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Ferguson October protesters
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and other legal groups are blasting a decision by the attorney for St. Louis County to charge Ferguson protesters, many almost a year after they were arrested.

But St. Louis County's counselor is defending the process for charging dozens of people — including a couple of  journalists.

Richardson enters the House Lounge for an end-of-session press conference on Friday.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 3 p.m. Wed., Aug. 19, with proposals from state House Minority Whip John Rizzo)

As lawmakers continue to mull over changes to the Missouri Capitol’s intern program, the speaker of the Missouri House is putting the kibosh on changes to the chamber’s dress code.

It’s a proposal that sparked an intense backlash from some elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Writer and journalist Sarah Kendzior joined "St. Louis on the Air" in studio.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Many have come to know St. Louis-based writer Sarah Kendzior by her Twitter, on which she posts eloquently and (by necessity) concisely about segregation, poverty, racial bias, and aggressive policing in the region.

Mo. Dept. of Mental Health

Missouri's only state-run mental hospital has updated its non-discrimination practices to include gender identity.

That's despite the fact that Missouri's legal definition of discrimination does not include or protect sexual orientation or sexual identity.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

While lauding a new Canadian trade deal, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon warned that Missouri’s future role in international trade will depend on improving transportation needs back home.

“Not just Missouri, but as a country, we’re going to have to make some decisions,’’ the governor said in a conference call Tuesday with reporters.

“Bridges don’t come for free. Ports don’t come for free. And last I checked, nobody comes out and pours concrete and puts rebar in for free,” Nixon said in an unusually passionate pitch.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated with comments from attorneys, and the cities of St. Louis and St. Peters.

Getting caught on camera running a red light in St. Louis will no longer result in a fine.

In a 6-1 opinion issued Tuesday, the court called the city's ordinance governing red-light cameras unconstitutional because it assumes the owner of the car was the one driving the car at the time of the violation.

Stadium task force co-chair Dave Peacock presents revised stadium plan to the Missouri Development Finance Board. The stadium project is asking for $15 million in tax breaks this year and plans to ask for $17.5 million each in 2016 and 2017.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with vote - The Missouri Development Finance Board Tuesday approved tax breaks to help fund a proposed new NFL stadium in St. Louis. This vote was for $15 million out of what's expected to be a total of $50 million in credits.

It's part of a revised stadium proposal that would cost $998 million, including $820 million for sight clearance and construction.

St. Louis City Hall
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A major credit rating agency has released a report downgrading St. Louis' ratings.

In a report that was released last Friday, Moody’s Investors Services downgraded by one notch the city’s $27.4 million worth of general obligation bonds. It also dropped the rating on the St. Louis Municipal Finance Corporation's, $123.5 million of “outstanding rated lease revenue debt issued for essential purposes,” as well as the corporation's $138.6 million “of outstanding rated lease revenue debt issued for non-essential purposes.”

Moody’s decision could make it more expensive for the city to borrow money.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, right, and Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons take part in a roundtable on heroin abuse on Monday in Granite City.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin provided a fairly blunt reply to the proposition that the War on Drugs failed.

“By some measure, it has failed,” said Durbin, D-Ill. “If the measure is the cost of drugs on the street, it has failed. But when we look at the individual lives saved, there are certainly heroic great stories to be told. But we have to be honest about what works and what doesn’t.”

Lindenwood University president Michael D. Shonrock took office just this June, but already has big plans for the institution.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

  

Lindenwood University, founded in 1827, is the second-oldest institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River—but new president Michael D. Shonrock said he won’t let the school’s long history keep it from adapting to the future of higher education.

“I tend to be a futurist,” Shonrock said. “I’m also an undying optimist.”

Lindenwood university has changed dramatically in order to accommodate the many challenges colleges and universities face in an era of higher costs, online classes, and increasing enrollment.

Curran | Flickr

Three years after killing off Missouri’s latest statewide tobacco-tax proposal, the group representing many Missouri gas stations and convenience stores has filed two initiative-petition proposals of its own to hike the tax.

Missouri’s tobacco tax is now 17 cents a pack and is the nation’s lowest. The Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association’s proposals would increase the per-pack tax to 40 cents by 2021.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Almost weekly, it seems, Missouri’s Republican field for governor either gets larger or smaller.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is now in the race, as is state Sen. Bob Dixon of Springfield.  State Sen. Mike Parson of Joplin is out. And two likely St. Louis area contenders – John Brunner and Eric Greitens – are in the wings, presumably waiting for the right time to launch.

All that jockeying appears to have drawn attention away from the one Republican who’s been campaigning the longest: former state House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

State Rep. Cloria Brown
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies continue their look into south St. Louis County politics by welcoming state Rep. Cloria Brown onto the show.

Brown is a city of St. Louis native who had a successful career in information technology. After working her way through several jobs, Brown eventually became vice president of information systems for MasterCard International. She was one of the few women to be a leader in the male-dominated field.

East St.  Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

East St. Louis employees across all departments could be facing layoffs due to a budget deficit approaching $5.7 million by 2016.

“We will make every effort as an administration to review all legal options and only look at layoffs as a last resort. However at this point we really do not see how the city will avoid layoffs,” said Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks in a prepared statement to news outlets Sunday afternoon.

Rebecca Now (left) and Yvette Joy Liebesman (right) joined "St. Louis on the Air" in studio to discuss the history of women's suffrage.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

August 26, 2015 marks the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. It also marks the victory of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States: a seventy-year fight for the right to self-govern that encouraged women to continue struggling for equal rights in the following decades.

St. Louis County Police form a line in front of protesters on Tuesday. They were put in charge of securing protests on Monday when St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger called a state of emergency.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10 a.m. Friday with lifting of state of emergency. On a cloudless Tuesday night on West Florissant Avenue, the mood was relatively calm. A few dozen protesters, onlookers and media milled about on a parking lot – a far cry from chaos that struck the thoroughfare on Sunday night.

Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

A Missouri Senate committee is threatening legal sanctions against a member of Gov. Jay Nixon's cabinet after the first day of hearings into the operations of Planned Parenthood in Missouri.

Committee chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, on Thursday asked Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling to disclose the name of the hospital that has a working agreement with Planned Parenthood's Columbia clinic.  Vasterling refused.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This past week, residents of Ferguson, Mo., and demonstrators from far afield mark the anniversary of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. There were angry-but-peaceful protests.

Tom Dempsey R. Mo Senator 02182014
Official photo

Former Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, who resigned less than a week ago, says his new title is “director of business development’’ at a Clayton-based lobbying firm, Gate Way Group.

Dempsey, a Republican from St. Charles, said in an interview that he began work this week. His resignation from the state Senate was effective last Friday.

On a recent Saturday, Irma Moore and her daughters BreaDora, 11, Lydia, 6, Laura, 4 and Elizabeth, 7 months, visited a longtime Ferguson staple for ice cream cones.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The first time I met the Moore family, it was in the middle of the night.

On August 17, 2014, protests in Ferguson took a violent turn. After reports of a shooting, police forced demonstrators to disperse with tear gas and rubber bullets. In her suburban home just a few blocks away, Irma Moore and her five children were huddled together on the couch, watching the events on television.

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