's possible that the lack of action by Congress could impact Missouri's state budget next year:

"The uncertainties that you have in this job about the dollars coming in are very real…if they fail to reach the continuing resolution to move things forward by the end of the year is something we're looking at, to measure what that would do to the state," Nixon said.

Vioxx settlement
5:09 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Missouri settles lawsuit against pharmaceutical company Merck

(via Flickr/CarbonNYC)

Missouri will receive nearly $14 million, as part of a settlement of a multi-state lawsuit against drug manufacturer Merck.

The lawsuit centers on the prescription drug Vioxx, which the company marketed as a painkiller for people diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Merck has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for promoting the drug before receiving FDA approval, and it will pay $950 million in criminal and civil penalties.  The company halted sales of Vioxx in 2004 after evidence showed the drug doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Nixon - STL Co. parks
3:32 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Nixon defends exploring state-county parks option with St. Louis County

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) discusses the possibility of joint state/county-run parks and other issues at a press event today in Callaway County.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) is defending his decision to explore the possibility of the state jointly running several county parks in St. Louis County that are being targeted for closure.

The parks in question include Lone Elk Park in West County, home to wild elk, turkey, deer and buffalo.  State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) is questioning whether the governor has the authority to enter into such an agreement.

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MO Statehouse
5:40 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Mo. releases 4-year H.S. graduation preliminary data

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Preliminary figures on how many Missouri high school students earn their diplomas have been released, and a new procedure for calculating graduation rates is being used.

The new procedure is mandated by the federal government,  and it only takes into account students who complete high school in four years time.  Michele Clark is with the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

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Peter Kinder / Election 2012
1:49 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Kinder will not run for Mo. Gov, to seek re-election instead

Mo. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
(Official Photo via Office of the Lt. Governor)

Updated at 5:35 p.m. via the Associated Press, and at 5:42 with a quote from Brad Lager:

In a ripple effect from Kinder's announcement, St. Louis developer Chris McKee, who just announced his candidacy on Monday, has now announced that he is pulling out of the race for Lt. Gov. and instead will throw his support behind Kinder.

Republican state Sen. Brad Lager, of Savannah, also declared his candidacy for lieutenant governor Monday. Lager said Friday that he is still in the race but will re-evaluate that decision after he gets a chance to talk with Kinder.

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Mo. broadband access
5:25 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Nixon touts progress in expansion of broadband access in Mo.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) says more than 75 percent of the state has access to broadband Internet service.

The governor provided an update on the state’s efforts to expand access to rural portions of Missouri during today's second annual broadband summit, held in Jefferson City.  He told the audience of more than 300 business and government leaders that his broadband initiative has enabled small businesses and larger corporations across the state to compete for grants to expand broadband access.

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I-70 toll road proposal
5:13 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

MoDOT wants lawmakers to consider I-70/toll road proposal

(MoDOT)

A joint House-Senate committee in Jefferson City heard a proposal today for rebuilding Interstate Highway 70 in Missouri and turning it into a toll road. 

MoDOT Director Kevin Keith told the committee that charging tolls would provide the best opportunity to pay for rebuilding I-70.  But he acknowledges that it may not be an easy sell to lawmakers.

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