Politics & Issues

Election 2012
5:34 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Romney speaks to NRA at Edward Jones Dome

Mitt Romney speaks at the NRA's Leadership Forum in St. Louis on April 13, 2012.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Speaking in downtown St. Louis at the NRA's Leadership Forum today, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney emphasized his commitment to protecting the Second Amendment.  

But Romney's record on gun control is a tough sell for some members of the influential conservative group.  St. Louis native and NRA member Ed McNees says he can't trust Romney because he supported banning assault rifles while running for office in Massachusetts. 

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firefighter pensions
6:03 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Mo. House committee passes STL firefigher pensions bill

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A Missouri House committee has unanimously passed a bill that would make cuts to firefighter pensions in St. Louis, but not before committee members made a few changes to the legislation.

New St. Louis firefighters would pay in 9 percent of their salaries, instead of 8 percent as originally proposed, and applicants would have to disclose any pre-existing injuries and conditions before being hired.  New hires would still get back 25 percent of what they pay in as originally proposed.  It’s sponsored by State Rep. Mike Leara (R, Sunset Hills).

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MO Statehouse
2:34 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Mo. House OKs adding cellphones to No Call List

(via Flickr/denharsh)

Legislation allowing Missourians to place their cellphone numbers on the state's telemarketing No Call List is moving forward.

The House voted 147-0 Thursday for the bill allowing the addition of cellphones to the list, which would put them off-limits to most solicitations by phone call or text message. Sponsoring House member Todd Richardson, a Republican form Poplar Bluff, says expanding the registry would protect the privacy of Missourians.

The legislation moves to the Senate, which has already endorsed a similar bill.

Cocaine
1:41 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Mo. House OKs trimming disparity in cocaine sentences

A pile of crack cocaine ‘rocks.'
(via Wikimedia Commons/Drug Enforcement Administration)

Missouri House members have endorsed legislation that would reduce the disparity in prison sentences between people charged with crack and powder cocaine crimes.

Under current state laws, someone found with 2 grams of crack faces the same prison sentence as a person who has 150 grams of cocaine.

The proposed legislation would raise the minimum amount of crack to 28 grams.

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Missouri State Budget
12:30 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Mo. Senate panel endorses roughly $24B budget plan

An interior view of the dome at the Missouri Capitol.
(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have passed that chamber’s version of the state budget for next year.

The Senate plan is about $86 million smaller than the version passed by the House last month.  Cuts include $13 million from child care provider grants, $7 million from other childcare services, and $1 million from meals at state prisons.  Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) acknowledges that many of the cuts target Medicaid.

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worker's compensation/2nd injury fund
4:29 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Mo. House passes workers' comp, 2nd Injury Fund fix

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

The Missouri House has passed its version of a workers’ compensation bill that also proposes to fix the state’s ailing Second Injury Fund.

The vote again fell mostly along party lines, passing 92 to 56, with one lawmaker voting "present."  The measure would place occupational disease claims back within the workers’ comp system and would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses.  Democrats, including Kevin McManus of Kansas City, objects to moving claims out of the courts and back to workers' comp.

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Education / Charter Schools
2:46 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Mo. Senate supports charter school expansion bill

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation that could allow charter schools to be formed outside of Kansas City and St. Louis.

In a voice vote Wednesday, the Senate backed a measure that would allow charter schools to be set up in districts that have been declared unaccredited. It would also allow charter schools in some districts that would have been provisionally accredited for three straight years, starting with next school year.

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Mo. State budget
12:03 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Mo. Sen. committee proposes fix for blind pensions

iPad photo of Mo. Sen. Appropriations Committee meeting on 4/10/2012.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have crafted a proposal designed to preserve funding for blind pensions.

The plan announced by Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) would use $18 million in federal Medicaid money to create a new blind pension health care fund.

“We’re gonna add language that everyone in that program has to go through Medicaid eligibility, so that we determine who is Medicaid eligible and who’s not…that’s the first threshold," Schaefer said.  "The second is we’re gonna put in language to establish a premium.”

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Workplace discrimination bill
9:07 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Stripped-down workplace discrimination before Mo. House committee

Mo. House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee considers substitute version of workplace discrimination bill.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A State House committee began a hearing Tuesday into a stripped-down version of the workplace discrimination bill.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed the House version last month, so backers are now pushing a revised bill that will primarily focus on protecting whistleblowers.  State Rep. Kevin Elmer (R, Nixa) says language that would redefine workplace discrimination as a motivating factor instead of a contributing one has been removed.

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Budget deficit "bake sale"
4:46 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Groups hold 'bake sale' at Mo. Capitol

Andrea Routh of the Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance takes part in a "bake sale" to voice support for finding new sources of state revenue.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Several groups critical of the no new taxes stance of both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and Republican legislative leaders held a bake sale today at the Missouri Capitol.

The event was held to highlight what the participants say is a lack of effort to explore new ways to raise revenue.  Sean Nicholson is with the group Progress Missouri.

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